Monday, January 10, 2011

Glenn Beck's long history of inciting violence

Today Glenn Beck was scrambling to defend his record of inciting violence and trying to provide cover for Sarah Palin, who has been criticized for putting out a "hit list" of Democrats whose locations were indicated by crosshairs like those used in telescopic gunsights. Glenn Beck has a long history of trying to incite crazy people to commit violent acts while just barely maintaining enough distance to avoid prosecution for incitement. Let's consider just one recent incident where tragedy was only narrowly avoided thanks to the heroism of law enforcement:
Late on a Saturday night two weeks ago, an unemployed carpenter packed his mother's Toyota Tundra with guns and set off for San Francisco with a plan to kill progressives.

When California Highway Patrol officers stopped him on an interstate in Oakland for driving erratically, Byron Williams, wearing body armor, fired at police with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308-caliber rifle with armor-piercing bullets, Oakland police say. Shot and captured after injuring two officers, Williams, on parole for bank robbery, told investigators that he wanted "to start a revolution" by "killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU," according to a police affidavit. His mother, Janice, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching television news and was upset by "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items."
That quote is from the August 1, 2010 edition of the Washington Post. What television program was Byron Williams watching when he decided to launch an all-out assault on the employees of the Tides Foundation?
"Tides was one of the hardest things that we ever tried to explain, and everyone told us that we couldn't," Fox News host Glenn Beck told his radio listeners on Monday. "The reason why the blackboard" -- the prop Beck uses on his TV show to trace conspiracies -- "really became what the blackboard is, is because I was trying to explain Tides and how all of this worked." Beck accuses Tides of seeking to seize power and destroy capitalism, and he suggests that a full range of his enemies on the left all have "ties to the Tides Center." On Monday, he savored the fact that "no one knew what Tides was until the blackboard."

For good measure, Beck went after Tides again on Fox that night. And Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. That's on top of 29 other mentions of Tides on Beck's Fox show over the past 18 months (two in the week before the shootout) according to a tally by the liberal press watchdog Media Matters. Other than two mentions of Tides on the show of Beck's Fox colleague Sean Hannity, Media Matters said it was unable to find any other mention of Tides on any news broadcast by any network over that same period. Beck declined comment.
That's pretty much how Beck does it: an endless drumbeat of messaging directed towards the violent and mentally ill, messaging design to provoke a violent reaction towards Beck's target.

The Christian Science Monitor examined Beck's role in inciting violence in a October 16, 2010 article entitled "Did Glenn Beck's rhetoric inspire violence?"
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who’s honed being provocative – even outrageous at times – to a fine and lucrative art, is the focus of criticism for inciting violence.

Specifically, his dozens of comments attacking the Tides Foundation are being linked to the attempt by a heavily-armed man to assassinate employees at the San Francisco-based foundation, which funds environmental, human rights, and other progressive projects. The attack in July was thwarted in a shoot-out with police in which two officers were wounded.

Since then, alleged attacker Byron Williams has said in jailhouse interviews that he wanted to “start a revolution.” He says Beck was not the direct cause of his turning violent. But he does say: “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.”
The Christian Science Monitor can hardly be described as part of the so-called "Liberal Media."

Then there's the case of Richard Poplawski, the man who ambushed and murdered three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers. Poplawski was reportedly deeply influenced by Glenn Beck's promotion of the false story that FEMA was preparing concentration camps for conservatives.

There is an ancient Chinese text entitled "Thirty-Six Strategems." One of the strategems described in this text is "kill with a borrowed knife."
Attack using the strength of another (in a situation where using one's own strength is not favourable). Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemy's own strength against him.
Glenn Beck is the master of this stratagem, of convincing the mentally ill to carry out killings and terrorism that he himself would like to carry out, but is unwilling to take the consequences for.

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