Think Again: Glenn Beck and the Uses of Anti-Semitic Propaganda

11/12/2010 06:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's annoying to have to write about Glenn Beck or even to pay any attention to him at all. If anyone truly believed the various things Glenn Beck claims to believe at any given moment, he would have to be either a schizophrenic, a lunatic, or both. Case in point: Beck: Obama has "over and over again" exposed himself as "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." This followed by "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people" and then, "This guy is, I believe, a racist."

I agree with Beck's own self-description that he's no journalist, scholar, or much of anything else, save perhaps a "rodeo clown." But because Beck enjoys the backing of the Murdoch empire, with millions of devoted viewers and listeners, his clownishness, whether intentional or not, is not merely his problem but ours as well.

Since the Obama administration began, the combination of hatred, lies, ignorance, and nativism that Beck serves up daily has poisoned the discussion of a number of issues and ruined numerous careers. According to Eric Boehlert's careful reporting, it also appears to have come pretty close to inspiring a mass murder: one that was avoided by only fortunate happenstance. But just as all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing, so, too, all that is necessary for hatred, lies, ignorance, and nativism to triumph is for good media critics to stand too far above the fray and allow to pass without comment moments like Beck's disgraceful attack on George Soros Tuesday night.

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