Glenn McCarthy Beck is Hurting America

The resignation of Van Jones is about more than Van Jones, more than Glenn Beck.  It is part of a concerted effort to neutralize progressive champions who are trying to fix the problems that are ripping this country apart.

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. -Martin Neimoeller

McCarthyism is the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence…The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries. -from that communist source, Wikipedia

The resignation of Van Jones last night is the culmination of a deeply disturbing pattern from the last several months. The spokespeople for the right have made it acceptable to spout hate-filled speech and unfounded accusations to the American public.  This must stop.

  • The recent wave began with the Teabaggers.  At first the media left pounced on the anti-tax tea parties with mockery and scorn.  Part of the strategy was to ignore their efforts and let the absurdity of these demonstrations undermine their own credibility.  Isn’t it funny that they didn’t realize they were calling themselves the perpetrators of lewd and offensive acts?  Funny, when it got to the point where “Teabagging the White House” was a rallying cry.  Funny.
  • Next came the Birthers, the group of “fringe” right-wing activists who refuse to accept President Obama’s birth certificate and legitimacy as President of the United States.  Those wingnuts, including prominent Members of Congress.
  • Next came the Deathers, the flank of the right claiming that health care reform will “kill granny.”  The leading Republican working on healthcare, my own Senator Grassley of Iowa, told seniors in Winterset that they had much to fear from coming healthcare reform.
  • Then came the healthcare town halls, which frankly disgust me.  Individuals around the country were encouraged to use intimidation and scare tactics to shut down discussion of reform.  To prevent any amount of dialogue to happen, which threatening physical violence at our elected officials.
  • Finally, after a week of taunting the left with racially provocative statements, Glenn Beck began attacking Van Jones.  Beck lead the media in an assault on his integrity, history and ability to serve in the White House.

And the Obama administration allowed Jones to become the first casualty of 21st century McCarthyism.  This is a pattern designed to take down progressive champions one by one.  And it must be stopped.

Although there is a concerted right-wing effort to prevent the left from passing much needed reform, one thing is for sure: Glenn Beck has become one of the loudest and most toxic spokespeople for 21st century McCarthyism.  And Fox News and his sponsors are profiting from his hate-mongering.  We need to hit them where it hurts: corporate profits.  Beck has already become toxic to over 50 sponsors through work of the Color of Change.  (This kind of campaign was pioneered by a blogger named Spocko and was highly effective in removing hate-talkers from the air in California two years ago.  This works.)

We must stand up for the vision Van championed, of a clean energy future that lifts all boats and we must stop companies from profiting from and legitimizing Glenn Beck’s poison.

41 Responses to “Glenn McCarthy Beck is Hurting America”

  1. 1 Michael Sep 6th, 2009 at 11:27 am

    So why not start having protests at Fox New Stations, corp offices of Beck’s sponsors and Beck’s home (he lives in New Canaan Connecticut behind a 6 ft wall)? In 2004, we had a “Shut-Up-A-Thon” at Fox HQ in NYC during the RNC. How about having those regularly during the taping of Beck’s show?

  2. 2 Morgan Sep 6th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    McCarthyism was a dark era in this nation’s history. Fear and hatred were used to take down political enemies. And companies that benefit from TV ratings love it when this kind of controversy gets stirred up.

    We’re not going to stand for this – we have a lot of power here, as liberals, as progressives, as climate activists. We are united as progressives working for change in this country, especially when it comes to a common enemy.

    The tactics of race-baiting are not valid in reasoned political debate. Glenn Beck can say whatever he wants, because this is America and we protect free speech. But I can call out companies for profiting from his hate speech, and I will.

  3. 3 Elizabeth Irvin Sep 6th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Juliana, I think you hit the nail on the head. The progressive movement needs to unite behind its champions. This isn’t just an environmental issue, even though I’m completely outraged that Van Jones, a man who’s done so much to create green jobs and pathways out of poverty, has been forced to resign. Van Jones will find other avenues to make awesome change happen as long as we stop Glenn Beck and his ilk in their tracks.

  4. 4 Morgan Sep 6th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Michael: I agree we need to be out there and visible. I’m not sure going after him directly is going to help anything. He thrives off that kind of direct controversy and it plays into his ‘victim’ identity.

