One of the many advantages of You Tube and the social networking sites, is that it is possible to get a real measure of the de-regulated, ‘opinion led’ television the Murdoch clan want to export to Britain from the United States. The Murdochs want an end to the sort of impartiality regulations that have thus far saved us from the delights of Fox TV, and in particular, Murdoch’s hardest hitting current TV evangelical, Glenn Beck. In this, somewhat bizarrely, possibly naively, they apparently have the support of the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson.
Beck revels in conspiracy theories. Of late he has been whipping up hysteria over the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood, comparing it to American labor unions – a particular bête noir of Fox TV. He long ago crossed any professional line, by frequently standing in for Sarah Palin and the gloriously miss named Tea Party, whipping up audiences across middle America, and playing to their worst fears and prejudices. According to Andrew Neil in his recent BBC documentary on Palin and the Tea Party, Beck manages to trouser some $30 million a year. Even Murdoch can’t be paying him that much for services rendered, so where does the rest come from? We can only but guess; there are his ranting warm up acts for Palin, his books, his website, currently run by someone who used to manage the Huffington Post and which he may try to flog to AoL, his legendary lachrymose rantings, onion in one hand, handkerchief in the other , which certainly bring in the ratings.
It would be tempting to dismiss much of this as totally bonkers, except that a sizeable number of Americans do hang on Beck’s every word, and as we shall see, sometimes act on them. Of late Beck has been turning his ire on a group of people he believes are primarily responsible for America’s sharp decline. “These people” raves Beck are responsible for the twentieth century “Era of the big lie”, and for good measure he describes them as the “intelligent minority”, and asks, sneeringly “Just who is the intelligent minority?” Escalating his campaign, he recently exhorted his followers to take a pledge to denounce members of the “intelligent minority” and reject their “violent threats and calls for the destruction of our system – regardless of their underlying ideology – whether they come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.” On his January 17, 2011 show he called Piven an “enemy of the Constitution” and equated her call for a new social movement to organise the unemployed with “terrorism.” So who on earth is this woman, this enemy of the people, this terrorist, who is largely responsible for the collapsing of American values?
Step forward Professor Frances Fox Piven, a highly distinguished academic at City University New York (CUNY). I’ve spoken on various platforms in Manhattan with her over the years, but it was only when another academic friend of mine alerted me to the numerous death threats Fox Piven had received following Beck’s rantings that I got in touch with her again. She is now 78 years old and still firing on all scholarly cylinders on behalf of the poor and dispossessed of America. As an academic she has been able to marshal serious theory and fact throughout her illustrious career, and with her late husband, Richard Cloward played a not inconsiderable role in providing the impetus for progressive voter registration legislation. Somewhere, there still probably exists the classic photo which ran in “Newsweek” during the Columbia University 1968 strike, which shows Fox Piven climbing up a drain pipe in a mini skirt, high heels and pearls, to join students holed up in the Dean’s office, occupying the building.
Beck has repeatedly turned on Fox Piven, and here is where it gets both interesting and disturbing. For until recently anti-Semitism has not been a strong theme in the hate-filled vitriol directed at Piven. But on his January 14, 2011 show, Beck listed ten people who he said were major contributors to the 20th century “era of the big lie.” Nine of these people, including Frances Fox Piven (for “sowing the seeds of revolution”) are Jewish, including, George Soros. You can get a flavour of the Beck fulmination by watching this report on MSNBC and see Fox Piven’s response.
Beck’s possible reference point for the Fox Piven conspiracy appears to be an article which she and her husband wrote in the 1960s. Here is a taste of what may be found circulating on Right wing websites – this one titled “New Weimar Republic” and posted by someone called ‘Joy’, which may well be firing Beck and his friends into a puce fury; “A pair of radical Columbia University professors by the name of Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven wrote an article in the radical magazine known as The Nation. The article was published on May 2, 1966 and laid out what is now known as the ‘Cloward-Piven Strategy’. The plan calls for the destruction of capitalism in America by swelling the welfare rolls to the point of collapsing our economy and then implementing socialism by nationalizing many private institutions. Cloward and Piven studied Saul Alinsky just like Hillary Clinton and … Obama” (Quoted from worldviewradio.com). It should be quite evident why ever since the “Great Society” speech given by Lyndon Johnson, this nation has sunk deeper and deeper into socialism, which is nothing but a euphemism for Marxism. These early statements, and the fact that this nation has obviously followed this path laid out by so many Jews, makes it no coincidence why we have done so.”
