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Glenn Beck's Populist Sleight Of Hand

Reported by Guest Blogger - July 4, 2010 -

By Democritus

Anyone in Glenn Beck's audience Monday (6/28/10) who had actually watched or read President Obama’s speech at the G20 would have gotten a clear view of Beck’s phony populism. First, he distorted what Obama said. Then Beck tried to frighten his viewers with a trumped up interpretation that Obama was about to seize money away from people earning $47,000 a year and send it to countries like – guess where? Kenya.

At the beginning of his show, Beck played a clip of Obama saying at the G20, "A strong and durable recovery also requires countries not having an undue advantage.” Beck edited the tape (seen as a white light flash moving across the screen) to juxtapose that clip with Obama saying "I think we all have the same interest, and that is the United States can compete with anybody as long as we’ve got an even playing field.”

What Beck did not show his audience were the numerous paragraphs before and after Obama said the “undue advantage” sentence, the paragraphs that flesh out the meaning of Beck’s clip. Also not mentioned was that the second quote did not come from Obama’s speech but was part of an answer to a journalist’s question. (The question was: "How long do you expect people like Sen. Charles Schumer and American manufacturers who’ve lost so many jobs so quickly, how long do you expect them to wait?")

Responding to Obama's statements Beck said, "Sounds cute and fair and huggable and everything, but let's really think this through before we break out the chance for equality... how do you do that?"

Beck made a show of pondering how the average American would be affected. He walked over to one of his chalkboards that displayed a chart of the average salary per person, per nation. “We just get a big bulldozer,” Beck mugged. He erased some of the top salaries and “just spread it over” to some of the lower ones in order to dramatize his claim that Obama wants to take money away from the average American. “We’re not talking about Bill Gates’ wealth. We’re talking about your wealth. We’re talking about $47,000 a year, that’s the average salary in the United States. In Kenya … $730 a year. That’s an undue advantage. Not very equal and fair. We’re going to have to level things out. (A) bulldozer just… takes all this wealth and send(s) it to the rest of the world…”

But Obama said nothing close to what Beck discussed. If one actually reads Obama's speech the meaning of "A strong and durable recovery also requires countries not having an undue advantage" is quite clear, and it includes, as Obama said, the "...need for currencies that are market driven…, Rules must be clear. Oversight must be strong. Complex trades like derivatives must be brought into the light of day. Excessive risk-taking and abusive practices must be prevented. Consumers must be protected."

So, if you’re one of those average Americans making $47,000 a year, do you really think Glenn Beck - who distorted Obama’s words to frighten you into thinking he wants to take your money away and send it to Africa - has your best interests at all in mind?

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