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The First Amendment Does Not Apply to Glenn Beck: Meltdown with Keith Olbermann Part 17

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Posted on November 23 2009 6:22 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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You’d think that Keith Olbermann–a guy who spent years agitating against his own country’s war effort by repeating enemy propaganda in order to discourage Americans for pure partisan advantage—and Arianna Huffington— the doyenne of a website whose comment sections are famous for particularly venomous hate speech– would tend to be First Amendment absolutists.

After all, there actually have been times in American history when wartime powers granted to the government allowed for jailing people who engaged in such things.  Woodrow Wilson, for instance, jailed a man in a small town about 15 miles from where I live for speaking out against War Bonds.

But Friday night, the media’s biggest hater, who spews invective on a nightly basis in barely controlled rage, and the media’s oddest figure, who has argued from every side of the political fence, got together and decided that Glenn Beck is a clear and present danger to the survival of our democracy, and that he meets the “exception” to the First Amendment.

And it’s “paranoid” for Beck to say the Left in this country has totalitarian tendencies?

Keith set the stage, by hilariously pretending that political rage is all on the Right, and basically all happened in the last year or so…

OLBERMANN:  The ugly environment was not fostered overnight, but town hall opposition to health care reform and all those tea bagger rallies gave comfort to racism and even intonations of violence.  The Birther movement was nothing more than extreme and desperate attempt to delegitimize a new president.  And Congressman Joe Wilson‘s “you lie,” though a first should not have been a surprise.

Our third story on COUNTDOWN, a sweeping new report on anti-government rage in America not only connects the dots it refuses to let off the hook the most irresponsible voice in the mainstream media, the man it describes as the fearmonger-in-chief, Glenn Beck.  Simply stated Beck creates an intersection between the mainstream and the extreme, according to the report by the Anti-Defamation League.  It calls Beck, “The most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke fires of anti-government anger…”

Wait a minute.  Isn’t the ADL supposed to combat anti-Semitism? I don’t remember it’s purpose being to keep people from “defaming” the government.  Did they have a problem with “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?  Did they have a problem with Keith Olbermann calling Dick Cheney a war criminal?

Remind me, which side of the political spectrum is behind the war effort against those who have, as a primary concern, the genocidal elimination of Israel?  Which side is arguing for tolerance of those views, and arguing the U.S. and Israel are the aggressors in the Middle East?  Which side commended the New York Times for exposing a surveillance program that designed to stop the most anti-Semetic people on earth from committing violence?

The fact that Keith Olbermann only sees anger on the Right and considers himself reasonable and objective, and having made no contribution to bitter discourse in this nation is just too bizarre to comment on.

Next, Keith argues that ordinary free debate may not be enough to save us from the sinister Glenn Beck.  Judging by Keith’s ratings and Glenn’s ratings, I can see why he might think that.

OLBERMANN:  It would be nice to think of Glenn Beck just as a joke, as fodder for this show and the “Daily Show” and others that point out how stupid some of this stuff is.  But this report, you know, suggests something else, this is—fearmonger-in-chief term is frightening.

HUFFINGTON:  It is frightening.  Well, I would say the fearmonger-in-chief title should still be reserved for Dick Cheney, even in retirement.  But barring that, there is something that we need to really pay attention to with Glenn Beck.  We cannot just dismiss him.  Because the truth of the matter is that there is a good reason why we have an exemption to the free speech protection by the first amendment when we say you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater.

And he‘s doing that every night.  He‘s basically using images of violence to bring together with all that he‘s accusing the Obama administration of, which varies from racism to communism, Nazism and everything else in between.  So,all that has definitely an impact.  I believe words matter, language matters and he‘s using it in incredibly irresponsible ways night after night.

Yeah, like Keith Olbermann didn’t spend the last 8 years screaming that the Gestapo was going to come get you for voting Democrat because of the Patriot Act.  He’s not saying right now that 45,000 Americans die in a “holocaust” each year because of a lack of health insurance.

Try Googling “Keith Olbermann” “war criminal” “Cheney” sometime.  Glenn Beck compares Barack Obama’s economic theories to those of socialist dictators.  Keith Olbermann equates George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with the murderous actions of those dictators.

OLBERMANN:  Some of Beck‘s claims, according to the report from the ADL, let me quote it again, “play an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream making them more receptive to extreme notions and conspiracy theories.” And without going into Sociology 101, isn‘t the point here that people like Beck enable some of the wildest, most paranoid notions about what the U.S. government is doing and instead of people thinking, as they think these things, for whatever they think them, no, that‘s crazy, he says, no you‘re not crazy, come with me down this path?

You mean like committing “War crimes” and supposedly listening in on the private conversations of ordinary Americans?

OLBERMANN:  Obviously, the new component to this is the race of the president.  And a lot of this rage that we‘re discussing here is rooted in racism, something we certainly knew before the ad put out its analysis.  But Beck tried unsuccessfully to turn that one in the other direction, claiming that Mr. Obama is the racist.  Is that the twist by which he and the other actual racists are rationalizing their own prejudice simply project it on to the other people?

Obviously?  What is obvious is that Keith is losing the argument—and his mind.  Repeating that the opposition to Obama is largely racist without any proof doesn’t make it any more convincing—and most of the mainstream media has backed away from this, leaving MSNBC out on that limb all by itself.

So, Glenn Beck is the dangerous threat to our freedom?  Or to the government’s freedom of action.  Let’s see, whose free speech is Glenn Beck trying to take away?  What limits to the First Amendment is he proposing?

Not only is our side not trying to silence the slanders and venom of crazy Keith, if I were king for a day, I would decree that everyone must watch one episode of Countdown.  THAT would be the way to create Conservative voters, and double the size of the Tea Parties.

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