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Wed

19

Dec

2007

The Mad Corporate World of Glenn Beck
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 14:08
by Norman Solomon

When I picked up a ringing phone one morning in mid-December, the next thing I knew a producer was inviting me to appear on Glenn Beck’s TV show.

Beck has become a national phenom with his nightly hour of polemics on CNN Headline News — urging war on Iran, denouncing “political correctness” at home, trashing immigrants who don’t speak English, mocking environmentalists as repressive zealots, and generally trying to denigrate progressive outlooks.

Our segment, the producer said, would focus on a recent NBC news report praising the virtues of energy-efficient LED light bulbs without acknowledging that the network’s parent company, General Electric, sells them. I figured it was a safe bet that Beck’s enthusiasm for full disclosure from media would be selective.

A few hours later, I was staring into a camera lens at the CNN bureau in San Francisco while Beck launched into his opening. What had occurred on the “NBC Nightly News,” he explained, “was at best a major breach of journalistic integrity.” And he pointed out: “The problem isn’t what NBC is promoting. It’s what they’re not disclosing.”


A minute later, Beck asked his first question: “Norman, you agree with me that they should have disclosed this?” The unedited transcript tells what happened next.

SOLOMON: “It’s a big problem when there’s not disclosure. I’m glad you opened this up. And I wouldn’t want any viewers of this program to be left with the impression that somehow General Electric is an environmentally conscious company.

“On the contrary, they have a 30-year history of refusing and actually fighting against efforts to make them clean up the Hudson River, which GE fouled with terrible quantities of horrific PCBs, other rivers as well. People told they can’t fish in the Hudson River. General Electric still lobbying to not have to clean up.

“General Electric, even today — and this report is very timely — General Electric is lobbying to get Congress to pass $18 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for a huge GE product which is General Electric components for nuclear power plants. So we should not be fooled in any way by efforts to greenwash General Electric or any other company.”

BECK: “You know what’s amazing to me? GE has a bigger budget for — special interest budget than all of the oil companies combined, and yet nobody says anything. Let me reverse this.

“Norman, do you think if I got on as somebody who says I don’t know what we can do about global warming, I’m not sure man causes it, and I certainly don’t want to have laws and regulations on this, if I got on and said that but I was being — my corporate — my corporate parent was Exxon Mobil, do you think I’d get away with that for a second without that being on the front page of the New York Times?”

SOLOMON: “Well, other networks, including General Electric’s NBC, have been very slow on global warming. And in fact, General Electric has major interest in components and products used by the oil and gas industry.

“I think if you look across the board, all the major networks, even so-called public broadcasting, which has Chevron underwriting its ‘Washington Week’ program every Friday, there is a problem, as you say. I think your words are very apt, ‘promoting’ but ‘not disclosing.’

“But let’s be clear about this, Glenn. I have a list here, for instance, that I jotted down.

“ABC, owned by Disney. ABC doesn’t disclose in their relevant news reports about Disney’s stake in sweatshops.

“Fox News — and now as of the last couple of days now, Wall Street Journal owned by the same entity, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp — they don’t disclose that the ownership is entangled with the Chinese government to the detriment of human rights but to the advancement of the profit margin of the parent company.”

BECK: “See — ”

SOLOMON: “We would be remiss, Glenn, if we left out CNN, because CNN has a huge multi, multibillion-dollar stake in Internet deregulation and the failure of the Congress to safeguard so far what would be called net neutrality. So every time CNN does a news report on the Internet, on efforts to regulate or deregulate or create a two- or three-tier system of the Internet, CNN News should disclose that Time Warner, the parent company, stands to gain or lose billions of dollars in those terms.

“And one more thing.”

BECK: “Real quick.”

SOLOMON: “A major — a major advertiser for CNN is the largest military contractor in the United States, Lockheed Martin. So when you and others — ”

BECK: “I got news for you, Norman. Norman — ”

SOLOMON: “ — promote war — when you and others promote war on this network — ”

BECK: “Norman — Norman — ”

SOLOMON: “ — we have Lockheed Martin paying millions of dollars undisclosed. So I would quote you — ”

BECK: “Norman — Norman — ”

SOLOMON: “Promoting but not disclosing is a bad way to go.”

