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January 11, 2011

James Bond Aside, Beck Has Been Swinging Free For Years

If yesterday’s screenshot of a pre-programmed, rotating background on the Beck home page proved anything, it’s that the right has no monopoly on people who can get worked up over very little.  In the name of clarity, I offer up a sample of backgrounds rotating on the Beck homepage, the first one being the screen shot that set off many left wing heavy breathers, offering Beck seeming to play out a little James Bond fantasy.  (Although incendiary images have been disappearing like crazy this week in urgent CYA moves, it made all the sense in the world for the Beck people, once they realized it, to disappear this graphic.)

What the Twitter buzz around this screen grab does contribute to the conversation since the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, however, is the importance of logic, factual accuracy and coherence.  The reality is, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the far right have been consistently stoking up the populace and contributing to an escalating atmosphere of polarization, anger and hate, and there is no need for embellishment or extraneous frothing when the provocation and the escalation is clear.

Along these lines, Milbank hit it right on the head in drawing an analogy between writers for William Randolph Hearst and Beck/Palin as regards the shooting of President McKinley. There might not have been a direct causal link between the anger stoked by Hearst’s columnists and the President’s subsequent assassination, but what was conclusive in the public mind after the deed went down was how these media-antagonists primed the pump being fully deserving of their ultimate castigation.

Just from the BagNews beat, reading the visuals over the past few years, we’ve looked at example after example of Beck and Palin stoking audiences and modeling a culture of hate. One of my “favorite” images is this one that I posted in October ‘09 demonstrating the reaction after the White House started complaining about hostility from FOX. For historical accuracy, I give you the image and my comments intact:

One Fox executive said that the jabs by the White House could solidify the network’s audience base and recalled that Mr. Ailes had remarked internally: “Don’t pick a fight with people who like to fight.” — from: Fox’s Volley With Obama Intensifying/NYT.

In light of the fisticuffs breaking out between FOX and the White House, a reader brought a troubling Glenn Beck behavior to my attention, one consistent with Mr. Beck’s loose grip on reality. What it made me wonder was when, if ever, I saw a TV personality gesticulating at figures on a video background as if physically interacting and even hitting them.

Last Wednesday’s Beck program offered up several examples. In the first (if you’re watching the video), he puts a double karate chop on Pelosi at the 3:32 mark, takes a more coy swing at Obama at 7:33, then delivers a more angry slap at the President’s mid-section at 7:45.

Beyond the loose boundaries, the clinical world has a term for this. It’s called: modeling aggression.

(8:40 am PST – Title revised)

  • momly

    Chicken: *cluck*
    Roost: Welcome home!

  • Withnails

    I mean, yeah, he’s obviously play-acting. And, having just watched Jon Stewart’s thoughts on the tragedy, and how it’s impossible to truly draw a direct line between the rhetoric and the violence –

    but Jeebus – what sort of so-called “pundit” and “journalist” (and yes, I’m sure SOME people would call Beck a “journalist”) would feel the need to play secret agent dress-up? I don’t think we’re asking for shame or self-awareness – just that our political pundits not act like twelve-year-olds.

    • bartcopfan

      Unfortunately, it’s not only pundits who like to play dress-up.

  • Stan B.

    Beck has fantasized punching Obama and poisoning Pelosi- in addition to his prolonged fantasy of choking Michael Moore with his “bare hands.”

    The question is not whether this repeated vitriol promotes violence in the general population, and incites the unhinged. The real question is whether they are doing this on purpose for the exact results that we experienced this past weekend.

    Did anyone need a more ominous warning than Byron Williams shooting up a CA highway on his interrupted assassination quest- and then quoting Beck from his jailhouse cell?

  • Karen H.

    somehow the conjured grim image of beck “swinging free” matches the reality of his rhetoric. Yuck.

  • jjohannson

    Stan, can you provide a link for the CA shooter quoting Beck in his cell? It would be good to have available.

  • Aurora

    What do I really think?

    from the first time I saw his image, and it has never changed: Teeny Weeny Peeny man.

    And this whole business of the secret agent armed with his finger on the trigger image has only reinforced that…so, that was my reaction to your headline…
    Teeny Weeny Peeny swinging free…

  • serr8d

    How easily you forget the 8 years of BOOOOOOOOSH! hatred developed and amplified by those of you on the Left. Easily forgotten, isn’t it?

    In the words of your first commenter (but I doubt she sees the irony)…

    momly said:

    Chicken: *cluck*
    Roost: Welcome home!

    • Rafael

      Yes, because they were 8 years filled with lies and scaremongering and threats of violence. Oh wait, all of those came from the Bush administration and their media backers at Faux.

      Yeah, never mind that….

    • Rafael
    • I.M.Shocked

      8 years of Dubya hatred? Thanks for reminding me.

      What Rafael said, adding that after 8 years, he left office with the worst approval rating of any President, and a 61% disapproval rating, second only to Nixon. But since Ginsu Blade doesn’t do nuance just like his hero Dubya, let’s just say he left office with the majority of the American people hating him. That puts you in the minority, pal.

      Yeah, 8 years of Dubya hatred. Is that like the 8 years of Bubba hatred, including a partisan-fueled Congressional witch hunt that ended in his impeachment? Yet, Bubba left office with a higher approval rating than * bows head and genuflects * Ronald Reagan? (repeated as a Gregorian chant for Ginsu Blade).

      By the way, half-term Governor Moose-alini just said that journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.

      Really? A blood libel? A US Representative, who happens to be Jewish-American, is targeted for assassination, and this bint has the unmitigated gall to call the resulting condemnation a blood libel?

      Please be nice? Sorry Michael, I don’t play nice anymore. I’m tired of living in Nazi Germany of the New American Century, with its brown shirt morans like Serrated. He and Glen Bond/James Beck and Gov Moose-alini all can take long walks off a short pier. Or, at least, get a brain.

  • >.95

    Bringing up McKinley is a huge stretch.

    The guy who shot McKinley, Czolgosz, was an anarchist. In the 1890s anarchists had a habit of shooting state leaders, with French anarchists being the most inclined. Perhaps Hearst was tagged with some blame for McKinley, but I think it was misplaced. A better example might be some of the assaults on Weimar figures in the early 20s, when the right-wing press helped create something like dual power in the ethical sphere.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh glenn back, get out of my face. lets give this chick her own show instead:

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