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Glenn Beck on The O’Reilly Factor: The Last Thing I Want to Do Is Be the Fear-monger

Reported by Ellen - August 13, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

On Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor (8/11/09) O’Reilly invited Glenn Beck on to discuss some random General Electric stuff combined with a so-much-for-the-truce slam against NBC News, and whether Beck is, in fact, a fear-monger. (Ya think?) In the wake of five advertisers pulling their ads from Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News for his comment that President Obama is a racist, including Lawyers.com, Progressive Insurance, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, and now Geico, is O’Reilly helping Beck do a little damage control, or is O’Reilly subtly doing a little more damage? With video.

To set the stage, in O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo he talked about American companies that are possibly killing our soldiers by selling components of roadside bombs to our terror-loving enemies. Not being terribly committed to reporting plain old facts (especially when innuendo will suffice), O’Reilly alleged that, “The Factor has been told, but cannot confirm, that the General Electric Corporation is under suspicion in the case.” I’ve been told, but cannot confirm, that Bill O’Reilly was once upon a time a reputable journalist.

I’m gonna kind of sweep through this, but in a nutshell, General Electric’s President, Jeffrey Immelt, did confirm that GE hopes to sell 56 electricity-producing turbines to Iraq, if Iraq can find the $3 billion it needs to buy them. In fact, many of these turbines will be manufactured right here in the good old US of A, in its Greenville, SC plant, next year -- -- which will stimulate the economy, which will stimulate manufacturing, which will create jobs, which will do all those warm and fuzzy things that opponents of President Obama hope never get done because if they get done President Obama looks really, really good and Americans will be happy again and the Republicans will never win another election and they’ll all have to just shut the hell up and . . . sorry, lost my head.

After the smear-fest against GE, that “evil empire,” wrapped up for the night, O’Reilly cut to the chase with guest Glenn Beck.

“Now, a Republican Congressman,” O’Reilly began, “I forget the guy’s name -- you’re laughing at him already – Bob Inglis from South Carolina, was asked by an audience about you, and here’s what he said.”

Cut to a clip of Inglis, telling an audience to stop watching Glenn Beck because “he’s trading on fear.” (I sure hope we don’t have a new website popping up soon to rival Rush Limbaugh’s -- imsorryglenn.com.)

“He has your number,” O’Reilly teased.

After the two chortled a little, Beck said, “You know the things and the, I mean, you’ve listened for a long time, the threats that we receive . . . the last thing I want to do is be the fear-monger. I say what I believe, that’s what I do. I believe bad things are coming our way unless we wake up and take a look at it . . . Is it fearful to say, wait a minute, America, we’re on the hook for a lot of GE capital here. If they’re in bed and they’re a propaganda machine, gee, do you think anything bad might happen with that? Yeah . . . is that trading on fear or is that just telling the . . . straight truth as I understand it.” That? Well, that’s just telling the truth, Glenn – but that’s not what you do. Remember back in February, when you tried to scare the bejeesus out of people with your “worst-case-scenario” predictions, including complete financial meltdown, what would happen if the U.S. didn’t play “world policeman,” gangs and civil war, 90-95% tax rate – need I go on? And that’s just one scenario. You’ve called the President “dangerous," promoted a theory that conservatives are going to be targets of violent extremists, and terrify the tea-party-people and now anti-healthcare-reform-people into thinking President Obama is going to take their guns away. You helped promote the theory that a major terrorist attack is needed to "save" our country.

O’Reilly talked up his “no spin” zone, then, playing devil’s advocate, said, “But I’m not a fear-monger like you . . . .”

Beck continued, defensively, “. . . Barack Obama said, you want to know my policies, then you have to look at the people I surround myself with . . . let’s look at healthcare, who is he surrounding himself with? People who want . . . population control, forced abortions, take babies away from unfit parents, a sliding scale where a 2-year-old’s not worth as much as a 15-year-old and an 85-year-old, you’ve gotta have fourteen 85-year-olds to equal one teenager. Now, is that trading in fear or is that saying . . . let’s look at what they have said on record?” Now that is trading in fear – and this from a guy who thinks video games influence behavior?