    Hit him where it hurts. Protest companies that advertise with him.

  5. 5 Murph Sep 6th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Van Jones has been doing admirable work. His efforts to raise blacks out of poverty by creating green jobs is a brilliant idea. It’s too bad he became so divisive and negative. Unfortunately, calling people “assholes” and fomenting race tensions by blaming “white polluters” undermined his good works. I wish him luck in his original mission, and I hope he tones down the politically charged rhetoric and just focuses on the task at hand.

  6. 6 Green Bean Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Hear hear!! This is only the beginning and we progressives need to get off the couch and start rallying behind our leaders, behind our causes. This must be the last battle Glen Beck wins.

  7. 7 Ron Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Glen Beck is one of the Limbaugh ditto heads that gets his marching orders from the grand dragon of the extreme right. His message of hate and racism is disgusting.There is a small cadre of media right wingnuts that want this administration to fail and will try to make this happen at any cost, even if it means taking the nation down as well. It is extremely important that the Obama iniatitives succeed, in health care and in climate change. If these wingnuts cause these iniatives to fail, the demise of the American dream will be on them, not on Obama. The gloom and doom scenarios so gleefully broadcast by the right wing will bear the responsibility for this occurring; not the Obama administration who is trying everything possible to get us out of this mess. The un-restrained gurus of corporate greed (PACs, Corporate CEOs and their hired guns the Corporate Lobbyist) with their billions in payola to un-thinking and unconscionable senators and representatives, and their right wing media demi-god sidekicks will be the true architechs of America’s decline.

  8. 8 Mark Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Van Jones did not become divisive and negative. Beck created propaganda that fooled idiots like you into fearing non-existent communists. The fact that low-income minority communities are disproportionately affected by pollution is a fact. You are wrong and hurting America.

  9. 9 Matt Maiorana Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    This is truly unfortunate. Van Jones was an amazing leader who dedicated his life to those who have been disenfranchised. Instead of getting angry and inflammatory, he focused his message on positive change that helps everybody.

    We always say we hate politicians, but I think we secretly love them. Van wasn’t a politician. He said what he believed and got attacked by the Right Wing for it. He also got attacked for things he didn’t say.

    A sad day in American politics.

  10. 10 annackeenan Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Enough with all this ‘It’s a sad day’ rubbish, Matt!

    Get out there and blockade Fox News. Get every other TV/news channel to campaign against them.
    They’ve been undermining every piece of progress that has been pushed for in DC for the last 5, 10, 15 years!

    We can’t accept this… Van Jones resignation just gives more power to Glenn Beck. He’ll do it again to the next, and the next, and the next advisor. Time for all-out war, right? ;)

    Powershift and Van Jones both have integrity and truth on their side. Glenn Beck does not. Therefore, we will win – if we get off our butts and start kicking theirs.

  11. 11 Matthew C. Egan Sep 6th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    As long as Van’s words can be used to cast doubt, then Glenn Beck wins. Keep in mind that every word we post on the internet about Glenn Beck can now be found via a Google Search.

    Be careful not to say his name so frequently that we only fuel his engine of hate and misinformation. Going way back to Howard Stern as an example, more people listened to the Howard Stern radio show that DID NOT like Howard’s antics, than those that did. Shock sells, and we need to be cautious that in our response to Glenn Beck, we don’t make him millions of dollars in the process.

    If we cry out to Boycott his show, curious Google searchers who find our cry will tune into Glenn Beck just to see what the big deal is, thus making him and Fox News money. The ever present catch 22, say nothing, they win, say something, they win.

    We must break this cycle!

  12. 12 DChiotos Sep 6th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    We must keep working for justice, good paying jobs, and sustainability. Glen Beck and people like him will do anything to keep their ratings up and spout off corporate populism. They’ll say they’re being oppressed when they’re the group in power and will do / say anything (especially through ridiculous chalkboards…) to get the ratings they want. I hope that part of why Van Jones resigned is a personal disgust with how things operate in the boardrooms of Washington DC and he secretly wanted out of there. I hope that he’ll return to be the prominate and respectable leader that he was before he was appointed to the Green Jobs Advisor. I hope that he’ll keep pushing for justice and will march with us.

  13. 13 Aaron Petcoff Sep 6th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Anna! Brilliant! Best. Comment. Ever.

