The Cable News Wars Will Tear This Country Apart

Chuck Todd at MSNBC:

*** On the Glenn Becks and Howard Beales: The White House doesn’t want to give Glenn Beck a bigger platform or extra oxygen — especially regarding his remark yesterday that the president has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” — so they won’t comment, even off record. Beck, after all, is a radio DJ who somehow ended up getting a national platform to give his opinion on politics. What’s most amazing about this episode is that what Beck said isn’t a fireable or even a SUSPENDABLE offense by his bosses. There was a time when outrageous rants like this would actually cost the ranters their jobs. But not anymore; if anything, it’s now encouraged. And all of this could turn ACTUAL journalists into the next Howard Beales. It’s getting nuts that the folks who are creating the perception of an ideological/polarized media world are people who have never really spent their lives being journalists. Whether it’s former political consultants-turned-TV execs or former radio DJs, or former California socialites, the folks helping to accelerate the public’s perception of the media off a cliff made their livings trying to do other things. Of course, Beck’s crazy language could have one unintended consequence: It could cost him bookings with any Republicans who want to be popular outside Beck’s hard-core bizarro-land viewers.

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:

Okay, so now I’ve watched it. I agree with a lot of it. But I don’t think the words “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” were all that well chosen (which is clear since he  later contradicts himself by “I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people”), but on reflection — and viewing — I don’t think he has to retract anything.  If he believes it, he’s free to say it. Some clarification would be good though.

Isaac Chotiner at TNR:

A couple things come to mind. First, in the same sentence that Beck generously allows that Obama may not in fact hate white people, Beck concludes by calling Obama a “racist”! Goldberg is apparently very easy to satisfy. And finally, notice the language: Golberg “does not think” Beck’s comments were “all that well” chosen. What condemnation! Even the “serious” American right is in a pathetic state these days.

The Friar at Reason and Revelation:

There is another possibility here–Beck is a muddled thinker. He certainly is emotional–how many times can a grown man cry on television?

But, Goldberg makes too much an apology, and he avoids the issue by pointing to equally crazy personalities on other cable networks. The problem with this is that claiming Beck is no more idiotic than his counterparts on the left is not an argument. The reason conservatives do not like, say, Olbermann is because he makes outrageous statements unsupported by facts. That Beck does the same thing is no excuse. Goldberg’s analysis amounts to: he may be outrageous, but he is our outrageous personality on the right.

The question for those on the right is what will it take before he is effectively purged from the movement ala National Review did in its formative days. Beck does conservatives no favors. He should be dispensed with now before he causes real damage.

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

President Obama has many faults, but there is no evidence that hating white people is among them. (In this particular case, class snobbery is more likely the culprit.) Conservatives should not mimic liberals by recklessly deploying the charge of “racism,” a term that has largely lost its meaning. And Obama’s foolish jumping into the Gates controversy was a self-inflicted wound, so why take him off the hook with baseless accusations?

Mostly, though, Beck’s comments were dumb because they weren’t true. Obama is, so far, an awful President. Let’s leave it at that.

David Weigel in the Washington Independent on Joe Scarborough’s twitter response. Ben Armbruster at ThinkProgress with Morning Joe, sans Joe, on Beck.

Joan Walsh in Salon

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