Glenn Beck & The Roots Of Fascism

Film, Media

America is a democracy, and has freedom of speech. But lately some of that speech has been back with fascist rhetoric. After Sarah Palin ‘targeted’ Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the latest figure to be singled out for hatred is Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old leftwing academic who has become the target of Fox News host Beck and his legion of fans.

Why? Beck sees her as a threat to the American way of life, mainly because over forty years ago her husband wrote a paper on providing welfare payments for the poor. Beck says this is part of a decades-old conspiracy to take over the country that culminated in the election of President Obama. His language has provoked a tidal wave of death threats against both Piven and her academic colleagues at the City University of New York.

The threats appear on Beck’s news website, The Blaze. “One shot… one kill,” says one. Others are sent directly to her email address or those of her colleagues. While Piven shrugs off the death threats, she is well aware of the problem in the light of recent attacks and shootings. “I don’t know if I am scared, but I am worried,” she told the Observer newspaper. ‘He is a very neurotic and peculiar type of person. I don’t think he is capable of sane discussion.’

Beck now backs his rants with presentations on blackboards and with puppet shows (presumably to aid the illiterate). But they have real-life repercussions. Last year Byron Williams stocked a truck full of guns and bullets with the stated intention of attacking liberal groups in San Francisco that Beck had mentioned.

But by choosing such a vulnerable target, Beck has given the professor a way of fighting back. Beck has an entire TV network and a global media giant behind him; Piven is an elderly professor. But, for the first time in a long while, she is in demand. “At last now we have a megaphone,” she said.

That book cover at the top is real, by the way. Yes, that’s Beck in a quasi-Nazi uniform. It’s not something you’ll see on the bestsellers lists here. BTW, if you decide to look at the book on Amazon, be aware that it will screw up your recommended reading list in a very disturbing way!

9 comments on “Glenn Beck & The Roots Of Fascism”

  1. Matthew Davis says:

    Apparently a couple of weeks ago Glenn Beck appropriated Act-Up’s “Silence = Death” poster. Because being a right-wing pundit is like being gay in the 80s when everyone around you was dying of AIDS and the governemnt seemed engaged in a programme intentional neglect. Yes it’s just like that.

    There’s a picture of him with the sign here:

  2. Steve says:

    The inmates have taken over the asylum. Paging Dr. Seward…..

    Oh, and per Fox News, those evil Muslims are demanding Sharia Law in….get ready for it….Minnesota! Minnesota??? I actually thought when this video was sent to me it was from one of those parody networks….but no, it’s real.

    You can see it here:

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Welfare payments for the poor? How could anyone advocate that? No, no, welfare payments should only go to the rich, who can make proper use of them.
    Nazi-style uniform? Only in the sense that it is brown and there are tabs on officers’ collars.

  4. Steve says:

    Given what looks like a backward “R” in the title, I’d say more pseudo-communist. Either that, or as I’ve long suspected, his IQ = his shoe size.

  5. Alan Morgan says:

    I confess though with only the media to help I’m a little bemused. Indeed, can it be true that there really is a backlash against health care? Paying taxes really it being spent on the people is rather the point one would hope? Health, welfare, housing, education – start there and see what’s left. Surely after all with the wonder of computers nowadays any bureacracy is a tiny fraction of the size it was ten years ago*?

    *Aha, aho – you wag Mr Wilde!

  6. Alan Morgan says:

    The uniform – former East Germany? Back when in Berlin you went through stations on the U Bahn where the doors did not open, from west to east and west again.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Alan Morgan for Chancellor! or Minister of Finance or Secretary of the Treasury – whichever fits.

  8. Cynthia says:

    I don’t know why I am a little surprised to see the great Christopher Fowler commenting on tiny-brain Beck, but as a huge fan of the Bryant & May books, it makes sense to me. Beck is very odd, his ratings are falling, his radio program was cancelled in New York for low ratings, and he is derided or ignored by a large swath of America. He now looks to simply be a charity case of Rupert Murdoch’s, receiving Faux News welfare payments, and not changing any minds. Like Sarah Palin, his appeal is waning. Hurrah!

  9. Joseph Hall says:

    I am greately distressed concerning the next election. Considering the trouble that is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East (not to mention our own economy) we desperately should demand a good leader. I’m not at all convinced that Mr. Obama or any of the Republican candidates so far have the experience or skills it takes to do the job the way it has to be done. Being president of the U.S. is an incredibly hard job. Do you think there is someone out there with the experience, skill, and moral conviction to do the job?

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