Although we've already addressed the role that the sort of fear-mongering and conspiratorial thinking that Beck traffics in plays in legitimizing the world views of persons like cop-killer Richard Poplawski, Boehlert identifies an even more explicit connection between Beck, Fox News, and Poplawski.
We learned that Poplawski hosted his own (failed) Internet radio show and that he visited the website of 9-11 conspiracy backer Alex Jones, who has been hyping the threat of a totalitarian world government for years. More recently, Jones has been warning listeners like Poplawski about The Obama Deception (that's the name of Jones' new documentary DVD) and how President Obama is bound to destroy America.Boehlert goes on to note that the sort of radical propaganda about the end of America being promoted on Fox News on a daily basis is "unprecedented in the history of American television" and that although Beck finally got around to debunking the notion of FEMA concentration camps this week, weeks ago Poplawski had uploaded footage at the white nationalist forum Stormfront of Beck referencing the camps. Dave Neiwert has more on this.
Jones might be a "freak," but he has recently been embraced -- and mainstreamed -- by Fox News, as part of the news channel's unprecedented drive to push radical propaganda warning of America's democratic demise under the new president.
During a March 18 webcast of FoxNews.com's proudly paranoid "Freedom Watch," Andrew Napolitano introduced a segment about "what the government has done to take your liberty and your property away." And with that, he welcomed onto the show "the one, the only, the great Alex Jones," who began ranting about "exposing" the New World Order and the threat posed by an emerging "global government."
"I appreciate what you're exposing," Napolitano assured his guest.
Waving around a copy of his Obama Deception, Jones warned Fox News webcast viewers about Obama's "agenda" for "gun confiscation" and the new president's plan to "bring in total police-state control" to America.
Jones also noted with excitement that Fox News' Glenn Beck had recently begun warning about the looming New World Order on his show, just like Jones had for years. "It is great!" cheered the conspiracist. (Like Jones, Beck recently warned viewers that "the Second Amendment is under fire.") Concluding the interview, Fox News' Napolitano announced "it's absolutely been a pleasure" listening to Jones' insights.
This is a classic example of how "the Transmission Belt", by which far-right ideas are borne into the mainstream of American political discourse, actually works -- "how stuff gets essentially a trial run in ... the far right, and the messages will get refined, and then they'll be picked up by these intermediary groups and individuals, and refined some more, and then there'll be a buzz that's created, and then that gets media attention in the mainstream press."Although he amply makes his case that Fox is giving voice to the extremism of the militia/survivalist movement, Boehlert did not even mention that Beck brought on one of the most militia (and crazy) sounding members of Congress - Michele Bachmann - on his show to discuss her belief that the US is preparing to get on board with a One World currency (an obvious step on the road to a New World Order.) That's the same Bachmann who called for Democrats to be investigated for anti-Americanism; told her constituents, that in response to a carbon cap-and-trade plan, she wants them "armed and dangerous" in preparation for a revolution; and, most recently, said that the Serve America Act could create American re-education camps.
It's important to point out the relationship between the mainstream media and the far right in these situations, especially for unstable and violent actors like Poplawski: Typically, full-on subscribers to extremist beliefs view mainstream conservatives with distaste and distrust, since they believe them to be weak-kneed sellouts. They instead tend to trust the Joneses and the John Trochmanns and Lew Rockwells and Ron Pauls first.
So when the memes regarding "suppressed knowledge" that these extremists organize around suddenly appear in the mainstream media -- in places like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs' and Sean Hannity's cable-network shows -- it has a real amplifying effect: Not only is it final and consummate confirmation of their beliefs in these conspiracy theories, but it induces an extreme apocalypticism, a fear that things must be even worse than they suspected.
That's why Poplawski posted that Beck video on FEMA camps: If even the mainstream media were reporting it, then you know it had to be coming.
And even after Beck featured a segment debunking FEMA concentration camps Monday, he immediately followed that by saying that there is no need to believe stuff like that because there is plenty of real conspiracy out there to get worked up about. Which was his way of introducing the next segment, a segment about State Dept. Legal Adviser nominee Harold Koh being a threat to democracy. So, basically, Beck used the debunking of FEMA concentration camps to lend credibility to a different conspiracy theory - based on a fabrication - which still promotes the idea that because of Obama America is rapidly heading towards losing its sovereignity to one world government.
Boehlert concludes his column by noting how similar the reasons Jim Adkisson gave for wanting to kill "liberals" are to the ideas that Beck promotes on his show regularly.
I hope to be finished reading Dave Neiwert's The Eliminationists by the end of next week and to have it reviewed soon after, but until then, a good portion of the book is currently available at Google books.