Beck’s attacks on Fox Piven have, she believes, led to a substantial increase in the hate mail, some including death threats, she has received. Most are too ghastly to reprise, but here is a moderated selection;
Posted on January 2, 2011 at 11:50am
Another Idiot here who needs to be Euthanized!
Posted on December 31, 2010 at 6:17pm
Oh…ahhh Ms. Piven….Here is what YOU and yours are up against….YOU asked for it…here it comes…be very careful what you ask for honey…you may get exactly that…
I believe that when the laws of this great nation fail its own citizens, and all the voting and talking has been done…“We the People” have a very serious choice to make…I for one believe our fore fathers would expect nothing less!As I mentioned in previous posts…ONE SHOT…ONE KILL!“We The People” will need to stand up for what is right…a few well placed marksmen with high powered rifles…then there would not be any violence…those spineless evil people will not show their faces in the light of day again! (hummm…sounds a little like the terrorist attack the Eric Holder and Obama told Americans we could withstand)
Posted on December 31, 2010 at 4:54pm
I would not be upset at all if she got hit by a car sliding in the snow during a winter storm…. yeah, i wouldn’t be upset at all, i don’t even consider her human
Posted on December 31, 2010 at 5:21pm
Hey Frances. Please get sick and die quickly!
Posted on December 31, 2010 at 5:57pm
that old woman is nothing more than bile coming from a rabid animal. put it out of its misery.
America is not the way she and her Obama followers WANT it to be. WE are stronger than they are, WE surround them.
Posted on December 31, 2010 at 6:00pm
I say bring it. 90 million legal gun owners with over 220 million legal firearms, MOST in the hands of people who claim to be center RIGHT. I think it’s time to reduce the surplus population of leeches, lay abouts, left wing nut jobs, the main stream media, liberal politicians and MOST defense attorneys…
I asked Frances Fox Piven what her reaction was to the death threats that have followed in the wake of the Beck ravings;
“It’s tempting I think to be amused by the strange stories that Glenn Beck creates on his chalkboard. But the stories gain traction with people who are made anxious by the large changes that have overtaken the United States, including the election of a black president and the increasing racial diversity of the population, deindustrialization and the decline of American power abroad, and cultural changes in sexual and family norms. By telling simple and paranoid fairy tales that trace these big and complex changes to the machinations of particular people, Beck makes the changes comprehensible in a way, and also makes the people who are presumably responsible the targets of his listeners’ frustration and outrage.
This is dangerous for democratic politics, partly because it is utterly irrational, and partly because it is an effort to extort silence from leading voices on the Left.”
Her last line says it all. It is in essence what the Murdoch Empire is all about; monopoly, control, dumbing down and a collapsing of voices and forces that refuse to surrender to them. Rupert and son James know exactly what they are doing, for they, like Professor Frances Fox Piven who still is one, once called themselves “Socialists”. For the deluded souls who seem to believe that the Murdoch clan is interested solely in money, and not politics, think again. Beck gets away with what he does on Murdoch’s dollars.
But Glenn Beck is in a league of his own. When people like him are able to whip up the lumpen white dispossessed, and potentially drive at least some of them to potentially reach for their guns – as happened recently in Tucson, Arizona with deadly effect – they pose a very real threat to public safety. Is this really the sort of television we could also end up with here?
Many Americans, including many Republican Americans of my acquaintance, scratch their heads and ask; what is becoming of public discourse in our country? Why is it so full of hate? The answer lies with people like Glenn Beck, a ghastly, fool of a propagandist whom Rupert Murdoch is happy to employ on his news channel.