Original Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/13/glenn-beck-petition-fox
Ed Pilkington in New York
Ten thousand sign petition for rightwing talkshow host to be removed amid accusations that he has whipped up hatred in the wake of the Arizona shooting
A protest was staged against rightwing talkshow host Glenn Beck today, calling for his immediate removal from Fox News.
The organisers, Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures.
In the wake of the Tucson shooting, the TV and radio personality has had to defend his record against accusations that he has whipped up hatred within the public discourse.
For a media figure who has been variously lambasted as a liar, buffoon, clown, bigot and racist Beck is no stranger to the vitriol that currently passes in America as public debate. In fact, he's built a multimillion dollar empire out of it.
So the protest rally that was staged outside the News Corporation headquarters in New York today probably troubled him as much as water flowing off a duck's back.
The petition was part of a groundswell of opinion that when it comes to Beck, arguably the most extreme of America's multitude of rightwing talk hosts, enough is now enough.
Amid the billowing criticism, Beck has defended himself by claiming he has "softened" the tone of his monologues over the past couple of years. "Nobody wants to recognise this. Why? Because it hurts their dialogue."
But the evidence belies his claim of moderation. The JFSJ accompanied the petition with a list of 10 of Beck's most egregious comments in 2010 (see below).
They include Beck's radio comment on the financier and philanthropist, George Soros, that "here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps". The remark was made in reference to Soros as a 13-year-old teenager in Hungary, who survived the Holocaust because his father hid their Jewish identity through elaborate forged documents.
The comment was made as part of a three-part Beck "exposé" of Soros on Fox News last November called the "Puppet Master". Beck's portrayal of Soros was so mendacious and malicious that he was accused by the New Yorker of broadcasting tropes that corresponded "uncannily to those of classical antisemitism". The Daily Beast noted that "nothing like it has ever been on American television before".
Simon Greer, JFSJ's president, said that following last Saturday's Tucson shootings, in which a Congresswoman was shot and six people died, it was time for action. "We are not accusing Glenn Beck or Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch of pulling the trigger in Tucson, only one man did that. But we are accusing them of playing to the worst in all of us."
He said that over the past 18 months Beck had referred to Hitler and Nazi Germany more than 400 times in his show.
There is no love lost between Soros and the Fox News stable. A month after the Puppet Master was aired, Soros hit back that the combination of Fox News, Beck and the Tea Party movement was a threat to America that might lead "this open society to be on the verge of some dictatorial democracy".
The billionaire has donated $1m to the liberal media research body, Media Matters. The organisation's founder, David Brock, this week wrote to Murdoch calling on him to do something about Beck and Sarah Palin, who also appears on Fox News.
"In the wake of the [Arizona] killings, your network must make a stand," Brock wrote. "You have the power to order them to stop using violent rhetoric. If they fail to do so, it is incumbent on you to fire them or be responsible for the climate they create."
Glenn Beck soundbites
• Beck likens himself to Israeli Nazi hunters: "To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter." 20 January 2010
• Social justice is a "perversion of the Gospel, not what Jesus was saying". 11 March 2010
• "Charles Darwin is the father of the Holocaust." 20 August 2010
• "We have been sold a lie … that the poor in America are suffering." November 20 2010
• Beck mocks President Obama's daughter Malia and questions her "level of education". He later apologises. 28 May 2010
• Uncle Sam is a "child molester" who is "raping our wallets … and destroying our families". 16 April 2010
• Beck said the prime goal of his coverage of the midterm elections was to "make George Soros cry" which was hard to do as Soros "saw people into gas chambers". 2 November 2010
• "Women are psychos". 20 January 2010
• Putting the "common good" first is the kind of thing that "leads to death camps". 28 May 2010
• "God will wash this nation with blood if he has to." 25 August 2010