The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Putting Glenn Beck to the Truth Test: He Flunks, Again

By Sonia Scherr on September 4, 2009 - 2:39 pm, Posted in Media Extremism

Fox News commentator Glenn Beck sparked a firestorm in July when he declared on the air (though not on his show) that President Barack Obama possesses “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” and called him “a racist.” He seemed unchastened even after his own network distanced itself from his comments and advertisers began to flee his show, “Glenn Beck.” (Disclosure: Southern Poverty Law Center board member James Rucker is executive director of, the organization that asked advertisers to boycott Glenn Beck.)

Now, Beck has issued a list of “reasonable questions for unreasonable times” that he wants his viewers and listeners to ask. “It’s vital that we all question with boldness, hold to the truth and speak without fear,” he says on his website.

Trouble is, many of the questions are based on faulty assumptions. Take the question about the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN, a nonprofit social justice group whose work includes advocating for better housing. Beck asserts: “The stimulus package funneled billions of dollars to ACORN. How does giving billions of dollars to ACORN stimulate the economy?”

In fact, if Beck actually read the $787 billion stimulus bill, which Congress passed in February with the goal of boosting the economy, he’d learn that it makes no mention of ACORN. Just in case we missed something, however, Hatewatch consulted two nonpartisan sources: the St. Petersburg Times’ and the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Both said it’s untrue that any money — let alone billions — is earmarked for ACORN. What the stimulus bill does do is open up competition for “neighborhood stabilization” funds to nonprofit groups, rather than limit them to government agencies. So ACORN could theoretically apply for money to buy and fix up foreclosed homes. But neither ACORN nor its sister organization, ACORN Housing, renovates foreclosed homes.

ACORN is often vilified by conservatives because its workers have been investigated several times for voter registration fraud. But Beck’s ACORN obsession borders on loony: He has accused the agency of having “270 other names” and has complained that Obama is deliberately wrecking the economy so that young people will have to work for the ACORN.

Perhaps it’s time someone asked Beck a few reasonable questions about his unreasonable rants.

  • tim

    honest men don’t fake cry for better ratings and to fool the foolish.the man is a greedy liar who spews out the mis-disinformation his corporate masters desire in order to keep the masses divided.divide and conquer.the american way.what the elitest and the politicians fear most is a united populace and we are in a class war and the odds should be about 95 to 1 with 4% too satisfied to care.we were robbed by the robber barons of today.unite,it’s our only hope.

  • DocDiggs


    Another mindless rant by an obviously uneducated and brain-blind individual. How sad when such people as this feel that the only contribution they are capable of making is the old garbage of the farthest Right. Com’on, man, wake up to reality and put your mindlessness to rest. This is so tiresome and not worth reading, let alone crediting with any intelligent, original , rational thinking. So you hate our Black President…what does that say about you? Are you truly incapable of anything original in your mind? Are you incapable of responsible criticism…that’s allowed too, you know, and a freaking site more valuable.

  • J

    Bob well said. I would also like to add that the hate is on the progressive and liberal side of political ideology. P & L’s are the usefull tools of the beholders in charge prior to coming into and now in power. It is simple to all you conservative bashers out there. People involved in leading the Progressive movement rely on distracting you from using your intelligent minds. This is why you are never happy even when you hold 100% of control of the country. The fact is everything is based on stimulating your emotions “hate” and not your “intelligent” mind. If you actually open your minds and stop listening to your sytired emotions; you will see the obvious tools you have become by being so closed minded. All we here is Bush’s fault and Limbaugh lies, Beck is crazy of the chair, Malkin, Hannity…the list goes on. Your leaders are distracting you from those that you consider leaders from where you should be looking. ObamaCare is good for every American except for President Obama and Congress officials. Don’t you find that odd? Obama demonizes Insurance companies for denial of coverage, when the biggest denial of health coverage and services in USSA is Medicare which is Gov’t ran. How do you feel about that? Bush did spend a lot of money, but not as much as the Progressives wanted. Bush spending was mostly on the war on terror and MedicareD coverage which expands SSI, but in 6mo Obama spent 4x the amount of money Bush and more than all presidentts combined from the inception of our country. Obama said, that “the US Constitution prevents gov’t from doing the things he feels gov’t should be doing” The fact is our Constiitution protects us from people like Obama would like to be. We seen a small glimps of what a Gov’t looks like when its unchecked in 2009. The fact is the Liberalls and Progressives need to lie to you and try at all cost to prevent you to use your mind instead of your emotions. Think back in history where political powers and mass media united to control the masses. Do you remember? Do you remember why E Berlin and W Berlin where the tail of 2 different worlds? One side was Captalism, free market and freedom and the other was Gov’t dominated and controlled. I wonder why all you intelligent people are so emotionally attached to the ideology that “Gov’t knows best” and not “you know best whats good for you”? Everything Progressives preach is Govt is the answer not the people are the answer.

