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Lewis Black v. Truth on Glenn Beck

05/16/2010

A friend of mine posted a video on facebook of Lewis Black’s segment on The Daily Show, in which he attacks Beck using a series of video clips:

Unfortunately, Black’s conclusion is not supported by facts… or context of the clips he uses. If you notice, many of the ones in the middle are very short, mere seconds. How can you get proper context in that time frame? I’ve seen enough anti-Beck rants/clips/idiocies by people to see that if you place what Glenn says into the rightful context of what he was talking about, the controversy goes away. But, it is Jon Stewart, so the lack of consideration in regards to nuance and context is to be expected. His MO is to take things so far out of context as to make everyone look foolish.

Now, if one were to provide context by using transcripts and highlighting the quotes they selectively used:

0:06 – Special Report on April 28, 2010

[Bret] BAIER: And now some fresh pickings from the “Political
Grapevine.”

Critics are using some inflammatory comparisons to describe their feeling about Arizona’s new immigration law that would require immigrants to carry documents verifying their status. Some have likened having to carry papers around to Nazi Germany. Colorado Democrat Jared Polis was one of those saying, “It’s absolutely reminiscent of second class status of Jews in Germany prior to World War II when they had to have their papers with them at all times.”

However, in the U.S. government official welcome guide for immigrants, it clearly states those legally in the U.S. must, “carry proof of your permanent resident status” at all times.

Bret is simply reporting others’ mischaracterizations of the law. It is hyperbole, just not Bret’s.

0:28 – Glenn Beck TV Show on April 27, 2010

Well, here’s how Representative Jared Polis described the mood in Arizona. “Arizona law is like Nazi Germany. It’s absolutely reminiscent of second class status of Jews in Germany. Prior to World War II when they had to show their papers and had them with them all the time, and they were subject to routine inspections at the suspicious of being Jewish. I fear that Arizona is headed for a police state.”

Boy, I’m glad somebody said it! Arizona sure is putting the AZ in “Nazi,” aren’t they? I hate to rain on the hate parade, but can we slow down just a second here? And ask — you’re out of your mind. Am I alone in that?

You’re out of your mind! Are you comparing the systemic cold-blooded extermination of millions of Jews to America making sure that people are here legally? Oh, the parallels are non-existent.

Beck is joking, commenting on how stupid Polis’ comment is; i.e., it’s not his opinion of the law, just his opinion of other people’s stupidity. In addition, they actually moved the latter portion of the clip to the beginning for whatever that’s worth.

Then, they start showing clips of the show, making Glenn out to be a Nazi-obsessed whack-job. However, anyone who actually watches his show at all would know that he’s a history nut who delves into the connections between Progressivism and Communism/Naziism. Again, nuance is not their goal…

1:20 – Glenn Beck on radio on May 1, 2007 AND on TV on Feb 5, 2009. Notice the wide date difference and how they’re implying a link between the two clips. Audio and transcript of the first clip. Some highlights:

And I read this one part on global warming about how they got — what was the first thing they did to get people to exterminate the Jews. Now, I’m not saying that anybody’s going to — you know Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government.

You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler’s plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore’s enemy, the U.N.’s enemy: global warming.

Now, how did you convince all of Europe to do it? You needed to have fear. You needed to have the fear of starvation. You needed to have the fear of the whole place going to hell in a handbasket. Which — do we have that fear now with global warming? I mean, they’re telling us things in Al Gore’s global warming special that are not true, that the seas will rise 20 feet. Even the U.N. says that’s not true. So you got to have the fear, we’re all going to die.

Then you get the scientists — eugenics. You get the scientists — global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists that say, “That’s not right.” And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did. That’s what Al Gore, the U.N., and everybody on this global warming bandwagon — all the way to RFK Junior, who has called me a fascist for doing it — all the way over to the global warming special that happened over in London a couple of weeks ago that is fantastic.

Notice how they left out the antecedent for “that.” “That” refers to uniting everyone around you against a common enemy, indoctrinating people with propaganda, AND silencing dissenting voices so you can do whatever you want. That doesn’t refer to the Holocaust or anything insidious like that.

The next clip was put back to back with the first one, implying a link. However, the next clip on TV talks about Al Gore using children to indoctrinate parents because kids just know better.

BECK: OK. Bernie, nobody is talking about murdering millions of people here. That’s — I mean, that’s not the motivation. I want to talk to you about the tactics. I’m not accusing Al Gore of being a Nazi or anything like that. … I’m saying the tactics we have seen this many times before — grab the youth and turn them against the parents.

1:59 – Obama talking about how he believes empathy is an important aspect of being a judge.
2:16 – Beck on TV on May 26, 2009.

