Michelle Goldberg / The Daily Beast – 2011-02-04 02:21:20
(February 1, 2011) — Store food and prepare for the coming global insurrection: That’s the warning Glenn Beck issued Monday. The Muslim Brotherhood and American radicals, he informed us, are operating in tandem to bring about “the destruction of the Western world.” On his Fox show, Beck presented a clip of Mohamed ElBaradei calling for a “New Egypt that is democratic, that is based on social justice.”
The phrase “social justice” flashed on the screen, because in Beck’s world, it’s a code word for a totalitarian leftist agenda, just as the Egyptian protesters’ use of the phrase “day of rage” signals their kinship with Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground. “We’ve shown you tonight that Hamas, Code Pink” — the feminist anti-war group — “and the Muslim Brotherhood are all linked together.” With the future bleak, Beck called on his viewers to pray for “our way of life” and for Israel.
Since the war in Iraq, it seems, Beck, like others on the right, has changed his mind about the desirability of Middle Eastern democracy.
It was only a few years ago, you’ll remember, that conservatives were crowing about a new birth of freedom in the Muslim world. Gunning for war with Iraq, conservatives attacked earlier generations of foreign-policy realists for propping up Arab dictators, arguing that political oppression and corruption created stultifying societies were terrorism bred.
George Bush made the rhetorical championing of Middle Eastern democracy a centerpiece of his presidency. In a 2003 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, he promised that a “liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions.”
It was never entirely clear how the right’s support for political freedom in the Muslim world meshed with its overwhelming contempt for Muslim people. Still, Bush had the passionate backing of most conservatives. A March 2003 dispatch from The Dallas Morning News, for example, featured an up-and-coming right-wing radio host who was organizing pro-Bush rallies across the country: “From his studio in Philadelphia, syndicated radio talk-show host Glenn Beck urges Americans to support President Bush and what he characterizes as Mr. Bush’s plan for seeding freedom in the Middle East with the invasion of US troops.”
Now, as Egyptians pour into the streets and demand control of their political destiny, an interesting divide is opening up on the right. On one side are those who actually took all that democracy stuff seriously.
On the other are those who see the Muslim world only as an enemy to be crushed and controlled. With a Republican primary approaching, it remains to be seen which view of Middle Eastern policy will triumph among conservatives.
Beck, hero of the Tea Party, has become the hysterical tribune of the anti-democracy forces, linking the uprising in Egypt to a bizarre alliance of all of his bÃªte noirs. “This is Saul Alinsky. This is STORM from Van Jones,” he warned on Monday, continuing, “The former Soviet Union, everybody, radical Islam, every — this is the story of everyone who has ever plotted to or wanted to fundamentally change or destroy the Western way of life. This isn’t about Egypt. Everything is up on the table.”
It would all end, he warned, with the restoration of a “Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe,” along with an expanded China and Russian control of the entire Soviet Union “plus maybe the Netherlands.”
It sounds nuts, of course, but such fears are now rampant on the religious right, which has long seen American involvement in the Middle East in millennarian terms. In the apocalyptic view of politics that dominates the Christian right, Muslim nations are closely connected to the rise of the Antichrist, while the restoration of the Jews to the entire biblical land of Israel is key to the Second Coming.
The end of days will be marked by the emergence of a one-world government and a great world war in the Middle East, culminating in a battle at Megiddo, or Armageddon, an actual place in Israel. (Beck is a Mormon, but he’s always incorporated elements of American evangelicalism into his ideology.) To side with the protesters in Egypt, at the expense of Israeli security, is to back Satan’s team in the coming biblical showdown.
Thus John Hagee, the chiliastic preacher who founded Christians United for Israel, took to his website to praise Hosni Mubarak as “an American ally and closet friend to Israel,” writing, “Israel will soon be surrounded by enemies screaming for their blood. Will America support them? Our president certainly has not been supportive of Israel to this point in his administration; why would he change now?”
