May 26, 2010

I guess now we can just call Fox News Channel "the Militia Station."

Glenn Beck has been espousing his belief in "New World Order" conspiracy theories since at least 2007, when he was hosting Birch Society leaders on his CNN Headline News show.

But for the most part he's kept quiet about it since he moved over to Fox News, except for that little outburst last November.

But more recently, he began espousing his paranoiac beliefs back in April on his radio show, warning that "a New World Order" and "global government" are "being cobbled together today". He's intimated this on his Fox show, but never came out and just said it until yesterday.

On Tuesday, he promised us he was going to spend the next day showing us how "they" are building a "New World Order" because, ostensibly, "they're saying it."

So what is his evidence, finally revealed in all its breathless glory Wednesday? Well, mostly a lot of red-meat speeches for liberals. Nothing about global governance. Quite a bit about global cooperation and international law, that sort of thing.

Mostly you've gotta love Beck's recitation of things he supposedly got "right" -- such as his prediction that taxpayers would wind up "bailing out the unions", which he now claims just came true in the form of Sen. Bob Casey's "Create Jobs and Save Benefits" Act. But even Republicans are calling out this baldfaced lie.

It's like deja vu all over again: I felt like I was watching a militia leader from the 1990s all over again. It was all there: The thin, almost nonexistent evidence. The paranoiac hyper-interpretation of benign government activity. The repeated assurances to the audience that they were being proven right by the day's events. And the overarching belief that a Democratic president was planning to bring "America as we know it" to an end, crushed by a "New World Order" global government. The only thing missing was a reference to the United Nations.

If you want to see for yourselves, I've edited a couple of videos out of my archives for you to make the comparison and contrast all on your own. I think you'll be amazed by the similarity.

First, here's John Trochmann, leader of the Militia of Montana, giving his durable "Enemies: Foreign and Domestic" lecture, complete with Beck-like diagrams and charts, at a gathering in 1995:

Next, here's Col. James "Bo" Gritz -- at one time, David Duke's running mate on the 1992 Populist Party presidential ticket, and then himself the 1996 Populist Party presidential nominee -- giving a speech on the New World Order at a 1998 "Preparedness Expo" in Puyallup, WA:

At the time, Gritz, like Beck, was an apocalyptic Mormon convert who had been gradually drawn into far-right extremism. He is now a full-fledged member of a Christian Identity church.

I'm sure you'll see more than just a familial resemblance here.

Which raises the question: How did a supposedly "mainstream" news organization get into the business of militia-movement extremism?

Can you help us out?

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