By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
“Beck Crosses the Line Again” was the headline over a Jonathan Tobin Commentary article about Glenn Beck’s attack on Michael Bloomberg at the NRA convention. Tobin insisted that Beck “spoke in front of a large backdrop that photo-shopped Bloomberg’s face into what appears to be a famous photo of Adolf Hitler.”
Commentary describes itself as “the bold, influential voice of conservative opinion.”
“Beck owes Bloomberg an apology,” said Tobin. “So does the NRA. Just as important, they owe supporters of Second Amendment rights an apology for debasing the debate and undermining their cause in this manner.”
But the charge against Beck is demonstrably false.
Tobin wrote of the alleged Bloomberg-Nazi comparison that “This is more than merely unacceptable political commentary. It is an offense that diminishes the horror of the Holocaust and casts a dark light on both Beck and those who thought his little joke was funny.”
In fact, however, as noted by writer Moshe Phillips, “The problem is that Beck did not use a mock-up of Mayor Bloomberg giving the Nazi salute—the image was of Mayor Bloomberg in a famous pose of Vladimir Lenin.” He explained, “The image of Lenin that Glenn Beck used is so famous and iconic that statues have been made of it.”
Beck has posted both images on his site to prove his point. The Beck comparison images show that the Bloomberg pose was clearly modeled directly after a famous pose by Lenin.
The article on Beck’s site asked, “…did anyone call to actually see if Glenn used Nazi imagery in his NRA speech? Nope.”
Tobin, the Senior Online Editor for Commentary, seems to have based his remarks on erroneous reports about what Beck said and did. He would not, however, retract his charge after he was informed by Accuracy in Media that his account was flatly inaccurate.
Tobin’s commentary was linked to an article attacking the NRA by Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which is described as “the definitive source for American Jewish community news and opinion.” In the article, “Glenn Beck does not get Jews and Nazis,” Kampeas wrote, “Glenn Beck likens Michael Bloomberg to Nazis. No, honestly. And the National Rifle Association folks eat it up.”
But this is not what Beck said and not what the NRA did.
Not surprisingly, the George Soros-funded Media Matters attacked Beck for the alleged comparison in a story headlined, “Jewish Leaders Condemn Glenn Beck For Depicting Bloomberg In Nazi Salute.” The story was based on a falsehood that was accepted by these “Jewish leaders,” including Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Soros funds organizations critical of the Jewish state and sympathetic to the Iranian regime.
Media Matters clearly hoped to resurrect the controversy over Beck, when he was with Fox News, having identified George Soros as having been a Nazi collaborator in his youth. Beck was fired from the channel after Soros and his operatives pressured Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and the channel’s advertisers to dump Beck. The Zev Chafets book, Roger Ailes Off Camera, confirms the role of Media Matters and the ADL, as well as Beck’s criticism of Soros, in his forced departure from Fox News.
However, Beck started his own television channel, TheBlazeTV, available through Roku and some cable and satellite systems, and still hosts a daily radio show.
People might legitimately object to Beck’s comparison of Bloomberg to Lenin, one of the intellectual godfathers of the totalitarian communist ideology that murdered a hundred million people last century, but his point, made in a humorous manner, was that both have a mentality of controlling peoples’ lives. Beck argues in his new book, Control, that government has violated individual freedom and gone too far in regulating personal behavior. A billionaire, Bloomberg is currently a major funder of legislative attempts to restrict the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. As mayor of New York City, he has tried to dictate the size of soft drinks people can buy. His latest proposal is to force stores to hide tobacco products from potential buyers.
Told that Beck’s image of Bloomberg was based on Lenin, not Hitler, Tobin told Accuracy in Media, “The image of a figure with his arm upraised in that manner with an armband is clearly reminiscent of Hitler. But even if we give Beck the benefit of a doubt that he doesn’t deserve, Lenin was also a mass murderer whose crimes are also unique and not to be treated as a metaphor. As much as I deplore Bloomberg’s policies, and have repeatedly written to this effect, there is a difference between his liberal nanny-state approach and that of a mass murderer. This is not something responsible conservatives should be rationalizing, let alone defending. I’ve spent a good deal of my career disagreeing with Foxman, but on this, he’s right.”
But the “upraised arm” was similar to the gesture of Lenin, and is clearly not the same thing as the Nazi salute given by Hitler.
Moshe Phillips said Beck’s critics “have not only displayed the inability to tell the difference between Nazis and Communists but the difference between who the Jewish community’s friends are and who our enemies are.”
Beck is a staunch supporter of Israel who has exposed the Muslim Brotherhood and the global Jihad against the West.
“The ADL has been wrong about Beck for years,” Phillips said, adding that the “ADL’s foolishness must stop. Foxman owes Beck an apology and he owes us his resignation letter and his retirement.”
The first erroneous report apparently appeared on an ABC website under the headline, “Glenn Beck Offends Jews By Depicting Mayor Bloomberg in Nazi-Style Salute.”
Reporter Shushannah Walshe said that Beck “roused the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving what appears to be a Nazi salute.”
She added, “The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Beck’s comments ‘deeply offensive on so many levels,’ and B’nai B’rith called for Beck to apologize.”
It is apparent that ABC went with this story without getting Beck’s comment. ABC stated, “Beck could not be reached for comment Monday night, but after ABC News’ story was published today a source close to Beck said that the logo ‘was a joke based on a famous photo of [Russian communist Vladimir] Lenin’ and was not a reference to Nazis. The photo shows Lenin in a similar pose.”
The reporter noted that it was Beck now demanding an apology: “I would like to call for an apology now by the mainstream media, particularly ABC News, for smearing my name and saying that I am making Bloomberg look like a Nazi,” he said.
As of Wednesday, ABC was still running a story headlined, “Glenn Beck Likens Mayor Michael Bloomberg to a Nazi.” The caption under the video falsely asserted, “Beck’s keynote at the annual NRA convention included an image of Bloomberg giving the Nazi salute.”
Beck’s website noted that the media have “once again decided to try and troll for web traffic by putting ‘Glenn Beck’ and ‘Hitler’ in their headlines. It must work pretty well for them considering the great lengths they’ll go to try and make Glenn out to look like he’s trivializing the Holocaust, the greatest tragedy in modern history, when almost no other public figure has dedicated more resources to standing with the Jewish people.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.