Outlook: Glenn Beck is obsessed with Hitler and Woodrow Wilson. (I'm just saying.)

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Dana Milbank
Monday, October 4, 2010; 11:00 AM

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Dana Milbank:

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A Debate: A suggestion instead: publicly challenge Beck to a live debate, then calmly disect his hateful speech and revisionist history. It needs to be done, you are articulate enough to do it and doing it would make you feel good. Beck is now more than a looney on TV, he, like Mc Carthy in the 50's needs to be brought to task in a very public manner. If he refuses to debate, always a possibility, then there is the editorial after that, "Glenn Beck, Why Are You Afraid Of The Facts."

Dana Milbank: I hereby challenge Glenn Beck to a debate!I'd even be okay with him kicking me off the set in the middle of the discussion and then saying bad things about me -- the way he did to the guy from Acorn. He only hears from those who will echo him.

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Glenn Beck and reality: Your essay makes a very persuasive case that Glenn Beck willingly and randomly reassembles history and historical figures for his purposes. But my question is -- does this matter to his followers? When such obviously incorrect history is dished out nightly, why do people keep watching? Is there a limit to their ability to be lied to and manipulated? Or do they just enjoy living in a fantasy world?

Dana Milbank: This is also why I have watched Beck so you don't have to.

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The education of Glenn Beck: I would like to know the facts on Glenn Beck's education. What level of education did he have, where did he attend HS, college, etc., what degrees did he attain, who were his teachers, and how well did he perform as a student?

Dana Milbank: First suggestion. Buy the book! The short answer is he didn't attend college (except for one course at Yale that he took with Joe Lieberman's intervention), instead going into the itinerant life of the Morning Zoo radio host.

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Glenn Beck as viewed by a very liberal writer: Did you actually watch enough of Glenn Beck's show's in order to make an honest judgement concerning Wilson and Hitler? I watch Beck every day, and think his review of past world leaders (in context) is accurate, note-worthy, and helpful to those not familiar with history or those who made it. I think that more ultra-liberal members of the print press, should do the same. As they so carefully looked into Obama's history. Chuckle and guffaw.

Dana Milbank:

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Glenn Beck : Hi Dana,I know I'm not alone in my failure to account for Glenn Beck's success. I do have a few theories, one being that a large number of Americans really are "too busy" to read a book about Woodrow Wilson, or any other book for that matter. Instead, they let Beck do their reading for them. It's sort of like people who decide a movie they've never seen is not worth seeing, simply because a critic says it isn't. My question is how do YOU explain Beck's success? And what does his success say about his counrty?

Dana Milbank: Pure genius.

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beck: Do you think that Fox should be forced to take Beck off the air and would you support that move?

Dana Milbank: Either he will say something (even more) beyond the pale, and flame out, or the economy will improve, anger at the government will relax, and he will fade away.

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Citizen Beck: Beck loved the movie Citizen Kane growing up likening himself to media mogul Charles Foster Kane and even naming his childhood sled "Rosebud." I state this definitively so you won't question whether it is true...

Dana Milbank: Did a chapter putting Beck's words and Coughlin's side by side: I challenge you to tell the two men apart.

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Beck: Has he ever been sued? If not, why not. I find him frightening

Dana Milbank: Woodrow Wilson should sue, except he's under a fairly heavy stone slab at the National Cathedral. Beck took the legal rout to force the guy to take down the hoax site.

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On Beck...: Why are liberals like yourself and Jon Stewart so obsessed with Beck? I think this is a question you should ask yourself. Is he dangerous? From your concern it appears he is. Funny though, you call him an amatuer historian. I say he is true patriot who is warning us of the demise of America from thef radical left and stealth jihad.

Dana Milbank: This is evidence that the "radical left and stealth jihad" you speak of is not very well coordinated.

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Beck: Why does the administration let him get by with his slander against Obama? His latest is the canard (so fashionable now) that Obama is an anticolonialist. He is using Obama's own book "Dreams From My Father" as proof for this absurdity.

