You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 03, 2016, 10:10:17 PM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism  (Read 870 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AviTopic starter

  • I'll show you how to soar.
  • On Hiatus
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2007
  • Location: Memphis and Maury City, TN
  • Gender: Male
  • Flying by the seat of his pants...
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
http://mediamatters.org/columns/200912180003

I thought this was fairly interesting.  Discuss!

Offline Vekseid

Re: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 04:29:09 PM »
Internal Server Error >_>

Regardless, I'd be willing to bet that most 'conservatives' who follow Glenn Beck would call Edmund Burke some commie liberal.

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 05:42:30 AM »
Quote from: Josh
[snips]...  I'd like to point out that Mr. Maloy seems to be wrong or misleading on some of the facts.  He quortes the Southern Poverty Law Center to say that:

 "Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has called Obama a fascist, a Nazi and a Marxist, even re-floated militia conspiracy theories of the 1990s alleging a secret network of government-run concentration camps."

I've found several news links saying that Glenn Beck made this claim, but no video links showing him doing so.  I have, however, found a video link of him saying that this conspiracy theory is BUNK, and actually showing a debunking that he was working on with Popular Mechanics, a video that I had watched before on the Fox News Website, but thought was likely taken down by now.
I don't agree with much of what Beck says.  That is, when he's saying something and not blowing smoke... 
Still, there is some video relevant to both the FEMA question and the general accuracy of that representation of Beck.

First, on the FEMA Camps.

          I didn't watch all of this video below, but some parts that seemed pertinent.   If some sites are correct the first portion was March 2, 2009 and the latter quote -- the retraction -- (more probably certain) was March 3.  I haven’t quite confirmed the dates to my satisfaction.  The video is on Youtube, and there is some supporting coverage here:  http://mediamatters.org/research/200906120029 

          Basically, Beck first said the FEMA camps were intended as prisons under Bush and should be used that way for illegal immigrants.  He soon retracted some of these facts (whether the whole camps or just the prison part, I'm less clear) and said if it had been true, "that's bad."  He does not spend any time in the retraction upon why it would be bad -- nor does he mention the effect that his earlier statement had.  So, there is a serious contrast between the ideals Beck puts forth in the first conversation shown, and what comes later.  How, in such a short time, did he go from a long-winded demand to punish the immigrants, to a tiny little snippet of “Oh, that’s bad.”  Beck's lack of interest in discussing that strikes me as a glaring sign that his agenda is probably more anti-immigration than anti-secret camps.  Well, here are the parts that seemed notable to me.  Quotes from Beck:

0:19    "I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps…  I can’t debunk them.”

1:04    “These are actual prisons that were built under the Bush administration.  And they were built for specific reasons.  One was for a massive influx of illegal immigrants that we would have to jail.  Now they’re sitting there empty. If you got a problem in California, then why aren’t we using those?

1:34    “We’re sitting here and we’re actually considering not enforcing our law, yet again, in California.  Here are people who are taken off the streets, violent criminals some of them. And we’re just going to dump them back into the streets.  California is absolutely out of control.  You want to see your future, America?  If we continue to do this…  Just look to California.  Cause that’s where we’re headed.”

          The portion below seems to have been March 3, 2009.  On a show before he talked with Ron Paul, R-TX

3:53   “I was going to talk about it today, but as I… came into my office and was looking at all the research that had been compiled, it wasn’t complete and I am not willing to bring something to you that was half-baked.  If these things exist, that’s bad and we will cover it.  If they don’t exist, it’s irresponsible to not debunk this story.”


     The compilation video I found:

glenn beck fema camp back flip

     Also, for the forthcoming discussion you might have noticed these comments.