  14. 14 Russ Sep 6th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Anna….check your facts again. Fox News has only been on the air since 1996, making it hard for them to do this sort of stuf for 15 years. Don’t let this one incident cloud your judgement,be smart. Boycotting Fox will never work….Matthew Egan has it right. Just ignore the whole Beck situation. Plus isn’t getting violent against your beliefs of pascifism? Van Jones is still going to be in the decision making process in the Obama administration. Chances are he will be back with the Apollo Alliance helping to spend the stimulus money for green jobs, which is basically the job he just resigned from, he just won’t be in the President’s ear..

  15. 15 Matt Maiorana Sep 6th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I agree completely Anna, I don’t think there is any way we can let this stand. It’s now a question of who to target and how.

    Glenn Beck has a show BECAUSE he is inflammatory and small-minded, not in spite of it. The more the “liberals” are seen attacking Beck, the stronger the conservative fringe clings to him. It’s a difficult line to walk, one I think Color of Change has been doing walking brilliantly.

    The majority of this country looks for reasons NOT to agree with Beck because he is widely seen as a complete nut.

    As for Fox, it’s purely a capitalist organization – they exist because there is a market for disinformation and hate. There are definitely political intentions as well, but it’s the capitalist mantra that keeps it afloat.

    Overall, I think pushing Van’s fundamental message is the best ways to win public support.

    That said, I am all for protesting outside Fox as well – they outright lie to the American public and have openly admitted to it. No news show should be allowed to do that without severe consequences. A free, independent, and honest press is central to democracy. Fox news threatens that.

  16. 16 VinceP1974 Sep 6th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    “As for Fox, it’s purely a capitalist organization – they exist because there is a market for disinformation and hate.”

    If that’s the case then Fox would have no chance against CBS (National Guard Papers), NBC (Exploding Gas Tanks), CNN (Gulf War war crimes), MSNBC (24/7)

  17. 17 Pete Sep 6th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I don’t think this is the start of anything new, nor is it the first time it’s happened since the McCarthy era; this sort of thing has been in high-gear for the past ten years. The fact that such moderate figures as Van Jones are now being smeared is the inevitable result of the silence of so many mainstream environmental groups — groups like the Energy Action Coalition, Sierra Student Coalition, Greenpeace, etc.

    When corporate interests began labeling groups like the Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, Sea Shepherd, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and others as terrorists for using tactics that, while controversial, are supported by the general public, I didn’t hear anything from the groups that frequent this site, and most have tried to distance themselves. Corporate front groups got away with demonizing activists, not because of any good PR moves, but because mainstream organizations were complicit in their silence.

    Now they’re moving along and using the same old, tired lines against these groups and their

    (I’ll plug Will Potter’s blog, as a great reference on this subject; I’m going to guess he’ll have something on this soon.)

  18. 18 urban buddha Sep 6th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I was just thinking the same thing, did a search to see if anyone was on the same page as me, history always repeats

  19. 19 Ned Ford Sep 6th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Who is Glenn Beck anyway? I don’t listen to Fox. I met Van Jones last year,and he is a wonderful human being with a tremendously important message. There was a quote in the Dayton, Ohio paper the other day, regarding why Republicans don’t seem to be able to get many black candidates. The speaker said that if they want to gain political influence in the city they have to “show up and solve problems”. I think that if Glenn Beck had ever showed up and tried to solve problems anywhere, I would have heard of him. Knowing the kind of person Jones is, I know he will go on showing up, and go on solving problems. Maybe Beck heard the phrase I saw in the paper and was reading too fast. Maybe he thought the comment was “Do a Show and Cause Problems”. As they say in the old country, hatred is not a family value. It works for a few minutes, but then it stops working.

    We have a lot of work to do in this country. We have to rebuild an economy that is shattered by abandoning regulatory oversight, and abandoning common-sense energy policy. We have to recover from an excess of government by divisiveness. Those who stand on the sidelines and criticize without action will be judged by their inaction.

  20. 20 saint auburn Sep 6th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Best revenge = Van Jones on the 2016 ticket !!!

  21. 21 annackeenan Sep 6th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Ned – you’re totally right.

    In my anger, I think my earlier comment may have been made in haste. This isn’t so important. I think Mr Beck is clearly in the wrong, but the way to prove him wrong is to leave him in the ditch behind us, holding on to his proud capitalist values while we ‘progressives’ progress past.

