Monthly Archives: September 2010

Beck Caught “Redistributing” Two Year Old Lie

Fox News was Heavily Criticized in 2008 for Misrepresenting Obama Quote.  Glenn Beck Does it Again Tuesday Night.

Glenn Beck

Courtesy of CBS News

One of my initial goals for “Holding Glenn Beck Accountable Week” was to take the first quote that Beck displayed at the beginning of one of his programs and determine whether or not it was presented in an honest context.  I had my suspicions that Beck distorts the context of most of the quotes that he throws up on his nifty video screen, but I wanted to test my theory.  I decided to use the first quote he displayed on his show Tuesday and report on it no matter the outcome.  Yes, that means that if it was an honest description of whatever the person being quoted had said, I would have been forced to acknowledge that Beck was right.  However, that scenario was not to unfold.

Beck started Tuesday’s show by proclaiming that he wanted to have “a reasoned conversation” with America about the 10.2.10 One Nation Working Together rally in D.C.  He concluded this “reasoned conversation” by exclaiming that Obama is in fact a Marxist communist dictator who plans to, someday soon, overthrow our Republic’s form of democracy and replace it with a tyrannical form of socialism.  I’d love to get into why that statement is ludicrous, but I need to stick with my stated agenda.

“Quite honestly, I feel stupid when I say communist.  Two years ago, I didn’t even think… I mean, I wouldn’t have believed half of this stuff.  I don’t want to believe it now,” Beck began.  He continued, “During the election, 2008, some people were questioning whether or not Barack Obama were a socialist.  There was some strong evidence.  His past associations and his own words.”

Beck then displayed the following quote from President Obama:

“I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Sounds pretty damning, right?  I’ll be completely honest with you – I was shocked when I saw that statement.  I thought to myself “maybe Beck is onto something here that I’m not seeing.”  Then I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and started doing my homework, as Beck encourages his audience to do.

Perhaps we should give Obama’s statement a little bit of context.  The quote is taken from a comment that Obama made while on a Chicago Public Radio broadcast in 2001 during a discussion about the civil rights movement.  The first video contains Obama’s original, unedited quote.  The second video, which contains a statement from Obama that came less than three minutes after the first quote, shows that Obama does not believe the courts should be in the business of mandating redistributive change.  I’ve provided a link to the entire broadcast here (click on the audio link next to January 18, 2001), but the audio clips below occurred between minutes 42 and 47 of the broadcast.

After the Drudge Report, Fox News and magazine columnists misrepresented the quote back in 2008 (while Obama was running for president), Chicago Public Radio’s Ben Calhoun posted the audio along with a statement intended to set the record straight.

“The twist here is that, when heard in the context of the whole show, Obama’s position is distinctly misrepresented by the You Tube posting. Taken in context, Obama is evaluating the historical successes and failures of the Civil Rights movement—and, ironically, he says the Supreme Court was a failure in cases that it took on a role of redistributing resources.”

Here’s the YouTube video that sparked the controversy.

The corrective statement disseminated by Chicago Public Radio to set the record straight was targeted at Beck’s own news organization two years before Tuesday’s broadcast.  Do you mean to tell me that there wasn’t a single producer or research assistant that remembered Calhoun excoriating them the first time they got it wrong?

Beck concluded yesterday’s show by criticizing Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) for misrepresenting a statement Republican challenger Daniel Webster made in a campaign ad.  Those in glass houses…well, you know the rest.  That said, Grayson’s ad was despicable, misleading and slanderous.  Referring to your opponent as “Taliban Dan” is disgraceful.

Scroll to the end of the video for Beck’s statement regarding Grayson.

Beck’s audacity is shocking.  To criticize Grayson for slandering his opponent’s character in ads that ran in a district of 639,000 people when he did the same thing to Obama in front of his 1.7 million viewers is disgracefully hypocritical.  Sorry to micro-focus today, but this really needed to be reported.



