Conspiracy theories? Glenn Beck's ‘not saying .(.(.'

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One of Glenn Beck's cleverest ways to float a good conspiracy theory without fear of facts getting in the way is to say he is "not saying" that which he is saying. For example:

"I'm not saying that Obama has an enemies list, but I wouldn't put it past him, either."

"I'm not saying that we have a bunch of mullahs or some star chamber running the country."

"I'm not saying that we're like Russia. I'm not saying Obama is going to kill anybody."

"I'm not saying being poor in America is sweet."

"I'm not saying to shoot anybody."

"I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist. I'm not saying the Democrats are fascists."

Beck said the shooting last fall at Fort Hood in Texas was an al-Qaeda "shark bump" presaging a bigger attack: "I'm not saying this was a coordinated shark bump, but this is a shark bump."

One night, he alarmed his audience with a Muslim apocalyptic theory about a man who is "supposed to create a global government" and who tells Christians to "submit, or he cuts their heads off." Added Beck: "I'm not saying these things are true."

Rallying his audience to dig up dirt on the ACORN community organization, he said: "I'm not saying there is anything nefarious here, I think there is. It smells -- it smells pretty rotten here."

After the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge, Mass., police and the announcement that President Obama would host the professor and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, for a beer at the White House, Beck went on the morning show "Fox & Friends," where he ruminated on Obama's racist proclivities. "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. He has a -- this guy is, I believe, a racist."

Another time, he warned that the new "smart grid" electricity system could be used by the government to take "critical information out of your house." Then came the usual disclaimer: "I'm not saying that Obama or the Democrats or the Republicans or anybody are going to take this technology and use it this way. However, you know . . . who knows what could happen?"

Who knows? But in Beck's world, knowing is not a prerequisite to broadcasting. He's just saying.

-- Dana Milbank

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