BECK: “Norman, let me just tell you this. First of all, Lockheed Martin is not a — not a corporate overlord of this program.”

SOLOMON: “It’s a major advertiser on CNN.”

BECK: “That’s fine. That’s fine. Advertisers are different. But let — ”

SOLOMON: “Well, it is fine, but it should be disclosed.”

BECK: “Norman, let me just tell you something. If you think that it’s warmonger central downstairs at CNN, you’re out of your mind. But that’s a different story.”

SOLOMON: “Well, upstairs, when I watch Glenn Beck, in terms of attacking Iran, it certainly is. It’s lucrative for the oil companies, as well as for the major advertiser on CNN, Lockheed Martin.”

BECK: “But we’re not talking about advertisers. We are talking about — ”

SOLOMON: “Well, you don’t want to talk about it. So let’s talk about the Internet stake.”

BECK: “No, no, no. Norman — ”

SOLOMON: “Let’s talk about the Internet stake that the owners of CNN have. Huge profits to be made or lost by the parent company of CNN depending on what happens in Washington in terms of Internet regulation.”

BECK: “Norman, let me tell you something.”

SOLOMON: “That should be acknowledged, don’t you think?”

BECK: “Absolutely. And if it was on this program, it would be acknowledged.

“I thank you very much for your time.

“That just goes to show you, you’ve got to beware of everybody who you’re getting your news from. Wouldn’t it be nice if once in a while somebody came on and said, you know, I don’t really have an agenda except the truth? It’s my truth. If you don’t like it, you should go someplace else.”

During the back-and-forth, I’d understated the present-day role of Chevron as a funder of key news programming on PBS. Actually the Chevron Corporation, which signed on as an underwriter of “Washington Week” last year, no longer helps pay the piper there — but the massive energy firm does currently funnel big bucks to the most influential show on PBS, the nightly “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”

The corporate funders of the “NewsHour” now include not only Chevron but also AT&T and Pacific Life. There must be dozens of journalistic reports on the program every week — whether relevant to the business worlds of energy, communications or insurance — that warrant, and lack, real-time disclosures while the news accounts are on the air. Meanwhile, over at “Washington Week,” the corporate cash now flows in from the huge military contractor Boeing and the National Mining Association.

And that’s just “public broadcasting.” On avowedly commercial networks, awash in corporate ownership interests and advertising revenues, a thorough policy of disclosure in the course of news coverage would require that most of the airtime be devoted to shedding light on the media outlet conflicts-of-interest of the reporting in progress.

And what about Glenn Beck? The guy is another in a long line of demagogues riding a bull market for pseudo-populism. Brought to you by too many corporate interests to name 
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Comments (8)add comment

Barbara said:

0
Beck does NOT advocate war on IRAN!
Get your facts straight before you slander someone. Glenn Beck thinks war with Iran would be the biggest mistake we could ever make! He has said this MULTIPLE times.
 
December 19, 2007
Votes: +0

JP44 said:

0
Mistaken
First of all Norman - You have your facts wrong on Glenn Beck - No one at CNN (including Glenn) are promoting war on Iran...You are comparing apples to oranges because if you go back and hear the report by NBC it had all the parts to it that a late night informercial has...1) A dramatic difference, 2) Overt Benefits, and 3) Reason to believe what they are saying...the only part missing out was a call to action and a phone number of where they could buy it. Finally, I saw this show and by all counts, you did go on with an agenda. This is why Glenn Beck said his final comment...you were visibly giddy with anticipation to get a giant dig in on CNN because you thought you had them backed into the corner...you looked pathetic man...If I was Glenn i would have cut you off for being so disrespectful.