0:10    “We are a country that is headed toward socialism, totalitarianism beyond your wildest imagination.”
0:40    “If you trust our government, it is fine.  If you have any fear that we might be headed toward a totalitarian state, look out.  Buckle up.  There is something that going on in our country that is uh, it ain’t good.”
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 05:46:38 AM by kylie »

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 06:35:19 AM »
Quote from: Josh
[snip] ... I'd like to point out that Mr. Maloy seems to be wrong or misleading on some of the facts.  He quortes the Southern Poverty Law Center to say that:

 "Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has called Obama a fascist, a Nazi and a Marxist... [snip]
          I was wondering whether this was also intended to question whether these general representations of Beck might be misleading.  I haven't generally observed Fox News, but after a little searching...  I gather, they are pretty accurate reflections of how Beck speaks.

Employment of "fascist" accusation by Beck

For example, there's this video.  In particular, consider about 3:00-5:00. 
There is some external commentary attached, but it doesn't necessarily matter.

Beck Compares Obama Administration To Nazis
          In this talk, Beck tries to situate the Tea Party as akin to Jews under the Nazi government.  By extension, Beck insinuates that Obama plans to reduce their wealth (or that of the class they favor enriching) and broaden/realign health care must be akin to German abuses upon the Jews.  If you watch the whole thing...  Beck tried to set this up earlier by saying basically:  The Nazis placed more value on some lives than others, and public health programs do just the same thing.  (To which I have to say, actually lots of things make some lives more valuable than others.   Having different pay for different jobs, going to war for various reasons, Medicare itself, and the concept of "women and children first"...  Are we to treat all of these things as obviously equal and undesirable without any discussion?)

          Beck's supposedly historical argument seems a little off kilter.  He starts by comparing Democratic spending with the Weimar economy.  The Weimar years were subject to regulations upon the German economy imposed by the Allies at the end of WWI, and all that preceded Hitler's rise.  Rather like the Republican budgets preceded Obama and created many of the problems he faces, actually.  Beck slides from pointing to Weimar Germany, which was before Hitler OR Nazism proper were in place, to talking about Hitler's later treatment of Jews.  Apparently to him, American conservatives who favor fewer social programs and more trickle down economics are somehow being morally abused by the Obama admin in a way akin to the treatment of the Jews by Nazi Germany.

          Then, there is the general hate of government sort of rant.  The simplest way seems to be to call it all fascism, too:

GLENN BECK EXPOSES AMERICA'S ENEMIES -- Obama, The Democrats, Progressives
For example, 1:00.  "We are on the road to fascism with these czars."

         I wasn't actually so interested in this one...   It appears to be a general claim that any progressive politics means too much bureaucracy and government intervention.  (I suppose it's quite a struggle to get all the progressives demonized along with all the liberals and all the Marxists as if they were all equally terrible throughout.)   Then there is a claim that if the Democrats are setting any rules, it must be against the Constitutional separation of powers.  Hyperbole on top of the usual "big government" complaint.   (As if the Republicans never had anything akin to czars in government for their programs.  Shrug.)

More of Beck's race angle.  http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones
Quote
Beck [with interviewer snipped]:  This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is, but you can’t sit in a pew with Jeremiah Wright for twenty years and not hear some of that stuff and not have it wash over... 

I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people. I’m saying he has a problem. He has a—this guy is, I believe, a racist. Look at the way—look at the things that he has been surrounded by...

Let’s give—let’s give his new—his new green jobs czar. The guy is, again, black liberation theology, a black nationalist, who is also an avowed communist. He comes in, and he puts that guy in. Well, wait a minute. How many people with this kind of philosophy do you need to have in your life before we start to say, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your feet—your future.”
         Also, from Googling some of Beck's transcripts...  I gather he has a sweeping laundry list of things he opposes.  At various points, he weaves them in and works to imply they're all the same and all similarly bad for the country.  These include:

     "Islamo-fascism"    (which he insists vaguely that the universities are silent and/or complicit about -- did he get the McCarthy award?)
     Universities in general   (I imagine, for overall liberal tendencies of people who spend time observing society -- seriously though ;)
     Communism/Socialism/Marxism    (Not certain if he knows the difference, or simply prefers to muddle it.  I would guess the latter.)
     Black Liberation Theology    (mainly to imply that Rev. Wright must have weaned Obama as a sleeper agent/traitor)
     Affirmative action    (see the two above -- "[Obama] knows that wouldn't pass," trying to lump and scare away lower-income programs)
     Environmentalism    (sorry, out of patience to look again but it's in there)
     Progressivism generally   (Trying to claim it's in league with all above.  Now if only they could be as defined above.  It's circular.)

