Monday, October 11, 2010

Assistant Quote of the Day

"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."

-- Byron Williams, who was arrested on July 18th after getting into a fire-fight with the California Highway Patrolmen who had just pulled him over, inadvertently stopping him from driving to San Francisco where he planned to kill members of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU

Beck gets out his chalkboard and tells whack-job the Tides Foundation is subverting America. Whack-job arms himself to the teeth and hits the road with the intention of killing people at the Tides Foundation. Nope, no connection there.


Steven D Skelton said...

It is unfair to lay blame for the actions of a crazy man at anyone's feet.

For the record, I don't like Glenn Beck. I think he is a (thanks Chez for the new word usage) a bukkake of hyperbole and hysteria. But it is unfair to hold Beck accountable for this guy.

Do we hold John Lennon responsible for Manson? Do we hold German Shepherds responsible for the Son of Sam? Or how about Jodie Foster for John Hinkly Jr? Should TLC, the Duggars and Al Gore be responsible for the guy who took hostages at the discovery channel?

Of course not, that would be stupid.

Chez rails against Sarah Palin, should we hold him responsible if a nutcase happened across his blog and then set out to harm her?

Of course not, that too would be stupid.

Chez said...

The act itself was no one's fault but Williams's, but when you willfully stoke someone's worst demons and you do it knowing full well what the potential consequences of that action is -- and worse, do it basically to make yourself rich -- you can't simply pretend that you bear absolutely no responsibility in the matter.

I'm not going to repeat myself on this. Just go here.

Steven D Skelton said...


So you believe Beck bears responsibility. What should be done?

Should he be imprisoned? Should he be forced off the air? Should he be fined?

What about Al Gore? He wrote a book full of lies, half truths and hysteria that made him millions and led a crazy man to take hostages at Discovery Channel.

Does he bear responsibility? What should be done to him?

Kevin Davis said...

I am so sick of this line: "It is unfair to lay blame for the actions of a crazy man at anyone's feet." No, you can't blame John Lennon for Manson. No you can't blame Marilyn Manson for Columbine. No you can't blame Jodie Foster for John Hinckley Jr. The difference is that none of them were day in and day out telling people flat out there's an enemy in our midst who must be dealt with. He calls the president all the characteristics of being a traitor and an enemy of this country without actually *saying* he's a traitor, then he tell us something must be done.

Chez and everyone who has half a brain cell can call out Palin for the opportunistic sycophantic media whore that she is, but he's not exactly telling the country she needs to be "dealt with" or any such extreme measures (he saves that for Justin Bieber).

No. You don't get a free pass from spouting hateful demagoguery on a nightly show that reaches millions of people then act surprised if something happens. And let's not pretend for a second that Beck just disagrees with his policies.

If someone shoots Obama and says it was because of Beck, yeah maybe he didn't pull the trigger but he basically did the equivalent of yelling "C'mon you fucking pussy, pull the trigger already!" over and over.

Daryl said...

Ah Beck .. one day someone will shut him up ...

Chez said...

Steven, I'll just outsource this one to Kevin since he pretty much hit it on the head. The idea of equating Gore with Beck is ludicrous if for no other reason than that Gore at least relied on science in coming to the conclusions he did, even if you believe he twisted those facts to fit his beliefs; Beck just spouts hysterical conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality and does it solely, cynically, to make himself very rich.

Regardless, I don't know what anyone can do; I've said that before, as well. We're dealing with an entirely new era in which those who have powerful voices in the media are willing to show zero responsibility and accountability for the incendiary horseshit they're spewing. No, you can't just shut Beck down -- but that doesn't mean that what he's doing is right and that it should be just shrugged off.

And Daryl, I'm assuming you're being ironic by putting the kind of rhetoric out there that Beck et al regularly spout.

Steven D Skelton said...


"And let's not pretend for a second that Beck just disagrees with his policies."

