Dana Milbank writes for the Washington Post and I enjoy his work.
So now you can too.
Civil rights’ new ‘owner’: Glenn Beck
by: Dana Milbank
Sunday, August 29, 2010
There is a telling anecdote in Glenn Beck’s 2003 memoir about how the cable news host was influenced by the great fantasist Orson Welles. To travel between performances in Manhattan, Beck recounts, Welles hired an ambulance, sirens blaring, to ferry him around town — not because Welles was ill but because he wanted to avoid traffic.
Most of us would regard this as dishonest, a ploy by the self-confessed charlatan that Welles was. Beck saw it as a model to be emulated. “Welles,” he writes, “inspired me to believe that I can create anything that I can see or imagine.”
I was reminded of Beck’s affection for deception as he hyped his march on Washington — an event scheduled for the same date (Aug. 28) and on the same spot (the Lincoln Memorial) as Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic march 47 years ago. Beck claimed it was pure coincidence, but then he made every effort to appropriate the mantle of the great civil rights leader.
Beck as the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream? And you thought “War of the Worlds” was frightening.
It’s been just over a year since Beck famously called the first African American president a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” And now, accused of racial pot-stirring, he apparently has determined that the best defense is to be patently offensive.
“Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King,” he tells us, any more than whites own Lincoln or Washington. “The left” doesn’t own King, either, he says.
No, Beck owns King. “This is the moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement,” he said this spring. “We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and, damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement because we are the people that did it in the first place.”
We are? Let’s review Beck’s history as a civil rights pioneer, a history I’ve studied while writing a book about Beck.
When Beck was a radio host in Connecticut in the 1990s, his station apologized for an on-air skit in which Beck and his partner mocked an Asian American caller and used their version of an Asian accent. As a CNN host a couple of years ago, Beck interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, and challenged him to “prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”
President Obama, who Beck says was elected because he isn’t white, is “moving all of us quickly in slavery,” Beck has asserted. On his radio show, he declared that “you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. . . . You take the name Barack to identify with . . . the heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical.” He accused Obama of seeking “reparations” from white America, seeking to “settle old racial scores.”
Beck has spoken on air about “radical black nationalism” in the White House and “Marxist black liberation theology” influencing Obama. He has further determined that the New Black Panthers have “ties to the White House in a myriad of ways” and are part of Obama’s “army of thugs.”
This is not quite the ideal background for a man who would claim to be King’s heir — and that’s where Orson Welles comes in.
Second, he invoked some selective history, using his Fox News show to deliver a three-part series updating the history of the civil rights movement. “How has the Democratic Party assumed the mantle of defender of minorities, if you know their early history?” he asked. “Dating to Andrew Jackson — this is the 17th century . . . .”
Seventeenth century, 19th century, whatever. He informed viewers that “it was the GOP that took the lead on the civil rights” cause.
Finally, Beck updated the meaning of the civil rights movement so that it is no longer about black people; it is about protecting anti-tax conservatives from liberals. Civil rights leaders, he said, “purposely distorted Martin Luther King’s ideas.” Over the past century, Beck reasons, “no man has been free, because we’ve been progressive.” To his followers, he says: “We are the people of the civil rights movement.”
All that is left is for Beck to drive around town by ambulance.
Dana Milbank’s book, “Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America,” will be published Oct. 5.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE
In response to this Tea Bagger billboard, a Tea Bagger leader, said:
“That’s just a waste of money, time, resources and it’s not going to further our cause,” said Shelby Blakely, a leaders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national group. “It’s not going to help our cause. It’s going to make people think that the tea party is full of a bunch of right-wing fringe people, and that’s not true.”
The Tea Party is NOT “a bunch of right-wing fringe people?” WHAT WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!
(PAUSE FOR DEEP BREATH)
If that is a fact (which it isn’t) then the Tea Party has a worse advertising group than the Democrats- and that is saying something.
Let’s break that quote down. It says that the Tea Party is not:
2) fringe people
Let’s look at each assertion separately:
Let’s take a look at the Tea Bagger Party and their views vs. Republican views (source from HERE) and maybe we will see that they are not right wing in their views at all (* NOTE: NOT HOLDING BREATH HERE) :
When asked what they considered “extremely serious threats” to the country’s future wellbeing, tea partiers cited the exact same things as run-of-the-mill Republicans. Shocker, right? Both groups overwhelmingly pointed to federal debt (61 percent of tea partiers, 55 percent of GOPers), Big Government (49 percent, 43 percent), health care costs (41 percent, 37 percent), and “terrorism” (51 percent, 51 percent) as the biggest threats to American prosperity. And in the category of unimportant threats, both groups dismiss the environment/global warming and discrimination against minorities. Here’s a good breakdown from Gallup:
“Yeah Matt what about the “FRINGE PEOPLE” part of that quote..but what about that, huh? So what they are conservative, but they aren’t extremists are they. You haven’t shown anything to support that HAVE YOU SMARTY PANTS?”
I hear your cry and well, since you asked for it…
So media coverage of the tea party is overblown? Maybe they’re not such a novel group after all? That’s the message gleaned by the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent:
The Tea Party movement gets a disproportionate share of media attention because of all the funny costumes, Hitler references, and fantasizing about armed revolution…
…and that doesn’t sound like “ fringe people” to you? What does then?
