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Is GLENN BECK Employing Transformative Media Practices?
Posted By: J. A. Faulkerson on September 16, 2009

A few days before we Americans commemorated the eighth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, I learned that Fox television host Glenn Beck was organizing a 9-12 TEA Party Rally in Washington, D.C. To say that my mouth dropped when I heard about this event would be an understatement. But when I tuned into CNN and other media to view images from this march, I was appalled. Not only because the mostly white group of Americans were disrespecting Barack Obama, the first black American president. I was more appalled at the fact that so many educated Americans could be influenced by Beck’s venomous tirades and commentary.

Glenn Beck is hailed as a hero within the Conservative movement. Besides organizing and endorsing the 9-12 TEA Party Rally, he has also 1) called President Obama a racist, 2) propagated the notion that President Obama was going to “indoctrinate” American school children by delivering a back-to-school speech and 3) shown a lack of support for recent efforts to reform the American healthcare system. Moreover, he was quick to come to the defense of South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, who called President Obama a liar during a joint session of Congress. I could also write about his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, but I think you get the point: Glenn Beck is not intentional about employing transformative media practices.

Beck probably believes he can get away with calling President Obama a racist because he (Beck) thinks black Americans and other persons of color shouldn’t be critical of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) males. While I do believe our preoccupation with white American males can at times get the best of us black Americans, I don’t consider such responses racist. What we are espousing is our frustration with a system that more often than not continues to deny black Americans and other persons of color access to top-notch schools and meaningful careers. Additionally, we continue to be mistreated and marginalized so that white Americans can hold onto their privileged status.

Yes, many of us black Americans recognize that a small percentage of our children, youths and adults are not taking advantage of the educational and employment opportunities afforded to them, but that doesn’t justify a return to the racist practices of the past. If anything, Americans of all hues should be more intentional about building the case for why the time is right for black Americans and other persons of color to forgive white Americans for their legacy of mistreatment and marginalization. But we are unable to offer this forgiveness because so many white Americans are afraid to talk about race. Such frank discussions seemingly dredge up feelings of guilt that they are ill-prepared to muddle through. This problem becomes more complicated, however, when white Americans like Glenn Beck scream “reverse racism” rather than acknowledge that they and their ancestors have not done enough to bring black Americans and other Americans of color into the fold.

President Obama isn’t a racist. He is a black American male who is trying to bring us together as a nation and as a world. His administration is committed to unity because the policies and practices of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, caused many racial/ethnic groups across the globe to return to their respective fox holes. In America, the Patriot Act allowed the government to spy on anyone who expressed negative views about the Bush White House, its domestic and foreign policies and practices. However, Barack Hussein Obama beating out Arizona Senator John McCain in 2008 for the American presidency is reflective of Americans’ desire to transition from a civil rights movement to one defined by collective prosperity, understanding and forgiveness.

And it is because of this desire that I find it quite ironic that Beck would assert that President Obama is trying to “indoctrinate” our children by delivering a back-to-school speech the day before speaking before a joint session of Congress about healthcare reform. President Obama’s back-to-school speech was all about children, adolescents and young adults taking responsibility for their education. But this one fact did not prevent school principals from censoring President Obama.

Many of these school principals – some black, others mostly white – argued they didn’t allow their students to watch the speech because of the politically charged environment. But they weren’t issuing such baseless claims when presidents Reagan, and H.W. Bush were speaking to school children. If anything, these principals respected the Office of the Presidency. And they were willing to bend over backwards to make sure their children heard inspirational words from these two leaders of the free world. Now, we must ask ourselves why these principals were unwilling to bend over backwards for our current president.

I believe it all goes back to our failure to deal with the race problem. President Obama’s speech should have been heard in every American school, both public and private. When all was said and done, it was nothing more than a 20-minute pep talk. But Glenn Beck and others have the audacity to criticize President Obama about simple undertakings because they know there are a number of white Americans who view a black man’s presidency as inferior. Moreover, they surmise that if they win over this group through outlandish commentary and events, it will allow them to confuse the masses with destructive (as opposed to constructive) race talk. It also takes the focus off President Obama’s collective prosperity message.

Glenn Beck is a conservative who pledges his allegiance to the Republican Party. Within the conservative, Republican Party is the Christian Right. I consider myself a moderate, someone who could vote either Democrat or Republican when it comes to local, state and federal elections. I am also a born-again Christian. Yes, there are a number of things that President Obama says and does that I disapprove of. His passive stance on abortion and same-s*x unions are two of them. But one of the many things we do agree on is every American should be entitled to quality health insurance and care.

Beck and the Republican Party seem to think the health care problem is going to fix itself. I have news for them: It’s not. Back in the early 1990s, about 32 million Americans were uninsured, meaning they couldn’t access or afford quality health care. The number of uninsured Americans has grown to 47 million in this new millennium. We need to do something, and we need to do it now.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are poised to make great strides in reforming our ailing health care system. I just pray that Glenn Beck and other conservative Republicans will just get out of the way so the real workers can pass through. But they won’t. Their obstructionist practices are deemed appropriate by a minority of Americans, even causing senators and representatives to lose their religion. But in an era when the country and world are being led by a transformative president, I believe more patriotic Americans will come to foreground, showing the nation and world they recognize that conservative Republicans like Glenn Beck are out to demonize President Obama because they lack new ideas.

From THE PURPOSEFUL WRITER by Jeffery A. Faulkerson
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Please Login To Post Comments...

Jen Fad
Nurse at Community Hospital
..."I believe more patriotic Americans will come to foreground, showing the nation and world they recognize that conservative Republicans like Glenn Beck are out to demonize President Obama because they lack new ideas"...

Great commentary Brother Jeffery. Most Americans aren't fooled by Beck and others like him. The reality of the matter is that you are right...the Right are out of ideas and have been out of ideas for a long time. I believe more than anything that Most Americans are patriotic and do see Beck for what he is... AN IDIOT!!

Wednesday, September 16th 2009 at 1:22PM
How he is still on the air amazes me! Most of his sponsors shook after a public outcry. Some still remain but slowly but surely their moving on! Fox News is paying for half of his show! How long will that last?
Wednesday, September 16th 2009 at 2:29PM

Business/Systems Analyst at MITC
What's really sad is what Beck does is more so for the money; he believes what he spews, but he also knows there's money in misleading these people. They think he's the greatest man that's ever lived.

Wednesday, September 16th 2009 at 4:05PM
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