What that sounds like to me, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, is Beck’s “little box of crazy.” And here I thought only batty Newt Gingrich was all in on Sarah Palin’s “death panel” theory -- you can only imagine how devastating it is for me to learn that Beck thinks the health care bill is some 2009 version of the 1975 movie, Death Race 2000 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072856/. (Just for the record, there’s nothing in the bill that would allow bureaucrats to play God and determine who lives or dies.)

When O’Reilly pointed out that Congressman Inglis is a conservative Republican, Beck lamented, “Why has this guy [Congressman Inglis] built this whole career out of destroying me?” If he was, in fact, talking about Inglis, I’m not sure a, what, 20-second sound bite constitutes making a career of anything – but if I may answer that, it would seem that even conservative Republicans might want to distance themselves from Beck’s “little box of crazy.” Now that Palin might have finally crazied herself out of the “conservative darling” category, and Michele Bachmann has long been a few bricks short of a full load, Beck may be the one of the last embarrassments left to dispense with – maybe one advertiser at a time, in fact.

But as far as the fear-mongering goes – Beck’s antics are becoming less and less little-boy-acting-up-cute, less and less a cause for hardy-har-har (and apparently some of his advertisers agree). As reported by the Huffington Post, militia organizations are regrouping within the United States, and their numbers could grow rapidly. Last year, as you may recall, the Department of Homeland Security warned, in a threat projection, that, “White supremacists and militias are more violent and thus more likely to conduct mass-casualty attacks on the scale of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.” Also reported by the Huffington Post , “. . . According to the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism, Michael Heimbach, law enforcement officials need to identify people who go beyond hateful rhetoric and decide to commit violent acts and crimes” -- such as the shooter at the Holocaust Museum, the murderer of Kansas abortion-doctor, Dr. George Tiller, and Pittsburgh cop-killer Richard Andrew Poplawski.

When Beck ramps up his rhetoric, such as calling President Obama a racist http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/glenn-becks-obama-racist_n_253264.html, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi http://www.alternet.org/media/141865/glenn_beck,_rush_limbaugh,_lou_dobbs_enflame_scary_right-wing_rage/?comments=view&cID=1289808&pID=1289642 – and talking, like he did in this segment, about some nutso form of age-related genocide, he’ll have something to answer for if the worst happens and some right-wingnut decides he’s doing the country a favor by gunning for our President . . . or a Democratic Congressperson . . . or a liberal activist . . . or, hell, Keith Olbermann or Jon Stewart.

Beck claims he doesn’t want to be known as the fear-monger. Well, Beck, it’s a little late for that. Although Beck claims not to support violence in the name of political causes, he’s got no beef with good old-fashioned civil disobedience. As reported by AlterNet, “’It is time to go to Washington!’ he preached on Wednesday. ‘It is time to stand or sit in the middle of the street if you have to!’ But remember: no violence.”

Yeah, right.

We’ve got right-wing fringe groupies traveling en masse to town hall meetings – some linked directly to Beck -- under the guise of the First Amendment. And what do they do when they get there? They drown out in a cacophony of irrational rage and fear any First Amendment rights Democrats and proponents of health care reform would like to have at these meetings. Besides, can anyone tell me how bringing a gun to a town hall meeting has anything to do with healthcare reform? Or tell me how hoisting signs smacking of racism, depicting President Obama as the Joker, relates to healthcare reform?

I received an e-mail from Glenn Beck's radio show (yes, okay, I'm on his mailing list), and he wrote this about the healthcare reform battle and the “tactics of the left:” “How are they handling the dissent? As any slimy politician would: by demeaning, discrediting and intimidating those who disagree.”

Right sentiment, Glenn – but tactics of the left? Wrong mob.