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Glenn Beck Demonizes Margaret Sanger

Reported by Priscilla - July 8, 2010 -

On July 2nd, Glenn Beck did a little history lesson, for a group of women, about women in the American Revolution. At first it seemed like a noble endeavor and something different from the usual Obama as racist/Commie-pinko/Nazi narrative that Beck usually traffics in. The idea of Beck providing information on women who have been relegated to the second tier of history seemed rather novel. But just when I thought that Beck might actually be promoting something legitimate, I was jolted back to reality when the propaganda slipped in. Either by coincidence or design, Beck totally trashed birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. It’s not surprising. The uber right wing, anti-choice crowd hate, really really hate Margaret Sanger. Obviously Beck gives these folks what they want - but in the middle of a discussion about women in the American Revolution. Pretty slick!

Margaret Sanger is despised by the anti-choice Christian right, who also oppose contraception, because she advocated for women to be able to achieve self sufficiency and a better quality of life by being able to control their reproduction. As such, the position of males as the source of all power and control was greatly diminished and this rankles the Christian anti-choice crowd who see women as happy child bearers for the “traditional” patriarchy. Sanger didn’t see things this way and for this she is vilified. Thus, it was both odd and ironic that Beck’s absolute vilification of Sanger came in the middle of a discussion of Revolutionary sisters doing it for themselves. Sanger enabled future generations of sisters to do it for themselves and for this, I believe, she is not just an American hero, but a hero to women worldwide. It was, however, interesting to see how Beck can weave his right wing Christian propaganda into what seemed like such an informative and interesting discussion…

Beck, conservative Texas Christian, pseudo historian David Barton and Jane Hampton Cook, author of “Stories of Faith and Courage From the Revolutionary War" and former George W Bush Deputy Director of Internet Services, provided information on a variety of women who had a role in the American Revolution. So far so good. Beck claimed that this material is not taught in schools; but on this I would take issue because the evil, librul schools have been teaching about the role of women and minorities in schools since the late 60’s. It’s the schools in Barton’s Texas that seem to have a problem with this. Everything seemed straightforward until Barton started blithering about how “revisionism” was invented in 1903 as part of “socialist propaganda” and because of revisionism the founding fathers were then accused of being racist, misogynists “to make them look bad.” (LOL – this is the guy who was responsible for the incorporation, into the Texas curriculum, of the falsehood that Joe McCarthy was right). But then came a question from a woman in the audience. Given the nature of the question, one wonders if she was a “ringer”: “Throughout my academic career, whenever I've learned about heroic women, the name Margaret Sanger came up pretty often. And then, it wasn't until later that I learned later that Sanger was, you know, pretty much a terrible person.” Beck responded: “Wait, wait, wait. In school, they don't teach the truth about Margaret Sanger.” As if on cue, the woman said “No. She is the champion of women's right is what we're told.” Beck provided the requisite agitprop and shout out to his anti-choice audience: “She is one of — you really read…really done it. You go home and you Google Margaret Sanger and really get down to her real words on progressivism. And she is one of the most horrible women in American history.” There it was – just a statement of Glenn Beck fact with no context. Oh, and here’s where the revisionism thing just happened to come up again. After Beck provided his lesson on Sanger, the woman who posed the question added this: “Absolutely. I agree. And I'm just figuring this out now that, you know, not only is the revisionist history writing these women out, but they're elevating a woman like Sanger and removing the truth about her. And I just want to know who is behind this. Is there something else to attribute to, you know, contemptible Woodrow Wilson?” Oh, snap, oh, no you didn’t!!!! As if on cue, Beck went into a rant against one of his least favorite American presidents, Woodrow Wilson. As I said – the words “ringer” and “script” came to mind.

Comment: While Sanger did embrace some eugenic views (only the fit should reproduce), she did pave the way for women to able to free themselves from unplanned pregnancies. She lived in a time when unfettered reproduction kept women poor and in many cases, such as her mother’s, eventually killed them. She live in a time when contraception was illegal – a time that Beck and his far right Christian pals would love to take us back to. If Beck wants to deal in real history, he really should be able to present the whole picture – but that wouldn’t fit with his propaganda (Sanger,progressives bad despite "revisionist" history) which is, clearly, aimed at a certain demographic – a demographic that the free thinking Founders, who believed in religious liberty based on the rational ideas of the Enlightenment, would find rather strange. Oh, and if Beck's wife uses safe, legal contraception, she can thank Margaret Sanger!