Maybe this Tea Party platform outline taken from http://www.teapartyplatform.us/Welcome.html will illustrate the “fringeness” of the Tea Party belief system:
Get government out of our lives and eliminate social security and medicare now!
As strict constructionists we believe the Constitution should be amended to protect life and prohibit all abortions, without exception.
Speaking of the Constitution, we believe citizenship should be denied to children of non-citizens born in the U.S. even though the 14th Amendment, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” Common sense tells us they didn’t really mean all persons born in the United States. Did they?
Put God back in the schools and let curricula tell the truth – that evolution is just a theory, like the theory of gravity. Freedom of religion for all Christians. Jews might be ok too.
Appoint a special prosecutor to thoroughly investigate the probable foreign birth of Barack Hussein Obama.
On libertarian principles, private restaurants and other businesses should not be forced to serve minorities. Though we abhor discrimination and if there is a minority out there who wants to join us they are welcome!
Protect the 2nd Amendment rights of people who are on the terrorist no-fly list!
I seriously doubt you will find many “non-tea party” Republicans who will agree to this platform. At least, in public.
So there, RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE you are!
WHAT??? YOU NEED MORE PROOF???
This nugget is gleaned from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (found here.) Please note the last sentence of this paragraph:
Eight-in-ten Tea Party Republicans are closely following news about local candidates and campaigns, just half of Republicans who have no opinion about the Tea Party say the same. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) Tea Party Republicans are absolutely certain they will vote, compared with 68% of Republicans with no opinion about the Tea Party. Roughly two-thirds (65%) of Tea Party Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual; about half (49%) of Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party say the same. On all three measures, Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party movement share more in common with Democratic voters than with Tea Party Republican voters.
According to the article, You Tea Party wackos are ALL ABOUT SOME VOTING, way more so than Reps and Dems, (which is cool) but you have less in common with other CONSERVATIVES than the LIBERALS do!
SO, SIMPLY PUT THE DEMOCRATS (YOU KNOW THE SOCIALISTS, MARXISTS, ETC. ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN BILLBOARD) HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH YOUR ALLIES THAN YOU DO.
YOU ARE “RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE.”
I rest my case.
I think this is the most important article I have ever re-posted. It touches on several important topics: patriotism, hate, and religious fervor. These aspects of life combined with a ever widening chasm between conservatives and liberals spell misery in the coming years for our country. I am angry and sad that this is happening all over our country. I felt you, dear readers, should see this.
The New Army of Hate
In my constant efforts to keep you abreast of this SHIT, RIGHT WING INSANITY, NONSENSE, ABSOLUTE Bull Shit in TEXAS, I give you the latest installment (in case you miss it…the BS is highlighted in RED):
For months, the Texas State Board of Education has been hearing from “experts” about the direction of the state’s social studies curriculum and textbook standards. The advice to the 15-member board — which is composed of 10 Republicans — has included more references to Christianity, fewer mentions of civil rights leaders, George Wasington, and Abraham Lincoln. On Thursday and Friday last week, the State Board of Education took up these recommendations in a lengthy, heated debate. Some highlights of what the Republican-leaning board ended up deciding, and the debates that went on:
— On a 7-6 vote, the board decided to add “causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association” to the curriculum.
– The Republican majority voted against requiring Texas textbooks and teachers to cover the Democratic late senator Edward Kennedy, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and leading Hispanic civil rights groups such as LULAC and MALDEF. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African-American Supreme Court justice, will be taught.
– Republican Don McLeroy lost a battle to “remove hip-hop and insert country music in its place from a proposed set of examples of cultural movements.” Republican Patricia Hardy said that while she disliked hip hop music, pretending it wasn’t around was “crazy.” “These people are multimillionaires, and believe me, there are not enough black people to buy that,” she said. “There are white people buying this. It has had a profound effect.” Country music was added as a separate measure.
– “McLeroy was successful with another of his noteworthy amendments: to include documents that supported Cold War-era Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his contention that the U.S. government was infiltrated with Communists in the 1950s.”
– “Republican board member Cynthia Dunbar unsuccessfully tried to strike the names of Scopes monkey trial attorney Clarence Darrow and Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey from the standards. Asked by another member about her opposition to Garvey, Dunbar explained, according to the Texas Tribune: “My concern is that he was born in Jamaica and was deported.”
– The board “included a requirement for students in U.S. history classes to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration.”
Unable to reach to reach complete agreement last week, the board unanimously decided to “suspend debate on the standards until March, when they will take up other social studies subjects such as government and geography.” A final decision won’t be reached until May. McLeroy, who has been the driving force of some of the most conservative amendments, said that he plans on proposing more controversial standards, such as an evaluation of the U.S. civil rights movement and the “increased participation of minorities in the political process and unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes,” in addition to the “adversarial approach taken by many civil rights groups.” This debate is important not only because it will dictate how the state’s 4.7 million schoolchildren are taught social studies, but also because Texas “is one of the nation’s biggest buyers of textbooks.” Publishers are often “reluctant to produce different versions of the same material,” and therefore create books in line with Texas’ standards. “Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list,” one industry executive told the Washington Monthly.