  • Bob

    Guess you folks aren’t in love with Beck much. Fact is, while his pomosity is aggravating, and things like his attack on Medina perplexing, his presentation(s) around the ‘progressives’ multiple conspiracies are not only sound in most cases, but evident in virtually every thing this administration does, and certainly, the decisions they have made, (or lack of same.)
    One cannot easily dismiss the resignations of phychos like Van Jones & Anita Dunn; both resulting from Beck’s exposure of each for who and what they are. As far as Acorn goes, defending this outfit (and their many many offshoots orgs); should be embarassing.
    The change in sentiment in the country is becoming fairly clear as of late. It is aimed as much at Congress as it is the President. Obama had it all going for him. Popularity thru the roof and full party ownership of both the upper and lower house. A year ago, any conservative was dismissed regardless of merit (or absense of merit) displayed in his/her argument(s). They were buried in a deep hole with no chance being exhumed, let’s face it. And, with some simple strategies, we all had every reason to believe that Pelozi, Reid & others should find it a simple task to keep them there indefinitely. The history making shift we are NOW witnessing was born, not by whacho right wingers, (or any other formerly powerless conservative), but by Obama himself.
    America is still classified as a center-right nation, so they say. I guess the upcoming couple of years will be written about around the world for a long time to come regardless of what happens from this point forward. Bob

  • Observer

    Dear john,

    john, I do watch fox sometimes, and I’m also subjected to limbaugh, for whom my ex-husband has the utmost admiration, and dare I say it, even bill o, who the same person and many others, says that bill o is a “f…ing genious.” Seriously. I hear the viewpoint or the “news” as you put it that they choose to present. When it isn’t just inflamatory crap that no other self-respecting news organization wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, it’s obscene and titilating (hence the blond bimbos who “report” (read) the “news”) and any story they can dig up that has boobs and ass with blond hair, they are telling outright lies, trying to inflame and incite revolution against the government of the United States.
    They call that treason, ya know?
    So, us “pinkos” (kinda dates you, ya know?) don’t pay much heed to the limbaughs and becks of the world. Limbaugh himself said in a televised interview that his only aim in life is ratings. He and most of the other right-wing talking heads (they aren’t reporters, either) don’t even believe their own tripe. They’re just in it, like limbaugh says, for ratings which brings him lots of money (his own words.)
    Now, you can choose to give your heart and soul to someone who doesn’t believe their own words and just takes the money and runs, but if that’s the case, I feel sorry for you, just as I do the other folks who are so passionate over “conservative” causes. Those bastards are just manipulating a market: YOU. How’s it feel to be played?

  • john

    So conservative radio listeners are nut jobs who are brainwashed by the views of the talking heads. Ok, that could be. But what about the people who choose to get their news from MSNBC, CNN, (liberal talk radio has failed, but at one time Air America would have been on that list)?

    Why is it that FOX news is the only station singled out by the Government as being the news source that really isn’t news, but a “perspective,” when every other news station is the same? Keith Olberman isn’t a reporter, he is a talking head as well.

    If you pinkos continue to ignore talk radio, independent news sites and certain shows on FOX you are just robbing yourself of the info that you will never get from CNN, MSNBC, and even FOX etc. Even FOX doesn’t report on certain key issues.

    If you choose to dismiss it all as right-wingnuttery, then you will continue to not understand your fellow man and you will be left in the dark.

  • Noreen Brennan

    I don’t listen to talk radio or watch FOX news, because my blood pressure wouldn’t be able to take it, but isn’t it obvious that the only thing FOX and Beck are interested in is ratings. It has nothing to do with truth or integrity, or what’s right, just sensationalism and appealing to our basest instincts, ch3eap shots and misdirection.

