Monday, December 7, 2009

Glenn Beck's Nazi Fans

After an ADL report says Beck may foment violence, I visit racist Web sites to see if their denizens are listening

By Alexander Zaitchik | Salon | Nov 20, 2009

It's been a busy week for Glenn Beck watchers. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League released a report warning of the paranoia and stridency that increasingly define the conservative grass roots. It echoed an April report issued by the Department of Homeland Security, but unlike the DHS report, the ADL named names, and fingered Beck as the figure most responsible for the unhinging of the right.

"Beck has acted as a 'fearmonger-in-chief,' raising anxiety about and distrust towards the government [which] if it continues to grow in intensity and scope, may result in an increase in anti-government extremists and the potential for a rise of violent anti-government acts," the ADL wrote.

Amazingly, just after the ADL report's release, Sarah Palin responded to a question about a possible Palin-Beck ticket by refusing to rule out Beck as a running mate. She praised him effusively, describing him as "bold, clever, and very, very, very effective."

Effective at what, exactly?

Earlier this week, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post detailed several instances in which Beck has welcomed onto his shows guests with ties to groups that traffic in white supremacy, neo-Confederate secession, and anti-Semitism. Stein's reporting was a good start, but it would take a chalkboard the size of Idaho to fully map out Beck's racially paranoid guest list.

But Beck insists his critics are imagining things, that he does not engage in racial fear-mongering, that a string of guests with ties to hate groups do not form a meaningful pattern, and that he's not a racist. It occurred to me the other day that if you really want to know whether Beck and his guests are blowing racial dog-whistles, it's best to ask a dog.

I decided to reach out to Don Black, the avowed white nationalist who runs the Web site, the country's leading "Discussion board for pro-White activists and anyone else interested in White survival." But Black hung up on me. I next tried to get in touch with David Duke, the former gubernatorial candidate and current head of the European American Unity and Rights Organization. Duke, too, had little interest in talking to me, likely because of my past association with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activities of white supremacist groups.

Unable to get through to the highest-profile spokesmen of the racist grass roots, I took a page from the other side and trawled their Web sites for insight. I scanned and to see what they had to say, if anything, about Beck. Admittedly, this method is not scientific, and certainly folks on the left don't like it when righties cherry-pick an extreme comment from Daily Kos or the Huffington Post and pretend the whole site can be summed up by such extremism.

On the other hand, isn't a media organization but a self-described discussion board. And when it comes to Beck, the discussions are fairly positive. On both David Duke's Web site and Stormfront, Beck's July 28 claim that President Obama harbors a "deep-seated hatred of white people, or the white culture" was met with attention and appreciation.

Duke was heartened by the discussion it generated, and placed it in a larger context. "A lot of stuff is happening in the world of race relations and little of it points towards a post-racial society," Duke noted. "Beck is steadily losing advertisers, but his viewers seem to be sticking with him ... White desperation is manifesting itself in various forms."

Beck's charge that the president hates white people sparked a more expansive discussion at Some participants saw Beck as an important ally in the White Nationalist cause. Others were skeptical, viewing him as a clueless conservative version of Lenin's "useful idiot." But some of Stormfront's most active members generally agreed that, whether he was fully conscious or not, Beck was nudging his audience toward an embrace of racial consciousness.

"Glen [sic] Beck can be useful," said one frequent Stormfront contributor who posts under the name SS_marching. "When Glen beck said 'Obama Has A Deep-Seated Hatred For White People' he is able to reach a much wider audience than we can. They will [be] predisposed to the idea and the next time Obama pushes an anti-white policy they will see it as such."

Stormfront member PowerCommander agreed. Beck, he wrote:

"seems to have ignited a flame under the asses of some folks with similar ideas by pushing the right buttons. It appears as if the current regime [is] directly blaming GB and fox news for throwing a wrench in their machine. Is Beck's rambling getting America fired up and ready to fight? Has Beck told enough of the truth to start something bigger? Even an engine needs a starter to get fired off and go down the road."

