Austin (highverbalfan) wrote,

...I hate BS.

 This was from a few months ago, during the hullabaloo surrounding the not-Ground Zero not-Mosque.  My friend Cassie posted a link
( in which the Daily Show showed Beck criticizing Imam Rauf for making statements about American foreign policy—statements that Beck himself had made a few months before.  Niiiiiiiice.

Brandon, who will likely become a regular on these updates, jumped to Beck's defense.  Commence the headdesking.

The first part is about Beck's idiocy; the second part is more about Brandon's.

Brandon S: Before you get to [implied [sic] throughout, btw] excited about Glenn's statements you need to listen to both of his broadcast first. Also, Glenn is the first big name from the conservitive side to defend the right to build the mosque... I wasn't trying to upset you Cassie, I was only stating that John had taken him out of context.

Cassie F: Oh, I'm not upset. Glenn Beck just invokes extreme reactions from me.

BS: May I ask why?

Charles A: Here's the thing with conservative talk radio hosts, whether it's Glenn, Rush, Hannity, whoever: they bring up some criticisms that are totally valid, and they say a lot of things that are perfectly reasonable (they HAVE to; you can't talk three hours of total insanity every single day), but they also say lots of things that are completely ridiculous and utterly asinine. To regular listeners, the sane and reasonable things lend credence to the insane things and give them more legitimacy than they deserve. The non-fans, on the other hand, only see/hear the ridiculous clips that get picked up by The Daily Show (or HuffPo, or Olbermann) for mocking and dissection... and since the stream of these clips seems to be constant, they assume that these guys talk nothing BUT nonsense. Reality, as always, lies somewhere between.

So when the anti-Glen side says "He's talking nonsense!" and the pro-Glenn side gets defensive and retorts "He was taken out of context!" they're often both right. There's a lot of confirmation bias going on, on both sides. Beck in particular is an easy target; as a self-described "rodeo clown," his over-the-top theatricality is entertaining for his fans, but comes off as insincere and grating to his detractors, and his reliance on props and schtick often makes for easy mockery.

CA: Other things that are frustrating about Beck in particular, from the perspective of non-fans: In a matter of minutes, he makes a half-dozen assertions that can take hours to properly debunk. By putting photos and words together on his chalkboard, he instantly creates associations that his rickety chains of random connections can rarely actually support; this is a big frustration, since the images and implications have more impact than his poor arguments, and stick in viewers' memories long after his actual words fade. He often claims that he's "just asking questions," but this is deceiving: by providing certain pieces of information and then asking leading and rhetorical questions, he's making clear implications. And since viewers *seem* to arrive at those implied conclusions on their own, those conclusions seem self-evident and more trustworthy than if Glenn had simply told them what he thought.

Similarly, he often will say one thing while implying another. His "support" for the Cordoba Center is a good example. On his 8/10 show, he conditionally supports their legal right to build the mosque: "I still thought, because of that pesky Constitution, you should be able to build a mosque there" and "So, assuming that this isn't a radicalized mosque, there's no criminal or terrorist-related activity in it — and there's an update on that, standby — you should be able to build a mosque." So one could claim, as Brandon and Beck have, that Beck is defending the mosque...except that everything else he says implies the opposite. Immediately after making that statement, he regretfully apologizes for it: " should be able to build a mosque. And I'm sorry, that's not popular, but that's the way it is. We're America." Other quotes from that same show:

"I don't want the mosque being built there. I think it is, I think — it's a slap across the face."

"So my question has been: How does building a mosque right next to the place where radical Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans, how does that help improve the negative perception? [I'm] Not really seeing the up-side there, especially — especially — reopening the scar because it comes as a slap in the face..."

"So, despite the blatant disregard for the sensitivity of the mosque's location and despite the obvious slap in the face of the dedication date…"

"...building a mosque next to Ground Zero, having Rauf head it up — yes, there he is — is bad idea for Muslims. This doesn't help any way, shape or form. Common sense tells you, common sense tells you this doesn't work."

Hardly supportive statements. Furthermore, his defense of their right to build was on the condition that it wasn't a radical establishment. Since then he says things like "I've had a different opinion than everyone else... But things have changed" and "I read about the imam for the proposed center, Feisal Abdul-Rauf. Love this cat. This is where the line has officially been crossed," and spends the episode implying that Feisal is connected to terrorists, the clear implication is that any support he had for the center has been withdrawn.

These are all really effective tools of rhetoric, because 1) they let him communicate something very clear while still giving himself "I never actually said that" and "I'm just being quoted out of context" cover, and 2) the viewer makes the conclusions themselves and Beck fades into the background. This kind of subtle manipulation is just basic propaganda/Psych 101 stuff, but Glenn is really good at it—and he comes out with so much of it that it's completely overwhelming (whether overwhelmingly convincing or too overwhelming to try debunking depends on your perspective).

That's why so many of us have a negative reaction to Beck and his supporters.

