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

5 responses to “Beck Caught “Redistributing” Two Year Old Lie

  1. David

    Good job on the research, I’m glad at least someone is taking the time to research the FACTS about issues.

    I have to be honest, I watch Glenn Beck every now and then… He’s entertaining in my opinion; but at the same time, I know he’s just a political commentator and everything he says is based off of his opinion…just like all the other guys (and girls) on other “news” stations. While he is right and has a good perspective on some issues, a lot of the time he takes quotes and skews them, just like this one.

    It seems (well, it IS) to be a huge problem with today’s media. Half-truths skew facts and Glenn Beck is not the only one guilty of it.

    I’m sure, wait… no, I can guarantee you that Keith Olbermann does the same thing. Even the U.S. Government does this, along with political candidates.

    I’m glad that you have the common sense and realize that just because someone is saying it on TV doesn’t mean it’s fact.

    During these times, we need more people doing this.

    This is real journalism here, keep up the good work.

    But remember, be fair. It’s not just one crazy guy out there =]

    • Hey David,

      Sorry that it took so long to respond. The other site that I post articles on has been blowing up with comments, so I needed to be sure to attend to that.

      Please don’t think that I am a Kieth Olbermann supporter. He’s our Glenn Beck. He is as you described Beck: “He’s entertaining in my opinion; but at the same time, I know he’s just a political commentator and everything he says is based off of his opinion…just like all the other guys (and girls) on other ‘news’ stations. While he is right and has a good perspective on some issues, a lot of the time he takes quotes and skews them.”

      Thanks again for continuing to read my posts.

  2. Rafael Diaz-Yoserev, MD, FACS

    You are confusing the issue and trying to make it look as if Obama said the opposite of what he said.
    He said: “the TRAGEDY of the civil rights movement is that, because it became so court-focused, it lost track of the …. political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change…we still suffer from that”
    And that is what they are trying to change now.
    So, you, indeed, have good reason to be scared.
    Glenn Beck did not misrepresent this quote, you just did not grasp its meaning.
    Obama is a Socialist if not a Communist and it is about high time that you guys own up to that reality. If that is what you want for the country, fight for it, but don’t be sneaky about it!

  3. Ray

    I must agree with Rafael.
    The video only reinforces what Beck was saying.

    • All do respect doctor, I believe I grasped this quote a little better than you. I find it interesting that when you typed out the quote, you used the same exact selective editing as Beck. It’s difficult to debate actual issues when your forced to defend factual evidence against peoples’ perversions of the facts and their blatant, agenda-driven selective editing.

      You’re drinking the kool-aid if you legitimately think there’s a massive communist conspiracy being led by Obama. I’m very clear about what my political agenda is, as you can see in my writings on this blog, and it doesn’t involve a communist revolution.

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