  • Neal

    When you’re not a journalist you don’t have to worry about journalistic integrity! Glenn is a self proclaimed “commentator on life”. He has no credentials in the field of journalism that I am aware of. You know, if FOX News Corp. is going to let him have a show one of two things needs to happen: A) A disclaimer that fact checking is not a priority needs to be run at the beginning of the program or B) Take “News” out of Fox News Corp.. I would rather see the latter, as it’s clear they took the news out of FOX News Corp. a long time ago. When are his viewers going to wake up and realize that his statements have just as much credibility as those made by a talking dog?

  • Luke

    ” Every word he utters is backed with enough evidence to have valid questions answered!”

    Now where is this valid evidence that Obama’s a racist and has a hatred for white people?? I’m sorry, but when FOX begins to pull away from his own comentater then you know he might be a little radical…

  • vivian

    Prov.23-7 For as a man thinks in his heart,so IS he.

  • Observer

    I completely agree with Richard. It’s a foreboding feeling taking hold of rational Americans, and rightly so. All the thinly veiled racist remarks and tactics turned against President Obama, the gun toting attendees of Presidential appearances, and the congressmen who now feel perfectly comfortable shouting, “You Lie!” in a joint session of Congress where every former President has at least had the respect of his office and of course Glenn Beck thinking it’s suitable to call the President a racist with a deep seated hatred for white people; all these things are frightening to all people of conscience.
    Yes, we see something terrible coming, we fear it and don’t know how to stop it.
    Rottam, I couldn’t get a clear idea of WHAT the heck you were saying with all the misspellings and circular logic, but if you’re on my side, please leave. If you’re an example of the people who just want to hate President Obama, I will ignore you. Actually I think you were just on a drunken rant, so congratulations for your idiocy.
    No, there’s nothing we individuals can really do to stop this madness, but I suggest being hyper-vigilant of your surroundings and the people with whom you mix. I’m not saying “go toe to toe” with someone with a gun, but learn to tell people they’re jerks when they are.

  • rottom

    hmmm if acron is so right then whydid they get caught on tape telling ppl how to cheat the government out of taxes and how to get unaged children here illeagaly to do sex acts … also remember whem obama tought theseor spoke to acorn on how to run an organization before he was president… not say all that you readon the wab is fact … but always remeber to keep aclear head and read everything i mean everything on there (the web) as for watching televisions news reports sadly to say alot of station were losing money tryuing to coverall in iraq/afgan/her/ there and everywhere … to me if someone offered me money to cover them exclusivly i dunnoi guess maybe if i were someone else i would take it. please its not about who is right /who is wrong…its about we as united(not divided) people hereyyer in america so stop it all looking around all around can you really see what is happening we are becoming more and more divided ….. so please lets unite stand up for a change for us not “the” because all in all it will effect us all to some major degree

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Beck is not insane, nor is he suffering effects of alcohol abuse. He knows exactly what he is doing, and he is getting paid for it. He is paid to frighten retards, and to keep them agitated. He is there to keep them emotionally upset all the time so they don’t take a minute to figure out what is going on around them. This he does very well it would seem.

  • Richard

    I fear that hate speech radio will be used to mobilize the neo-conservative masses to revolt. By reading this website, It seems that the signs are already trending that way.

    I am frightened by the neo-con hate speech, and fear the violent consequences their minions may mete out upon my loved ones and family.

    I am glad that SPLC is monitoring them. I just wish there were a way to make then accountable for the evil they spawn.

  • ernie

    Glenn Beck recommends the writings of former FBI Special Agent (and John Birch Society endorser) W. Cleon Skousen.

    In fact, Beck wrote the “Foreward” to the 2009 edition of Skousen’s book, The 5000 Year Leap.…vethousand.htm

    However, both Cleon Skousen (and his admirers) misrepresented Skousen’s FBI background and inflated his credentials.

    Some claim that Skousen was a “top aide” or “administrative assistant” to J. Edgar Hoover.

    Others claim that Skousen had extensive investigative experience while he served in the FBI — particularly with respect to internal security-related matters.

    But ALL of these claims are utter falsehoods.

    Furthermore, senior FBI officials expressed very derogatory judgments about Skousen’s post-FBI endeavors.

    In fact, they scornfully described him as someone who allied himself with “professional anti-communists” who represented the “extreme right” in our country and FBI officials thought Skousen was mis-using his FBI service to falsely claim expertise in subject matters which he did not possess.