BS: To support one's cause and one's right is two different things. I do not support their cause, and I also feel it is a slap in the face, but do support their right to open this mosque on 9-11. Open it on another day is all I ask of the Imam. Even if they are doing this for the most honorable of reasons I feel they should change the date. This, to me, is as tasteless as someone opening a trench coat and gun store next to Columbine on the tenth anniversary of the shootings. Or, if someone wanted to open a fertilizer and diesel depot next to the Murrah building on it's ten year anniversary. If you really wanted to build bridges, you take others feelings into account.

CF: While I agree somewhat with what you're saying, I do want to point out that two blocks and around a corner does not equal "next to." This is an important distinction that's getting lost in all the emotion surrounding this discussion.

BS: The location is not a problem for me, it's the date. I do not want them to change anything but that. And I do not want any politicians getting envolved.

CF: I'm not saying you personally have a problem with the location, but your examples of opening particular stores "next to" tragic locations is flawed because the Cordoba isn't going to be "next to" Ground Zero. It's an important distinction that very few people are choosing to make.

BS: Let me rephrase then. If they opened any of these in the general area it would still be just as tasteless.

CF: Then we get into how far outside the "general area" it has to be before it's deemed tasteful or not offensive. I don't see how it's tasteless when it won't be even be viewable from Ground Zero, but I realize I'm in the minority.

BS: Again, the fact that it can or can't be seen is not what is tasteless, it's opening on that date.

CF: Let me put it like this: I'm not speaking about what YOU find offensive or tasteless personally. I'm talking about the overall picture, as in what I am seeing from a wide audience of people, and the issues I have with that. THAT ties into the examples you attempted to make, which is why I corrected your statements to begin with.The opening date is a whole other issue, and one I haven't fully formed an opinion on yet, but the facts surrounding the actual location of the center are irrefutable, and it's those facts I am attempting to get people - not YOU, just people in general - to take into account. If you'd never made the examples you did, we probably wouldn't even have needed to make the last several posts.

Does that make my position more clear?

BS: I also am trying to get the point across to other people. I realize that the location has been a lot if not most of the focus. So, I understand your point, and like you, am trying to help others realize that a Mosque in and of itself is not offensive regardless of where it is.

CA: Again, to quote Beck himself: "So, despite the blatant disregard for the sensitivity of the mosque's location and despite the obvious slap in the face of the dedication date, there was — for a while, they were talking about they were going to open it on 9-11-01." (That's what he said, although I'm assuming he meant 9-11-11.)

"For a while" is a clear indication that it's changed, it's not happening anymore. So, even according to Beck, there's IS no opening date to oppose.

BTW, that opening date was never official anyway: the only "talking about it" that was done was a comment months ago by the Imam's wife, Daisy Khan, who said they "plan to announce the groundbreaking later this year, possibly to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the attacks." So it was *possible* that they'd make an *announcement* about groundbreaking on that date. Nothing definite, and not a dedication or opening. The whole thing was (surprise) blown way out of proportion.

I agree with the broader point that it would be disrespectful to exploit 9/11 for purely political ends. It would be like, I dunno, someone trying to organize a 9/12 project or something.


[OH MY GOD HE'S SUCH A MORON.  Using logic with this guy is like showing a dog a magic trick.]

BS: If trying to get the overall feeling that we as Americans had in the days following 9-11 is a bad thing and exploiting 9-11 then I'm all for it. I for one am tiered of all of the childish politics, name calling, and gottcha statements. All I know is for one time in my life America was united regardless of race, religion, age, creed, class, or least importantly, party. If someone can try and grab some of that and grow it then I'm all for it.
CA: Yay! Now that we all agree that building the Muslim cultural center (it's not a mosque) in the former Burlington Coat Factory building (which isn't at Ground Zero) is a totally cool venture (because it won't be dedicated on 9-11-11 and never was going to be), we can happily argue tangents.

My issue with the 9-12 Project is that it's predicated on two lies: 1) that America was united in goodwill on 9-12-01, and 2) that it's a non-political movement. Yes, on the day after the September 11th attacks, Americans WERE united in a way we'd never experienced: we were united in confusion, fear, anger, mourning, and an all-consuming need to buy duct tape. I don't see anything noble in trying gloss over that fact, or to try and retroactively glamorize it as a simple upwelling of charity and goodwill. We bonded together because an external threat overshadowed our internal differences. We didn't overcome any of those differences—we briefly ignored them in the face of danger and catastrophe. Ignoring our internal disputes is important in a crisis, but it does nothing to reconcile those disputes or help craft policy. If we're going to reach workable compromises on divisive issues, we need to be able to discuss things with openness, calmness, and rationality—none of which were anywhere to be found on 9-12.

On the official facebook page for the 9-12 Project, Beck (or, most likely, someone who runs it for him) posts links about illegal immigration and "Obamacare"; the project's website features videos about taxation, and has a large photo gallery of protesters with signs supporting Joe Wilson and opposing Marxism. These issues are purely political and have nothing to do with the events of 9-11 or the national mood on 9-12. Using the memory of 9-11 in this way is a cheap political ploy, a manipulation of peoples' patriotic urges to create a fiction-based nostalgia—which only foments an angry dissatisfaction when our current political climate doesn't match the warm and fuzzy feelings of that misremembered day.

