A week ago thousands of Americans traveled to the National Mall to take part in a Beckapalooza that the FAUX News personality and self-identified rodeo clown said would restore honor to America. Beck still hasn't explained exactly when America lost her honor, but no matter--that's just a detail in his overweening ambition to become the 21st century's Aimee Semple McPherson. All that's missing from Beck's schtick is the "Knock Out The Devil" sign and "The Gospel Car."
But in his fervor to restore America's honor, we discover something quite curious: He lied to his adoring congregation.
No! you say? Yes, we answer. He also delivered a pile of misinformation about the Washington Monument and took a common every day occurence [a flyover of Canada geese] and labeled it A Miracle! I guess he doesn't know the meaning of miracle either.
Here is Glenn Beck's lie:
"Beck had claimed that he held George Washington's handwritten first Inaugural Address in his hands at the National Archives, but a spokeswoman at the institution said he did no such thing. Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and others called him out for the fabrication.
Thursday on his radio show, Beck copped to the lie.
"I thought it would be a little easier in the speech," Beck said, than to go into the following elaborate explanation."
Of course it would be easier to lie in the serive of restoring America's honor! Because apparently he didn't think his audience would have the attention span to follow a simple explanation. Does he know something about his fans that they don't? Here's what he said actually happened:
Yesterday I went to the National Archives, and they opened up the vault, and they put on their gloves and then they put it on a tray. They wheeled it over and it's all in this hard plastic and you're sitting down at a table and you can't, because of Sandy Berger, I had a long conversation with him about this, you can't actually touch any of the documents, these are very very rare. So what they do, they have it in this plastic thing and they hold them right in front of you, you can't touch them but then you can say 'can you turn it over,' and then they turn it over for you and then you look at it. I thought it was a little clumsy to explain it that way."
Excuse us, Glenn, but didn't you bellow this once?:
'‘Tell the truth! America is crying out for the truth!’'
His fans don't understand that this unctuously duplicitous huckster sees the "truth" as a fungible commodity to be revealed or hidden whenever it suits Beck's ambition.
Another chance to restore honor to America occurred when Beck completely misrepresented and actually made-up a touching story about the Washington Monument:
Here's what Beck, told the crowds:
BECK: “We have a choice today .... We can either look at our scars, look at the scars of the nation...we concentrate on the bad instead of learning from the bad and repairing the bad, and then looking to the good...
“We have a choice today, to either let those scars crush us, or redeem us. We are gathered here today, in a hallowed spot. Here, Abraham Lincoln, a giant of an American, casting a shadow on all of us. We look, to a giant for answers.
“Behind you, in front of me, the Washington—alone, tall, straight—if you look at the Washington Monument, you might notice its scars. But nobody talks about that...but a quarter of the way up it changes color. Did you know that it did? Look at it. Look at its scars.
“How did the scar get there? They stopped building it in the Civil War. And when the war was over, they began again. No one sees the scars of the Washington memorial, the Washington Monument. We see what it stands for. No one also talks about what's on top, facing east. Just two words, ‘Laus Deo,’ ‘Praise be to God.’"
Jonathan Swartz of Consortiumblog explains Becks misinformed mangled history:
"Beck is also wrong about the Washington Monument's history — which I learned about on one of those elementary school field trips.
The construction didn't stop because of the Civil War. As the National Park Service's website will tell you, it had already stopped years earlier:
“Why does the color change on the outside of the monument?
“When the monument was under construction in 1854, the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money and the project ground to a halt. Twenty-five years later, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by 1884 using marble from a different quarry.”
One interesting part is that after the original, private organization running things ran out of money in 1854, it was taken over by the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party. They were particularly outraged by the fact the Vatican, like many other organizations, had donated a stone. So they destroyed it.
Then they screwed around for two more years but finally gave up too.
So...I guess you could argue that Beck is within shouting distance of reality. I mean, it probably was harder to raise money as the war approached. And construction probably would have stopped during the Civil War...if it had been going on when the Civil War started. Which it, uh, wasn't.
Finally, the actual history is bad news for Beck's ideology: the private effort to build the monument puttered out, and then was derailed for a long time by cranks with a worldview strikingly similar to Beck & Co.
(Don't you hate immigrants with weird foreign religions? Did you know Abraham Lincoln is a secret apostate Catholic?!?)
It was only the government's money and organization that finally made it happen."
And lastly we come to Beck's silly claim that a V-formation of Canada geese flying over the Mall was a miracle. The definition of a miracle is this:
"...an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. "
What occurred at Beck's gathering was a common, everyday occurrence--Canada geese fly over National Malls, golf courses, and sanitary land fills every day, all day long.
So the guy who urges America to come back to God and restore her honor uses a falsehood, a made-up story, and a commonplace event to somehow bring honor to his
The folks who think highly of this guy would have crucified Mr. Obama if he had engaged in just one tenth of Beck's deliberate mendacity.