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With Slurred Speech, Beck Exhorts Viewers To “Stand Up” And Risk “Getting Whacked” By The Obama Administration

Reported by Ellen - October 24, 2009 -

In one of the most bizarre episodes of Glenn Beck’s Fox News show yet, Glenn Beck compared the Obama administration to Al Capone Friday (10/23/09). Then, wielding a baseball bat, Beck told his viewers, “You gotta take a stand, even though you know, in the end, you’ll pull out a knife and they’re gonna pull out a gun… You have to ask yourself, if you stand up, what are you willing to do? Sure, you might get whacked. But let me tell you something. You spend too much time in bed with the mob, you spend too much time at that table, you’re gonna get whacked eventually anyway.” Beck seemed to be suggesting that viewers start an armed insurrection against a mob-like White House that was a threat to their lives. But Beck’s monologue was rambling and disjointed and, at times, incoherent. He was also occasionally unintelligible. And periodically, his speech was slurred. I’m just saying. Updated With video.

Beck repeatedly played clips of The Untouchables movie throughout his nearly 15-minute opening monologue. In the first clip, Sean Connery told Kevin Costner (Eliot Ness), “You must be prepared to go all the way because they won’t give up the fight until one of you is dead… You want to get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife? You pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital? You send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way.”

“Now we have it in Washington,” Beck told his audience. He continued, “Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama: two lovers sitting in a tree, b-e-a-t-i-n-g.” Beck swung a bat as he spoke. The little jingle was, apparently, an ad lib on Beck’s part. His scripted version of this segment does not have this charming “joke.”

Beck went on to say that those who don’t “play ball” with the administration get a “beat down.”

That began an incoherent rant with slurred words about Obama’s supposed “beat down” of the Chamber of Commerce. That somehow morphed into another incoherent rant about his “beat down” of doctors. “How does (Obama) feel about doctors?” Beck asked, chin in hand and leaning into the camera. “I’m trying to remember.” He played a video that mashed up two clips of Obama saying, first, “You come in and you've got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat, or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out.” Then Obama was seen saying, “If that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 -- immediately the surgeon is reimbursed.”

In both those comments Obama was not really talking about doctors but about insurance reimbursement systems and how they may affect patient care. Obama’s sentence just before the “tonsil” quote was, “Right now, doctors, a lot of times, are forced (my emphasis) to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there.” The entire diabetic quote was: “So we are going to be taking steps, as part of reform, to deal with expanding primary care physicians and our nursing corps. On the doctors' front, one of the things we can do is to reimburse doctors who are providing preventive care and not just the surgeon who provides care after somebody is sick. (Applause.) Nothing against surgeons. I want surgeons -- I don't want to be getting a bunch of letters from surgeons now. I'm not dissing surgeons here. (Laughter.) All I'm saying is let's take the example of something like diabetes, one of --- a disease that's skyrocketing, partly because of obesity, partly because it's not treated as effectively as it could be. Right now if we paid a family -- if a family care physician works with his or her patient to help them lose weight, modify diet, monitors whether they're taking their medications in a timely fashion, they might get reimbursed a pittance. But if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 -- immediately the surgeon is reimbursed. Well, why not make sure that we're also reimbursing the care that prevents the amputation, right? That will save us money."

Beck never told the “we report, you decide” network’s audience what Obama’s larger point was. Instead, Beck pointed the bat at the camera and did what he obviously thought was his best gangster imitation – with slurred words. “Yeah, see what I’m saying. Rippin’ tonsils out of little kids! Little Bobby’s got no tonsils and Little Freddy’s got no feet now, eh? Sounds like somebody ain’t playing for the team.”

In another, apparently unscripted, outburst, Beck “acted out” his idea of how the Obama administration dealt with opponents of health care reform. Beck again pointed the bat toward the camera and said, again in his gangster voice, “You’re in the way of reform here! You want me to use this here on you, huh? And wipe that puss off your face!”

Beck continued, “In the beginning of our country, we used to call it ‘freedom of speech.’ Now we call it, ‘Time for me to use the baseball bat.’”

