Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fanning the Flames

Below is Glenn Beck's rambling response to the Holocaust Museum shooting and it includes:

- a warning that there will be more of this type of behavior
- a warning that Jews and conservatives will be the likely scapegoats of this violence.
- a defense that he doesn't stir the pot of hysteria, but merely points it out. (See the gas can skit in my previous post as well as my post on his 9/12 Project.)

and a host of other ramblings including items about Iran's nuclear program:

Michael Rowe has a recent piece that discusses this topic:

This week, nearly two years later, James von Brunn, driven by his own twisted version of Coulter's publicly-proclaimed perspectives regarding the "imperfection" of Jews, entered the Holocaust Museum in Washington and put them into action, with tragic and deadly consequences.

Much the same thing happened on May 31st when Scott Roeder entered the Reformation Lutheran Church during Sunday services and slaughtered abortion provider provider Dr. George Tiller. Media analysts continue to explore a possible continuum between Tiller's murder and FOX host Bill O'Reilly's well-documented on-air tirades against the doctor, whom he repeatedly called "Tiller the Baby Killer." O'Reilly broadcast his vendetta to millions and millions of FOX viewers already infected with evangelical superstitions and a horror of science, especially science as it applies to a woman's right to choose.

If O'Reilly had been a serious journalist or broadcaster instead of a sclerotic, chronically-aggravated right-wing rage pimp, he might have had the professional self-awareness or ethical sense to realize that he was putting George Tiller's life in danger over the more than 28 broadcasts in which he used Tiller's name. But O'Reilly, like, for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and indeed Coulter herself (to name only the gratin of that particular food chain) is neither of those things.


When challenged on the inherently destructive nature of their enterprise, they invariably claim that their First Amendment right to free speech is being abrogated. Or, like Ann Coulter defensively does in those instances, they cite their place on the New York Times bestseller list. Or the ratings. In other words, since people buy it, watch it, or listen to it in huge numbers, it must have merit, and it must be right.


There was a time when decency, even honor, was an essential part of the American dialogue in its most ideal form, and part of its very identity. There was a time when our culture would have recoiled in horror at the vituperation flowing unchecked from radios, televisions, and the Internet, instead of applauding it as "common sense," "free speech," or "mavericky," or "a spin-free zone."

There was a time when intellectual honesty was not considered unpatriotic; when compassion for, and understanding of, your fellow man was a sign of strength, not weakness. There was a time when the phrase Have you no shame? meant something, and the First Amendment was not used as toilet paper to wipe up the excremental verbal degradation of vulnerable segments of the American population. A time when it was expected that citizens would understand the difference between free speech and irresponsible speech.

and in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, senior Political Analyst Chip Bartlet weighs in:

Well, it’s very clear that the kind of agitating rhetoric that’s used by certain leaders in the pro-life movement—the anti-abortion movement, more accurately called—sets up a dynamic in which some people are more likely to act out in violence.

But this goes all the way up to a whole range of right-wing demagogues, on not just issues involving women, but racism and homophobia. And let’s name names: Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs. These are people who are creating an environment of violence against targets that are scapegoats. And these are demagogues who may have a First Amendment right to say these things, but we have an absolute obligation as citizens in a civilized society to call them for what they are, that they’re demagogues, they’re hate-mongers, and they are setting up a situation in which some people will choose violence as the only alternative to achieve their political goals.

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