As always, I tend to report on what may seem like the lunatic fringe of the conservative party. Mostly because they’re pretty angry, pretty crazy, and quite often armed. A dangerous combination if recent white supremacist and Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn is any indication.
But what may be even worse than taking to the streets to shoot innocents, is the propaganda that may be found behind it. Conservative talk show host and Fox News regular, Glenn Beck has been stoking the flames once again:
“I feel like we’re living in 1932 again to where you know that there were people that knew in Germany. You know. And everyone was in denial. I mean, have you read Mein Kampf?… I’ve read it, and I read it because I wanted to know did the German people know. The answer is clear: Yes, they knew. They had to have known. And I never understood how they sat by, and I don’t understand today, taking this out of a Jewish thing and just looking at it as the direction this country is headed right now, we are headed with what’s happening with GM, with what’s on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today, Fed e mails bash Bank of America chief in tussle over deal. You have the secretary of the treasury saying the magnitude of losses at Merrill Lynch is breathtaking. They are saying now, the Bank of America chief is saying that he fears lawsuits from shareholders. I don’t think that’s very likely and I said so but Merrill is really scary and ugly. They lied and pushed Merrill Lynch or pushed Bank of America into this Merrill Lynch deal. They are strong arming every step of the way these businesses. We are headed towards a kind of government that is absolutely unrecognizable in America and yet the American people sit by and are like, well, I guess; I don’t know. You’ve got people who are doing tea parties, you have people who are speaking out, but you don’t have the mass population saying, “Wait a minute, don’t you see where we’re headed?” What is it going to take?”
According to Joseph Palermo at the Huffington Post:
Yesterday afternoon Glenn Beck and two of his guests argued that Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party were “leftwing”; that “political correctness” led the committed white supremacist, James Von Brunn, to shoot a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC; and that ultimately President Barack Obama is the one responsible for the violence because his “bailouts” and “Socialistic” policies are engendering widespread anger.
I find all of this rather unsettling as I, a left-leaning American, always felt that the Bush Administration actually appeared similar in many ways to the early Hitler years in the use of public fear to support preemptive attacks and for giving the government more power over the people without the protection of the Constitution behind them. How many people have been arrested and “detained” without any rule of law to see that their rights were being met? And, as we now know, even the Geneva Convention was basically ignored as these “prisoners” were often tortured.
In Beck’s world President Obama brings “identity politics” and “political correctness” to the White House, and it’s the “Left” that is “racist” because unlike conservatives, who judge people only on their individual merits and character (the three white men sitting at Beck’s table nodding in agreement), all liberals see is people of different races and classes and genders, which “divides” America. And Obama’s “socialistic” policies are leading people of dubious sanity to become unglued, and therefore the outbreak of right-wing violence is Obama’s fault. Talk about spin! Only through a conscious and disingenuous effort could anyone link the shooting at the Holocaust Museum to President Obama… No one should dismiss Beck as a hack or “entertainer.” He is a propagandist.
“It’s also clear that Beck and his fans just can’t get over the fact that a black man is now their president.”
Maybe comparing anyone to Hitler is extreme. But, then again, Hitler was a human being and this is not ancient history but recent history. And perhaps my fears of the Bush Administration were just as lunatic as Mr. Beck’s is about the Obama Administration. But at least I wasn’t on the airwaves trying to convince people that our president was the next Führer! Let’s keep our eyes and ears open here. When people pick up guns and start shooting innocent people, we need to look at what may be behind it.
According to Eric Boehlert at Media Matters:
We’re learning more and more about the killer who called cops to his apartment in order to execute them on Saturday morning. We’re learning that Richard Andrew Poplawski was a right-wing conspiracy nut who was convinced the new Democratic administration was going to take away the guns of Americans.
We’ve also learned, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that Poplawski was an avid fan of conspiracist and radical talk show host Alex Jones. A “freak” was how the conservative blog Little Green Footballs described Jones today…During his webcast on FoxNews.com, Alex Jones also notes with pride how FNC’s Glenn Beck has recently been warning about the emerging New World Order on the air, just like Jones.
David Neiwert at the site Crooks And Liars adds:
Poplawski was fueled by a toxic mix of white-supremacist/conspiracy-theorist paranoia and mainstream-media fearmongering, including from the likes of Glenn Beck and Fox News.
Maybe the media are collectively embarrassed by the way this case demonstrates how they play an important role in whipping up the far-right crazies out there — and they should be. Because not only did Richard Poplawski avidly participate in white-supremacist online forums and right-wing conspiracy-theory sites, he also avidly consumed mainstream conservative media, particularly Fox.
The classic instance of this: A few weeks ago, Poplawski posted a clip of Beck talking about FEMA concentration camps on the neo-Nazi Stormfront forum site.
Even Fox News’ Shepherd Smith reported the other day that his email was becoming “more and more frightening”:
“There are people now, who are way out there on a limb. And I think they’re just out there on a limb with the email they send us. Because I read it, and they are out there. I mean, out there in a scary place…I could read a hundred of them like this…I mean from today. People who are so amped up and so angry for reasons that are absolutely wrong, ridiculous, preposterous… This is, I promise, a representative sample of the kind of things that we get here.”
Now maybe I’m just stirring the pot of fear myself by even suggesting these connections. That’s why everyone should do their own homework, come to their own conclusions. And for god’s sake, leave guns out of the equation!
Here’s a clip of Beck talking up a storm on Fox News: