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

The Sick Farce of Glenn Beck’s ‘Restoring Honor’ Rally

By Alexander Zaitchik on August 24, 2010 - 7:24 am, Posted in Anti-Black

America, the first step in your spiritual and political redemption is finally at hand.

Or so Glenn Beck would have us believe. After an eight-month build-up that began at an Orlando retirement community last November, Beck is now making the final preparations for his “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall, scheduled to begin early on Saturday morning with a salute and a prayer in front of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of the Fox News host’s loyal fans.

On a stage at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, Beck will headline a bevy of conservative guest speakers familiar to his radio and television audiences. Most notable among them will be Sarah Palin, whose political career received early and enthusiastic support from Beck. Despite the event’s sponsorship by the NRA, the host maintains the rally will be a “non-political” event, meant to honor American troops overseas and grounded in the nonpartisan themes of “faith, hope, and charity.”

Since Beck first announced the event, much critical attention has been paid to the date. This Saturday is the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that is also enshrined in the national mythology as one of the finest expressions of American ideals. Beck claims that the scheduling is mere coincidence. But he has eagerly claimed King’s legacy, and the meaning of Aug. 28, as his own. On the May 24 edition of his radio program, he described himself and his conservative-activist legions as “the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement”; liberals, he claimed, “are perverting it.” He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.” Two days later, he reiterated his intent to “reclaim the civil rights movement,” since “we were the people that did it in the first place.” More recently, he has described the alleged scheduling coincidence as “divine providence”—as God’s way of telling Beck he walks in King’s footsteps.

If this is true, and a supreme being did in fact decide that Beck should hold his self-branded Tea Party rally in the shadow of Martin Luther King, then we should take this as proof that God has a very dark sense of humor.

Far from being a civil rights icon, Glenn Beck has built his empire and fame in part by being a master divider along racial lines. Especially since the inauguration of Barack Obama on the eve of his Fox News debut, Beck has emerged as the media’s boldest manipulator of white racial anxieties, fears and prejudice. His willingness “to go there” has even earned him grudging respect from hardcore white nationalists who usually have little patience for major media.

Most people are aware by now that more than 100 sponsors have fled Beck’s program since his June 2009 claim that President Obama was a racist “with a deep-seated hatred of white people.” But this is only the best known event in a 30-year career in broadcasting that has been partly defined by racist humor, racially charged venom, and advocacy for far-right foes of the civil rights movement.

Throughout his career in Top 40 radio, Beck was known for his imitations of “black guy” characters and racist tropes. According to Beck’s former colleagues in the late 90s, this included mocking unarmed blacks shot and killed by white police officers. Such was the case of Malik Jones, the victim of a controversial killing that took place in 1997.

“After the shooting, Beck sometimes did a racist shtick,” remembers Paul Bass, a former radio host and Beck colleague at a Clear Channel station cluster in New Haven. “Glenn did routines about Jones’ grandmother being on crack. Generally he made fun of his family and the loss of life—as joke routines.”

Beck’s racially tinged tirades did not disappear after he switched formats in 1999. During his first talk radio stint in Tampa, he often referred to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as “the stinking king of the race lords.” Most recently, Beck has worked to resuscitate the names of famously anti-civil rights figures from the history of his adopted Mormon faith. He has respectfully played tapes of Ezra Taft Benson, who thought Martin Luther King was a communist agent out to destroy the Mormon Church (and who once wrote the foreward to a book of race hate whose cover illustration featured the severed, bloody head of an African American). Beck has also implored his viewers to read the “divinely inspired” books of W. Cleon Skousen, another John Birch Society fantasist who believed that the civil rights movement was part of a worldwide Communist (and, later, “New World Order”) conspiracy.

The above gives some sense, but barely scratches the surface of, Beck’s long and disgraceful record on race. The Fox News host has also played a key role in the conservative attempts to whip up white opposition to Barack Obama by painting the president’s health and environmental agendas as Trojan horses for “stealth reparations” for black Americans. For much of the summer of 2009, Beck ranted about the alleged “black nationalism” of Van Jones, a White House environmental official who resigned last September after what Jones described as conservatives’ “vicious smear campaign” against him. Beck also helped lead the racially charged cavalry charges against ACORN and Eric Holder’s Justice Department (for its handling of the New Black Panther Party “scandal”.)

So, no, Glenn Beck is not the inheritor of Dr. King’s mantle. Had the two men been contemporaries, it is a very safe best that Beck would have excoriated King for being a “progressive cockroach”—an enemy of the Constitution who sought to destroy America by spreading the “virus” of social justice. We know he would have done this because it’s the same playbook he uses every day on radio and television. That’s just who Glenn Beck is and always has been. It’s a fact that all the deranged posturing in the world can’t hide, regardless of the date printed on his coveted event permit.

  • Stan Horn

    Wow….listen to the hate spewed here…you all act like klansmen or something!

  • Guy

    What sick, twisted people these are who are behind this website and those who commented showing what lost souls they are. Clearly, they are Godless and without any moral character or principles.

    But I’m curious what they have to say about the “fact” that Dr. Althea King loves Glenn Beck. Let me guess, she must be sick or something, right?

  • Jason Thompson

    Glenn Beck is the whiteman’s Jessie Jackson and Shawn Hanity is Al Sharpton…

  • Robert Mounce

    Glenn Beck is a two bit huckster taking advantage of people who want someone to do the thinking for them.He has a daily soapbox from which he can fuel the fires of ignorance and hatred.In almost any other period in time he would be taken for the clown that he is.Unfortunately in this political climate he has found an audience.willing to accept his garbage as fact.We all should be very concerned.

  • ruben

    dennis…. you are so right calling beck a fraud!.how can this nut stand in front of thousands of people and lecture people about christian values when he is not even a christian.mormonism is a cult religion with whacked,way out there racist beliefs and that message is very agreeable to the far right which is why he has so many as you say blind sheep followers…i posted this on another thread here at splc….but let me tell you i worked with two mormon brothers a few years back and sometimes during lunch they would talk too me about there beliefs and i thought to myself how can any intelligent person believe what they are saying!….they would tell me that black people were born evil cuz they were the descendants of cain and were cursed . they also said that all mormons wore some kind of under garments that had special powers to keep any harm from happening to them i was kinda stunned with what they would tell me.i can see how beck can actually believe all the garbage that he says cuz he’s a few beers short of a six pack but i just cannot see how other people can take this guy serious!…..blind sheep is all i can think of.and how about family values that he was talking about isn’t his religion the same one that turns a blind eye to old perverts having young concubines?if he was trying as i believe to tell us about the wonders of being a mormon and come join in all i have to say to this fraud is no thanks pal.

  • William W. Wexler

    I have operated a website called GlennBeckReport for nearly a year.

    The only item I wish to add to the comments above is addressed to those who accuse Beck’s detractors of not watching his show.

    I am a Beck detractor on steroids and I watch his show down to the painful act of having to transcribe from it from time to time. If you fall for his garbage you are a weak-minded, uninformed, sentimental fool. You had best start taking a hard look at his revisionist, hate-filled, racist history and start doing some critical thinking. If you believe his version of either the past or the present you are living in a world of paranoid delusions, not some kind of Everyman truthout. Get a clue. Drop your superstitions. Think.


  • Dennis

    Americans need to wake up the fact that Beck is simply another opinion pushing charlatan who is a product of mormon cult theology and he mixes this with his personal make up as a dry alcoholic. He does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, has no college degree, has no qualifications and he is definitely not a true conservative. But then, what can anyone expect from someone who can’t find anything filthier than their own personal reflection. Since people like Beck cannot survive on the basis of any personal merits, they survive by puting others down with lies and half truths in order to feel good about themselves. The truth about Beck is that he a dry mormon alcoholic who never got the counseling required for alcholics. He flippantly throws around Christian terms like “God”, “Jesus”,”Holy Spirit” as well as voices of other so called “Spirit Powers” on his radio talk show. Beck
    is a mormon in active standing with the mormon church and is not a Christian. Mormonism teaches many gods, that the god of the earth was once a man who attained godhood status, there is no trinity, the cross of Christ means nothing and that Jesus Christ and Satan were brothers. Because Beck does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, he is the perfect abortion poster child for Fox Network. The people who love what Beck says are no different than the impressionable sheep who loved every speech made by Adolph Hitler in his early years when he brought Germany into an era of economic
    prosperity These same sheep also blindly followed Hitler into one of the darkest chapters of world history. Beck and the Fox Network both cater to the same lowest common denominator of demagogery. Beck would not know the first thing about God as he is a mormon. Someone should ask him which of the many mormon gods he kept talking about during his argument with himself on Saturday on the square in DC. Like a typical dry alcoholic, Beck even lied on national television when he spoke about holding a
    document signed by George Washington. That event never took Place. Unfortunately, people who love
    being led around by the nose do not realize that he is talking about a different god than that of Christianity, Judaism or Islam and that he has been a product of mormonism cultism from the day he started doing a radio talk show as an opinion pusher. You don’t have to have a degree in psychology to see that he exhibits all the signs of a dry alcoholic. The only reason this unstable impressionable idiot fell into mormonism was because the woman he wanted to have sex with would not do so unless they got first got married and from that point, they joined the mormon cult. Glenn Beck is as big a charlatan as Josephs Smith or the 5th grade graduate (Charles T Russel) who started the Jehovah’s Witness cult.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Since nobody is taking up the challenge to defend Beck, here’s some more of his wisdom:

    Glenn Beck: Today, we announced the first 15 minutes of the 8-28 event and the people that will join me on stage. We announced that we are going to start — restart the Badge of Merit that George Washington gave his troops. It’s what the Purple Heart is based on, except the Progressives — what a surprise — in 1933 introduced the Purple Heart.

    The Purple Heart was based on the badge of merit by George Washington. It had nothing to do with being wounded in action. It had everything to do with doing something of honor and integrity, something to — something that — where you really put your neck out and you did something of real merit, not just getting shot — not that that’s –

    But he was trying to build people that understood honor and merit and integrity and God.”

    Take THAT, 442 Regimental Combat Team!!! Glenn Beck is NOT impressed by your exploits!!

  • beholder

    Jimmy Jones,

    The Jonestown incident involved Flavor Aid, not Cool Aid.
    See how myths overtake facts? That’s exactly why Beck’s abuse of information presented as fact is being discussed in this forum in the first place.

  • Jimmy Jones

    Drink the Cool-Aid my brothers and sisters ;(

  • ruben

    i think that the only thing that beck would like to see restored is that bygone era when white men dictated everything in this country and minorities were still under the heel of oppression.beck has chronic nightmares ever since obama became president…..has anybody noticed how he sometimes wears that nazi youth outfit!….oh well i guess he doesn’t mean anything by it….yeah right!!

  • beholder

    Brooks said on August 27th, 2010 at 12:24 pm
    Many of you just don’t get it… this country is in real trouble. Weather you admit or not. And Socialism is NOT the answer.


    Brooks I am curious to know how many books or even websites you have read about socialism that lead you to make this statement. Can you name a single book you have read on the topic?

    According to the CIA World Factbook, nine European countries rank above us in terms of per capita GDP — Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Netherlands. The United Kingdom, Austria, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany rank right below us.

    All lean toward socialism.

    Would you care to rethink your views once you have sufficient information to be able to make a rational comment about socialism?

  • beholder

    Brian Chorley:

    Two questions about your stance against a woman’s right to terminate pregnancy, based on the arguments you provide. I would be very eager to know your answers:

    1) Do you or do you not support capital punishment?

    2) Since you feel life begins at conception, do you not agree that any fetus conceived in the United States by foreign parents, who are not in the country at the time of birth, is entitled to birthright citizenship per the 14th Amendment?

    This of course has nothing to do with the fact that once the child is born the Republicans no longer give a damn one way or the other what happens to it or the mother.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Let’s see, 107 replies and not one Beckite has even attempted to dispute the points I made about Beck’s phony or distorted claims. Where’s all those “facts and evidence” I heard about?

