Glenn Beck’s reaction to the Piers Morgan/Alex Jones showdown was typically hilarious. He simply couldn’t help himself. He devoted the entire first segment of his radio show to running down Alex Jones, making great effort to avoid even so much as mentioning his name (oddly enough, he never has any problem name-dropping leftists with whom he is not in direct competition).
Now, criticizing Alex Jones is fine. I am not a fan of Alex Jones. I don’t listen to his show. Occasionally, on very rare occasions, I may watch a video on Youtube produced by Infowars, and that’s about it. I do listen to Glenn Beck regularly, and consider myself a fan of his. So just know that those are my biases going in.
But I think that Glenn is 100% wrong on this one, and in a very important (and somewhat ironic) way. Late in the segment, Glenn claims that you cannot trust anything you get from Infowars because Alex Jones is in charge of it. He also throws in RT (generally the only cable news network that is willing to allow true libertarians to have a voice) in there for good measure, claiming you cannot believe anything they say because they are Russian state media. Now don’t get me wrong, I am somewhat skeptical of Alex Jones and I am incredibly skeptical of Vladimir Putin’s personal propaganda network. I always try to keep in mind that the reason RT allows libertarians to speak is because they know we will insult the U.S. government, which is all they really care about.
The irony here is that Glenn Beck has his own website, The Blaze, which has grown very quickly and is trying to position itself as a completely legitimate source of news. However, the success of this site hinges entirely on the willingness of people who don’t necessarily agree with Glenn Beck’s politics to be willing to judge news articles based on the facts contained in the stories, rather than the alleged sanity of the owner of the website, or whether or not they agree with the owner’s political agenda. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve posted a link to an article on The Blaze only for a leftist to immediately come in shouting, “Oh, that’s The Blaze! That’s GLENN BECK’S website! Everything on it is obviously a lie!” To me, that seems like a pretty unfair conclusion to draw, so I always insist that they specify exactly what facts in the article they are disputing and why, which they never bother to do.
It is a shame that Glenn is not willing to extend this same reasonable courtesy to Infowars or to RT. Rather than point out specifically what they are getting wrong, he is simply demonizing the messenger, a tactic that he vehemently opposes when it is used against him. If Americans followed his advice, and immediately disregarded news from any source where they thought the owner was insane (his reason you can’t trust Infowars) or where they disagreed with the owners political motivations (his reason you can’t trust RT), his own website would be in shambles, and the media empire he has built would not exist.