BS: What I learned from 9-12 and the weeks that followed was that Americans could put aside their differences and not worry about the smaller things that generally pull us apart. It is obvious that we as a nation have lost that. If we can recapture that then maybe we can go foward and work on the smaller issues.

As far as the web site, Glenn has admittedly not had anything to do with the web site in a while now and at one point admonished the members on it for what they had turned it into and begged them to stop.

Regardless, I will not change your mind, and do not even know why this is even brought up. Yes I am a fan of Beck. Yes I understand that by me having the views I have and admitting that I am a fan of his will do nothing but bring attacks and funny little quips out of nowhere. I except that. But for once, it would be nice to complete a conversation on topic. It seemed that we actually agreed on most points about the mosque issue. But I should know better. That being said, hell the original topic was not even the mosque, just the fact that again another person was taken out of context and no one seems to care, unless it happens to someone you like. You speak of compromise to work on divisive issues calmly and rationally. Kind of hard to do if all we try to do is go oh yea, well what about this, or well this guy said this one time on his show. How about when people who generally don't agree do, we try to build off of that and see where it gets us. You might be suprised. Anyway, thanks for the input as always.

CA: You don't know why Beck was brought up? You wrote: "...I am interested in what causes such an adverse reaction. I was only trying to understand how he, or anyone for that matter, can cause such passion in for and against him." All I did was explain, per your curiosity, why a lot of people take issue with him. That's why it was brought up. At no point did I attack you or anyone else for liking him.

Or, if your question is why the 9-12 Project was brought up, it was an admitted tangent that I brought up after the main topic seemed resolved; I was using it to highlight what I see as an example of hypocrisy by Beck. which related back to your question of why people disliked him.

As to your original claim that he was quoted out of context—that charge is only partially valid. Beck used the show to make the case that the Feisal is not, as he claims, a moderate Muslim. He uses four main arguments to support his case (full transcript here: watch here:

A) Feisal is a member of an organization that gave money to another organization that, along with a number of other organizations, organized a flotilla—and some of those *other* organizations (the ones he's not involved with) are supported by OTHER organizations, and that one of THOSE organizations is Hamas.

B) Feisal claims that US foreign policy contributed to 9/11.

C) Feisal employed another Imam who makes anti-semetic comments.

D) Feisal won't publicly condemn Hamas.

Beck is asserting that Feisal might be a radical because of reasons A, B, C, and D. True, the Daily Show didn't show reasons A, C, or D, so they didn't present his argument in it's entirety. But did they misrepresent the argument that he was making, or use the clip in a misleading way? I don't think they did. Beck *did* cite that quote as evidence of a non-moderate viewpoint: not the only piece of evidence, no, but an important one. Stewart & co. merely pointed out Beck's inconsistency for criticizing statements that were identical to ones he'd made himself. When one repeatedly demonstrates that kind of inconsistency—as Beck has—it casts doubt on his other assertions, and should make one examine his arguments more carefully. And trying to find compromise or agreement with someone whose positions are so mutable and seemingly opportunistic feels like an exercise in futility.

Anyway, changing minds isn't the point of any of this: it's about trying to clearly explain one's position to someone who doesn't share it. Misrepresenting the opposition does a disservice to everyone, and it's important to listen to what people *actually* say, not just what other people *tell* you they say. That's why I watch as much Fox News as I do.

BS: Actually Charles, all of that was on a different post. Cassie, love you girl. I am just ready for people to stand up for anyone whom is being lied about. I try to correct things I know to be wrong regardless of if I like the person in which the falsehoods are about. Like I have told Cindy, I would really like for us to sit down one day and pick your brain. I'm done and did not mean to start anything that was this passionate. Untill next time.

CA: All of *what* was on a different post? I've only quoted from your post in this thread (comment #15, specifically), and the topic I was addressing—Glenn supposedly being quoted out-of-context by the Daily Show—is also from this thread. It's all relevant to the topics that have been raised, so I'm not sure what you mean when you dismiss my response as being 'on another post.'

Believe it or not, I used to be a major dittohead; up until the end of high school, I listened enthusiastically to El Rushbo almost every day. That's not the case anymore, obviously, although I'll still tune in occasionally if I'm not at work. Same with Hannity and the rest. I'm still curious what they have to say, even if I disagree with many of their conclusions.
BS: The reason you gave for bringing up Beck. I did not ask that on this post. So you were not on topic.

BS: Charles, sorry. I'm on pain meds right now and i fuxked up on that. So I'm the dumbass.


Yes, Brandon.  Yes you are.  You've finally made a statement with which I fully agree.

I'll grant that the pain pills might be a legit excuse for that one comment, but what's his excuse for all the others?
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