Monday, August 2, 2010

Words Have Meaning

Dana Milbank in yesterday’s Washington Post looked at Glenn Beck and his ranting and the people who actually listen to that crap.

Beck has prophesied darkly to his millions of followers that we are reaching “a point where the people will have exhausted all their options. When that happens, look out.” One night on Fox, discussing the case of a man who killed 10 people, Beck suggested such things were inevitable. “If you’re a conservative, you are called a racist, you want to starve children,” he said. “And every time they do speak out, they are shut down by political correctness. How do you not have those people turn into that guy?”

Here’s one idea: Stop encouraging them.

Glenn Beck is following the same trajectory of demagogues like Father Coughlin, so it’s predetermined that he will flame out and end up hustling gold bars on late-night TV, but in the meantime, you have people like Byron Williams taking him seriously.

Mr. Beck and his defenders will say that he’s not responsible for the reaction of a few nuts here and there; hey, he’s just a showman, a rodeo clown. But there are a lot of people who think the little people inside the tee-vee machine are real. They may be crazy, but they also own weapons and body armor.