Last week, Glenn Beck, who hosts both radio (The Glenn Beck Program, broadcast on over 400 stations) and television (Fox News Channel) programs got himself into trouble by mocking the US president’s daughter, Malia. She is 11 years old. It was pretty offensive, suggesting stupidity, poor education, etc., implying all the old stereotypes.
Aside from being immature, hysterical and loony-tunes, Beck is a racist, and misogynist from the far right religious extremists who would do anything, it seems to get rid of President Obama. Apparently the extremists (part of the Republican party, having pushed the centrists off the stage) are grooming him as their next spokesman, taking over from Rush Limbaugh.
Confusing, though… I thought Fox TV, Republicans and religious right extremists were all about family and children. Apparently not. They seem to endorse an adult male abusively bullying in public, an 11 year old child, in an effort to discredit her father.
Oh, there was a public apology from Beck. Too late—the harm has been done. Not convincing either.
Funny thing about the wording, ‘I apologize‘, that Beck used. It’s an arm’s- length sort of ‘get me off the hook‘ statement which is in reality, meaningless, although it meets all the technical criteria.
And that goes back to freedom of the media, free speech, etc., etc. If one insists on free speech, there is a hefty price tag to employ it, paid for with responsibility and ownership of one’s actions, and a willingness to accept consequence.
‘I apologize’ says, technically and/or legally, ‘I’m covering myself; my lawyers, my radio or TV producers will be happy.’
If one says ‘I am sorry’, one is telling the recipient that you regret your behaviour, you own it, you accept full responsibility and thus consequence for your action. Beck’s follow-up apology was none of those things.
One says, ‘oops, gotta cover myself’; the other expresses true remorse.
One offers no conviction that the behaviour or incident won’t happen again tomorrow; the other suggests ‘hey, I made a mistake, I’m trying to change my ways and it won’t occur again.’ You’re left with a feeling that things are changing for the better. Beck certainly didn’t offer that with his wimpy ‘I apologize’.
And how about being too late? Hopefully, young Malia did not hear the nasty portrayal of herself on Beck’s show, at least not directly.
But what about all the other kids that did hear it, or hear their parents’ approval? Glenn Beck’s bullish behaviour tells children by example, two things:
- Since the incident played out on public airwaves that heavily endorse a political and religious stance, among other things, I guess it’s okay to abuse children, or be a racist, or disrespect girls—all those laws are meaningless; and,
- I see an adult role model publicly behaving this way… since I learn best from example, I’m going to bully kids at school, or on the internet, or at church in the back pews….when I grow up, I’ll be a racist, an abuser, a child-hater, a misogynist.
Shame on you Glenn Beck, shame on Fox TV for employing, and especially the radio affiliates who broadcast, such an abusive bully of a man, shame on the republican extremists for outright hypocrisy. And shame on anyone who continues to follow Glenn Beck, whether it be television or radio, or public appearances. Is this how you want your nation’s future shaped?
Cross posted at Red Room