THIS blogger will not let Beck get away with his fake exhortations to "restore honor" to America. America needs no restoration of her honor from a charlatan who willingly used racism to ingratiate himself with his listeners when he was a little known top 40 radio host. Below is a history of Beck's sorry career as a race baiter and anti-civil rights promoter.
What Americans need to restore are their critical thinking skills and abilities to judge Beck by his behavior and not by the insincere, god-soaked platitudes and pronouncments he so cynically used to sucker the crowds who came to listen to his babblings.
Alexander Zaitchik of the Southern Poverty Law Center relates this about Beck's background:
"Far from being a civil rights icon, Glenn Beck has built his empire and fame in part by being a master divider along racial lines. Especially since the inauguration of Barack Obama on the eve of his Fox News debut, Beck has emerged as the media's boldest manipulator of white racial anxieties, fears and prejudice. His willingness "to go there" has even earned him grudging respect from hardcore white nationalists who usually have little patience for major media.
Most people are aware by now that more than 100 sponsors have fled Beck's program since his June 2009 claim that President Obama was a racist "with a deep-seated hatred of white people." But this is only the best known event in a 30-year career in broadcasting that has been partly defined by racist humor, racially charged venom, and advocacy for far-right foes of the civil rights movement.
Throughout his career in Top 40 radio, Beck was known for his imitations of "black guy" characters and racist tropes. According to Beck's former colleagues in the late 90s, this included mocking unarmed blacks shot and killed by white police officers. Such was the case of Malik Jones, the victim of a controversial killing that took place in 1997.
"After the shooting, Beck sometimes did a racist shtick," remembers Paul Bass, a former radio host and Beck colleague at a Clear Channel station cluster in New Haven. "Glenn did routines about Jones' grandmother being on crack. Generally he made fun of his family and the loss of life--as joke routines."
Beck's racially tinged tirades did not disappear after he switched formats in 1999. During his first talk radio stint in Tampa, he often referred to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as "the stinking king of the race lords." Most recently, Beck has worked to resuscitate the names of famously anti-civil rights figures from the history of his adopted Mormon faith. He has respectfully played tapes of Ezra Taft Benson, who thought Martin Luther King was a communist agent out to destroy the Mormon Church (and who once wrote the foreward to a book of race hate whose cover illustration featured the severed, bloody head of an African American).
Beck has also implored his viewers to read the "divinely inspired" books of W. Cleon Skousen, another John Birch Society fantasist who believed that the civil rights movement was part of a worldwide Communist (and, later, "New World Order") conspiracy.
The above gives some sense, but barely scratches the surface of, Beck's long and disgraceful record on race. The Fox News host has also played a key role in the conservative attempts to whip up white opposition to Barack Obama by painting the president's health and environmental agendas as Trojan horses for "stealth reparations" for black Americans.
For much of the summer of 2009, Beck ranted about the alleged "black nationalism" of Van Jones, a White House environmental official who resigned last September after what Jones described as conservatives' "vicious smear campaign" against him. Beck also helped lead the racially charged cavalry charges against ACORN and Eric Holder's Justice Department (for its handling of the New Black Panther Party "scandal".)
So, no, Glenn Beck is not the inheritor of Dr. King's mantle. Had the two men been contemporaries, it is a very safe bet that Beck would have excoriated King for being a "progressive cockroach" and an enemy of the Constitution seeking to destroy America by spreading the "virus" of social justice. We know he would have done this because it's the same playbook he uses every day on radio and television. That's just who Glenn Beck is and always has been. It's a fact that all the deranged posturing in the world can't hide, regardless of the date printed on his coveted event permit."