Glenn Beck Claims Progressives Are the Most Racist People in US History

Once again Glenn Beck distorts American history for the right wing cause

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck confuse the progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries with the modern definition of progressive, so that that he could make the case that progressives are the most racist people who have ever lived in America, “The most racist people ever to live. The most racist people to ever live in America were the progressives.”

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Beck got on his Woodrow Wilson kick again because US News and World Report wrote that he was wrong about Wilson, “All you have to do is read Woodrow Wilson and you know the truth. These people are trying to spin history yet again on Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt…He put over 30,000 people in jail for speaking about his policies. 30,000 Americans went to jail, and I find it really fascinating that the only time we have rounded people up and put them in jail for either their skin color or their points of view, progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson, progressive Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. Those are the only two times in American history, and their washed, nobody talks about them. Nobody looks at them. Nobody remembers who they did it to.”

Stu chimed in with the claim that the right has never done that to anybody, and Beck responded with, “The most racist people ever to live. The most racist people ever to live in America were the progressives, really radical, awful racist people.” While he was distorting the term progressive, Beck complained that, “These people constantly morph, and they constantly change the argument, and change the language.” (Just as Beck is doing with the term progressive and the history of progressivism).

As usual, Beck has managed to leave some details out of his history lesson. When talking about how Woodrow Wilson had 30,000 Americans arrested for disagreeing with him, Beck leaves out that this was known as the Palmer Raids, which was a red scare during World War I, where left wing anarchists, radicals, and communists were rounded up out of fear that they were collaborating with the US’s war time enemies. Notably, American Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs was also arrested. The raids focused on alien foreign nationals, not US citizens as Beck claimed.

Importantly, Beck neglected to tell his listeners that the Palmer Raids took place after a series of 30 anarchist mail bombings in April 1919 against government offices and business leaders, and those arrested were held for up to four months while the Justice Department investigated them. After they were investigated all were released except for a few hundred who were deported. The claim that only progressive Democrats have imprisoned people based on their skin color is absurd. Have they already forgotten about the post-9/11 round up of American Muslims that was carried out during the Bush administration? These kinds of detentions and internments are an ugly part of American history that both parties have participated in. The point of this whole little rant was to lead his listeners to the false conclusion that the progressives of yesteryear were racist, thus the progressives of today are racist, which would then excuse the racism of the right.

These fractured history lessons are a way for the right wing to invalidate the election of Barack Obama. The fact that they are so willing to dismiss the modern progressive movement’s role in the election of the first black United States president is not surprising. These are the same people who are allowing Glenn Beck to rewrite US history so that it reflects their world view. The fact that Beck is dealing half truths is irrelevant, because they are only seeking to have their behavior excused and their ideology confirmed.

7 Replies to “Glenn Beck Claims Progressives Are the Most Racist People in US History”

  1. The good news here is that Beck et al finally think being racist is a bad thing.

    Now, if only we could assist them in understanding what it means to be racist. Their self-pitying meme that whites are under attack in this country is truly an amazing example of the victim complex of the far right, as well as the inherent utter lack of the values of compassion and empathy in the radical right’s “ideology” — if you can call hate, fear, paranoia and ugliness an ideology.

  2. I am so sick of Beck-Palin and the rest of them all…The fascist right supported Hitler!
    Read “The Family” a most important book and it is coming around again just like it was then….

  3. “These are the same people who are allowing Glenn Beck to rewrite US history so that it reflects their world view.”
    Correction, no one is “allowing” Beck to rewrite anything; “they” are doing the rewriting and using Glenn’s glib mouth and crocodile tears to press their propaganda. College drop-out , drug addict, alcoholic, “riddled with ADD” Beck does not have any original thoughts about the Framers or the Republic. He is a snake-oil mouthpiece for unnamed propagandists who allow him to take credit, and become wealthy, for parroting their shadowy work. And, no, I am not merely a “liberal” attacker who can be dismissed because of that, because I am an ultraconservative and faithful originalist, importantly distingished from right-wing fanatical statist like Beck, Rush, Hannity, and other fauz news-ites.

  4. I think you need to read up a little more on the Palmer Raids. The majority were US citizens. Your argument is that since they were “red” it was okay to round them up? Is it okay to round up teaparty, communists, acorn members?

  5. By saying that the raid, which I meant the initial raid, which I should edit my post to reflect, and you are inferring a conclusion that goes this part of the post, “These kinds of detentions and internments are an ugly part of American history that both parties have participated in.” See, that sentence means that it is not ok for anyone to round up people and detain them for any reasons. Granted you may have missed that sentence, but I find you conclusion offensive, and way off base. I never stated that it was good policy for anyone to be rounded up whether they be left, right, or middle.

  6. @Jason Easley,

    Well Jason, you should not only edit your post, but your reply. Being an apologist for wrong doing by one party with the justification that “both parties have participated in ” comes off as a bit school-yard. Are we going to start arguing about who “started it first” next? Grow up! I hardly find Mr. Galt’s critique “offensive” either. Rather it is logically based on your inadequate portrayal of the events you “report.”

    I also find it curious that you went to the trouble to cite a source for your comments about the “raids focused on alien foreign nationals, not US citizens,” on the site A site that provides no credentials for its accuracy, authenticity of material presented, or the identities of its authors, including those of the specific article you cite. And yet you provide no source for your assertion about “the post-9/11 round up of American Muslims that was carried out during the Bush administration.” How about filling me in on that? First time I have seen that reported anywhere. I submit that you are a lair.

    Finally, I am again dismayed by the incorrigible propensity of those on the “left” to engage in name-calling as the crème de la crème of political discourse. Again boys and girls, this is what we learned not to do in second grade, remember that far back? Baselessly calling someone “offensive,” or a “snake-oil mouthpiece for unnamed propagandists,” as in Mr. capmotion’s case above, really makes you guys look so so good and credible. Please keep it up!

  7. Nice try. Everyone should read the book Lies My Teacher Told Me, by Prof. James W. Loewen. The Pres. Wilson and other Progressive’s quotes are Jaw dropping. Hillary says she is an OLLLLD-time Progressive. Progressives don’t fool those who actually read history and reference facts.

    … and now your overly emotional tantrum and name calling may begin.
    (Halliburton-bush lied-people died-Halliburton-not in our name-president selected not elected- Halliburton-big oil-oil for money-Sarah Palin is stupid-Halliburton…)

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