How Glenn Beck's Twisted Worldview Goads Disturbed People into Acts of Violence
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He has issued a similar warning to “illegal aliens”:
I've got a quick message for illegal aliens if you happen to be watching. You better start packing your bags. And to the politicians in Washington who are soft on illegal immigration, start packing up your office, because when the terrorists strike, which they will, and we find out that they're here illegally from some other country, we will be telling all of you to get the hell out. [Glenn Beck, May 9, 2007]
With all that, Beck is happy to blame progressives and “political correctness” for violence. Rich Gardner of the Philadelphia Independent Media Center wrote:
Yet, Beck says that ‘the American people...feel disenfranchised right now. [They] feel like nobody's hearing their voice. The government isn't hearing their voice. Even if you call, they don't listen to you on both sides.’ Beck goes on: "And every time they do speak out, they're shut down by political correctness. How do you not have those people turn into [Michael McLendon, the killer of 10 people in Alabama]?"
Discussing inflammatory rhetoric and its consequences with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last year, author Gerald Posner said, “It's a license that allows somebody who's on the edge to cross the edge from thinking about acting out to actually crossing the line and being violent and thinking they can change history with a single bullet. And we have shown time and time again that that's possible.”
Glenn Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric has been tied to a number of violent attacks and threats against Beck’s targets and other public figures.
The Tides Foundation
In July, the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation was targeted for a massacre by Byron Williams. Fortunately, Williams was stopped by police and injured after a ferocious gun battle before he could carry out his assassinations at Tides and the ACLU. As the Christian Science Monitor reported,
Since then, alleged attacker Byron Williams has said in jailhouse interviews that he wanted to “start a revolution.” He says Beck was not the direct cause of his turning violent. But he does say: “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.”
Beck has waged a rhetorical war against the Tides Foundation, placing them at the center of his chalkboard conspiracy theories, calling the foundation “bullies” and “thugs” and central to George Soros’ plans to destroy America. “I’m comin’ for ya, oh, I’m comin’ for ya,” he warned Tides on the air in September, saying that he wasn’t making threats but was planning to reverse all the work that Tides had done.
As Media Matters detailed, Byron Williams told journalist John Hamilton that Beck, "blew my mind," adding that Beck is "like a schoolteacher on TV." Williams also said that "Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he'll give you every reason to believe it. He's protecting himself, and you can't blame him for that. So, I understand what he's doing." Williams continued:
And I'd say, well, you know, that's the thing. It's that anything you do is going to be considered promoting terror attacks or promoting violence. So now they've got Beck labeled as this guy that is trying to incite violence. And what I say is that if the truth incites violence, it means that we've been living too long in the lies.
Beck’s response was to dismiss any responsibility for violence by the “nutjob” and to “savor” -- in journalist Milbank’s words -- the fact that “no one knew what Tides was until the blackboard.”