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Glenn Beck vs. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria & Forbes Mag

Reported by Aunty Em - December 19, 2010 -

This week there are (at least) two new entries added to Glenn Beck’s Enemies List, which keeps growing like Topsy. The notoriously thin-skinned conspiracy-slash-televangelist was forced to attack Fareed Zakaria and Forbes Magazine, after both suggested that Beck was full of shit over separate incidents. However, The Beckinator forgot the old Mark Twain advice, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel.” Forbes and CNN have ink aplenty. And, if you need any further proof that Beck is the loosest cannon on the decks of Fox “News,” when he attacked Zakaria, Beck alluded to the possible murder of the CNN host. In other words: Nothing’s changed.

Beck’s beef with Forbes has to do with a blog post in which the financial magazine’s Robert Lenzner interviewed George Soros. It’s only natural that Soros is carrying some residual resentment over the many hours that Beck spent smearing him. Lenzner writes:

Soros was especially bitter and harshly critical of the rolke [sic] played in our political discourse by the Fox News Channel, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. as a very dangerous precedent for the “open society” that has prevailed in the U.S. for 200 years.

Soros also characterized Fox newscaster Glenn Beck, who has been falsely vilifying Soros publicly, as a throwback to the wild and crazy radical elements that never before were given such a public pedestal to foment their hate.

That was way too much for Beck. According to Media Matters Beck wants a retraction:

And the most egregious statement from Forbes magazine is one that I would either like proof of or an apology from Forbes. In fact, I think I may demand one. Yes, I'm going to. That I "falsely vilified" Soros.

Forbes magazine: Show it or apologize. I'd like to know exactly what I lied about. "Falsely vilified"? Really? What did I lie about here? Because I have no idea, because there's not one piece of evidence presented to back up your claim.

[After some playful palaver about red phones and yellow phones…]

Forbes, apologize, or back it up.

Luckily Media Matters did the hard digging so I don’t have to. A 6,940 word article, titled “Exactly What Glenn Beck Lied About When Vilifying Soros,” delineated 14 separate false claims Beck made about Soros. For each one the author provided extensive evidence, quoted chapter and verse, of why Beck is lying again. Yes, again.

However, it’s worth taking a closer look at the statement in Forbes that so offended Beck. While the words “falsely vilified” were not in quotation marks and attributed to Soros, my reading of that paragraph is that Soros used the words and the Forbes scribe just reported them. If that’s the case, Forbes has nothing to apologize for. If, however, those were the words of Lenzner, Forbes still has nothing to apologize for. It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Soros was “falsely vilified” by Beck over and over again.

Beck’s beef with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria also stems from another ongoing controversy contrived by Beck when he claimed that 10% of Muslims are terrorists. Zakaria might be more sensitive to Islamophobia than your average American, since he was born into a Muslim family. However, according to a Village Voice article, “his own upbringing was open-minded and secular; he sang Christian hymns at school and celebrated Hindu as well as his own Muslim holidays.” Recently Zakaria returned his “Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize,” proudly received from the Anti-Defamation League in 2005, after the ADL called for relocating the so-called Ground Zero Mosque—which is neither a mosque nor at ground zero. This is proof that Zakaria is willing to stand on principles when defending Islam.

After Beck’s crazy assertion there were more than 157 million Muslim terrorists, Zakaria decided to take on the artist formerly known as a rodeo clown, saying:

Beck wondered why this wasn't receiving any media coverage. Well, let me suggest one reason. It is total nonsense. A figure made up by Glenn Beck with absolutely no basis in fact.

If that’s all Zakaria had said, Beck might have ignored him. However, according to HuffPo:

Zakaria also debunked the response from Beck's producer Steve "Stu" Burguiere to the controversy Beck created. On his blog, Burguiere said that Beck was citing polls showing that many Muslims advocated or supported violent action against the United States, and that this matched the dictionary definition of terrorism.

“Of course, the FBI, the State Department and most other organizations define terrorists in the more common sense that they are well, terrorists, but never mind,” Zakaria said. “Hating America is not the same thing as being a terrorist.”

Zakaria also noted that many polls show a substantial percentage of Americans are angry with the government.

“Does supporting such anger against the American government make one a terrorist?” he said. “According to Glenn Beck's producer and his dictionary.com definition, maybe, but in that case, how would one describe a man who has been fueling such anger against the American government on television daily for the last two years? How, in other words, would one describe Glenn Beck?”

That was way too much for Glenn Beck who had to have the last word and, in doing so, hypothetically proposed the murder of Zakaria. HuffPo, in a follow-up, reports

Speaking on his radio show Monday, Beck said that Zakaria was being "completely disingenuous" and deliberately misleading. He went on to say that, if he were to call for Zakaria to be killed, he would rightly be deemed dangerous:

“If I said to Fareed Zakaria, ‘Fareed, I'm not going to kill you, but I support the people who do want to kill you,’ am I a problem, Fareed? Yes! Yes, I would be a problem! If you said to somebody, ‘Hey Glenn, I'm not going to kill you myself, but man... I don't have any problem with anybody who wants to take their bare hands and snap your neck’--excuse me?”

If I were Fareed Zakaria I would be concerned. Glenn Beck’s Enemies List has been used by people like Byron Williams as Glenn Beck’s Hit List. Remember Williams? He’s the guy who wound up in a wild west gun fight with California police while on his way to start a revolution by attacking the Tides Foundation, a regular target of Beck’s when he’s not too busy attacking Soros, Muslims, or President Obama. Alternet put the finer point on Beck’s eliminationist rhetoric with an article called “How Glenn Beck's Twisted Worldview Goads Disturbed People into Acts of Violence.” It’s well worth the time to read it all, but the ending sticks out:

Among Americans' most prized possessions are the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. In a free society, controversial public policy issues should be expected to generate vigorous and even heated debate. Our political leaders should expect to be subject to exacting scrutiny and energetic criticism. And Americans must be willing to embrace the First Amendment rights even, or especially, of those whose opinions we disagree with and find offensive.

But Americans must also be willing to use their First Amendment freedoms to challenge those who exploit their political positions or media megaphones to promote lies that are intended to inflame rather than inform, that encourage paranoia rather than participation, and whose consequences are at best divisive and at worst, violently destructive.

Those who are challenging Beck and Fox are taking on the responsibilities of engaged citizenship, and are acting to promote the nation’s best values.

If you want to take on the responsibilities of engaged citizenship and promote the nation’s best values, tell Fox “News” that Glenn Beck is bad mojo for the country. Write to Fox "News" at [email protected] or [email protected].