Dana Milbank: But he just told Bill O'Reilly last week that he has nothing against Obama personally! The worst case, of course, was when the person firing Shirley Sherrod said it was because her supposedly "racist" statement was going to be on Glenn Beck. But he had already gone after Sherrod on his radio show.

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Time 100: How did he get to be a Time 100 person of influence? Really?

Dana Milbank: And Sarah Palin wrote the tribute!

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Demographics: What are the demographics of Beck's audience? Are they generally older?

Dana Milbank: Old and scared.Much more about this in the book, but you can tell a great deal from the advertisers on his shows and for his live events: assisted living, gold, and a "seed bank" you can use to plant a garden in your yard after the apocalypse comes.

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danger ahead or not?: Dear Dana, I happened to read your piece on the same day I read Time magazine's new article on the rise of armed "citizen" militias in the U.S. I can't help but think that the deliberate agitation of Fox News watchers, who are led (erroneously!) to believe that the U.S. is spiraling into fascism or socialism, could be dangerous if someone (particularly an armed someone) actually believed this to be so and opted to "take action" against some perceived threat. Is this reading too much into Beck's influence (and that of others like him)? Thanks!

Dana Milbank: Beck is thriving on the same anger that is rebuilding the militias. He has taken conspiracy theories that previously existed only on the fringes and brought them into the mainstream.

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Title of your book: I don't know if I could pick up a book with "Tea Bagging" in the title without turning red. People would think I'm reading porn.

Dana Milbank: (Also, the subtitle is in smaller print)

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The root of the problem?: Do you think the animus toward President Obama that Beck peddles is really thinly veiled racism--whether on his part or on the part of those who embrace his pseudo-historical stylings?

Dana Milbank: I don't think it's thinly veiled. But on both counts, he encourages people who do hold those thoughts.

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Alex Jones: Do you explore the internet's Glenn Beck, Alex Jones? I'm guessing that's where Glenn gets half his stuff.

Dana Milbank:

Dana Milbank: I think they both rely on WorldNetDaily.

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O"Reilly and Rush: What do O"Reilly and Rush really think about Beck and do any of the three actually beleive any of what they say or is it all an act for ratings?

Dana Milbank:

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Glenn Beck's Viewership: FYI Beck has a huge chunk on liberals and/or Democrats that watch his show . The big question is is it for entertainment reasons or for education . Wonder what happens if some of what he says rubs of on them ? Hummmm.

Dana Milbank: Yes, but half of those liberals work for Media Matters.

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Rosebud: I thought I made up the stuff about Orson Wells/Citizen Kane and Beck (not having read your book yet) thinking it was off the wall/megalomaniac. I'm going to have to pick up my game to come with something crazier next time...

Dana Milbank: Although, as I point out, his craziness is alarmingly sane.

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What can we do?: for those of us concerned about the rhetoric that Beck and others spout, what can we, as consumers of media do other than not watch or listen?

Dana Milbank: Buy the book!

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Book Tour: Wouldn't it be a hoot if Beck booked you on his show to promote the book you wrote about him? Awesome.

Dana Milbank:

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Consolidating the Crazies: Hi Dana,Do you think Beck has the effect of legitimizing the crazy fringe..in fact, helping consolidate the fringe into a more coherent movement?Thanks for your contribution to open and logical society.

Dana Milbank: That's also the view the Anti Defamation League took after a guy who had posted a Beck video on a Nazi website killed four cops.

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I watch Beck every day, and think his review of past world leaders (in context) is accurate, noteworthy, and helpful to those not familiar with history or those who made it. : You are wrong.

Dana Milbank: You just have to swallow his original suppositions, which generally turn out to be wrong.

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Ann Coulter: Am disappointed that her crazypantsedness has been totally overshadowed by the Beck canon. Have these two attempted to hook up at all?

Dana Milbank:

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Dana Milbank: Hope you enjoy Tears of a Clown.


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