Thor357, a Stormfront sustaining member who has posted on the site more than 3,500 times, had this to say:

"Glenn Beck and Alex Jones [a controversial conservative media figure who believes 9/11 was an inside job] are the front line in the war of Ideals we grapple with, they are far from perfect and are somewhat compromised. But every person in the last 2 years that I have introduced to the WN [White Nationalist] Philosophy have come largely from Alex Jones, Glen Beck and the Scriptures for America founder Pastor Pete Peters ... Baby steps are required for people like these, but the trio Beck, Jones, Peters are the baby food that feeds potential Nationalists… Glenn Beck is not far behind as his Mormon background indicates to me as most Mormons I have met are not friends of Jews like the Church was years ago. Most Mormons I know are arming themselves, with guns, bullets and food."

Later in the same discussion thread, Thor357 added:

"I have talked to 6 people in two days because Glenn Beck woke them up, it's amazing how angry they are. They are pissing fire over Obama, this is a good thing. Now I educate them. If out of 100 of the Glen Beckers I keep 20 then I have won 20 more to cover my back side. I never lost the 80 as they never were."

Carolina Patriot, whose member picture features a kitten aiming an assassin's rifle, was conflicted but admiring:

"Every now and again when an infomercial takes the place of hunting or fishing, I'll turn over to Glenn Beck if he's on and watch his show. Sometimes it is amusing, sometimes it is informed, and sometimes, I think he comes to SF [Stormfront] to steal show idea's"

UstashaNY offered up an analogy to substance abuse, with Beck as the soft-stuff hook:

"Beck, Dobbs etc. are like gateway drugs. If it wakes up one person to learn something about whats really going on and that person does the research, looks deeper and deeper into WHO and WHAT is behind all of this, then its a win for the movement. NOBODY in the msm is reporting the stuff Beck does, let him keep talking. It will wake people up, believe me… He is more of a help to us then you may think. Until we have a REAL voice in the msm, guys like him and Dobbs are a stepping stone right into our laps. Its only a matter of time..."

Even those who don't think Beck understands what he’s doing appreciate his instincts. According to WhiteManMarchesOn88:

"There is no doubt that Beck is not a WN [white nationalist], but I have to agree that he does raise a lot of really good questions that do promote White survival. I'm sure he would go a lot farther with a lot of his questions, but ZOG [Zionist Occupied Government] would more than likely kick him off television if he did."

ZOG or no ZOG, Beck is clearly doing something right from the point of view of the average white nationalist.

"By no means do I think [Beck] is aware of the racial issue, and for the moment that is ok," wrote Stormfront member QHelios. "He is stirring the pot, and I thank him for that."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cancer: Cured! McCarthy: Crucified! Jews: Demonic! Studies in Crap digs up Wichita's The Defender

By Alan Scherstuhl in Studies in Crap
Nov. 5 2009

The Defender Magazine

Representative Quotes:

"History will give [Senator McCarthy] a rightful place above all inferiors." (February, page 2).

"[The American Medical Association] hopes to have a blitzkrieg going -- the objective being to exterminate all of the minority healing professions by 1958." (September, page 2)

Liberty weeps. In 1955, when the United States senate dared to censure its anti-communist inquisitionist Joe McCarthy, few Americans heard the spirited nonsense roared by Wichita evangelist Gerald B. Winrod in The Defender, his monthly journal of sermons and horseshit. Only Winrod dared call the censure "crucifixion."

In The Defender, " ... Talk of serpents summoned by Jewish magicians in ancient Babylon leads right to Jewish 'tentacles' shaping American life: They control radio, TV, an 'invisible government,' and an ADL as powerful as the FBI. Groff detests the Talmud, that expansive archive of rabbinic thinking, almost as much as he adores repetitive synonyms. 'The contents of the Talmud explains why the Jews are strange, different, and odd' ... "

That means that some of Winrod's predictions turned out to be wrong, such as when he claims that McCarthy's speech in response to the censure "will be studied as a political and literary masterpiece in high school and college textbooks of the future," which just goes to show you that even time itself has a liberal bias. Hazarding why even Eisenhower turned red, Winrod speculates on powers greater even than presidents:

"It is now known that during all the months that the White House was maneuvering things against Senator McCarthy, the Time and Life publishing outfits had one of their key men stationed at the President's elbow."


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

David Horowitz Hosts Dutch "Scholar" who Faces Prosecution for Inciting Race Hatred

Controversial Dutch Pol Renders His Message
By Bryan Schwartzman
October 29, 2009 Bryan Schwartzman

Geert Wilders

A controversial Dutch lawmaker and fierce critic of Islam received an overwhelming positive response from a largely Jewish audience in Center City, just days after several dozen students protested outside Temple University, the parliamentarian's first local stop. Both events took place under tight security.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Netherlands Freedom Party, has angered Muslims by claiming that terrorism and violence are central components of Islam, as opposed to products of an extremist, fringe subset.