EDWARD WHELAN, PRESIDENT, ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER: Well, the way that President Obama talks about empathy, he wants judicial activists who will impose their own values when they decide what the law means. That’s entirely
improper role for judges and simply has no place. Unfortunately, he said that is his main criteria in selecting a nominee. And he appears to have carried through his threat by selecting Judge Sotomayor.

… [J]udges should set aside their own passions, their own preferences and decide what the law is. And it’s up to the legislatures to reflect empathy in the policies and laws that they enact. But President Obama has a very different view and he wants judges who will impose his own left-wing views rather than do the dirty work of actually getting them to enact law.

BECK: All right. Tell me some of the things that could have – I mean, tell me how Roe versus Wade would have been decided if we would have used empathy. Tell me how some of these other things would have been decided if we used empathy as our guide.

BARNETT: Well, take the D.C. gun ban case, the Keller case, for example. Which way does empathy cut in that case? You have, for example, empathy for crime victims who want to defend themselves. You should also, I suppose, have empathy for people who are the victims of gun crimes which is the justification for gun control. Empathy cuts both ways. Empathy always cuts both ways. In a medical marijuana case, I would have expected the Supreme Court to show empathy for the sick and dying in California who are using cannabis under the state of California’s laws. But the more liberal justices on the Supreme Court put their commitment to big government ahead of any empathy they might have.

BECK: You know, I looked a case up from 1938, father of Baby Knauer, infant born blind, missing a leg and part of his arm. He wrote to have permission to have his child put to sleep. Well, this made it to the front page of the papers. And everybody said, “Oh, my gosh. This child is suffering and so are the parents.” And everybody went crazy. Everybody went crazy and felt so bad for this child. Doctors came out and said this child has to be put to sleep. It is the only humane thing to do. Finally – well, he wasn’t the president. He was the chancellor, Hitler, decided that it was the only empathetic thing to do, is to put this child down and put him out of his suffering. It was the beginning of the T4, which led to genocide everywhere. It was the beginning of it. Empathy leads you to very bad decisions many times.

Well, this one’s kind of a bad comparison, but at least when looked with context, it shows that they were only talking about the inappropriateness of using “empathy” to augment your decisions. And then Black goes on to make ridiculous straw man arguments. And moves rapid fire through other clips without context.

3:12 – Beck on TV on November 3, 2009.

YOSI SERGANT, NEA DIRECTOR: I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment. You know, there’s a — there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service.

BECK: OK. He, later on, on the phone call, said, look, we’re having a hard time talking to you because we don’t know how legally — how — what language we can use. I don’t know. Why don’t we stick to the truth and if it’s against the law, maybe we shouldn’t be saying it? Advocating through art is known as propaganda. You should look up the name Goebbels.

He was talking about the recently exposed NEA phone call. What they were doing was propaganda.

3:22 – Glenn Beck on TV on February 5, 2009.

When I finish this story, some may believe we’re on the road to the Hitler Youth. Here is the latest example and buckle up because if you thought last night was bumpy — well, this one is going to be a rollercoaster ride. One of my radio listeners gave me this story just a couple of days ago. I want to play it on a minute. You hear the voice of Al Gore he is speaking to a bunch of teens and pre-teens at a youth conference on global warming, or as he is calling it now, climate change.

This clip feels like deja vu since I already talked about this episode before, just a few paragraphs back. He’s saying that the story about Al Gore’s indoctrination may remind people of Hitler Youth indoctrination. I personally would have gone for a 1984 reference, but I don’t think many people would get a “Junior Spies” reference.

3:27 – Glenn Beck on TV on May 7, 2009. Media Matters has the clip. He’s talking about the thuggish nature of unions.

3:31 – Glenn on TV on July 1, 2009.

They weren’t even remotely talking about TARP, so the implication that he’s relating TARP to Nazis is asinine. They were talking about the expansion of governments, specifically regarding an employer mandate for health insurance by the Federal government.

3:42 – Glenn on TV on August 27, 2009. If you’re going to smear someone, get your facts right. AmeriCorps. is not the same as the PeaceCorps. That aside, they’re talking about the apparent need to have a civilian security force as well funded as the military.

Just goes to show what you can make someone look like without any context.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/27/2010 8:16 PM

    You realize that it's comedy, right? You do have a sense of humor somewhere, right? Lewis Black is a great comedian, and he's quite brilliant in my opinion. Calm down, laugh a little, or you'll snap.

  2. 05/27/2010 9:04 PM

    It's comedy, true; I have seen good stuff from Black. But it's comedy only to the point of trashing someone's stance using Saul Alinsky tactics (Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it) – disgusting.

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