POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

BeckWatch: Reclaiming The 'Four Freedoms'

2007-10-26-glenn_beck.jpgLast week, Glenn Beck brought CNN viewers "Liberty In Peril," which we have to imagine was thusly named so as to achieve a little co-branded synergy with A. Coop's seemingly-running-ad-infinitum Planet In Peril special. Hey! An idea: why not put together a Beck hosted attack on the media that riffs on this! Call it: "The News: An American Nightmare!" That's a freebie, Glenn: run with it!

Anyway, "Liberty In Peril?" Yeah, okay. We can get behind this. Sounds like a fertile ground to talk about any number of key issues. Think wiretapping, sneak-and-peeks, seizure of library records, habeas corpus, extraordinary rendition, torture. All "of-the-minute" topics. All deserving of media attention. And all completely omitted from this show. What was Beck mainly concerned with? Invading Mexican armies that will steal guns, destroy Nativity scenes and foment a rebellion in Vermont. Or something. Really. Read the transcript if you missed the show, and marvel at how Beck's tete-a-tete with a pair of dyed-in-the-wool secessionists succeed in making the secessionists seem the more sensible party by comparison.

But if this pointless little trip into the parlor of a paranoiac has a zenith, it comes at the end, when Beck begins an extended riff on, of all things, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech and the Norman Rockwell paintings they engendered. Obviously, the very existence of Beck's show indicates that the Freedom of Speech is alive and well, but that doesn't make the invocation of FDR's famous speech in this instance any less bizarre.

He's really worried about the Freedom of Worship when Christmas decorations are already up in stores? In a nation where Christianity is, by and large, enjoying a fairly unprecedented run of political success? (And all the while, begrudging Muslim Americans a few footbaths?) He can seriously celebrate "Freedom of Want" as nothing more than a "strong family" about to tuck into a "glorious turkey" without addressing the means by which those families can be better supported. In his "Four Freedoms" speech, Roosevelt placed specific value on "old-age pensions and unemployment insurance," widening "opportunities for adequate medical care," "a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it," and personal sacrifice, which included "the payment of more money in taxes."

And, as far as "Freedom from Fear" goes, let me remind you, that days later, Beck will air a program in which he'll wildly speculate that a perennial act of nature, California Wildfires, are almost-certainly-not but who-knows-maybe-they-are the work of terrorists. Really. With Freedom From Fear Freedom Fighters like Beck, who needs fearmongers.

At any rate, Beck's "Liberty in Peril" was sponsored in part "by the Sleep Number Bed by Select Comfort." So, no matter what peril Beck finds our liberty in, there's no reason you can't grab a good night's sleep.