Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Certain Host on Fox News Has a Jewish Problem

Currently, there is no one more creepy on television than Glenn Beck. That's just a fact. And even though I swore never to mention his name again on any blog of mine, I felt this story needed mentioning. Beck's paranoid rants, obsession with conspiracy theories, frequent reference to made-up history, and constant use of Nazi and Holocaust references and imagery to attack those with whom he disagrees has endeared him to his silly followers and angered those familiar with actual facts and history. But lately, Beck has done more than insult the intelligent and educated among us. Over the course of the last few months, Beck's attacks have almost always been targeted at Jews.

It didn't begin with his vicious attacks on billionaire George Soros, but that is where the national attention and opposition started. Soros is a Holocaust survivor who escaped the death camps because a family friend took him in and said he was a Christian. Beck twisted the story and claimed Soros was a "Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps." This horrendous, and false, accusation, along with the three part hit piece Beck did on Soros (which borrowed language heavily from the notoriously anti-Semitic book Protocols of the Elders of Zion) was where I drew the proverbial line in the sand. I drew it, and Beck crossed. He is such an extreme bigot, has gone so far beyond the pale, and has refused to make even the most modest apology, that I banned him from mention here. That ban, for today at least, is lifted.

Beck recently began a new series of attacks. He selected nine people who he said were the most responsible for the problems in the US today, and claimed these nine were the prime contributors to the "era of the big lie," as Beck calls it. Eight of the nine were Jews. The eight Jews who supposedly were conspiring to destroy America were: psychologist Sigmund Freud, PR executive Edward Bernays (a nephew of Freud's), George Soros, Cass Sunstein (now of the White House), labor leader Andy Stern, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Walter Lippman, Professor Frances Fox Piven, and former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell.

400 rabbis signed this letter condemning Glenn Beck
First off, it would be impossible for these folks to conspire together since, for example, Freud died in 1939, and many of the others were either not born or were children when he was alive. Lippman is also dead (he died in 1974). Though Beck did not say these people were objectionable simply because they were Jewish, he had to have known that all of them were. After all, Beck considers himself a historian, and has founded his own online university. A quick search on "the google" would have easily yielded numerous listings from white supremacist websites that attack those folks (well, maybe not Rendell) for being Jewish and seeking to destroy white Christians. His frequent collaborator, David Barton, has been on a watch list from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for frequent associations with anti-Semitic organizations, so obviously, he knows what message he is trying to send.

A number of prominent Jewish organizations went privately to Fox News boss Roger Ailes to air their concerns about the frequent use of Nazi references and Beck's citation of books by anti-Semites as his "proof" of what he is saying. In a private meeting with Ailes, these organizations were told that he would speak to Beck, and that he assured them that Beck is not an anti-Semite and that he "supports Israel." Personally, I think telling a group of Jews that someone they think is bigoted towards them supports Israel is rather patronizing, but that's just me.

Ailes' assurances were clearly disingenuous as a short time later, Ailes himself was quoted referring to executives at NPR as "Nazis." When called out on that, Ailes lashed out and said the only people who are bothered by he and Beck are "left-wing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word 'Holocaust' on the air." This, of course, is nowhere near the truth.

With nowhere else to go, and with Fox News brushing off the charges against their manufactured star, Glenn Beck, a group of 400 Rabbis has signed a letter and published a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal (see above, click to enlarge) and in the Jewish Daily Forward. The ad states the rabbis' objections to the frequent use of Nazi and Holocaust references to tarnish people, and to Ailes' dismissal of their initial concerns, "We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and that Roger Ailes apologize for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air." 

The ad is not merely supported by "left-wing rabbis." Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox rabbis and organizations all support the ad. It is running today, which just so happens to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As with the previous calls for sanction on Beck, Fox News has "no comment."

Stay classy, Fox.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Cenk Uygur did some outstanding work in covering this story on The Young Turks and his new MSNBC show. The fact that Fox tolerates Beck's outrageous antics proves they have no integrity.