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Glenn Beck Mocks Rural Americans

Reported by Ellen - March 4, 2010 -

Glenn Beck claims to love his country so much he starts crying just thinking about it. But apparently, that love does not extend to rural Americans who, because they live in areas underserved by telecommunications companies, have the nerve to be eligible for federal stimulus funds for high-speed internet they would not otherwise be able to get. Instead of offering the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers the reasons why the Obama administration feels this is necessary for rural communities and beneficial to the American economy as a whole, Beck smeared rural Americans by painting them – with his special brand of malicious humor – as inconsequential rubes sucking at the government teat (read: undeservedly spending HIS money) for better Facebook access. With video.

As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski explained in a blog post (and as anyone who knows anything about rural living knows), high speed internet service means far more than being able to get on Facebook quickly. It affects digital medicine, 21st century educational opportunities and public safety. It also impacts the overall economy by allowing businesses and individuals to compete in the digital marketplace.

But Beck told his viewers none of that. The only aspect he fastened on was how he might have to pony up some of his $23 million a year for what he obviously thought was a puny problem affecting an insignificant segment of America.

With a hammy sigh, Beck asked his audience, “Are you as sick and tired as I am of having to spend an almost half of the money that you work for? What a hassle! Luckily government is constantly looking for new ways to take our cash and turn ‘em into fabulous programs that we’ll never use!”

Yes, it’s so hard being a multi-millionaire who can complain about the government taking half his money instead of it all going to rent, food, utilities, car costs and medical bills.

The “fabulous program” Beck was complaining about was, of course, the FCC’s new proposal to, in his words “make sure that you can stalk your former high school girlfriends on Facebook.”

“OK, I’m kidding,” he joked. “They just want to spend the $9 billion so that you can stalk your former high school girlfriends on Facebook more quickly.” Then, with mock seriousness, he leaned into the camera and said, “You see, we have a national tragedy developing… A full 4% of Americans don’t have access to high speed internet because they live in rural areas.” As someone tittered offstage, Beck had pulled out a small dry erase board and drew a stick figure of a girl. He now drew a horse next to her. “She might have, you know, internet access but it’s not high speed. It might even be dial up.”

With more mock sorrow, he said, “What kind of country are we? We’re practically raping people.”

I wonder how soon Beck would change his tune if he were vacationing in a rural area and, if he got sick, could not get his medical scans sent properly or if some emergency arose and first responders could not effectively communicate as quickly as needed.

Beck sneered, “I assume this 4% of people live, you know, in an area with modern cell phone coverage… If they did, she could just have the little cell phone here that, strangely enough, even the poor have. And she could have broadband internet cards that, you know, a major private carrier company... they sell those things… And she must live under an incredible coverage of trees… because you can get broadband internet from satellite but not if she’s covered with trees.” Obviously, Beck was talking off the top of his head. If he had done a lick of research, he would know that satellite internet is expensive and requires the rental or purchase of extra equipment. More importantly, you need a clear view of the southern sky – often not available for those who live in mountainous areas. While I’m no expert, I’m pretty sure you need broadband infrastructure for an internet card to work.

Beck went on to complain that the funds would come from “the rate payers… I found out who it is: You.” I could not help but think he really meant, “me.”

Still sneering, Beck continued, “Now my only complaint here is what happens if little Suzy here (he held up the dry erase board), she may have a horse but she doesn’t have a laptop. May I propose a universal laptop program? But then again, how’s she gonna charge the laptops? Universal electricity!” Since I have a feeling that Beck is not growing his own food on his Connecticut estate, the very farms that supply his well-endowed household probably got their electricity as a result of FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration whose goal was – yes, universal electricity. Those same farms need high-speed internet access now just as much as they needed electricity then.