Not surprisingly, the politicians closest to the religious right have been the quickest to side with Mubarak. On Turesday Mike Huckabee, who is in Israel, called into Fox & Friends to criticize the Obama administration for failing to back an ally. In Israel, he said, there’s “real shock and surprise…. at how quickly the Obama administration abandoned a 30-year ally and a longstanding friend to peace and stability President Mubarak.” On Sean Hannity’s radio show, Newt Gingrich warned that Egypt “could go the way of Iran.”
At least some neoconservatives, meanwhile, have shown an admirable consistency, urging support for Egypt’s demonstrators. Michael Rubin of the AEI, for example, wrote a piece for Forbes.com headlined “The US Should Not Fear Regime Change.” “I don’t see many neoconservatives who love Mubarak and really want to protect him,” Rubin told me, adding, “When it comes to support for dictatorships, you can only kick the can down the road for so long before the road ends.”
This highlights an interesting difference of opinion between neoconservatives and conservative Israelis, who are often thought to move in lockstep. “Israelis aren’t on board on the democracy game,” says Rubin. “They’d much rather rely on aging dictators to keep things quiet. They’re perfectly happy selling out Lebanon to Syria, and perfectly happy selling out the Egyptian people to Hosni Mubarak.”
Some neoconservatives are even claiming credit for the revolution under way in Egypt’s streets. “[T]he revolt in Tunisia, the gigantic wave of demonstrations in Egypt, and the more recent marches in Yemen all make clear that Bush had it right — and that the Obama administration’s abandonment of this mind-set is nothing short of a tragedy,” Elliott Abrams, Bush’s former deputy national security adviser, wrote in The Washington Post.
This is somewhat galling, since, as Julie Millican pointed out in Media Matters, Bush was always a Mubarak cheerleader. But at least it suggests that some on the right are willing to support the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people — and that they won’t snipe at Obama for failing to prop up the Mubarak regime. It suggests that not all conservatives were being grossly hypocritical when they championed an end to Arab autocracies. Only some of them were.
Yes, Tantaros, “Lunatic Theories” About Egypt Have Aired On Fox
(February 03, 2011) — On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros responded to Daily Beast contributor Michelle Goldberg’s statement that “lunatic theories” about Egypt have aired on Fox by claiming, “I haven’t seen any of that on this network.” In fact, Glenn Beck has been widely criticized for his “lunatic theories” about Egypt.
Fox News Contributor Andrea Tantaros Hasn’t Seen “Lunatic Theories” About Egypt On Fox
Tantaros Claims, “I Haven’t Seen Any” “Lunatic Theories” About Egypt On Fox. On the February 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Tantaros debated Daily Beast contributor and author Michelle Goldberg about the situation in Egypt. During the discussion, Goldberg stated that “your own network has been running absolutely, you know, lunatic theories about this being some kind of conspiracy between Van Jones, Code Pink, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood,” to which Tantaros responded: “What? I haven’t seen any of that on this network.” [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 2/3/11]
In Fact, Numerous “Lunatic Theories” About The Egyptian Conflict Have Appeared On Fox
Beck’s Egypt Narrative Riddled With Imagined Connections. On the February 2 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Beck claimed that connections exist between the Muslim Brotherhood and more than two dozen Muslim organizations in the United States, calling them “organizations and friends” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Beck did not, however, draw any connections between these groups and the Muslim Brotherhood. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/2/11]
Beck: Food Shortages In Egypt, High Oil Prices Tied To “Coming Insurrection.” During the February 1 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated: “There is a strange alliance between the left and the Islamicists that we’re seeing. I think it’s all part of the coming insurrection. It is easier to put pressure on us and the West if we can raise the price of oil and have the fuel and food shortages that they now have in the Middle East. We’ve shown you tonight that Code Pink, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood are linked together.” [Glenn Beck, 2/1/11]
Beck Strains To Tie ACORN To Egyptian Unrest. During the February 1 edition of his show, Beck stated:
BECK: It’s interesting to note a few other leftists who seem somewhat involved in what is happening in Egypt. Believe it or not, Wade Rathke – Wade Rathke, the ACORN guy, and Drummond Pike of the Tides Foundation are both on the board of the Organizers Forum.