In short...  I believe he is going about speaking much as that paraphrase of Maloy in the first quote suggests.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 06:54:24 AM by kylie »

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 03:29:08 PM »
Quote from: Josh
Mr. Beck, both in the video you linked, and the one I linked, said that he expected the debunking to be already done, so he just had to report on it.
        I don’t believe it’s the factual status of FEMA programs that is really at issue in Beck’s talk.  To say otherwise, in my opinion, is to ignore what he actually makes real claims about under the umbrella of supposedly reporting on that.  His tone and frequent shifting of focus emphasize some claims much more than others.  I think it’s more that he spends time and focuses the tone of his conversation on places he can stir up the political farther Right.  I imagine it really doesn’t matter so much to him if there are facts out there – unless, maybe, where those that back his point of view can be chosen.  Where there are no handy facts, he appears to quite consciously manipulate the vaguaries and confusions that do exist so that he can keep the right fired up by his chat.  It strikes me as sly and irresponsible that Beck would say with considerable emphasis, “I can’t debunk them” –- not admitting I haven’t seen data, but more in line with it can’t be done –- only to come back a day or so later and say Oh, the facts weren’t in.  If he actually “wanted” to simply debunk as he claimed, he could have done some research.     

Quote
Mr. Beck sees trends in this nation which worry him.
          I agree he is concerned about things –- but here, it’s not about FEMA.  Beck actually used the first talk to deploy an anti-immigration tone.  This also conveniently stirs fears of government secrecy.  That, in turn, feeds quietly into his general ‘current administration too big, sneaky, and out of control’ rhetoric elsewhere.  Soon after all this, he was able to come back and say Oh, the facts weren’t in and I’ll challenge them now.  Without his demonstrating any professional conscience to take notice of or modify all of his convenient play to the right about both immigration and big, sly government…  All of that was supposedly given a context by discussion of the status of FEMA programs, which he has now switched about on.  He was also using the same topic (even before any validity was shown or disproven) to deny frightening claims about the Bush administration.  I believe those are the actual themes (“trends,” if you prefer) that worry Beck: simply anti-immigration, anti-(current) administration.  The talk is not about FEMA, per se.  FEMA was murky enough in people’s minds, whatever is there or not, that it was an excuse to play things the way he wanted.  Apparently even various ways he wanted, one after the other. 

          Beck claims that he was being a responsible journalist.  Well, I expect a responsible journalist would have either 1) said in a more neutral voice, we cannot completely discount these claims as yet, perhaps here’s why – and skip the whole eager rant about how any existing prisons really should be used – or 2) better, take a little time and rather than speculating, go check a few facts before discussing it this way.       

Quote
  Secondly, there were multiple cuts in this video.  This often happens when you make a true compilation, but the way they were done seem highly misleading, and seem to use a "Fereinheight 9/11" editing style.  Mr. Beck was discussing two separate things here, in the course of being a guest on another fox talk show.  The "FEMA camps" conspiracy theory, and how we handle those who illegally enter our country.  This is a cut between two different subjects to make them look like one and the same, by finding the two closest links in a discussion, and nestling them end to end in the video.
           I’m not convinced that simply having multiple cuts means that the conclusions of Fahrenheit were obviously incorrect.  I happen to feel the film had a simplistic style, but it also touched some valid points.   I feel Beck has a more consciously deceptive style.  I realize there was some cutting in the video, but I don’t see that it’s relevant.  For starters, I actually didn’t bother with the second half of the video.  If the cutting style directly relates to my reading of the initial four minutes, please point that out.  I was concerned with what I could see as substantial within – as far as I can tell – just two cuts.  I don’t think they chopped the film to manipulate every 5-10 seconds of his talk.  It’s Beck himself that runs off to anti-immigration and back.  It would be rather difficult to make him appear to bring up immigration himself and talk about it in the vindictive tone he did, simply by cutting and rearranging film.  It’s much more plausible that he found it desirable to first not oppose the conspiracy theory, in order to argue for a hard-line policy against migrants.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 03:34:11 PM by kylie »

