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Glenn Beck And The Fox News Shrink Psychoanalyze Obama – With Racial Overtones

Reported by Ellen - January 22, 2010 -

Glenn Beck called on Fox News psychiatric contributor, Dr. Keith Ablow, yesterday (1/21/10) for some psychological insights into Barack Obama. Ablow said he was not “diagnosing” Obama and did not pretend to have made a complete study. But then he went ahead anyway with his analysis about why Obama went from using the first name “Barry” to “Barack.” Not surprisingly, Beck and Ablow suggested there were racial reasons, that Obama did it to make himself more of a black radical. Yet neither of them bothered to disclose to the “we report, you decide” network’s audience the explanation Obama gave for his decision, that it was an assertion of maturity and not needing to change himself to fit in. With video.

After another tired accusation that “what Obama doesn’t either understand or maybe he just doesn’t care is that what America is needing is a president that is maybe not a radical revolutionary who is trying to fundamentally transform America and burn the Constitution,” Beck brought on Ablow for insights into Obama’s psyche. “Does he believe this stuff?” Beck asked.

Ablow who never indicated having spent a moment talking directly to Obama, declared, “He has a hard and fast belief of himself as a powerful parent in a dangerous world.”

“I’m not diagnosing the man and I don’t pretend to have made a complete study here, Glenn,” Ablow disclaimed. Then he immediately proceeded to offer what sounded an awful lot like a diagnosis. “But if you add in a dose of narcissism, you can see that, too.”

It’s highly doubtful that Beck was interested in any real understanding of Obama (Beck has never shown the slightest interest in that regard in the past). It wasn’t long before Beck confirmed my suspicion that his real interest was in using psychology as another tactic to assail Obama. “The case that we’ve been laying out on this program for a year now and I think we’ve made a pretty solid case on it because of who he surrounds himself with. The guy is a radical. He is a Marxist, radical, revolutionary. At least the people around him are… Is that who you think he is? Do you see any telltale signs?”

But before Ablow could answer, Beck changed the question to ask what he claimed he had never heard anyone else ask. “What does the changing of his name in his college era, when he was, you know, hanging out with Marxists and, you know, radicals and everything else – in his own words, in his own book. When he changes his name from Barry to Barack, that’s got to be a significant moment in his life… Do you seal what you are feeling at that time and is that brand you by changing your name like that, internally?” Translation: Wasn’t that proof that I was right when I called Obama a racist with a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture? That remark has cost Beck 80 advertisers so far.

“I think that that was brewing in him for a long time,” Ablow said, without specifying what, exactly he thought had been “brewing.”

Ablow quoted Obama as saying that he thought that if he had had two parents and a “steady hand” guiding him, he would not have made some of the mistakes he did make. “OK, so what’s he describing, Glenn?” Ablow continued. “He’s describing the absence of his father. He’s raised by his Mom, a white woman, his maternal grandparents, both of them, of course, white. A sense of being ostracized and looking for himself. So the name change that comes eventually is his grasping at that and his inviting into the fold these very strong radical voices of men.”

Obama invited “strong radical voices of men” by changing his name from Barry to Barack? Ablow didn’t spell out how using the name “Barack” was a way of doing that. But the implication was clear: Obama had become more of a black nationalist.

Ablow added, “They’re males, with strong radical voices, also goes with reclaiming the name Barack (he almost growled it).”

Beck laughed as he noted that it was a little odd for two white guys to be talking about what it meant. So why didn’t he invite a black psychologist on the show, since it was Beck’s question and one that he seemed to have been thinking about for some time.

Instead, Beck turned to his black cameraman who confirmed my second suspicion, that Beck and Ablow were making it about race. According to Beck, his camerman told him, “You’re too caught up in the race thing.”

Neither Beck nor Ablow demurred. Beck asked, “Is this a race thing, Keith?”

Ablow just happened to have a clip ready from Obama’s March 18, 2008 speech on race. They showed Obama saying that his grandmother “once confessed her fear of black men who pass her by on the street and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” They left out the part immediately following where he said that she was “a part of me.”

Ablow did not want to make it overtly about race. Instead, he made it about radicalism. “Here’s what (the clip) tells me,” Ablow said. “Don’t call it race, just call it being unsafe as a child. The people who are raising you have the ill temper, the bad judgment to make untoward comments toward people who bear physical characteristics like yours. You could have been handicapped and had that same kind of terrible thing said… and it would have branded you and hurt you. And you wouldn’t have relied on those people. You know what you would have said? ‘I need a stronger hand,’ just like what he told us… And who is it in his life that he looks to for that kind of sustenance and guidance? The Rev. Wright, Andy Stern (two of Beck's favorite scapegoats) and others who can say things with vitriolic fervor and who are strong male figures who have it in for the establishment. The establishment hurt our president. His family wounded him deeply.”

While Ablow had obviously prepared in advance the clip of Obama talking about his grandmother’s prejudice, he did not seem to feel the need to provide Obama’s own explanation for changing his name: "It was not some assertion of my African roots … not a racial assertion. It was much more of an assertion that I was coming of age. An assertion of being comfortable with the fact that I was different and that I didn't need to try to fit in in a certain way."

Despite his disclaimer, this is at least the second time Ablow has psychoanalyzed Obama on Beck’s show. As Media Matters reported, last November Ablow told Beck, "We're not crazy for saying something's not right. It's a little crazy that more people aren't saying it more loudly." Ablow later stated: "[T]here is a big, cavernous gulf, apparently, between the president's ability to generate emotion and charisma and gripping words that move people when he's scripted. And then, when there's less time to prepare, there's some sort of lack of connectedness, a true lack of connectedness with at least what moves the majority of us."

Just another day of “fair and balanced” analysis on Fox News.

The psychoanalysis begins at about 8:00 in the first video below and continues through the second.