    For a detailed 23-page report on Skousen which is based, primarily, upon his FBI personnel file, see:

  • beholder

    Thanks Snorlax, well said on all points.

  • Observer

    One of the problems with Beck, Limbaugh, et al, is that there is a significant segment of our population that listens to them every day and has become literally brainwashed to their views. They do not ever watch or listen to any other sourcs, especially MSNBC which they have been induced to believe is the Devil.
    My ex-husband is one of these pitiable people. I know he has the intelligence to know the difference between truth and lies, but with Fox on his TV every day, and Rush on his car radio all the time, his fear and hatred of any so-called liberal idea has been solidified. Fox tv has an especially underhanded way of keeping men tuned in with their coverage of anything salacious or anything that includes nude females. It’s as if they are following the traditional idea of “The Devil” himself by seducing minds with titilating “news” and then indoctrinating them with their hateful opinions.
    No, I don’t think any of these commentors actually believe anything they say. This is just a commercial venture that victimizes the vulnerable.

  • DocDiggs

    People such as Beck and Limbaugh sell a product: controversy and psychobabble. It sells BIG and attracts causes possibly otherwise rational folks to lose contact with whatever reality they may experience in their lives. Lies, misrepresentations, and the constant repetition of their interminable garbage makes thier product irresistable to those who are willing to turn off their minds for awhile and slurp it all up.

    Their garbage sells and it raises the ratings and bottom line of the outfits that put them on the air. Simple…Bottom Line. It’s Big Business, but as with every other product pimped on the air, TV, or anywhere else, it sells.

  • Snorlax

    Blondee said, “Why dont you just answer the proposed question in detail to shut him up…because you cant!”

    Obviously you did not read this post. The proposed question is FLAWED. You cannot answer it in detail or any other way because it is a BAD QUESTION based on a faulty premise. It is impossible to answer.

    ACORN was never earmarked any money. That’s the faulty premise of the question.

    Beck is asking a “Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?” type of question here. That is not legitimate discourse.

  • Snorlax

    michael, you are incorrect.

    ACORN can apply for the federal money, like any other nonprofit. You stated that in your post.

    Beck said the money was earmarked to ACORN.

    That’s completely different and is a factual error.

    You’re wrong michael. So is Glenn-or-Glenda Beck.

  • Snorlax

    FOX News doesn’t HAVE a morals contract.

    Otherwise, Bill O’Reilly would have been fired ten years ago for sexually harassing his admin assistant.

    Loofah Felafel!!!

  • Allison

    I believe that Glenn Beck is certifiably insane and will eventually follow literary reporter Howard Beale down a similar distructive path. What is scary is that I think he truely believes what he the time he says it. Is there anyway to make television stations accountable for the verifiable lies and disinformation they disemminate without violating free speech laws? I’m not a lawyer and therefore can’t see what legal stand a citizen like myself can do. Could *I* start a class action lawsuit against the lies since I believe they are hurting me in the long run? Ideas anyone?

  • Wisco

    The problem with Beck and his audience is that it doesn’t matter whether or not anything he says is true, but whether it’s frightening. These are people who believe what they want to believe, facts be damned.

  • Snorlax

    Glenn Beck is a moron.

    Obama cannot “deliberately wreck” the economy. Too late.

    Dubya beat him to it.

    Dubya’s daddy’s name is George Herbert Walker Bush.

    Dubya should be known as George Herbert HOOVER Bush.

  • michael

    Just went to the sites. They also don’t even support what you say.

    We explored the Republicans’ allegation and rated their claim Barely True .

    That means its true not false not a lie like you wrote in the blog. writes
    ACORN – and any other nonprofit entity – would be eligible to compete for NSP funds (a

    So while they are both liberal groups and supporters of Acorn neither denies Acorn will make money off the stimuls bill.

    So ask yourself if you lose your credibility by making such an unsupported and easily refuted partisan allegation then how can you expect people to believe you on other issues on your core mission in the future.

    Don’t hurt your credibility by going off your mission and allowing the SPLC to be used for partisan purposes.

  • michael

    Read your comment and noticed.

    It has nothing to do with hate or racism. It has to do with partisan politics and your political support of Obama. And your being upset that Beck is not a Obama supporter.