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Style: A Discussion of American Conservativism
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2009, 04:40:16 PM »
Quote from: Josh
I will agree that comparing anyone to Nazi Germany in any situation is usually irresponsible.
         Hmm.  Thanks for trying to agree, I guess (laugh), but I’m not prepared to go quite that far.  It’s another discussion.  Here, I’m more concerned with the existence of the comparison (I think that was part of your earlier question).  I have been just a little interested (since I think it’s there) to toss around briefly whether parts of the comparison might be historically valid -- but maybe not at great length.  Again, probably not in depth for this thread in any case.

Quote from: Josh
I don't see him making any connection between the treatment of Jews and the treatment of the American people.
          Well I don’t think he has made a very precise or valid one…  I do think he’s carefully structured this talk to try to imply one in ways that people should not miss.  I thought 3:00-5:00 had some telling parts, but just mentioning it may not be a great way to make the point.  So, here’s more transcription (mine) and thoughts.

Quote
Beck from 1:29  “I want to show you a poster…  I want you to know that I have a daughter that was born with cerebral palsy, and they said that she would never walk or talk.  She went to college.  They were wrong.  This poster bothers me so much because the hand of the person shown in this poster reminds me of my… daughter’s hand.  This is from Nazi Germany.  It says in German…  It’s going to cost 60,000 marks to keep this man alive…  ‘He’s a sweet guy and everything,’ this poster says.  ‘But his quality of life.  It’s a shame.  But your time is up.”
         I can’t listen to that without noticing its similarity to Sarah Palin, when she made a campaign poster item of her “special” child.  Ditto all the rightist chatter about “death panels.”  If you look at the rhetoric of previous claims circulating among people on the farther ends of the health care debate, the language of execution by government decree or “death panels,” also overlaps neatly with rightist claims that government regulation would somehow render American services un-American (think European) or sub-standard (perhaps with more oblique hints of Third World corruption)...  In fact, it’s not true that choices about value and quality of life are something fundamentally new.  There’s no model provided here as to how any specific national health policy would impact the quality of those choices.  It’s a handy way of rallying the right, though, given 1) the history of abortion rhetoric – the far right being more for quantity of births, without regard for quality of lives – and 2) considerable Republican reliance on elderly voters.

Quote
Beck @ 2:53  “I want you to clearly understand that I don’t think he wants to kill your grandmother or unplug your grandmother.  It would be truly an evil person that would do that.  However, what happened in Germany is they couldn’t afford health care for all.  They had devalued their mark – our dollar.  They had devalued it so much because the government just started to print money.  Does that sound familiar?”
         I think Beck has a sense of what is popular generally.  He goes to the trouble to tug at Nazi references because they draw attention.  Yet, he avoids saying “Obama” or “the administration” even while he is obviously speaking as if their policies must have Nazi-esque effects.  I imagine that, simultaneously, this allows him to cultivate an energetic audience among among the far right since that way of speaking must be very familiar to some.  It could easily function, in less conservative settings or simply among people who are not all equally far on the right, as a way for the most radical to give each other the nod.  Which is to say, it's speaking virulently without announcing in the clear exactly what one means.   Beck frequently disclaims things that would make him an explicit hate mongerer in one breath, then turns around and insinuates them vaguely and between the lines in the next moment.  He puts a lot of emotion and time into raising fears which clearly target the administration and liberal policy.  Every so often, he whisks back from the brink and intones quickly, 'Oh but I don’t mean to say that evil thing we all know would be totally unacceptable.' -- before going on about his way, implying essentially just that with more of the same prompting tones of fear (and sometimes hate)-mongering.   

