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Media Matters: Why be critical of Glenn Beck for pushing against the extremists?

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Posted on August 3 2009 5:39 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here

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It seems like Glenn Beck and the other Fox News guys can’t catch a break from “progressive” advocacy group Media Matters. Even when Beck says something that they’ve all but told him he needs to say, they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge he’s done something right.

On Media Matters’ MMTV they featured a clip from today’s episode of the Glenn Beck show in which the host passionately exhorted his viewers not to pick up arms against a government they no longer trust.

This has been the drum that everyone from MSNBC host Keith Olbermann to film critic Roger Ebert have been pounding for months: conservative talkers have lit the fuse of violent extremists.

Now the claim that Fox News supports political murder is forced to evolve. According to the commenters on Media Matters Beck is only saying this as a way to cover himself:

Glenn Beck and FoxNews Channel have received some disturbing information about violence coming to Democrats at one of the Townhall Meetings this Summer, and he is just trying to “distance” himself from what he may know is coming. Scary and so sad because FoxNews Channel would “definitely” be “responsible” for any violence against ANY American politician. Many people have “warned” of FoxNews mean-spirited and nasty statements from Republicans (Conservatives, Right-wingers, GOPers) but “ratings” were so “high”. And now Glenn makes this kind of statement. Hmmm, let’s hope the right Authorities have been notified by FoxNews Channel. Just shameful, shameful, shameful.

Another commenter even suggests that Beck is winking at his viewers and telling them to go ahead and commit acts of violence anyway:

“Whatever you do don’t sacrifice yourself in a brave, selfless act to rid our country of an invalid facist dictator who hates white people and wants to destroy our country. I’m serious now. Don’t do it.”

It’s just the usual radical tactic deployed in a different way: characterize your opponents as crazy so you don’t have to bother engaging them in debate. Destroy the person and you don’t have to go to the far more challenging task of beating the idea.

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