Revise and Extend

So I think I’ve been unfair to Glenn Beck.

“But Jeff,” you say, “Glenn Beck is rarely fair to other people. Why should you be fair to him?” Well, dear reader, it’s precisely because I’m not Glenn Beck, and I don’t aspire to be Beckian in the way I conduct myself.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about right-wing violence, and in it, I cited a statement by Glenn Beck about “shoot[ing people] in the head.” I wrote, after reading an extended transcript at Raw Story, that Beck was telling his viewers to shoot liberal politicians in the head. He was not. After reading a longer transcript, it’s clear he was telling liberal politicians to shoot liberal activists in the head.

Is this better? Probably not, but it is different, and so I feel I should correct the record. My larger point stands: Beck and others on the right have used violent rhetoric repeatedly in order to whip up supporters, and that has had tragic consequences, and only through good fortune and good police work have those consequences been less horrific. But in this particular case, Beck was not urging his followers to kill politicians, and so for saying he did, I apologize.

This entry posted in Fox News, Media criticism. Bookmark the permalink. 

8 Responses to Revise and Extend

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Decent of you.

  2. 2
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Thanks very much.

    At Less Wrong, there’s a community norm of giving credit when people update what they’ve said, and I think it does a lot to make for a good atmosphere.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for posting this update, Jeff.

  4. 4
    Brandon Berg says:

    After reading a longer transcript, it’s clear he was telling liberal politicians to shoot liberal activists in the head.

    I’m not entirely clear on one point. Do you think that this is a figure of speech, or do you think that Glenn Beck is literally advocating the execution of far-left activists? Likewise, when Sarah Palin had the map with the crosshairs, do you think that she was literally advocating that those politicians be assassinated, or do you think that she was saying that we should target them for electoral defeat?

    I second the kudos for the correction. While you’re at it, though, don’t you think it’s time to acknowledge your error in insinuating that Michelle Bachmann inspired the murder of that census worker whose death was subsequently determined to be a suicide?

  5. 5
    mythago says:

    Brandon, you’ll note that Robert (another conservative poster) was able to get Jeff’s point without trying to turn it into concern-trolling. So I know it can be done.

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    It’s not an issue of being fair to Glenn Beck. It’s an issue of credibility. You made an error, you were made aware of the error, you corrected the record. If you want people to believe what you say and consider your views worth reading, that’s what you have to do.

    Unfortunately, it’s not what everyone does. So, as the Aussies say, good on ya.

  7. 7
    mythago says:

    RonF, sadly, the last point you made is incorrect. People who believe you purely because they agree with you ideologically don’t care about credibility; that’s merely a tool to be used against one’s ideological opponents. Doublethink is alive and well.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    Hm. Well, let me put it this way. If you want your views to be taken seriously by thinking people, or by people who look to the facts to shape their opinion rather than the reverse, then you have to act in this fashion. But, as mythago points out, there are plenty of people for whom the facts are things to be ignored or shaped as necessary to fit the message. She’s right, it’s very sad, and if such people become the majority it will be dangerous to the continuance of the American experiment in republican democracy.