Filed under Investigative Journalism, National Politics, Public Relations

Holding Glenn Beck Accountable Week

Cass Sustein

Courtesy of

Beck Calls Cass Sustein the Most Dangerous Man in America

Here’s the second part of yesterday’s post covering Monday’s episode.  I’ve decided to go a bit unconventional today, so I’ve posted a video blog in place of my normal written post.  Let me know if you like this format and whether or not you’d like me to publish more vlogs in the future.

Please don’t forget to comment below, and use the has tag #WOB (Week of Beck) to discuss Holding Glenn Beck Accountable Week on Twitter.

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Holding Glenn Beck Accountable Week: Part One

Glenn Beck

Courtesy of

If you read my blog post last Thursday, then you know that I’ve decided to dedicate an entire week to analyzing and fact-checking Glenn Beck as a way to celebrate the first anniversary of The Beltway Perspective.  Every day, I’ll be watching Glenn Beck’s program, summarizing what Beck discussed on the show, and offering my own analysis on whatever the predominant topic or theme was.  In addition, I’ll keep a tally of the number of times that Beck mentions progressivism, socialism, communism, Marxism and fascism, just for fun.

Because of the nature of my self-imposed assignment, I will not be able to go into as much depth in countering Beck’s arguments as I would like to.  I’ll bullet most of the topics that Beck discusses, but I’ll identify one subject per episode to cover more extensively.

Tonight’s episode was a bit tame by Beck’s standard.  He limited himself to only 13 mentions of progressives (in a derogatory context), three mentions of communism, one mention of socialism and one mention of Fascism. Below is a list of a few issues discussed on tonight’s show:

Show Recap: Monday

  • Beck started the evening by linking President Obama with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He reports that Ahmadinejad met with Louis Farrakhan of the New Black Panthers, and then implies that Obama is Farrakhan’s ally. He suggests that Obama had the lawsuit addressing voter intimidation at the polls against Farrakhan’s Black Panthers dropped, and insinuates that because Obama is a “Farrakhan advocate,” he must also support Ahmadinejad’s tyrannical government.  Beck started down the schizophrenic rabbit hole right from the start with this little monologue.
  • In the vein of an Oprah style book club guide, Beck started rambling off a selection of books that every American should read.  Among them was Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” which links the welfare state to totalitarian rule of government and “New Deal Raw Deal” by Burton Folsom Jr., which suggests that FDR’s economic legacy damaged America.  Biased, but I’ll give Beck some credit here.  At least he is encouraging people to read.
  • I believe the following will be the focal point of tomorrow’s show, so I will not cover it in-depth now, but Beck suggested that Obama is responsible for the Feds pushing for warrantless GPS tracking, cyber surveillance and x-ray vans that spy on you in your homes.  To quote Beck on the subject of the x-ray vans, “They’re using them now in your neighborhoods and the Obama administration won’t say exactly why we’re buying their vans and driving them down our streets.” I need to dig a bit on this one, but I have a feeling a Glenn’s leaving a few pieces of the story out of his report.
  • Apparently the Department of Education is indoctrinating our children with environmental policies that are meant to turn them against their parents and into zombies for the government.  This is part of the broader, in-depth story that I will publish tomorrow morning.

I wanted to provide you with a bit of content today, but because Beck does not air until 5:00 p.m., I need a bit more time to really break down the content of the show.  Please check back tomorrow afternoon for a deeper look into Beck’s allegations that Cass Sustein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is the “most dangerous man in America” because he wants to “manipulate the American people,” whom he supposedly believes are too stupid to realize that they are being manipulated.

Please let me know if there is anything that you’d like me to add to the Beck reports, and if you have any specific concerns that you would like me to address.  If you want to watch with me and discuss the show on Twitter, use the hashtag #WOB (Week of Beck).  See you then.

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My Effort to Restore Sanity: Holding Glenn Beck Accountable Week

To Celebrate the First Anniversary of The Beltway Perspective, a New Post Every Day Analyzing and Fact Checking my Favorite Pundit

Birthday Cake

Courtesy of Rob J. Brooks

Ready your confetti and streamers.  We’re going to do this birthday right.

