It is now official; Glenn Beck is pushed out of the door of the Fox News. While many people are curious about the reasons Fox management decided to drop Beck and cancel his crazy and fervently charged show, I’ve always wondered why anyone would watch him and listen to his outlandish claims, preposterous accusations, and sensational agitation.
Beck made a career by channeling right wing anger and directing it at Muslims and liberals, blaming them for America’s economic and political troubles while turning blind eyes to the ill-fated policies of the Bush administration, much of which were cheered by Fox News, the organization that gave him the platform for launching his irresponsible accusations. Being the agitator he is Beck took the liberty to attack anyone who seemed useful for advancing his conspiratorial theories, and found in Barak Obama a convenient target as a point of convergence between his favorite target categories of “Muslim” and “liberal.” Ironically, Beck took the liberty to blame everyone except the neoconservatives who advanced the very short-sighted and divisive policies that brought the country to the brink of disaster in 2009.
There is no shortage of theories for Beck’s fall from grace. In an article that appeared in the Washington Post yesterday (April 6, 2010) under the title “Why Glenn Beck Lost it,” Dana Milbank attributed Fox decision to end Beck’s show to his increasingly anti-Semitic tone. Milbank points, for instance, to Beck’s accusation of George Soros, a Jewish billionaire and Holocaust survivor, of collaboration with the Nazis and to his assertion that Reform Judaism is “generally political in nature,” and as such resembling “radicalized Islam.” Beck anti-Semitic rants culminated in hosting Edward Griffin, who has been advancing a conspiracy theory that explains the functioning of the Federal Reserve Board through the anti-Semitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Milbank raises an important point that could help explain Fox’s decision. Beck’s anti-Semitic outbursts have probably rattled many in the American Jewish community. Beck’s main focus was not, however, Judaism and Jews, but Islam and Muslims. He spent a great deal of time warning of Islamic expansionism and the rise of the caliphate in the Middle East, and of the imminent and pending Islamic conquest of the world. Beck is obviously very good at playing with people’s emotions. His ability to attract a large audience made him an excellent outlet for the increasingly lucrative anti-Islam industry that propped him up. The barons of the Muslim bashing industry promoted Beck and provided him with a lot of materials and pundits, and who helped him advance his apocalyptic narrative of menacing Islamic caliphate that was getting closer by the day to overtake the whole world.
Beck’s anti-Semitic rants have undoubtedly contributed to his undoing, helped in exposing him for the bigot he is, and eroded his credibility. What ultimately brought him down and turned his audience away was the increased mismatch between his delusional assertions and the growing reality of the Middle Eastern society. It was the democratic revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt that made his outlandish claims about the rise of the new caliphate look ridiculous and unbelievable. For the first time the American people had a window into the dynamics and aspirations of the Middle East people and their courageous struggle for a democratic, peaceful, and progressive society. It helped show the religious tolerance among ordinary Egyptians that was hidden under the ugly face of the Mubarak dictatorship. And for the first time the lies of Muslim bashers like Glenn Beck, echoing the self-delusional claims of Middle Eastern dictators and extremist groups, were checked by a reality that no one could hide or spin. Despite the best efforts of Beck and other anti-Islam commentators at Fox news who tried to misrepresent and distort, people saw firsthand the true aspirations of the Arab and Muslim peoples in Tunisia and Egypt. Tahrir Square undid the oft-repeated theory that the people of the Middle East are busy at work resurrecting a new caliphate to dominate the world. The theory was crucial for the warmongers who have been eager to beat the war drums and insist that only by expending American assets and treasures overseas that America would be safe.
It was a moment of truth in Tahrir Square witnessed firsthand by the best of American reporters, and through them the American public, that has undone almost a decade worth of Beck’s lies and innuendos, and ended an untold number of useless hours spent by millions of Fox News viewers. This faith in the power of truth to undo lies is what makes us belief that the anti-Islam hysteria spread across the United States by the remaining barons of the Muslim bashing industry will meet a similar fate. The power of truth and its ability to defeat lies and distortions has been observed by my insightful people and has been proven repeatedly throughout human history.
In 2003, the late Senator Robert Byrd stood on the floor of the Senate among very few senators who were appalled by the lies senior Bush administration officials used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Realizing that he was a lone voice, Byrd made an eloquent statement reminding everyone that it will be a matter of time before the false foundation of war is uncovered. "Truth has a way of asserting itself,” Byrd stressed, “despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually."
As to the question of what made Glenn Beck fall out of grace, the answer must be found in the simple, beautiful, and mystical thing known affectionately by most people as the TRUTH!
Dr. Louay Safi writes and lectures on issues relating to Islam and the West, democracy, human rights, leadership, and world peace. He is a strong advocate of human rights. His commentaries are available at http://louaysafi.com.