R.I.P. Civil Discourse. We hardly knew ye. ::pours malt beverage on curb::
On his daily radio and television shows, Glenn Beck has elevated once-obscure conservative thinkers onto best-seller lists. Recently, he has elevated a 78-year-old liberal academic to celebrity of a different sort, in a way that some say is endangering her life.
On Jan. 5, 2010, Glenn Beck delivered one of several attacks on Richard Cloward, now deceased, and his wife and collaborator, Frances Fox Piven, who wrote about ending poverty.
Frances Fox Piven, a City University of New York professor, has been a primary character in Mr. Beck’s warnings about a progressive take-down of America. Ms. Piven, Mr. Beck says, is responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.” Her name has become a kind of shorthand for “enemy” on Mr. Beck’s Fox News Channel program, which is watched by more than 2 million people, and on one of his Web sites, The Blaze. This week, Mr. Beck suggested on television that she was an enemy of the Constitution.
She must be stopped before she destroys these united states! Seize her!
Except the basis for his crazy is an article written by Piven and her husband back in 1966:
The interest in Ms. Piven is rooted in an article she wrote with her husband, Richard Cloward, in 1966. The article, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” proposed that if people overwhelmed the welfare rolls, fiscal and political stress on the system could force reform and give rise to changes like a guaranteed income. By drawing attention to the topic, the proposal “had a big impact” even though it was not enacted, Ms. Piven said. “A lot of people got the money that they desperately needed to survive,” she said. Glenn Beck has turned his crazylight on and is focusing it on Piven, accusing her of “intentionally trying to collapse the economic system” and linking The accusation are, of coursed, based upon a book Piven wrote 45 years ago.
Now, you may recall that Beck seemed to have turn a rhetorical corner after Obama’s speech at the memorial in Tucson (“This is probably the best speech he has ever given, and with all sincerity, thank you Mr. President, for becoming the president of the United States of America”). You may also recall that Roger Ailes recently told Fox to tone it down and make arguments with less heated rhetoric.
Well, that’s, like, sooooo last week:
In response, a liberal nonprofit group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, wrote to the chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes, on Thursday to ask him to put a stop to Mr. Beck’s “false accusations” about Ms. Piven.
“Mr. Beck is putting Professor Piven in actual physical danger of a violent response,” the group wrote.
Fox News disagrees. Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president, said Friday that Mr. Beck would not be ordered to stop talking about Ms. Piven on television. He said Mr. Beck had quoted her accurately and had never threatened her.
“ ‘The Glenn Beck Program,’ probably above and beyond any on television, has denounced violence repeatedly,” Mr. Cheatwood said.
He said he had no knowledge of the threats against Ms. Piven, and noted that The Blaze was operated independently of Fox News.
Oh good. As long as Beck’s show has “denounced violence repeatedly” (wink wink, nudge nudge), Beck should feel free to continue to stir up the wrath of his listeners. That’s just good common sense.
Looks like we have another Dr. Tiller situation on our hands except now, we don’t have Olbermann’s bombastic reporting to look forward to on Monday.1
Welcome to the Terrordome.
1 Interesting discussion going on over at Odd Time Signatures (f/k/a Drums N Whistles) about an opportunity for Olbermann to start some sort of Internet news network. I’m all for it. Cable network news is sooooo 5 years ago.
[cross-posted here at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]