For the past few weeks, I’ve pondered ways to celebrate my 365th day as a blogger.  I wanted a fresh idea; a way to really give back to the readers who’ve stuck with me for a year now.  Then it hit me; the best gift I can give is content – lots and lots of content.  That’s when I decided that I would post every day between September 27 and October 1.

But what to post about?  Let’s be honest, I rarely come up with original content.  I play the role of political analyst, weighing in on news that everyone else is already covering.  This special week of non-stop posts calls for something more.

Why Just Cover the News?  Let’s Help Make It!

Last week, I was inspired by Jon Stewart’s announcement that he plans to hold the “Rally to Restore Sanity” here in the District of Columbia on October 30.  Stewart made the announcement just weeks after the decidedly insane Glenn Beck held his “Restoring Honor” rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Was Beck’s rally insane?  No.  But he is.

There could be no better way to respond to Stewart’s plea for sensibility than to help him pave the way for sanity here in the nation’s capital.  That’s why, starting Monday, I will watch Glenn Beck so that you don’t have to.  I will analyze every word of every show, fact checking and poking fun along the way.  Oh, we’ll have some laughs, we’ll have some cries (knowing Beck, there might be a lot of crying), and we’ll even have a daily scorecard tracking the total number of times Beck mentions socialism, communism, progressivism and Marxism.

(**Please note: If you plan on playing the Glenn Beck drinking game using the terms listed above, only drink when Beck uses one of the keywords within two words of President Obama’s name; i.e. “Obama’s socialist agenda” or “Obama’s Marxist cabinet.”  Otherwise, you risk alcohol poisoning)

Since Tea Party Movement is already taken, we’ll call it the Birthday Party Movement

Let’s make this celebration worthwhile.  Tell your friends, family, former teachers, religious leaders, and the man standing next to you in line at Burger King that it’s time to restore sanity and in order to do that, we need to make sure everyone knows that Glenn Beck is insane.

Let’s become the news story.

***Message to Steven Colbert: It was only after thoughtful consideration that I opted to join Jon Stewart’s campaign to restore sanity.  While I respect your patriotism and service to this country, Stewart’s vision for America better resonates with my own.  I’m sorry that I will be working counter to your effort to keep fear alive.


Filed under National Politics

Is Islamaphobia Sweeping the Nation?

Anniversary of 9/11 and Proposed Mosques Stir National Debate About Islam

9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center

Courtesy of

It is hard to believe that nine years have elapsed since terrorists devastated our collective national psyche.  The attacks left us feeling vulnerable and confused, compelling us to seek swift vengeance against an enemy we couldn’t fully understand.  Despite the fact that I never supported the war in Iraq, I understand why initially, the nation overwhelmingly supported the campaign.  We did not have the luxury of time to be contemplative or deliberative.  We also had little experience dealing with the Arab world.  Prior to 9/11, our primary dealings with the Middle East consisted of mediating the peace process between Palestine and Israel.  We had an oversimplified understanding of the Muslim world, so it not surprising that we failed to realize that our aggressors were not somehow connected to Saddam Hussein.

Now we have no excuse

You would think that after nearly a decade, we would better know our enemy. Sadly, this is not the case.  The ideological battle line that we drew against Islam remains intact, and it fails to account for the difference between Muslim extremists and pacifists.  This is painfully obvious if you’ve turned on the news anytime within the past month and seen the reports covering the national uproar concerning the proposed site of an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site.

Proposed New York City Islamic Center Site in Relation to Ground Zero

Courtesy of

Where to begin

I couldn’t figure out where all the controversy surrounding this project began, so I took to the internet.  I came across a Washington Post article that credits conservative blogger “Pam Geller, a former New York Observer publisher” with leading the charge against the mosque.

“Through her blog, Atlas Shrugs, television interviews and appearances at political rallies, Geller has become one of the chief organizers of opposition to the so-called Ground Zero mosque as well as efforts to build other Muslim prayer centers across the country.”