Wilders is facing charges of incitement to hatred in his native country for producing a short film called "Fitna." The documentary has been widely viewed on the Internet, and essentially argues that the West is under siege from radical Islam.

Wilders, who has called for limiting Muslim immigration to Europe, has portrayed himself as an advocate of free speech. He's even become a darling in certain conservative circles.

"I have nothing against Muslims. I do have a problem with Islam," said Wilders to a burst of applause during an Oct. 22 speech held at the Union League of Philadelphia. "The Koran is an evil book; it calls for murder, terror and war."

Attended by about 200 people, the speech served as the inaugural event for the David Horowitz Freedom Center--Philadelphia. Formed less than a year ago, the local center is meant to serve as the East Coast headquarters of the Los Angeles-based organization run by Horowitz, a one-time liberal turned conservative firebrand. Horowitz is the editor of the right-leaning Web site

According to its mission statement, the Philadelphia center will focus on campus activity and academic freedom by helping ensure that critics of Islam -- as well as pro-Israel speakers -- are allowed to offer their viewpoints without being quashed.

Wilders' Temple speech drew a number of protesters, including Jewish students, and created a controversy on campus as to whether or not he should have been permitted to speak at all.

Some of the proceeds from the Union League event will go toward Wilders' legal defense back home, said Horowitz.

The issue of how to relate to Muslims in America -- and Islam, in general -- has proved a divisive one for the Jewish community. Those on the left have, for the most part, advocated dialogue and engagement, while the right has espoused a more confrontational line. The same can be said for Israeli relationships with Arabs in the Mideast.

Theory Works Both Ways

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, who directs the Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, did not attend the speech.

But she said later in an interview that it can be highly misleading to highlight individual quotes from the Koran -- as Wilders' does -- and call it representative of Islam in totality.

Using that same theory, back in the Middle Ages, Christian leaders would pore through the Talmud to pick out passages to be used against Jews.

Said Fuchs-Kreimer: "Judaism is a very diverse, evolving religious civilization. The same is true of Islam."

The Myth of Fox News' Ratings Spike

By Eric Boehlert
Huffington Post
November 3, 2009

Fact: The breathless claim that Fox News' ratings recently spiked thanks to the White House's public critique is bogus hype -- hype that Fox News and the Beltway press have relentlessly pushed.

It's just not true.

No matter how many times reporters and pundits made the claim, a detailed analysis of Nielsen ratings numbers clearly indicates that in the two weeks after the White House in mid-October sparked a media controversy by claiming Rupert Murdoch's channel was not a legitimate news organization, Fox News' ratings did not soar or go "through the roof." In fact, not only did Fox News' overall ratings not soar, they experienced no significant increase at all. Instead, in the two weeks following the initial verbal jousts with the White House, Fox News' total day ratings virtually flatlined.

Another example of the Beltway press not letting the facts get in the way of a good story? It sure looks that way. In this case, we saw nearly universal agreement among media elites that the White House decision to publicly call out Fox News was monumentally dumb, thin-skinned, short-sighted, and uncivil. (Paging the etiquette police!)

Everyone said so. Therefore pundits were certain that Fox News' ratings were way up and that Obama and his aides had made a huge tactical blunder. The ratings angle simply provided statistical ammunition for what the Beltway press corps already knew to be the truth: Fact-checking Fox News, in the immortal words of The Washington Post's CW-loving Sally Quinn, was "absolutely crazy."

Except it turns out none of that was true. There was no viewer stampede toward Fox News.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Should Modern Warfare 2 Allow Us to Play at Terrorism?

Leaked footage of a controversial airport level in Modern Warfare 2 has caused a wave of controversy online...

Modern Warfare 2: could you shoot this man? You may be about to find out...

Guardian | October 29, 2009

The video is a few minutes long, but it might just be the most important game footage to be seen this year. It's a bootleg of a single mission from Modern Warfare 2, the much-anticipated first-person shooter, certain to be the winter's biggest selling game. It shows the player joining Russian terrorists on a bloody rampage through an airport building; civilians are gunned down as armed men run through the departures lounge, and it's evident that the player is firing too. In one alarming moment someone is shown dragging an injured person across the concourse – the player shoots them both dead.

