May 29, 2010

[H/t Heather]

Glenn Beck evidently realized that he had set himself up for endless mockery and serious public disgust by attacking Malia Obama yesterday on his radio show, so he promptly issued an apology -- of sorts:

In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize--and as a dad I should have known better.

As Keith Olbermann observed, in naming Beck his Worst Person in the World:

Well, that obviously changes things, because Beck at least has shown that he realizes his own hypocrisy, and he deserves -- wait a minute! He did the very thing he was apologizing for, and he did it in the apology!

Olbermann points back to the opening line of the "apology":

In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism ...

Olbermann observes:

In apologizing for putting kids into political debates, he put the president's kids back into political debates! This guy is so feral, that even in his brief moment of semi-sanity, he's still completely nuts!

It's also worth remembering that Beck's "rule" doesn't just pertain to children -- it regards politicians' entire families:

Beck: There's a difference! Leave my family -- leave people's families alone! I don't think I've -- I mean, I don't think I have ever -- I mean, I made this when it was Bill Clinton -- you don't go after Chelsea Clinton! You don't talk about the Bush kids! Now, the minute they get into politics, that's a different story. You leave the families alone! We've never done anything but protect the families, and question why the White House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families alone!

As Zachary Pleat at Media Matters observes, Beck's apology is thus incomplete, by multiple standards:

Beck involved Obama's children in another attack on the president earlier this week, comments Beck did not address in his apology today.

Further, Beck limited his apology to just "my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates." But he has repeatedly stated that entire families are off-limits -- and he has dragged President Obama's family into "political debates" several times over the past year. In a sexist attack on the president's wife just last week, Beck referred to an image on the Drudge Report of Michelle Obama at a White House state dinner for the Mexican president and his wife, stating:

I don't think I've ever seen the first lady with her -- excuse the expression -- but with her breasts all smooshed up.

Beck has also repeatedly brought up Obama's parents on his Fox News and radio shows -- specifically in the context of discussing Obama's politics -- and more than a year ago, he made fun of President Obama's aunt.

Glenn Beck's apology is incomplete until he apologizes for all the other instances in which he dragged the president's family into his political attacks.

Indeed, probably the scummiest show Beck has ever put on was devoted to tearing down President Obama's late mother. He certainly never came close to apologizing for that.

But I think Beck's apology is incomplete in a much more important sense, as Karoli pointed out in her update: He failed to apologize directly to Malia Obama for mocking her, and to her parents for attacking their child.

Any real man making a real apology would have done that. This was not a real apology. This was half-assed ass-covering, at best.


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