“Geller has become a prominent voice in the debate despite the fact that she once promoted the view that Obama is Malcolm X’s love child. She frequently warns that Muslims are trying to impose repressive sharia law on the United States, refers to the president’s holiday message to Muslims as “Obama Ramadamadingdong” and promotes a Web site, Religion of Peace,that claims to tally the number of people killed around the world by Muslim extremists.” – WP

OK, OK.  She’s a nutbag, but maybe she has a point.  Perhaps it is a bit insensitive to build a Muslim center within a stone’s throw (if you’re Roberto Clemente) from the World Trade Center site.  But that doesn’t explain the protests at mosques proposed in Tennessee and California.

OK… Now things are starting to sound a bit Reichy

Burned construction vehicles at proposed mosque site in Tennessee

Courtesy of AOL News

A few weeks ago, construction vehicles parked at the site of the future Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, a Nashville suburb, were set ablaze in an arson incident.  As with the people of New York, Tennesseans in Murfreesboro don’t want to see a mosque built in their town.  Unfortunately, they don’t have the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history to fall back on as justification for this sentiment.  Instead, they’ll settle for blatant racism.

According to the Associated Press, opponents of the Islamic center fear that the mosque will be used as a “terrorist training ground for Muslim militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.”

“They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group,” said Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old area retiree quoted in the AP article.

Man carrying Islam protest sign

Courtesy of

According to CBS News, “Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators who recently wore ‘Vote for Jesus’ T-shirts and carried signs that said ‘No Sharia law for USA!’ Others took their opposition further, spray painting a sign announcing the ‘Future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’ and tearing it up.”

Other protesters expressed strong opinions opposing the mosque.

“No mosque in Murfreesboro. I don’t want it. I don’t want them here,” Evy Summers said. “Go start their own country overseas somewhere. This is a Christian country. It was based on Christianity.”

This country was founded on freedom of religion… so long as it’s my religion

Islam Protest Sign: "Islam is the Enemy - Shove Shariah Up Yours"

Courtesy of

Here’s where I take issue.  I can understand how the mosque near Ground Zero could be upsetting to people.  Moving it out of Manhattan altogether?  Probably a bit much, but OK.  But what’s the excuse in Tennessee?  Or at the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, where conservative protesters, angry about another proposed mosque, stood outside prayer services “shouting slogans of hate through a bullhorn, carried signs with messages like ‘No More Mosques in America’ and brought along several dogs, hoping to offend Muslim sensibilities.”

Pastor Terry Jones backed his way out of the national spotlight when he decided not to demonstrate against Islam and the New York City mosque by burning a pile of Qurans.  He ultimately pulled the plug after Gen. David Petraeus said “the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.”

Jones did, however, justify the “Burn a Quran Day” event by saying he’s hurt “when people burn the flag when they burn the Bible [and] when they burn down churches.”  Here’s a question for Mr. Jones: When was the last time Muslims in the United States demonstrated against Christianity by burning Bibles and churches?  The Hill’s Armstrong Williams put it best:

“God-inspired or not, what Terry Jones was promising to do is simply un-American. We don’t burn our own flags. We don’t like it when others do. And we sure don’t burn the symbols of other cultures and religions simply because we have that right. I respect the constitutional rights of any American — every American, for that matter. But there’s something inherently wrong with what Pastor Jones threatened to do before coming to his senses.”

Time Magazine posed a great question in the title of an August article: “Islamophobia: Does America Have a Muslim Problem?”  Can anyone really argue that we don’t?  In a Washington Post poll, “49 percent of all Americans say they have generally unfavorable opinions of Islam, compared with 37 percent who say they have favorable ones.”  Those numbers don’t really weigh in favor of tolerance.

Ask any Catholic if his religion is practiced the same way a Methodist practices his.  Ask a Reform Jew if he practices the same way as a Hasidic Jew.  As any Ijtihad (moderate) Muslim if he practices Islam the same way as a Jihadist.  All will vehemently defend their faiths as distinct from the other.  So before we allow ourselves to label the entire Muslim world as a conglomerate of militant extremists, consider the fact that “’only 15 percent of the fatalities resulting from al Qaeda attacks between 2004 and 2008 were Westerners,” according to a report in  the Washington Times.  Let us also consider the fact that 94 percent of the terrorist attacks perpetrated in the United States between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by non-Muslims.

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