Then what is it you think Beck is trying to do? Is he trying to get people to commit acts of violence?

countryjoe said...

To a reasonable thinking person Beck is just a stupid windbag.
But to the weak or simple minded its a call to arms.
It is that simple.

Capt Clown said...

In response to some comments here:

"The News" has a much higher threshold of responsibility than an entertainment program or of an unemployed news producer blogger.

Beck is on "Fox NEWS", it's disingenuous to call Beck's hour of programming "entertainment/not-news" when it's on Fox NEWS channel. It raises his level of respectability to his viewers and that's what triggers the nut jobs when he spreads his false conspiracy theories.

John Stewart is on Comedy Central. Whatever he says, it's said on Comedy Central. Frankly, Beck's show would be more at home on Comedy Central as well, but it's not... it's on Fox NEWS.

I'm all for freedom of speech. But the way his show is positioned is purposely done to be deceptive. When print advertisers run "advertorials" that look like articles, they have to have a "This Is An Advertisement" disclaimer on the top of the print ad. I don't know why the same requirement shouldn't be made of Beck's show and others like it.

Chez said...

There's a difference between intent and willful negligence, Steven.

Kevin Davis said...

So you believe Beck bears responsibility. What should be done?

Ideally, he should just refrain from saying "something must be done" and encourage people to vote. Maybe he should focus less on conspiracy theories and more on his other topics like overspending and actual policy differences.

Should he be imprisoned?


Should he be forced off the air?

No. He should voluntarily quit.

Should he be fined?

No, he hasn't broken any current rules.

What about Al Gore? He wrote a book full of lies, half truths and hysteria that made him millions and led a crazy man to take hostages at Discovery Channel.

Al Gore's message was one of peace and to heal the planet, whether you believe the backing science or not. Beck's message can basically be boiled down to "Enemy X is in our midst, and you must do everything in your power to stop them before this country is taken over by communists/socialists/ACLU/ACORN/fifth graders singing a song about Obama."

Gore was trying to stir up compassion for the planet. All Beck does is stir up anger against the enemy of the week. If you think there's no difference between the two then that's a powerful brand of naivete I can't compete with.

Does he bear responsibility?


What should be done to him?

Nothing, as your analogy is not sound.

Kevin Davis said...

Then what is it you think Beck is trying to do? Is he trying to get people to commit acts of violence?

As Chez said, he's trying to get paid like the rest of us. He's found a brand that makes him extremely famous and wealthy. After years of alcoholism and failure, he knows to strike when the iron's hot.

The fact that he's inarguably fomenting rage and ignorance is just a side effect that either he doesn't understand or doesn't care about.

Anon said...

I wonder if it's any coincidence that Beck is taking the next few days off for "health reasons."

I wonder if his bosses at Fox wanted to keep him out of the spotlight because of this interview at the moment.

Anonymous said...

this guy looks mexican...maybe he is here illegally. call beck and rush at once.

Izar Talon said...

Mexican? He looks like a 70's gay porn star.

What Beck does is the political equivalent of shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater. It is incitement. Stirring up anger and hatred with wild conspiracy theories full of theatrics aimed at an audience which is prone to being armed, violent and reactionary. And he knows it. But it makes money for him so he doesn't care what the consequences are.

And YOU know it, Mr. Skelton. You are being willfully disingenuous when you claim that Beck bears absolutely no responsibility. No, Glenn Beck didn't put a gun in the man's hand. He simply gave him a target and a (mythical) reason to be angry, and goaded him to take action.

Had Helter Skelter contained lyrics saying that Roman Polanski was corrupt and evil and keeping you down and he must be dealt with, and was aimed at an audience that was known for it's pride at carrying weapons and being ready to use them, THEN yes, the Beatles would bear a big responsibility when something happened to his family. However, they just wrote a song about chaos, and a mentally sick man twisted the lyrics up with his own horrid actions.

Unless, of course, you honestly believe that the lyrics of the White Album prophesy a coming race war and encourage people to take action.