Quote from: Josh
I see him pointing out problems with monetizing debt.  i.e. "Printing more and more money" not "printing money" which, as the commentator in this clip says, every country does.  Monetizing debt as a bad idea is often mentioned on Mr. Beck's program, so for this commentator to think he simply meant printing money at all makes it seem like he doesn't watch Mr. Beck's program at all.
          That sounds as if most people are expected to know all about what you mean by monetizing, its aims and history, etc.  I haven’t watched him, either.  My point here is that many people would predictably reason: Oh, the Nazis killed the Jews.  I’m skeptical that many of the Tea Party people or even say, a majority of Beck’s viewers have qualifications to evaluate his claims about monetary policy.  However, once he insists we’re living in the Weimar Republic…?  Whatever was that most Americans say.  Oh, he’s talking about Nazis this whole time.  It must have been something essentially the same as Nazi Germany, and totally apart from anything we were ever involved in.  (No one’s talking about the Treaty of Versailles, here.)  So, I have to say...  Whatever Beck is about on his own program or elsewhere, he’s certainly doing more demonization than explanation here. 

Quote
Beck at 4:44  “Here’s ‘The Complainer.’  These are four men.  Notice how ugly they are.  How some of em look rich or fat or whatever.  Maybe Jewish!  Maybe this one?  I don’t know.  They’re the complainers.  They’re all standing around in a circle and they’re talking about how horrible things are and maybe we shouldn’t do this.  The parade back here are the supporters.  This is a poster of what you see now every day in the news media making the complainers – the Tea Party goers – look somehow rotten.”
          In a sense, Josh, I can see how you might say that all Beck explicitly said in this last part, is that the media are distorting the Tea Party’s position.  Given all of the above plus everything else I’ve heard from him, I simply can’t believe that is the limit of his intent or design.  It’s quite consistent with rightist politics to complain that surely the media – typically termed, ‘the liberal media’ – must generally be muddling the waters.    This is stirring the fear of anything claimed to be unmanageably ‘big,’ just like ‘big government.’   This is said in a polarized climate, where the Obama administration is shunning Fox itself (a less liberal media).  Moreover, it’s a context where there are loud calls on the left for harder responses that might informally shrug off or institutionally reduce (such as through Congressional rule rewriting) the impact of Tea Party and other far right demands.  Surely Beck is aware of these things, and I believe he is speaking to them when he talks about Nazis, Jews, and health care policy.  As I said earlier, Beck has a broad laundry list.  It manifests in efforts to demonize the present administration and its policies.  He claims to be addressing various “topics.”  As far as I can tell, rather than actually dealing with the topics in much depth, he uses select pieces of them as excuses to keep dropping hints and invective.  It’s an effort to keep all his would-be demons clustered together in his audience’s eye. 

          For this one, he has gone to great lengths to set up opposition to health care/spending (it doesn’t really matter which order we pick for the slash) as victims and by the way, to make wealth or support of the “fat” and wealthy as synonymous with the only compassionate -- as opposed to fascist or murderous -- policy.  If he succeeds, then the message the right is happy to have him send is that any Obama policy against the Tea Party or the Republicans (to the extent they have become a party of an extreme base) must be denounced as fascist.  Us or them, the story goes.  That us or them quality has a certain factual basis for people who accept more right-wing economic ideas.  We can’t help the many -- at least not while helping is caused to be expensive -- if the few always keep most of the money (shrug).  In Beck’s talk above, this happens to factor into working up claims of fascism in regard to the current administration. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 07:12:20 AM by kylie »