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Time's ‘Mad Man’ cover

September 18, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Glenn Beck is the subject of a new cover piece in Time magazine: “Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?”

The article, written by David Von Drehle, softpedals or ignores Beck’s worst lies and offenses, although it does suggest that Beck is an opportunistic ranter/entertainer with a slippery notion of ethics.

Time’s treatment of one of Beck’s most infamous statements in recent months — his belief that Barack Obama is a racist — is mild.

Here’s how Von Drehle describes it:

“He is afraid that Obama ‘has a deep-seated hatred for white people’ — which doesn’t mean, he hastens to add, that he actually thinks ‘Obama doesn’t like white people.’”

But here is the statement Beck made on Fox & Friends on July 28:

“This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is.”

When Fox’s Brian Kilmeade noted that Obama has many white advisers, Beck continued:

“I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people. I’m saying he has a problem. He has a — this guy is, I believe, a racist.”

To summarize: Beck retreats from his claim that Obama hates white people, but immediately goes on to say he believes Obama is a racist.

You won’t find that confusing but inciting statement in the Time piece. Von Drehle instead chooses to downplay Beck’s accusation with a kinder, gentler treatment.

I wonder why Beck’s stated belief that Obama is a racist wasn’t a central theme in the Time piece. Are we to shrug it off as, oh, well, you know, goofy Glenn. You dial up a paranoid white man, you get paranoia ... ?

Beck has yet to recant the Obama remark or apologize for it. He could, of course. Beck has many fears; not all of them are entirely bogus. But maybe what he fears most is his own constituency.

Dozens and dozens of major advertisers have boycotted Beck’s Fox show. They’ve recognized Beck’s statement as indefensible. (I doubt it's because they're all that taken by the boycott organizer, Color of Change, which has some dubious endeavors in its past.)

Von Drehle gives scant mention to the boycott:

“A liberal group called Color of Change has organized an advertiser boycott of Beck’s TV show — great publicity for the group and a boon to Beck’s ratings.”

Reading the Time piece, you wouldn’t have a clue that the boycott was organized precisely because Beck has said he believes Obama is a racist.

Again, Beck — who these days claims to be an equal opportunity hater of both Democrats and Republicans — does spout some truths. His popularity on Fox, in part, attests to that.

But let’s see where we’re at:

A media figure who has labeled the president a racist is placed on the cover of Time. The magazine declines to explore that treacherous accusation at any depth. Instead, it is glossed over as “a boon to his ratings.”

Talk about bad for America.


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