Glenn Beck Spreading Bircher Conspiracy Theories

Glenn Beck has previously showed some interest in the John Birch Society, but he is now increasingly sounding like he is one of them. David Frumm, who is seriously interested in restoring the credibility of conservatism, asks What is Going On At Fox News? He is shocked by this comment from Beck in which he sounds like a Bircher by imagining a conspiracy with Obama planning a totalitarian takeover:

We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest dreams. I have to tell you: I’m doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk – these FEMA camps – I’m tired of hearing about them – you know about them? –  I wanted to debunk them. We’ve now for several days done research on them.  I can’t debunk them! If you trust our government, it’s fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be heading towards a totalitarian state: look out. Buckle up. There’s something going on in our country … that ain’t good.

Frumm also reports that Beck is distributing Bircher literature:

The audience for Beck’s Friday night special were each given copies of two books. One of them was Cleon Skousen’s Five Thousand Year Leap. Skousen, who died in 2006, is one of the legendary cranks of the conservative world, a John Bircher, a grand fantasist of theories about secret conspiracies between capitalists and communists to impose a one-world government under the control of David Rockefeller.

There’s always been a market for this junk of course. Once that market was reached via mimeographed newsletters. Now it’s being tapped by Fox News.

It is always good to see when some conservatives are repulsed by the extremism dominating the conservative movement. Unfortunately there are certain to be many other conservatives defending Beck.


  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Did I understand this correctly?

    I have always known Glenn Beck was a whack job, but I had not thought he was insane enough to stoke the ‘FEMA is a paramilitary, quasi-fascist UN agency running concentration camps to quash patriotic American resistance’ fires.

    This is far lower than Rush. I half think Beck is trying to stir someone up to do something really bad, lately.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    You never know what is in these people’s minds. I often suspect that people like Beck and Limbaugh intentionally say extreme things which they might not necessarily believe to excite their audiences and get more publicity. We can only respond to the insanity they say, with no way to know for sure if they realize how crazy the things they say are.

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I have to agree with that, yes. I think Beck is really cutting it very close to the bone lately. I know that ‘any press is good press’ and that there will be people who, when they see this written here or in David Frum’s column or broadcast on the news, will watch Beck’s show just to see if he says something as crazy. At the same time, I’m not sure how wise it is to speak so casually of armed revolution. Still, I suppose if some genuine whacko kills someone or blows something up and says ‘I did it because I really knew Glenn Beck wanted me to do it’ then THAT is publicity too.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    From their perspective, someone like Beck has to compete with people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter for attention. This leads each to sound even more insane.

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I see your point here. I used to think Coulter had cornered the market on ‘most wildly out of her head in some bizarre fantasy world’, but clearly Beck has found a way to top her. 🙂

  6. 6
    Alleen says:

    What sponsors does Beck have for his show?
    I can’t imagine any company wanting to be associated with this type of content.

    Survivalist equipment?  power generators?  Boner pills and Rogaine? 

  7. 7
    Eclectic Radical says:

    It’s strange just what advertisers want to be associated with what content, Alleen. Watch MSNBC’ commercials during Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow’s shows: a scary array of right wing commercials abound, despite the fact you are watching liberal opinion shows.

    Cable networks usually line up sponsors for the network and run them on whatever schedule they decide to run them, rather on a show by show basis. In addition, cable providers frequently add additional local advertising.

  8. 8
    nomoreGOP says:

    ok.. watching beck right now and he just cant stop talking about some “mob rule” in order to DEFEND the bonuses that AIG is giving out… and who does he have on to agree with his crazyness? Michelle Malkin. WTF IS GOING ON???????????

    Yes. let me repeat.. “Mob Rule” in Washington and Michelle Malkin is the expert.

    Canada here I come. eh?

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Giving opposing opinions is one thing. I can see defending the bonuses with arguments such as honoring contracts or arguing they are necessary to retain quality people. These things can be argued both ways.

    It is a different story when he talks about Bircher conspiracy theories. I didn’t see the discussion of mob rule, but it sounds like this falls more in the category of his nuttier talk as opposed to saner discussion of opposing opinions.

  10. 10
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Re: Michelle Malkin’s appearance on Beck’s show as an ‘expert’ guest…

    This is the kind of circular, incestuous deception which Fox thrives on. Michelle Malkin is a content-provider for Fox News, so she clearly must be an expert when she appears on the opinion show that run on the station. In turn, appearing on Beck or Hannity as an ‘expert’ means she must be qualified to speak with authority in her opinion segments during Fox’s regular news broadcasting over the course of the day.

    It actually gets much worse than this. They also engage in subtle (or not-so-subtle) games of false equivalence. During the presidential race, Paul Krugman made an appearance on Neil Cavuto… Krugman, of course, is a PHD and a Nobel prize winner… to talk about the economy. Opposite Krugman was a right-wing talk radio pundit from a radio station in Colorado with no post-graduate education at all and certainly no expertise on the economy. Yet they were presented as equivalent experts, with the talk-radio jerk’s expertise being given the same credence as Krugman’s.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    But isn’t Michelle Malkin an expert on right wing talking points? 🙂

  12. 12
    Eclectic Radical says:

    If that is the only standard by which we will grade Fox’s ‘experts’, then they all deserve to be on television and need a raise. 🙂

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Fox specializes in promoting right wing talking points. They do manage to bring in those best qualified to repeat right wing talking points.

  14. 14
    nomoreGOP says:

    well shit.. i write blogs.. i should give faux a call.. see when i can hang out with hannity or cavuto..

    and as for the false equivalence.. i couldnt agree more.. its ridiculous how they will down-play actual experts in a particular field, yet allow someone like MM 4 minutes of straight talk time with no interruptions..

    “fair and balanced” MY WHITE ASS

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