In addition to his repeated murder fantasies, Glenn Beck harbors apocalyptic fantasies of mass death--suggesting,
for instance, that if the direction of the country doesn't change,
"God will wash this nation with blood." (Barack Obama, are you
listening?) But the Fox News host harbors many deranged obsessions.
He has long obsessed over Frances Fox Piven, the 78-year-old distinguished professor at the City University of New York. Central to Beck's lies about Piven is the charge that a Nationarticle
she co-wrote with Richard Cloward in 1966 somehow holds the blueprint
for a violent leftist takeover of the United States. Beck's similar
fascination with the supposed threat posed by the Tides Foundation
apparently led one of his fans to attempt an armed assault on the
organization (FAIR Blog, 7/22/10).
Beck's supposed anti-violence pledge,
issued in the wake of the Tucson massacre, contains a bizarre equation
of Piven with a violent paramilitary cult under indictment for plotting
the wholesale murder of police officers:
I denounce violent threats and calls for the destruction
of our system--regardless of their underlying ideology--whether they
come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.
Needless to say, equating Piven's advocacy of grassroots democratic
political activism with terrorism-based revolution is hardly an
effective way to discourage violence. Unsurprisingly, some Beck
followers have taken his demented fulminations a step further, posting
death threats against Piven in the comment section of his website, the Blaze. As Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman recounted on her January 14 program:
On December 31, Glenn Beck's website, the Blaze,
published an article titled "Frances Fox Piven Rings in the New Year by
Calling for Violent Revolution." In response to that article, several
readers posted direct death threats to Piven. A user named JST1425
wrote, quote, "Be very careful what you ask for, honey.... As I
mentioned in previous posts...ONE SHOT...ONE KILL! 'We the People' will
need to stand up for what is right.... A few well-placed marksmen with
high-powered rifles.... Then there would not be any violence," unquote.
User name SUPERWRENCH4 wrote, quote, "Somebody tell Frances I have
5000 roundas [sic] ready and I'll give My life to take Our freedom back.
Taking Her life and any who would enslave My children and grandchildren
and call for violence should meet their demise as They wish. George
Washington didn't use His freedom of speech to defeat the British, He
shot them," unquote.
Another reader wrote on Glenn Beck's website, quote, "We should
blowup Piven's office and home. And while at it. Keel haul Bernardine
Dohrn under one of her freedom ships and blow up Bill Ayers' house cars
and anywhere he can be found," unquote.
And a user who goes by the name GREEN_MANALISHI wrote, quote, "I'm all
for violence and change Francis, where do your loved ones live?"
Despite the overt threats, Glenn Beck has not removed any of the messages from his site, even though readers of the Blaze are encouraged to highlight troublesome posts.
In Tucson last week, shooting victim James Eric Fuller was arrested
after exclaiming "you're dead" to a Tea Party activist who was
criticizing gun control at a post-massacre forum. So apparently the laws
against making violent threats still apply to some people.
UPDATE: Last June (6/10),
Glenn Beck's demonization of progressives took an eliminationist turn
when he told his Fox News audience that "radicals"-- he named Code
Pink's Jody Evans, environmental and civil rights activist Van Jones,
University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers, progressive strategist
Jeff Jones and labor leader Andy Stern--ought to be "shot in the head"
by Democrats instead of being courted by them.
Addressing Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, about American "radicals" and "revolutionaries," Beck said:
You've been using them? They believe in communism. They
believe and have called for a revolution. You're going to have to shoot
them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.
They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George
Washington. You will never change their mind. And if they feel you have
lied to them--they're revolutionaries. Nancy Pelosi, those are the
people you should be worried about.
Here is my advice when you're dealing with people who believe in
something that strongly--you take them seriously. You listen to their
words and you believe that they will follow up with what they say.
Of course, there is no danger that Pelosi or other Democratic leaders
will take Beck's demented words to heart. The danger is that Beck
devotees are being told by their hero that these dangerous progressives,
who may be homicidal themselves, are worthy of assassination. It
wouldn't be the first or second time a Beck devotee took murderous action.
Note that Beck's words were in dead earnest. Without a hint of irony, Time magazine's civility panelist called for Democrats to assassinate American political activists.