Glenn Beck went on Bill O'Reilly's program last night, protesting his innocence after Paul Krugman ably limned the culpability that people like Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and other right-wing yammerers have in raising the temperature of the national discourse to the level that now violent right-wing nutcases are popping off like so much popcorn.
It was, of course, an extended exercise in frantic obfuscation, like a cat trying to cover its dung:
Beck: Well, first of all, the only people responsible for anybody's death are the people --
O'Reilly: Are the murderers.
Beck: Are the murderers.
Ah yes, the nonexistent "lone wolf" defense. Gee, I guess this means that those suicide bombers in Baghdad and Jerusalem are just "isolated incidents" too, and no one but the bombers themselves are responsible. At least in Beck's and O'Reilly's world.
O'Reilly: Well, now, Paul Krugman doesn't feel that way.
Beck: Oh, no. No. But you know what I found? Paul Krugman -- he's of course blaming you as -- well, you're the baby killer ... killer -- whatever --
O'Reilly: The assassin enabler.
Beck: Yeah. And I am, uh, I am responsible for all kinds of conspiracy theories, I think I'm also responsible for the Holocaust shooter --
O'Reilly: Well, lemme, lemme, lemme quote -- here's what Krugman said about you today. He's criticizing Fox News:
Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda ... .
Beck: Never said that. Never said that.
O'Reilly: But Krugman doesn't care whether you said it or not. It sounds good.
Beck: Oh, I know. Never said that. You know, the reason I did that concentration camp thing or that FEMA story was because I snapped on the air one day.
O'Reilly: No! You?
Beck: Somebody called me on the radio and I said, 'Can we stop with the FEMA camps? Can we stop with the FEMA camps? I want, one way or another, I want it yes or no.' So I went to my staff and I said, 'I want proof that these don't exist, please?' A couple -- oh, maybe about a week later they came to me and said, 'Well, we don't really have proof' -- I said, 'You've gotta be kidding me. What do you mean, we don't really have proof.' We contracted with Popular Mechanics. It took us, ah, four weeks -- the reason why it took us four weeks is because I said, 'See this video on television? I want you to find that prison, go there, and tell everybody what it is so we can A-B compare.'
O'Reilly: And they couldn't find it.
Beck: No, we found what's called the 'prison'. It's an abandoned train depot.
O'Reilly: But it wasn't a prison.
Beck: It's not a prison.
O'Reilly: But it doesn't matter what you say, or what I say. They're going to take it and -- what Krugman wanted to do was he wanted to tell is readers -- who never watch you, by the way, they never watch Fox News either -- that you are accusing Obama of building concentration camps.
Well, Beck did indeed run a noteworthy segment that actually debunked the FEMA concentration-camp theories. But it was something akin to running a single correction on A23 for a series of sensationally bannered stories on A1.
Continue reading »