“… We’ve been seeing this at Fox News all this week...” Beck complained. He played a clip of Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, saying about Fox News, “The way to look at it — the way we — the president looks at it and we look at it, is it's not a news organization so much as it has a perspective.” Then Beck played a clip of Obama adviser David Axelrod saying, “They're not really a news station, if you watch, even it's not just their commentators but a lot of their news programming. It's really not news, it's pushing a point of view.”

“Forget about that democracy stuff, huh? They’re just kiddin’ about that,” Beck continued his gangster imitation. Next, he faltered and his words were hard to understand. But then, swinging the bat again, he “imitated” Emanuel (in a gangster voice) saying, “We’re not gonna treat Fox News like a journalist organization, like a news organization and – uh, don’t recommend – you felt this bat? I don’t recommend that you do that either. You know what I’m saying?” that last bit was also a departure from the script.

“As if that wasn’t bad enough, the White House took it a step further,” Beck added, as though he were the one being rational and the White House was going over the edge. With his outraged voice, Beck added, “Tried the heavy-handed tactic of excluding Fox News from the press pool yesterday.” Beck chuckled malevolently. “That was a shocking a move, I believe unprecedented. It prompted a reaction from the press that had me even standing up and going, ‘What did they just say?’

It’s a nice story and I heard it repeated on O’Reilly and Hannity. But it seems to be not quite true. Christina Bellantoni, at TPMDC, did some digging. She reported that there was a miscommunication, not a deliberate attempt to bar Fox News from a press pool. According to Bellantoni, FNC’s name was not among the list of networks requesting a television interview with “pay czar” Ken Feinberg and that’s why FNC got left out of the press pool. Bellantoni wrote,

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

10/24/09 UPDATE: Fox News exec contradicts Bellantoni. Huffington Post has the story.

With more slurred words, Beck said with malicious sarcasm, “The president just sounds so open minded... You really do.” He played a clip of Obama saying his door is “always open.”

“He just wants to listen to everybody, well, except for you tea party people.” Here Beck’s words really slurred. I couldn’t tell if he was deliberately trying to sound high or was doing it inadvertently. “You (tea partyers) had to go stand up, stand in the way of reform, and this president, well, he rejects that.” He waved the bat around again.

“You know what happens when you don’t play for the team, right?” Beck played another clip from the Untouchables, this time with a man getting beaten with a bat at a banquet, either by Capone or one of his henchmen (I wasn’t sure which and didn’t want to watch the clip twice).

Beck adopted his sincere, thoughtful persona. He sighed theatrically. “That’s a disturbing scene,” he said. “But I want you to think of this – it’s not a movie. You think of those people sitting around the table, not as mobsters but as people that are playing ball with Al Capone. Beck paused, as though gathering his thoughts. “This administration… they ain’t whacking anybody." But then he went on to say that they were. "But they’re using a baseball bat. It’s the full force and power of the presidency of the United States. You’re sitting around that table – The Chamber of Commerce, they sat around that table for a while, the insurance industry (he named Creigh Deeds, Humana, doctors and small businesses (all supposed Obama targets) as also being at the table). You can all sit around the table like those people did. And then you can say, ‘Which one’s gonna get whacked?’ You can sit there and you can live in fear or you can stand up and say, ‘Enough of your bat.’ I warn ya. That means that some people are gonna get whacked.”

He played another clip from The Untouchables, this time showing a dying Sean Connery saying, “What are you prepared to do?” The implication was that people should be willing to die for their (Beck's) cause.

“The lesson from that movie is, you gotta take a stand,” Beck continued gravely. “Even though you know, in the end, you’ll pull out a knife and they’re gonna pull out a gun. (Beck nodded solemnly). The question we have to ask ourselves, What is it we truly believe in? What do we believe in? Who are we? Are we the guy who sits around the table in fear? Or are we the guy who stands up and says, ‘Hey! What the hell are we all doing? He’s one guy! There’s more of us than there is of him.’ But I warn ya. You have to ask yourself, if you stand up, what are you willing to do? Sure, you might get whacked. But let me tell you something. (he picked up the bat again) You spend too much time in bed with the mob, you spend too much time at that table, you’re gonna get whacked eventually anyway.”

If you were as sickened by this segment as I was, feel free to contact the show at [email protected]. And by all means, let them know if you agree with me that Beck seemed drunk.