Glenn Beck is ‘going George Custer’

Glenn Beck is a great example of the biases representing our media today! The world needs more writers like Ryan Witt willing to look beyond the sensationalism angle that mainstream media seems obliged to deliver to us daily!
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Glenn Beck is ‘going George Custer’ on his caliphate conspiracy theory (Video)

True to the Sarah Palin mantra, Glenn Beck is reloading and not retreating on his caliphate conspiracy theory.

Photo: Getty Images
By his own admission, Glenn Beck is under attack from both the left and the right regarding his “caliphate conspiracy theory.”
The left was quick to dismiss Beck’s caliphate theory as absurd, and potentially dangerous by generating hysterical fear about a fictional threat of Islam.  To the surprise of many, liberals were joined by notable conservative William Kristol, who offered a sharp rebuke of Beck’s rhetoric.  Like Beck, other Fox News personalities have expressed similar concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood, but none have gone as far as to defend Beck’s fears of a caliphate.  Despite all this opposition, Beck has virulently defended his theory over the past three days, refusing to retreat even the slightest bit.  Much like George Custer’s famous “last stand” at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Beck seems to be making his “last stand” in spite of all the evidence around him.

Video: Glenn Beck forcefully attempts to defend his caliphate conspiracy theory

Like Custer, Beck seems to be relying on some faulty assumptions that may eventually cause his downfall.  Custer was confident that he was only facing 800 Native Americans in battle, when in fact he was likely facing a force at least three times as large.  In gaining his intelligence Custer relied on faulty sources, Indian agents, and his own assumptions based on incomplete observations.  Beck continues to rely on faulty sources and incomplete information.  In the defense of his theory Beck will often read from a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum written in 1987, or find a Muslim Brotherhood leader or two who advocates violence.  Each of these pieces of information look very bad when considered individually, but they do not fit together to complete the conspiracy that Beck has imagined.  One can find crazy right-wing extremists making violent threats or talking about overthrowing the government; this fact does not mean that (1) these extremists represent the entire right wing and (2) that these extremists have to power to actually do what they say.  Beck essentially takes a nugget of truth, and then makes all sorts of logical leaps from it to arrive to his final conclusion which is a one world government caliphate. 
Custer and Beck are also blinded by what they cannot see.  From his vantage points before and after the battle began Custer could not see the force he was facing, or realize that he had no way of escape.  In the same manner, Beck seems unwilling to take a serious look at the criticisms against him.  Beck seemed to take Kristol’s criticism personally, calling him “Billy” and slamming Kristol as someone still live in the age of “Bob Dole.”  Beck rarely takes a look at the facts brought up by his opponents.  For example, Beck believes the Islamic caliphate will rule over India, even though 80% of India’s population is Hindu.  Middle East experts say that there is now way the Shi’ites and Sunnies will simply unite after centuries of bloody conflict, but Beck simply dismisses this analysis with his own faulty logic.
Finally, both Custer and Beck suffer from pride and a lack of humility.  Minutes before his forces were surrounded and he was killed Custer actually believed he was winning the battle of Little Big Horn.  Custer’s lack of caution and humility caused him to effectively charge into a trap.  In the same way, Beck, even after being confronted by a fellow Fox News co-worker who has every reason to be on his side, simply refuses to back down.  Beck is charging ahead with his theory searching for more information which he believes will confirm his own theory.  Beck’s pride has left blind to his own confirmation bias, and his refusal to simply give up or move on causes him to just dig a deeper hole.
Of course, the penalty for Custer’s errors was death.  Beck is in no danger of dying, but according to many rumors his time at Fox News may suddenly be in danger.  Beck’s ratings have gone down over 50% over the last year, and many believe this “caliphate conspiracy theory” may be the nail in the coffin of what little credibility he had left.  Custer’s last stand was at Little Big Horn.  Beck’s last stand may be in Egypt.

By Ryan Witt

Ryan Witt is a graduate of Washington University Law School in St. Louis and has extensive experience teaching government and politics. His...

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1 comment:

  1. This is a good article. Glenn Beck is about three cups of coffee away from being a raving lunatic. Many think he's already there, including quite a few of his counterparts at MSNBC and CNN. His shows and his "theories" are little more than presentations designed to incite fear and anxiety in his followers. If there ever was a poster-boy for sensationalism in the media, we have it in Glenn Beck.


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