Released onto the internet earlier this week, the blurry footage has already provoked a media backlash, a Mirror headline proclaiming, "leaked level makes light of terrorist atrocities." Many see in it harrowing evocations of last year's Mumbai terror attacks in which over 170 people were killed. For a while, it wasn't clear whether the sequence was genuine, but yesterday, Activision released a statement confirming its authenticity:

"The leaked footage was taken from a copy of game that was obtained illegally and is not representative of the overall gameplay experience in Modern Warfare 2. Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 features a deep and gripping storyline in which players face off against a terrorist threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. The game includes a plot involving a mission carried out by a Russian villain who wants to trigger a global war. In order to defeat him, the player infiltrates his inner circle. The scene is designed to evoke the atrocities of terrorism.

"At the beginning of the game, players encounter a mandatory 'checkpoint' in which they are warned that an upcoming segment may contain disturbing elements, and they can choose not to engage in the gameplay that involves this scene."

So what should we make of all this?

Clearly, once again, we will be confronted with difficult questions about the role and duty of videogames as an entertainment form. To some commentators, videogames by their very nature, 'make light' of anything they portray. This is partially about semantics; the interpretation of the word 'game' as something fundamentally frivolous. Partly, too, it is about the legacy of videogames as a pastime for children, for teenagers – not for adults.

And then interactivity itself brings in complex moral questions. If a movie were to depict a terrorist outrage, the viewer takes no active part. But in a videogame, you're engaged and complicit. The participation is the entertainment, and that's always going to be problematic. Activision's argument about seeking to portray the depths of the terrorist cell's immorality in order to stir the player's emotions is sound to a point – it's an established narrative device. But as Tom Hoggins asks in his Telegraph feature, is it really necessary for the player to throw grenades? And wouldn't similar revulsion be elicited if the player were placed into the shoes of one of the victims? This would, after all, reflect the wonderful opening sequence to the original Modern Warfare, in which the player takes on the perspective of a prisoner who is bundled into a car and later executed.

This is also not the first time that the Call of Duty series has forced the player into a morally troublesome sequence. There is at least one moment in Call of Duty: World at War (admittedly created by a different development studio, but still part of the CoD lineage), in which the player has no choice but to shoot a group of unarmed enemy soldiers in order to complete a mission objective. Is there an agenda here to push the boundaries of acceptability in shoot-'em-ups? It's a brave move if there is.

On top of it all, context itself is a problematic notion. In this case it appears both vital and valid. What we're robbed of when viewing this illicit footage is what happens before and afterwards, the exact nature of the scene, and the authenticity of the player's involvement. It's certainly far too early for tabloids to be bandying accusations about – but then, when did that ever stop them?

The problem is, context can easily become an excuse to portray wanton violence. In the PlayStation title Driver, for example, the gamer is ostensibly controlling an undercover policeman posing as a criminal, but this backstory is immaterial to the game action, which involves stealing cars, smashing other vehicles out of the way – and having lots of fun in the process. That's a very different game, and a very different circumstance, but it's an example of how the framework can be bent to suit the core game dynamic.

I'm also not sure about Activision's plaintive claim that the scene can be skipped. It's something of a cop-out, a side-step, rather than a pertinent justification. The point is, it's there – the developers put it there. It is an intended element of the whole experience.

Responsibility is the underlying theme in all this. I think this is the deciding factor. Infinity Ward is an excellent developer, it uses narrative in a mature and sophisticated way. Witness the nuclear explosion sequence and the apparent death of Captain Price in Modern Warfare; these are moments of sheer emotional resonance, which would have been fumbled by most studios – indeed they wouldn't even have been attempted by most studios. Both moments work perfectly within the game's depiction of a desperate global battle. I'm certain that will be the case here. This development team has no need for cheap controversy, it doesn't have to appeal to the basest instincts of nihilistic teen gamers looking for a few cheap sick thrills.