 
December 19, 2007
Votes: +0

clan1465 said:

0
Beck advocates war with Iran, SAYS he doesn't WANT war though
Please note that Beck's comments below are prior to the NIE that stopped the Bush administration in their tracks----for now. Cheering on another war, by using the typical xenophobic techniques he has employed previously, and then saying he doesn't want a war with Iran, is just plain double-speak bullshit. On the other hand, I was surprised to find no direct quotes attributed to Beck on this. He has said so many other stupid, misleading things and the moron who was upset that Beck wasn't respected should try to wonder to "itself" what alot of "guests" on Beck's program must end up feeling like.
On the October 8 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck began a segment on Iran by asserting, "War with Iran is no longer a question of 'if,' I believe it's a question of 'when.' " Beck went on to state: "Iran has long been the puppet master in the Middle East. You don't have to take my word for it. Just watch any episode of Law & Order. Use the thinking, you know, that helps them solve all the tough cases. Iran has the means, the motive, and the opportunity to try and destroy our American way of life by controlling the Middle East."

Beck continued: "Since 1979, they have been orchestrating a coalition to wipe us off the face of the Earth and establish their psychotic extremist regime. It is time for us to stop sending diplomats to reason with warrior chess players." He added, "The clock is ticking. The only way to avoid war is to demand that the rest of the world impose harsh, consistent, and unwavering sanctions. Nothing else, other than all-out war -- and that's a very bad thing -- nothing else will stop Iran's march towards domination of the West and the rest of the world." Beck also stated, "We went into Iraq because at the time everybody, even [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] -- yes, believe it or not -- thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I told you at the time war with Iraq has been a prelude to an eventual war with Iran. I told you that before we went into Iraq. Now we have no longer any other options but to go into Iran."

He concluded: "If you don't want war -- and count me in on that -- those on the left must join those, like me, on the right and demand sanctions. I'd love for that to happen. But you know, since I don't live in the Technicolor world of the movies, because I've been showing this movie for the last five years, I know how it ends."

As Media Matters for America documented, on the April 3 edition of his television show, Beck asserted that the war in Iraq "was never about Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. I mean, that was a bonus. It was always about getting to Iran, the head of the snake and the center of evil in the modern world." On the July 24, 2006, edition of his show, Beck claimed, "We went into Iraq three years ago to prevent World War III ... to prevent the evil Iranian ideology from spreading across the region."

 
December 19, 2007
Votes: +0

atlas spanked said:

0
Congrats on skewering the blowhard
Ahh, the little Glenn Beck toadies step up to defend that gasbag. How predictable. Congrats on skewering the fat blowhard, Norman. I'm glad you
"went on with an agenda" (according to the dittoheads). Beck's just another venom-spewing s***head megalomaniac, all hip-shoot opinion and made-up facts.
 
December 19, 2007
Votes: +0

krazeeinjun said:

0
Get your facts straight Barbara
On May 11, 2006 on his nationally syndicated radio program, Glenn Beck was asked, by his producer, what his views were on "blowing up Iran." Beck responded, on the air, "I say we nuke the bastards." Beck continued: "In fact, it doesn't have to be Iran, it can be everywhere, anyplace that disagrees with me."

Also, on his May 10 radio broadcast, Beck stated that Iranian figurehead leader Ahmadinejad "probably, you know, is gonna have nukes soon, if he doesn't have them already."

Beck has also joked about the Bush Administration using bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons against Iran, stating that they should rename the armaments to something more "politically correct", such as "climate-control devices", "bomb de tropical", or "butterfly bombs", all presumably to make the bombing of Iran more palatable and justifiable to the American Sheeple.

So, Barbara if those are the words of someone who believes war with Iran would be "the biggest mistake we could ever make!", you are certifiably deluded, even more so I'd say than Beck himself, as he gets paid to say outrageous claptrap like this.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200605120010
 
December 19, 2007
Votes: +0

Stan Rosenthal said:

0
Taking Control of a Debate
Well done, Norman!
 
December 20, 2007
Votes: +0

Victor said:

0
CNN and Beck
The mere fact that CNN would give a program to a goofball like Glenn Beck is the clearest proof yet that CNN is no longer a trusted news channel. It has gotten almost impossible to find a televison news channel which takes the concept of "news" seriously. I guess my question is why anyone would even go on a show like the Glenn Beck show.
 
December 20, 2007
Votes: +0

YC said:

0
I'll tell you.
The reason people go on the glenn bleck show. He's an honest guy, he doesn't pull his punches and he actually lets them answer his questions.
 
August 31, 2008
Votes: +1

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