Nov
20
2008

'I Knew He Knew Who I Was'

Glenn Beck has been telling a personal story illustrating what he says is a particularly intense level of hatred on the left.

According to the newly signed Fox News host, he was verbally assaulted by a truck driver while standing in line at a Wendy's restaurant at a truck stop. Writing on his blog, Beck says the truck driver called him a "racist bigot," blaming the talk show host and conservatives "for everything." Wrote Beck, "The hatred was palpable." As his security detail stood between him and his assailant, Beck says the truck driver ended his rant by threatening to run him over.

It was ugly stuff, and Beck was shocked by the level of hate: "I wanted to say, I think you have me mistaken for someone else, but I knew he knew who I was and he just hated me for who I wasâ┚¬Ã‚¦. Wow. Is this who we've become? Is this who we've become?"

Concluding his appeal to civility, Beck explained that he wouldn't treat his enemies the way the truck driver treated him: "I could stand in line with Michael Moore and I wouldn't say that to him. I would say some things to Michael Moore, but it wouldn't be that. Is this who we've become? I believe there is a cauldron of hatred on both sides, but the left is quite frightening."

Beck might not say such things to Moore in person, but he has expressed a desire to murder Moore to his nationally syndicated radio audience (Glenn Beck Program, 5/18/05):

I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out–is this wrong?

And Beck wasn't exactly the picture of civility two years earlier when he told his listeners that he prayed nightly for anti-war presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich to be consumed by fire (Glenn Beck Program, 3/16/03): "Every night I get down on my knees and pray that Dennis Kucinich will burst into flames."

Beck repeated his Wendy's story on Fox's On the Record (11/17/08)–only in this version, Beck said Fox News was among the targets of the truck driver's vitriol. As he explained to host Greta Van Susteren, the story illustrated that "the left is just unbelievably out of control right now."

Whatever the truth is about Beck's truck driver story, his own record of hatred, including a prediction that in 10 years time "Muslims and Arabs will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West," is not merely a matter of angry words spouted in a fast food shop, but a matter of nationally broadcast hatred.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.