    You have your right to be a partisan democrat but it delegitimizes the civil rights struggle when you try and make supporting civil rights and being anti racist equivalent to being a member of the hard left.

    Acorn has nothing to do with fighting hate. It is a radical partisan group that has been involved with voter fraud as part of its election activities. While not mentioned by name everyone including liberals admits they will benefit from the stimulus money which they will receive as community organizers.

    But regardless of your opinion on Acorn there actions have nothing to do with the SPLC’s mission. Focus on your non partisan mission not partisan politics.

  • William Bishop

    Poor Glenn Beck is a perfect example of what damage the prolonged and uncontrolled use of alcohol does to the mind.
    Though he claims to have stopped drinking, and I applaud that, the damage has been done, and can not be repaired. It is sad that the rantings of this unbalanced alcoholic are used by FOX for ratings. He needs help, and is to be pitied, not used.

  • Carter

    Beck is an interesting man (IMO). This is a guy who has made no secret about turning his life around from being quite dysfunctional.
    [To a degree] I let politics go with folks like that & recognize that they struggle with demons that may be a continual challenge to them. This guy has been very up-front about his drug use and unlike Rush Limbaugh he has been pretty darn open. I also don’t find him as grotesque as Rush & he appears to be a fair debater. But obviously he either threw out his fact checker or they are not earning their pay. Programs such as that employ some of the best in the nation – so something is amiss. Perhaps he is borrowing from the “Alex Jones” school of make believe for a business reason……I have no idea. But I will say that I don’t see a deep seated pathology in him they way I’ve heard from Rush. When Limbaugh attacked Chelsie Clinton I had this fleeting thought about kicking his false teeth all over the golf course….Any man who would make fun of a little kid is not worthy of compassion….but I digress.
    Beck has ignored his fact checkers or they gave him BS information. If it’s the later issue we would see a backing off of the position. If not we will see a rationalization of a incorrect position. Simple as that. I enjoy talk radio even when I disagree (sometimes ESPECIALLY when I disagree). I like OTHER opinions in my life.
    I have moved away from being a “Party hack”.
    When Clinton let he Rwandan genocide run it’s course I knew what type of man he was.
    When he put his daughter through the emotional roller-coaster a kid has to endure from a unfaithful father, I knew what type of man he was. Voting “Party” is not my way of independent thinking or problem solving; it’s too much like “mob rule”.

    Talk radio is entertainment, people! It’s NOT news or even truth. Look to talk radio for one’s news & views or even truth and you’ll be disillusioned rather rapidly.

    You can’t be disillusioned, unless you have illusions in the first place!

  • Snorlax

    This is just the latest of a long series of outrageous behavior by the Reich Wingnut Propaganda Machine.

    Junkie Rush Limbaugh, Mann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage Weiner, Michelle “Anchor Baby” Malkin…ad nauseum.

    And now Glenn-or-Glenda Beck.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I am a former broadcaster. I left the business before Ronnie “Poopy Pants” Reagan ruined it in 1987 by destroying the Fairness Doctrine.

    The broadcasting business used to have ethics. NONE of the Reich Wingnuts would have stayed on the air. They all would have been fired and taken off the air.

    This isn’t about free speech. This is about lies and hate on the TV and radio. Someday I hope it stops and sanity prevails once more.

    It scares me that businesses no longer even try to have any pretense of ethics. And it’s not just broadcasting.

    I work in insurance now, which used to be a very button-down business, conservative and highly ethical. Not anymore.

    We are in big trouble here.

  • beholder

    ACORN ought to sue Beck into penury for slandering the organization. Truth is the only positive defense against claims of slander, and the harm is easy to prove.

  • Exaggerato

    Perhaps it’s time someone asked Beck a few reasonable questions about his unreasonable rants.

    Or, better yet, considered mental-incapacity proceedings in the courts–especially before Fox Prolefeed invokes the Morals Clause of Mr. Beck’s contract (recall the downfall of Lonesome Rhodes in the 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd by such means?).

  • Blondee

    Is this article the best you can do?? Its Clear you did not actually watch the show. Try that before you start pointing the finger as you are accusing Glenn Beck of doing with misinformation and if you have issues I am sure he will welcome you on his show to debate that, but no you will spin and spew an article trying to take the focus off the truth. Every word he utters is backed with enough evidence to have valid questions answered! Why dont you just answer the proposed question in detail to shut him up…because you cant!