The two incidents are so different that comparing them is laughable.

kanye said...

Fire in a crowded theater? Maybe, Izar, but in this case, the theater is a drive-in.

I hear plenty of talk about "responsibility", but in this day and age when "taking responsibility" amounts to nothing more than standing in front of a camera and saying, "I'm sorry, Cyril," all the while knowing that that admission of responsibility is the only consequence to be suffered, then who cares who's responsible?

Liability...that's what people really mean when they say responsibility. They want Beck et al. to be liable for the actions of the lunatic fringe who watch him on television.

It doesn't work that way. At least it's not supposed to work that way in America. There's a man in China who just won the Nobel Prize. He's currently sitting in a jail cell because of the things that he's said. His government has made him liable for his words.

Izar Talon said...

No, I don't want Glenn Beck to be held liable for the actions of an unstable prick who took his (Beck's) words to heart and acted on them. I want Beck to be held *responsible* (how do you use italics on here, anyway?) for his *own* actions, which include spouting inflammatory rhetoric which is inciting people to violence.

Now, don't think that I am calling for Glenn Beck to be arrested or banned from the airwaves. Much like Chez, I just don't know how to really, effectively handle the situation. Beck is a scumbag and he's causing real problems, but he HASN'T broken any laws. It is within his First Amendment rights to spout vile the shit that he does. The only thing I know of to do is to stand up and use my OWN First Amendment right to loudly proclaim what an irresponsible asshole he is. He IS calling out targets for Right Wing whack-jobs to fire at with their well-maintained stockpiles of high-powered weaponry, and he KNOWS it. People like this new asshole, and James Von Brunn fuckwad (who is THANKFULLY now DEAD) listen to this shit and eat it up and internalize it, and use it to fire themselves up to get their guns and go out and murder people. And I will stand up and let people know just what Beck is doing; taking advantage of the fear of small minded and bigoted people across the country to make as much money as he can before his 15 minutes of fame is up. He's a joke. He's not an "entertainer," he's a cynical fear merchant.

And he DOES bear responsibility for this man's actions. He isn't *liable*, and he doesn't bear ALL of the responsibility, but he most definitely bears a great deal, and to deny that is frightening. He KNOWS his audience includes the lunatic fringe and will take his words literally and to heart, and yet he doesn't even attempt to moderate those words. He uses lies and distortion to encourage his listeners to vaguely "take action" and "deal with" the "threats" he has revealed, knowing that the majority of his listeners are the type reactionary and violence-prone people who take pride in their right to bear arms and their eagerness to use them. What "action" does he THINK they will take? And don't tell me that he can't imagine what his words could inspire people to do; if that's the case, he is both too stupid to be in any position of influence, and he is guilty of criminal negligence.

Glenn Beck just fills me with anger, frustration, and DISGUST. Just like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, and Ann Coulter, I truly believe the world would be a MUCH better place if someone wiped them from the face of the Earth. And I WILL own up to advocating his erasure. He is a disgusting and VILE individual, a HATE and FEAR monger who uses fear to sell hate; the Fear is free, but you have to pay for the Hate, and he sells books FULL of it. And he knows what he is doing! As Lovecraft said: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear," and as Yoda said: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." The combination of Fear and Hate is like crack to the uneducated and unintelligent, because, again as Lovecraft said: "the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" and the less educated and less intelligent a person is, the more is unknown to them, and the more things fill the world that they don't understand and fill them with fear.

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Pat Robertson; four of the most VILE people in this country. Their personal vileness ALONE isn't that great; they haven't actually personally killed anyone or anything comparable to it (that I know of,) but it's multiplied a thousandfold by the public stages they command, and therefore the audience they can reach and the influence they wield on the small-minded, uneducated, unintelligent, bigoted, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic.

It makes me sick.

becky said...

i'm not even going to waste my time typing up my opinion because izar pretty much said it for me. amen, dude.