"I played a role…in helping tear the country apart," Glenn Beck confessed Tuesday to Fox News host Megyn Kelly (The Kelly Files, 1/21/14). Beck was lamenting the divisiveness of his Fox News show (Glenn Beck, 1/2009-4/2011.)
Indeed. Beck has much to regret, but not just from his time at Fox. There's also years of talk radio broadcasts, and a stint at CNN's Headline News–not to mention his work at his current outlet, The Blaze.
On his long-running syndicated radio show, Beck made a name for himself as a vicious foe of the Iraq War's critics, hoping on-air that Dennis Kucinich would burn to death and fantasizing about strangling Michael Moore with his bare hands (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10). Immigrant-bashing bigotry was another specialty, as when Beck listed the reasons why undocumented would want to come to the US (4/27/06): "One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country."
Any reel of low-lights from Beck's CNN years would have to include his warning that "Muslims will see the West through razor wire if things don't change" (Headline News, 9/5/06), as well as his question to to newly elected U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim: "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies" (FAIR Action Alert, 12/5/06).
During his time at Fox, Beck called Barack Obama "a racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people" (Fox & Friends, 8/28/09), fantasized about personally poisoning Nancy Pelosi and became the inspiration for a extremist, would-be mass murderer, who was captured after injuring two California Highway Patrol officers (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10).
Through the years, while remaining faithful to the standard hard-right politics of conservative talk radio–immigrant-bashing, bigotry, warmongering and Islamophobia–Beck has occasionally tried to sell himself as a uniter. Like when he hosted an special during his Fox days, You Are Not Alone (3/13/09), which he claimed was in the unifying spirit of "9/12"–a reference to the way Beck said everyone came together the day after the 2001 attacks. But the special was chock full of apocalyptic "us against them" scenarios. ("It seems like the voices of our leaders and special interests and the media [are] surrounding us," said Beck during the special. But "the truth is, they don’t surround us. We surround them. This is our country"–Extra!, 6/09.) In any case, Beck seemed to have have forgotten that his own warm feelings on September 12, 2001, turned quickly to loathing, as he admitted on his radio show on September 9, 2005: "You know it took me about a year to start hating the 9/11 victims' families?"
Beck's recent regrets have come with promises to be less divisive. He's made recent statements denouncing homophobia, for instance (Advocate.com, 1/21/14). But his words are belied by what happens at the media outlets he owns, Blaze TV and The Blaze website. One favored Blaze source is leading homophobe Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, whose statement blasting the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality ran unmediated on The Blaze (6/28/13).
Just yesterday, after the attorney general of Virginia announced he would not defend the state's same-sex marriage ban, Fred Lucas, The Blaze's White House correspondent, wrote an entire article based on ultra-conservative former US Attorney Joe diGenova's opinion that the AG action is "impeachment material."
What to make of all this? Just more Beck blather? Who knows, but it was amusing to see Beck suggesting on Thursday that his Fox interview had left the media "shocked" to find that he wasn't "some anti-gay, racist nutjob."
Easy, big guy–nobody went that far.