The Anatomy of a Smear

Posted: Jun 25, 2010 10:06 AM
We should’ve seen it coming.

As his Fox News Channel television audience exploded in 2009, it was only a matter of time before the liberal Left organized itself into a full-court press against Glenn Beck.

Since the conservative radio phenom made the jump from CNN’s Headline News to FNC, Beck has set cable ratings records, adding more fans to his radio audience of millions. His five o’clock timeslot on Fox has grown to rival the primetime titans of cable news, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Though O’Reilly and Hannity are no strangers to hatred from liberals, Glenn Beck’s “fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” incites a particularly unique level of vitriol unmatched by any other television commentator today.

The concentrated disdain for Beck has also united the Left behind one common goal: getting him off the air. Various levels of the Left—from grassroots organizers to the Obama White House—are working in an all-hands-on-deck concert to discredit Beck with a barrage of attacks in a relentless smear campaign.

You've heard Beck talk about this piece and our list of "The 100 Americans the Left Hates Most" from our July 2010 issue. In fact, he had the writer of this piece, Meredith Jessup, on his program this morning. Here's an excerpt from Meredith's report:

To Beck’s regular audience, his disregard for political correctness and adherence to no-nonsense common sense are refreshing. To his detractors, he is a fear-mongering extremist whose opinions represent reckless “vitriolic rhetoric.”

When third-year University of Wisconsin law student Angelo Carusone was annoyed by Beck’s “controversial” opinions, he launched—an online effort aimed at pressuring advertisers to withdraw their commercial support from Beck’s broadcast on Fox and, in turn, force Beck off the air.

Working from an office in his two-bedroom apartment in Madison, Wis., Carusone sends sound bites of Beck’s show to corporate sponsors and questions whether their products and services should support Beck’s programming. In many cases, this slight nudge is enough to make the targeted advertisers pull their commercials.

If advertisers don’t pull their support, Carusone uses his website and social networking sites to organize other Beck opponents—including his nearly 8,000 followers on Twitter—to bombard the companies with messages in support of a Beck advertising boycott. And if the snowballing effect of thousands of outspoken anti-Beck activists doesn’t stir enough commotion for a company to relent, Carusone picks up the phone to personally confront them. In what he calls his “least flattering method of persuasion,” Carusone argues with corporate media executives until they give in. also claims that Beck “uses his media platform to disseminate vitriolic hateful rhetoric and stoke racial anxieties,” and the group works in conjunction with—a group founded by dismissed Obama green jobs czar Van Jones—in boycotting Beck’s commercial sponsors. Both organizations disparaged Beck for questioning President Obama’s personal motives in condemning the Cambridge, Mass., Police for arresting Harvard professor Henry Gates in 2009. Executive Director James Rucker told Townhall that the group’s goal has been “to bring Beck’s pattern of race-baiting to advertisers’ attention, to let them know about our members’ concerns and to ask whether those companies feel comfortable enabling Beck’s rhetoric.” But when rapper Kanye West infamously stated that President George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people” following Hurricane Katrina, there was no boycott of West’s album sales. And when pressed by Townhall about uber-Leftist comedian Bill Maher’s recent comments about Barack Obama not being a “real black president” because he didn’t carry a loaded pistol in his waistband, Rucker and Color of Change did not respond. By Color of Change’s own standards, these comments seem “repulsive and dismissive,” yet Beck and Fox News remain the group’s only boycott targets.

Color of Change and represent a small niche of the anti-Beck movement on the Left that uses advertising dollars as leverage to silence what they refer to as Glenn Beck’s “brand of hate”—a “brand” they’ve constructed by using selective interpretation of mere fragments of Beck’s contextual dialogue.

But the Left’s efforts in smearing and silencing Beck run well beyond the limits of these two online campaigns. The complex structure of the Left’s Glenn Beck smear campaign also includes some familiar big players in liberal politics.
Read the whole thing in the newest copy of Townhall magazine.

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