This is a forum that was planned to host their fall 2011 international dialogue in Egypt, where they will meet with labor and community organizers and other activists in Cairo.
I’m sure that they’re just there for social justice. That’s it. What a coincidence. Wade Rathke even put on his Web site — or this is actually not Wade’s Web site. This is the coalition’s — the forum’s Web site.
It says: “Exciting changes and developments are currently taking place in Egypt with elections coming soon to determine leadership transitions in what has been an autocratic regime now challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood and succession and democracy issues.”
Coincidence just doesn’t seem to stop. Why would Rathke and Pike plan a big get together in Egypt? Maybe the flights to Cairo are cheaper than the flights to Vegas. I don’t know.
Maybe they’ve always wanted to see the pyramids. Or maybe they’re sowing the seeds of unrest, because global revolution is what they’re looking for. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/1/11]
Beck Links Obama To Mubarak, Suggests He’s Exhibiting “Sign[s] Of A Dictator.” Beck appeared on the February 1 edition of Fox & Friends to discuss unrest in Egypt. During the segment, he stated: “Did anyone notice the remarkable statements from the president last week where the president was saying, ‘Look, as long as people are peacefully assembling, they have a right to speak and the government should listen to them.'” Beck later said of Obama: “He’s telling Mubarak, ‘Anybody who tries to control the Internet and television and radio, that’s a sign of a dictator?’ Come on.” [Fox & Friends, 2/1/11]
In Egypt Protests, Beck Sees “A Muslim Caliphate That Controls The Mideast And Parts Of Europe.” During the February 1 edition of his show, Beck stated: “I believe that I can make a case in the end that there are three powers that you will see really emerge. One, a Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe. Two, China, that will control Asia, the southern half of Africa, part of the Middle East, Australia, maybe New Zealand, and God only knows what else. And Russia, which will control all of the old former Soviet Union bloc, plus maybe the Netherlands. I’m not really sure. But their strong arm is coming. That leaves us and South America. What happens to us?” [Glenn Beck, 2/1/11]
Beck: Egypt May Be “The Archduke Ferdinand Moment.” During the January 31 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Beck stated: “I think we’re actually, possibly on the — witnessing the Archduke Ferdinand moment. Archduke Ferdinand was the guy who was killed, shot, a few months later started the first world war. I think we are in real dangerous territory.” This is at least the seventh time in the past four years that Beck has uncovered an “Archduke Ferdinand Moment.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 1/31/11; Media Matters, 2/1/11]
Beck’s “Lunatic Theories” Have Also Been Widely Criticized
Matthews Tries To Decode Beck’s Wild-Eyed Theory On Egypt. During the February 2 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews held a discussion on Beck’s theories that “the uber-left” are “sowing the seeds and helping those in Egypt. All they want is more pressure on the United States.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 2/2/11]
Walsh on Beck: “He Is Definitely Losing His Audience … And He May Be Losing His Mind.” On the February 2 edition of Hardball, Matthews hosted Salon’s Joan Walsh to discuss Beck’s remarks on the Egyptian conflict. In response, Walsh stated that Glenn Beck is “Looney Tunes. … He is definitely losing his audience — he’s lost it by about a third — and he may be losing his mind.” [Hardball, 2/2/11]
Jordan’s Queen Noor Rejects Beck’s Caliphate Prediction, Criticizes His “Zero-Sum” Worldview. On the February 2 edition of Hardball, Matthews asked his guest, American-born Queen Noor of Jordan, her opinion on Beck’s caliphate theories:
MATTHEWS: Is there a reason for that kind of alarm right now at this point?
QUEEN NOOR: No, I don’t think there is. Glenn Beck’s approach appears to be that kind of zero-sum approach to looking at the world. [Hardball, 2/2/11]
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