In case you missed it, The Five's Bob Beckel went on a tirade last week against CBS for an Amazing Race segment in which contestants were ordered to memorize “communist” Vietnamese songs and visit the site of a downed B-52 bomber. I’ll agree that the segment was not the most sensitive but Beckel’s explosive outburst – in which he told CBS to “take that show and shove it!” – seems rather hypocritical given his perch at Birther Central, aka Fox News, where hate mongering against Americans and our president is their stock in trade.
Not surprisingly, Beckel’s bosses at Fox just LOVED his rant and he got extra air time to throw his stones at CBS. Priscilla has a nice rundown of the Amazing Race segment and Beckel’s extracurricular appearance on America Live about it. Now that CBS has apologized, Beckel was invited on Fox & Friends to bash CBS again give his opinion of the apology. Beckel complained that the apology was “belated, to say the least” and called for the network to “stop and ask themselves” how such a thing happened. However, he did feel it was done in the right way, i.e. in prime time.
“Just the insensitivity of doing it on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Vietnam,” was what got him, Beckel said. “I just couldn’t get off of it.” He noted that his Twitter feed – undoubtedly comprised of Fox News fans – was unusually favorable. “So I thought we were on to something. And the numbers were phenomenal.” He also said that “being a liberal coming from Fox” helped.
Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy shook Beckel's hand, clapped him on the back and said approvingly, “You brought us all together."
But here’s the thing. What Doocy meant was that Beckel had brought them all together in the service of a Fox News meme: that the “liberal” media is unpatriotic and biased.
Coincidentally, last week was also the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I can assure you that Beckel would not have gotten anything like all that warm, fuzzy attention had he gone on a rant about how the media had been complicit in ginning up the phony case for the Iraq War. Especially since many of those ginner uppers work right there at Fox, their credibility undiminished as far as the Fox News brass is concerned. In fact, one such booster, Judith Miller, has a regular perch on Fox News Watch where she is presented as a credible expert on media coverage and bias elsewhere.
Which media crime was worse: reporters and pundits cheerleading for the start of what proved to be a misbegotten war that a majority of Americans feel was not worth it or a reality TV show with too-favorable coverage of a country that we fought against in the 1960s and 70s? Last I checked, nobody was killed or wounded when those Amazing Race contestants sang those patriotic Vietnamese songs. I'll venture to say that Beckel has not demanded an apology on the air from Miller or any other Iraq-war fan at Fox.
Don't get me wrong. I like Bob Beckel. I think he’s a nice guy who does a decent job as a liberal in the Fox house. But there’s a lot of indecency swirling around him at any given moment. For example:
Fox Newsies don’t just have political or ideological disagreements with our president. They deliberately and repeatedly assassinate his character. As I wrote last October:
There probably hasn’t been a day since President Obama’s inauguration that he hasn’t been disrespected on the “fair and balanced” network. He’s been called a socialist, “nauseating” and “disgusting,” portrayed as a traitor who wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon, someone with contempt for the Constitution who wants to undermine the Second Amendment, and, most famously, as an illegitimate president with a phony birth certificate to cover up the fact that he was born in Africa. Fox’s Heather Childers still has a job as an “objective” Fox News anchor even after she asked for her Twitter-feed readers’ “thoughts” as to whether, in 2008, the Obama campaign threatened Chelsea Clinton’s life in order to keep her parents quiet over his birth certificate. And Birther Boy Donald Trump still gets treated as a legitimate pundit.
In fact, Beckel’s own cohost, Eric Bolling has quite a nauseating record all his own. Newshounds’ Headly Westerfield summed it up about a year ago:
Eric Bolling’s history of race-baiting and hypocrisy is well-documented at NewsHounds. Like the time he said President Obama had invited “a hoodlum in the hizzouse,” for which he issued a non-apology apology. Just last week, right on the heels of giving Bob Beckel crap for not paying enough respect to Rep. Allen West, he joked about the president being head of “Barry’s Pot And Coke Emporium.”
And it's not just President Obama's character getting assassinated on Fox. Anyone on the American left, or whom Fox perceives as on the left, is fair game: Bill Maher is known as "Pig Maher," Rachel Maddow as "Madd-cow," there's O'Reilly's suggestion that a gay Democratic lawmaker is a pervert, his jihad against abortion-provider Dr. George Tiller, Hannity's description of Rep. Keith Ellison as the "equivalent" of a black KKK member - the list goes on and on.
So color me just a tad skeptical that Beckel not only shrugs off all that disrespect for Americans but calls those folks colleagues - yet was so overcome by CBS’ insensitivity that he couldn’t contain himself.
Look, I understand the lure of a nice paycheck and I think Beckel does his best in the four-on-one pile-ons that pass for “fair and balanced” debate on The Five. And I think his disgust at CBS was sincere and well-founded. However, so long as he remains in bed with – and thereby gives legitimacy to – the outrages that go on at Fox, I just can’t take his indignation very seriously.
Dennis what’s his name (the one who likes to suck toes) worked for Bill Clinton and Juan Williams used to work with NPR. Proves nothing other than that they flipped soon’s the money was on the table.
The Foxy payroll lists are full of turncoats: even Bill O’Reilly used to be a reputable journalist (dixit Ted Koppel).
On balance, Beckel has usually tried to do his best to represent the “other” side of issues in a match where he’s invariably outnumbered 1 to 4. This particular reaction on his part was so violent that it jarred with his usual composure. That’s all, so you can just calm down, eh?
BTW; Going back several decades to look for corroboration of something is stupid (IMO) because people can and do change.
And $$$$$$$$ is the biggest game-changer there is for anybody engaged by Fox.
Say whaaaat? Beckel needs to do a little Google search on the Vietnam War. There were a lot of things that happened in 1963, but the “beginning of the war” was NOT one of them.
But he’s just being a Karl Rove grade ass on this- Not to mention a hypocrite. Didn’t Fox’s FX affiliate just make a show called “The Americans,” which glorifies KGB agents infiltrating the US during the Cold War?
Don’t really know who Beckel is.
With all my love,