That is why this blurry, inconclusive footage is so important. The scene portrayed may well represent a statement of intent: this is what games are capable of now – unsettling us with powerful imagery, backing us into difficult situations, toying with our moral certainties. It is an 18 certificate game. We must be trusted to test ourselves against this.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Climate Cover-Up: A (Brief) Review

20 October 2009

We often allude to the industry-funded attacks against climate change science, and the dubious cast of characters involved, here at RealClimate. In recent years, for example, we’ve commented on disinformation efforts by industry front groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute, and a personal favorite, The Heartland Institute, and by industry-friendly institutions such as the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and other media outlets that assist in the manufacture and distribution of climate change disinformation.

When it comes to the climate change disinformation campaign, we have chosen to focus on the intellectually bankrupt nature of the scientific arguments, rather than the political motivations and the sometimes intriguing money trail. We leave it to others, including organizations such as, the sleuths at DeSmogBlog, authors such as Ross Gelbspan (author of The Heat is On, and The Boiling Point), and edited works such as Rescuing Science from Politics to deal with such issues.

One problem with books on this topic is that they quickly grow out of date. Just over the past few years, there have been many significant events in the ‘climate wars’ as we have reported on this site. Fortunately, there is a book out now by our friends at DeSmogBlog (co-founder James Hoggan, and regular contributor Richard Littlemore) entitled Climate Cover Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming that discusses the details of the contrarian attacks on climate science up through the present, and in painstaking detail. They have done their research, and have fully documented their findings, summarized by the publisher thusly:

Talk of global warming is nearly inescapable these days — but there are some who believe the concept of climate change is an elaborate hoax. Despite the input of the world’s leading climate scientists, the urgings of politicians, and the outcry of many grassroots activists, many Americans continue to ignore the warning signs of severe climate shifts. How did this happen? Climate Cover-up seeks to answer this question, describing the pollsters and public faces who have crafted careful language to refute the findings of environmental scientists. Exploring the PR techniques, phony “think tanks,” and funding used to pervert scientific fact, this book serves as a wake-up call to those who still wish to deny the inconvenient truth.

There are interesting new details about the Revelle/Singer/Lancaster affair and other tidbits that were new to me, and will likely to be new to others who been following the history of climate change contrarianism. Ross Gelbspan who has set the standard for investigative reporting when it comes to the climate change denial campaign, had this to say about the book:

absolutely superb - one of the best dissections of the climate information war I have ever seen. This is one terrific piece of work!

There is an important story behind the climate change denial effort that goes well beyond the scientific issues at hand. Its not our mission at RealClimate to tell that story, but there are others who are doing it, and doing it well. Hoggan and Littlemore are clearly among them. Read this book, and equally important, make sure that others who need to do as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pew Confirms: We're Turning Into Media Tribes

Posted by Charles Cooper
Coop's Corner
October 29, 2009

Here's a headline. The latest Pew survey informs us that Fox News is viewed by Americans as the most ideological news network of them all. Well, duh. The shocker, I suppose, was that 14% said Fox was "mostly liberal." ...

Snarky asides notwithstanding, the data also testify to our propensity to watch news networks which reconfirm preexisting political biases. Consider the following points I lifted from the Pew report:

• Ideology plays a role in how Americans view the networks. 57% of liberals say that Fox News is mostly conservative, compared with 46% of moderates and 44% of conservatives.

• 48% of conservatives find MSNBC to be mostly liberal, compared with 31% of moderates and 29% of liberals.

• 51% of conservatives say CNN is mostly liberal, while 33% of moderates and 28% of liberals agree. (The report found "comparable ideological differences in perceptions of the ideologies of NBC News, ABC News and CBS News.")

• Regular Fox News viewers are more likely than those tuning into other news networks to see those networks as mostly liberal. 48% of regular Fox viewers say the network is mostly conservative. They also believe that featuring hosts of cable news programs with strong political opinions is a good thing. (Bill O'Reilly, you still have a job);

• At the same time, regular viewers of Fox News think the media's in the tank for the administration. About 45% say the press is not sufficiently critical of the president, compared with 15% of regular MSNBC viewers, 23% of regular CNN viewers and 21% of regular nightly network news viewers;

With conservatives settling in at Fox and liberals congregating around CNN and MSNBC, it's interesting to consider what this suggests about Americans' willingness to consider opposing points of view. To be fair, how many people are interested in having their entire world views challenged after a hard day at the office - especially by a talking head shrieking about high crimes and misdemeanors? Hmm. Maybe that explains Jon & Kate Plus Eight.