Center for Constitutional Rights Appeals to Fox News President for Help in Silencing Glenn Beck Misinformation Campaign Against Progressive Professor

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jen Nessel, 212.614.6449, jnessel@ccrjustice.org
David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000

 

 

Center for Constitutional Rights Appeals to Fox News President for Help in Silencing Glenn Beck Misinformation Campaign Against Progressive Professor

Repeated Branding of 78-Year-Old Professor Frances Fox Piven as “Enemy of the Constitution” Incites Death Threats

NEW YORK - Today, the Center
for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued a written appeal to Fox News president Roger
Ailes to help put a stop to the increasing threats against progressive
Professor Frances Fox Piven, largely incited by Fox News host Glenn Beck. 
In the letter, co-written by Legal Director Bill Quigley and Executive Director
Vince Warren the CCR asks that Ailes distinguish between First Amendment
rights, of which they are "vigorous defenders" and an
"intentional repetition of provocative, incendiary, emotional
misinformation and falsehoods [that place that person] in actual physical
danger of a violent response."

Beginning in September of 2010, Glenn Beck started branding
Piven, a distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology at the
Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as an "enemy of the
Constitution."  Piven, well known for advocating for the
organizational rights of the poor and encouraging voter registration, has since
received threatening phone calls and letters, and has become the subject of
many death threats left open to the public on Glenn Beck's website, The
Blaze.

The CCR letter cites many of the incendiary quotes from Beck
in reference to Piven.  Beck compares Piven to the Hutaree militia,
infamous for violent threats against government and law enforcement workers,
and equates her calls for social movements to "terrorism."  On
December 31, a headline on The Blaze read, "Frances Fox Piven Rings in
the New Year by Advocating Violent Revolution," further stating that
"violence has always been Piven's preferred method of
collapse."

The Center for Constitutional rights details a backlash
through some of the many violent quotes on Beck's website.  Examples
include, "Maybe they should burst through the
front door of this arrogant elitist and slit the hateful cow's
throat," "We should blow up Piven's office and home,"
and "I am all for violence and change Frances: Where do your loved ones
live?" 

The letter states that the
"threats must be taken seriously by Fox News," and that
"Professor Piven's life could well be at stake."  It
further asks that Mr. Ailes "order an immediate investigation into this,
and insist on a speedy and fair resolution which will stop the Fox and Beck
generated threats on Professor Piven."

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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