Glenn Beck Shares a Tides Foundation Obsession With Alleged Mass Murder Plotter

Web-based outlets like Salon (7/21/10) and Talking Points Memo (7/21/10) have picked up on the connection–apparently first pointed out by dagblog (7/21/10)– between shooting suspect Byron Williams and Fox News host Glenn Beck. But to judge from a Nexis search, traditional media have ignored the story almost completely. (One exception, found via Facebook: local CBS station KPIX, 7/21/10.)

Arrested in Oakland after he was wounded in a shootout, Williams is said by police to have had both a hefty arsenal and plans to commit mass murder at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation. The latter organization, a group that supports environmental and social justice causes (including, in the past, FAIR), is not exactly a household name–so what would make a Tim McVeigh wannabe fixate on it?

Williams’ mother said he followed TV news and was upset at “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” (SF Chronicle, 7/19/10). We don’t know what specifically he watched, but his reported obsessions parallel those of Glenn Beck, who gives Tides a prominent position in those conspiracy flowcharts that he routinely presents to his audience as a threat to all that is good.

On his August 12, 2009, radio show, Beck portrayed the group as the force behind archnemesis Van Jones:

The Tides Foundation, they started laying the groundwork on this back during the Reagan administration. They have been assembling an army that we have laughed at and have dismissed as a bunch of community organizers.

Tides became a regular part of Beck’s cast of sinister characters. On one radio broadcast (9/29/09), he described the foundation as being “behind it all…involved in the nasty of the nastiest.”

Perhaps Beck’s most recent attack on Tides came earlier this month, on his July 13 Fox show. Here’s TPM‘s description:

And most recently, on July 13, Beck was railing against the former New Black Panther Party Chairman Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammad, who he showed in a clip saying: “Why kill the babies? They’re just little innocent blue-eyed babies. (Expletive), they’re going to grow up one day to rule your babies. Kill them now.”

Beck then tied this to Tides, saying that liberal groups “are using failing capitalism to destroy it. They’re using the churches through social justice. The media — do I have to explain that one? This is what progressives and all power-seekers do. They find something vulnerable. They latch on to it. They exploit it for power.”

He added that Tides “infiltrated” the education system, the media, and capitalism during the Reagan administration, but indicated that now that they’re in power, liberal groups will not be able to disavow people like Muhammad: “When they are the ones holding the guns, sometimes it is hard to stop those who said, ‘Yes, we can kill white babies.'”

It’s hard to say whether or not Beck believes that the Tides Foundation is the linchpin of a sinister plot that’s going to lead, if left unchecked, to the extermination of white children. Thanks to his work, though, it’s a good bet that a lot of his most fervent fans believe precisely that.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.