September 19, 2009

Glenn Beck says the rest of the media -- what he calls "the fringe media," which makes sense only if you live on Planet Beck -- should be covering what he's covering: Which is to say, his thesis that the Obama White House is a secret conspiracy to overthrow American capitalism and replace it with communism.

It's a refrain we're hearing from Fox a lot these days. They've been running ads attacking the other networks for not covering "the ACORN scandal" that they largely created out of whole cloth. There is, of course, a perfectly good reason they haven't: the shoddy journalistic standards Fox has adopted in these stories, ably limned by Joe Conason and Media Matters.

With Beck the problem is even more obvious: His entire "Tree of Revolution" is the kind of guilt-by-association conspiracist wingnuttery that heretofore had been almost solely the province of John Birch Society filmstrips. Now this kind of extremism is being broadcast daily to an audience of millions.

I mean, look at the thing. Right at its root, he has Woodrow Wilson -- one of the more authoritarian presidents in our history. In fact, he was most noted for his implementation of the Sedition Act of 1918, which was later repealed after Wilson-era abuses.

What was the purpose of the Sedition Act? Why, to outlaw revolutionaries and put them in jail.

That's some root of the "Tree of Revolution" there.

But then, there's nothing particularly coherent about Beck's guilt-by-association game here. It's just whatever names he can throw up around Barack Obama's name to make the president appear like he's surrounded by a bunch of communist radicals, rather than the Wall Street Establishmentarians he in reality is surrounded by.

Only on Planet Beck.

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