Monday, October 11, 2010

Does Somebody Have to Die before the Madness is Stopped?

Media Matters for America posted a report today illustrating the growing danger of extreme and dishonest right-wing rhetoric from the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

On July 18, 2010 Byron Williams engaged in a gun battle with law enforcement officers on a California highway on July 18. According to a police affidavit Williams said he was on his way to San Francisco to "start a revolution" by killing staff at progressive organizations, including the Tides Foundation, a group frequently targeted by Beck.

In an exclusive series of interviews and correspondence, Williams explains how much he relied on right-wing media -- and in particular Fox News host Glenn Beck -- for news.

As Williams, who said Beck was "like a schoolteacher on TV," explained: "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. I said, well, nobody does this."

"He considered Beck something like a schoolteacher, watching the show for its conspiracies."

From Media Matters: What Williams learned from Beck and the right-wing media inspired him to depart on a journey that could have had deadly consequences. Williams' rhetoric and his worldview are shaped by, and echo, the conspiracy theories and falsehoods of the hard-right TV and radio talkers he cites as his inspiration. In this new interview, Williams says he was pushed over the edge by anger over a conspiracy involving George Soros, Obama, a Brazilian oil company, and the BP oil spill -- a conspiracy theory loudly touted by Beck in June (and debunked by Media Matters for America.)

Media Matters for America has the full story here:

From Media Matters: Beck is playing a dangerous game -- convincing his audience that sinister threats are turning the country into a dictatorship and must be stopped, yet carefully backing off from his violent rhetoric just at the edge of incitement. He's instigating fear and rage with his lies while trying to avoid accountability for the results.

As I wrote a few months back:

"In my mind FOX News' role is no different than that of Hitler's chief propagandist, Paul Joseph Goebbels the chief architect of Nazi Germany's propaganda-fueled attack on German Jews that culminated in the travesty of the Holocaust."

In February, Daniel Cowart, a white supremacist, pleaded guilty to a 2008 cross-country plot to commit robberies while killing and beheading dozens of black people. Then-presidential candidate Obama was also a target of Cowart and Paul Schlesselman, his neo-Nazi, co- conspirator's plot.

Dr. King once said; “Sometimes, silence is betrayal.” In April, I asked if the rhetoric has to lead to an assassination before we realize that our silence is a betrayal to decency and social advancement.

“Sometimes, silence is betrayal.

Sadly, I find myself repeating that same question today.


"Violence is coming": Glenn Beck's long history of violent rhetoric

Beck's June programs were overloaded with violent, conspiratorial and paranoid rhetoric