  • Phyllis

    What bothers me about Glenn Beck is how dangerous he is. His ideas are blatantly wrong and his style of presentation is manipulative and condescending, but it is the way he poses his wild-eyed conspiracy theories as FACT that makes him so terribly dangerous. People who watch him and come to agree with him will go on to act on these warped ideals. The chief difference between Beck and, say, Stephen Colbert is *honesty*. Colbert makes no bones about the fact that he is playing an exaggerated caricature and that nothing on his show should really be taken seriously – it’s quite clear that he’s just an entertainer putting on a show. But Beck is obviously very serious about what he’s saying and doing, he speaks like a preacher, boldly trying to lead his congregation to the truth … except that he is not a preacher and his message is very short on truth and, instead, sports a fantastic amount of political fear-mongering and thinly veiled manipulation. The rally on Saturday was a loving tribute, not to Dr. King, but to the legendary showman, PT Barnum – there really is a sucker born every minute. If you want Truth, go find it yourself. 5 minutes’ research debunks most of Beck’s claims and the very few facts you can catch in his program are best viewed without the tainted commentary warping them into the mold Beck creates. Make up your own mind and don’t allow Beck to hoodwink you into being afraid of the whole bloody world. Oh, and as a side note, the Founding Fathers he’s always banging on about were not the devout Christians he proclaims they were. Washington was agnostic, at best, Franklin was a self-described atheist, Jefferson actually rewrote the Bible to suit his ideal of what the Christian faith ought to be about (specifically, the character and teachings of Jesus) and all of them were very adamant that religion should never influence the formation of our laws or the governance of our country, which is why it was Founding Fathers who placed the separation of church and state into the constitution. The words “one nation under God” were added to the pledge of allegiance in 1956, “In God We Trust” was added to the dollar bill in the mid 1950’s … it was likes of McCarthy who began to implant this notion of America being a “Christian Nation” and we all remember how *good* Senator McCarthy’s agenda was for America, right? So, yeah, before you follow the Prophet Beck, do a little homework and find out how misleading he really is.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Yeah Hobbes, the SPLC are “thugs” always talking about who real Americans are. That’s some interesting projection you people engage in. Tell me, how many incidents of violence have SPLC “thugs” been involved in.

  • Bob Franks

    @ Brian Chorley

    you realize that Liberal anger at conservatives is the result of 40 plus years of right wing smear campaigns thrown at the Liberal movement.
    I for one have encountered lots of hateful conservatives online who routinely through insults my way. Before you try taking the high road, the movement you support needs to tone done the rhetoric and inflammatory remarks. Maybe once the conservative movement shows a little good faith towards those they disagree with, especially when things don’t go their way, you’ll find that those you complain about will be a lot more civil. The Ball is in the conservative movement’s court and it is time for them to practice what they preach.

    Until then stop singling out a few random people and making them look like they are the face of the liberal movement.

  • hobbes

    Anyone who takes it upon themselves to “identify” dangerous groups in America sets off red flags with me. I see this SPLC guy on newscasts acting like he’s the guardian of some pure America, and he reminds me of the thuggish, low level Germans, who savored the power they got from pointing the finger at others. SPLC are like thugs.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Also if anyone wants to see what real radical leftists, Communists, socialists, etc. think of Obama, I suggest following this link.

    Be advised, ever-afraid conservatives, you will be exposed to ideas not approved by the right-wing noise machine.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I notice that Beck fans are not addressing any of my points or facts about Beck, which I guess I should expect. But here we go again.

    @Zac- What about the people who don’t want “God”, or I should say your god(I doubt Beck has a big Hindu or Muslim following)? Do they get to live in America too?

    @”Proud American”- Were you aware that MLK’s dream involved something called “democratic socialism”, and that Beck’s equivalents in those days called him a Communist? In fact one of Beck’s ideological mentors, W. Cleon Skousen, believed MLK to be a Communnist and believed as many conservatives did at the time that the civil rights movement was a Communist plot.

  • Kyle Meyer

    If anyone “owns” the civil rights movement, it is the SPLC. When was the last time a right wing extremist sued the KKK?