Saturday, July 31, 2010

Milbank to Beck: "Stop encouraging" potential murderers.

Beck is now claiming that linking Byron Williams wanting to attack and kill members of the Tides Foundation with the fact that Beck was almost alone in constantly talking about the Tides Foundation, is tantamount to calling him a terrorist.

The next thing is, they're painting people into terrorists -- painting people into dangers.

Um, you know, we had a sniper in, um, Oakland, California, trying to kill police. At the same time we have another guy who appears to be against the Tides Foundation, uh, and he goes down and he's going to try to kill people at the Tides Foundation. I'm tied to the Tides Foundation in this story because, quote, how scary is this? We have searched all the television records and Glenn Beck is the only host that spoke about the Tides Foundation in the past year. That's terrifying.

Firstly, no-one, literally no-one, has ever called Beck a terrorist. But he is the person who has talked of the Tides Foundation more than anyone else on TV and he does tend to talk in apocalyptic terms about a coming war.

Dana Milbank has the best advice for Beck:

Beck has at times spoken against violence, but he more often forecasts it, warning that "it is only a matter of time before an actual crazy person really does something stupid." Most every broadcast has some violent imagery: "The clock is ticking. . . . The war is just beginning. . . . Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government. . . . You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head. . . . The other side is attacking. . . . There is a coup going on. . . . Grab a torch!. . . . Drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers. . . . They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered. . . . They are putting a gun to America's head. . . . Hold these people responsible."

Beck has prophesied darkly to his millions of followers that we are reaching "a point where the people will have exhausted all their options. When that happens, look out." One night on Fox, discussing the case of a man who killed 10 people, Beck suggested such things were inevitable. "If you're a conservative, you are called a racist, you want to starve children," he said. "And every time they do speak out, they are shut down by political correctness. How do you not have those people turn into that guy?"

Here's one idea: Stop encouraging them.

Where Beck is caught out here is that very few of us had ever heard of the Tides Foundation, but his audience had.
According to our searches, since Beck's show premiered on January 19, 2009, Tides has been mentioned on 31 editions of Fox News programs, 29 of which were editions of Beck's show (the other two were on Sean Hannity's program). In most of those references, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those Beck mentions occurred during the week before Williams' shootout.
William's mother said that Williams "watched the news on television and was upset by 'the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.'"

Now, no-one can prove what Williams did or didn't watch, but the very fact that he chose to target the Tides Foundation, which Beck was almost alone in weaving into his conspiracy theories, does lead one to ask what led Williams to target them?

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