    And to support the awesome campaign to un-fund his show. :)

    If we focus on truth and change and action we’ll win, cos we’ve got integrity on our side and he doesn’t.

  22. 22 Wilma Lee Steele Sep 7th, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I never felt so sad at anyone resigning as I did about Van Jones. I believe he is one of Obamas best apointments! The thought that some sorry week eyed coward like Glen Beck caused this makes me very angry!If Obama lets him by with this they will tear his cabinet apart like a pack of hyannas. Obama needs to put a stop to this!

  23. 23 Juliana Williams Sep 7th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I agree with you that there has been a deep divide between the mainstream environmental groups and the more radical groups, but I disagree with your statement that the general public supports all of their tactics. Given that Americans love their private property, I can’t buy that they support destruction of research labs and actions that put average people in danger. I also think you do a disservice in grouping Sea Shepherd and other groups with ELF and ALF. Nonviolent Civil disobedience has an important role in making change in this country, but I given the public’s reaction to nonviolent civil disobedience, I don’t expect that they support violent civil disobedience. That being said, the division between groups that engage in civil disobedience and those that do not has hurt the movement’s effectiveness.

  24. 24 Judy WV Sep 7th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    We can’t allow the far right to continue with these tactics- we highlight their hate and violent tactics they are using in West Virgina. The far right is literally using threats and violence to prevent Americans from using their 1st Amendment rights. Sean Hannity is there promoting the hate now.
    The far right is the real anti-American
    We poke them where ever we can poke them.

    Van Jones is an great man- with truth and charisma behind and we must stand behind him now. Van -continue to stand up we are with you.

  25. 25 joelsk44039 Sep 7th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I never felt so sad at anyone resigning as I did about Van Jones. I believe he is one of Obamas best apointments! The thought that some sorry week eyed coward like Glen Beck caused this makes me very angry!If Obama lets him by with this they will tear his cabinet apart like a pack of hyannas. Obama needs to put a stop to this!

    Actually, it’s “Glenn” and “hyennas.” And Beck’s no coward.

  26. 26 Bee Sep 7th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Matthew is right – I did find this through a Google news alert.

    While Van Jones is a good man America must be protected from Obabma’s policy of sneaking in Socialism one policy at a time. First banks, then the auto industry and now health care. We need people like Glen Beck to sound the warning bell and conservative Republicans like myself appreciate his willingness to say what he thinks and not edit himself to pander to the wishes of the liberal population.

    I expect no less from liberal commentators and encourage it.

    I trace my lineage to the Mayflower, have had ancestors fight in every American conflict and have had ancestors die in the Revolutionary War, WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War. I now have a nephew on the ground in Afghanistan. Every one of these brave souls fought for the principal of free speech, amongst other basic principals that should be enjoyed by everyone.

    Listen, disagree, but do not hamper anyone’s right to free speech.

  27. 27 Pete Sep 8th, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I stand behind the statement that the mainstream public supports property destruction, sabotage, liberations, and violence against persons. The tactics aren’t controversial; what’s controversial is what institutions and values that people are challenging when they use the tactics.

    The public supports the celebrators of the Boston Tea Party (an act of property destruction), they think it was right for Harriet Tubman to liberate people, and for Nelson Mandela to lead an armed revolt. We have a responsibility to stand by our principles and say that we support the same acts when they are done on behalf of animals and the environment.

    We should be honored that there are people who are willing to risk life and limb for those of another in our movements, and symbolize the courage and strength that we are strong enough to one day succeed. We owe them our support because they advance our shared political cause, to take advantage of the spotlight that they have created, and place them in a proper historical context.

  28. 28 kbond2y6 Sep 8th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    ya, just not sure van’s worth the fight – must be somebody else that has less background

  29. 29 Pandonodrim Sep 8th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Glen Beck cannot say “whatever he wants.” Freedom of Speech is not absolute, no freedom is. I can’t wait until one of these nut-jobs says something they can be nailed for. People must be held accountable and responsible for their actions. Those who are not do not deserve freedom.

    These people (like Beck) are purposefully spreading misinformation, lies, and deceit. They are about to go too far and I hope they do. We need such a resulting backlash to shut these idiots up, at least for a brief time.

