I’m certain that I am not the only one waiting with baited breath for the announcement that investigators have found Glen Beck books in John Patrick Bedell’s apartment or the radio station in his car was left tuned in to Rush Limbaugh. It is deplorable to think that way and very Republican to seek blame for such a tragedy, but it’s not far from the truth.
John Patrick Bedell opened fire at the Pentagon last Thursday injuring two officers before being brought down by police. A paranoid bi-polar, Bedell’s residential history included psychiatric hospitals and his family had been trying in desperation to seek institutional help for him during his last few years.
Like others with paranoia type diagnoses, Bedell was angry at and mistrustful of the government. Educated and intelligent, he directed his intellectual efforts as a 9/11 “truther” and touted other conspiracies as evidenced in comments on his own and other websites. It was a waste of a mind full of ideas from not only mental illness, but an as of yet unknown catalyst that compelled him into those ends.
Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks have predicted it for years now; abuse of the airwaves by Beck, Limbaugh and the rest of that ilk to incite fear, anger, and hatred will cause an unstable mind to defend itself violently. Bedell, sadly, won’t be the last.
When Glen Beck twists history into a rhetorical pretzel presenting history’s most infamous fascists as the result of rampant liberalism and then tells his audience that Obama’s oligarc(h)y will come into their homes to swallow up the last of their freedoms, his noxious nonsense has unintended effects. Certainly, his intent is to hit Democrats and progressives at the polls, yet those like Bedell see these threats as personal and more like him will react in the same way.
Rush Limbaugh tells his ‘dittoheads’ that “Mullah Nancy bin Pelosi” will put bombs on your kids and blow you up, some of his less stable listeners (save the jokes until the end please) will hear that and act on it to defend themselves. It will happen again and there is nothing we can do about it without trampling our revered First Amendment.
Perception is a powerful tool, one that these two special members of our media society use to their advantage everyday. They reap the benefits of their audiences perceiving them as journalists and a source for daily news without being hindered by burdensome ethics. They lie, they cajole, and they are dangerous. Would a little disclaimer explaining the difference between commentary and journalism before each show be so bad?
They distort, you deride.