  30. 30 joelsk44039 Sep 8th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    It’s painfully obvious that no one who writes on this blog has actually watched Glenn Beck. Your comments are a reflection of your politics and not a result of viewing his show.

    Very unfair.

  31. 31 VinceP1974 Sep 8th, 2009 at 6:35 pm


    Want to upset a Conservative, Tell a Lie.

    Want to upset a Leftist, Tell the truth

    All that was done to Van Jones was to tell the truth to the public

  32. 32 greenferret Sep 8th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Join the movement to draft Van Jones for governor of California in 2010!

  33. 33 Madeline Sep 17th, 2009 at 3:34 am

    A great Salon article that serves as a follow-up to the conversation here about how to discredit someone as factually incorrect and radical-passing-as-news as Mr. Beck.

  34. 34 Madeline Sep 17th, 2009 at 3:36 am

    And, I aree with Anna and Matt.

    There is a saying that states where you put your energy is what will manifest. I think that there is a fine balance between smart, targeted campaigns to expose, discredit, and defund Beck, but also to put the bulk of our energy in the vision we hope to create.

    So – let’s progress on past :).

  35. 35 DaleGribble Oct 7th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    So we are prepared to put media talking heads in a box. Olbermann fits in the same box, right?

  36. 36 Hears One To Beck 2 Oct 8th, 2009 at 2:14 am

    but my opinion they are all crooks only oboma is off his rocker. folks we have to stop this guy. think about this look at all the changes he’s traveled and pushed for in his first six months in office…look how little time he’s been at the office. listen to the stupid speech his wife mad about what oboma is going to make you do. our government is past its time and to tell you the truth the government may pass laws by Americans will stand up and tell the administration to stick it. We have power and if we all come to gather not even all our military’s combined can stop take a hard long look oboma and government administrators because if you folks dont start acting right it may be more then a tea party next time, remember it started with tea parties at one time also][\]


  37. 37 Jayne Ewalt Dec 28th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Has anyone listened to any political talk shows dating even back to the 40’s and 50’s?? Have any of you read any of the political cartoons in your news paper? Controversial political propaganda and banter has been around since Benjamin Franklin and the start of our nation….the sarcasm utilized by Glenn Beck can be outrageous at first glance…but most of it IS JEST and if not anything else MAKES AMERICA THINK…OooOooOo…a differing opinion?!!! O.M.G…..*freak out!!* Seriously America….people like Glenn Beck at least get your ire up…get you to think…get you to stand up and say “YES!!!!” or “HELL NO!!!” That’s the beauty of our country…the right for you to hear something and form your own opinion.
    If you disagree- then research the bills…research what our President is doing…back up your knowledge by building it up for yourselves rather than hearing it from friends, family, or school. Take charge and form your own opinions. Glenn Beck is entitled to his own opinion….the extreme and crazy things he proposes or does on his program are to get you…America… to think “what if” or “why” or “how come”. Other forms of government such as Communism would shut him down due to his ideas and controversy because they wouldn’t want the people to think: “Wow…that is a little extreme and I don’t think it’s true…but hey…what if that were the case? Why might he say this?” The beauty of America is that we can state our differing opinion…no matter how crazy or out-of-sight others may feel it is….and share it with others…discuss it…debate. Democracy and America promote thinking for yourself…
    Get over a differing opinion…listen….think…then form your own opinion and share it with others. But don’t shut someone down that is getting Americans to think despite the fact they are sitting in front of the television all day and buy into anything anyone will tell them about the government…good or bad.

  1. 1 A few more thoughts on On Van Jones’ Resignation, Glenn Beck, and Right Wing “populism” « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Sep 6th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
  2. 2 On Van Jones’ Resignation, Glenn Beck, and Right Wing “populism” « praxis makes perfect. Trackback on Sep 6th, 2009 at 7:36 pm
  3. 3 Keith Ellison Says Dems Should Not Cave, and A Look Back at Glenn “McCarthy” Beck’s Bigotry « she says all… Trackback on Sep 7th, 2009 at 4:14 am
  4. 4 The Understory » On Van Jones’ Resignation, Glenn Beck, and Right Wing “populism” Trackback on Sep 7th, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Comments are currently closed.

About Jonathan

Community Picks