The weekend news coverage of Glenn Beck’s Washington, D.C., rally had most on-air reporters either avoiding the topic (Fox News, which employs Beck, did very little on Saturday, as the event unfolded) or subsequently yakking nervously about why Beck is so darn popular. On Sunday morning, CNN’s Reliable Sources took the latter tack, as host Howard Kurtz’s guest panel squandered air time trying to sound knowing while articulating nothing insightful about Beck’s new-ish message, which calls for a renewed faith-based emphasis in matters both social and political.
The only interview Beck granted on Sunday was to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. There, between softballs (“What’s with the crying?”), Wallace extracted a semi-apology from Beck for calling President Obama a “racist” on another Fox show, Fox and Friends (“it was poorly said… I have a big fat mouth sometimes,” he told Wallace). He also let Beck expound upon the notion that Obama’s religious beliefs stem from “liberation theology.”
“His beliefs derive from liberation theology,” said Beck. A few sentences later, he said that this branch of Christian philosophy is “Marxism disguised as religion.” This is a derivative notion — as far back as 1967, Pope Paul VI’s “On The Progress of Peoples” encyclical, which was often cited by proponents of liberation theology (that is, people of faith seeking to help the poor), was being called “warmed-over Marxism” by The Wall Street Journal. In any case, Wallace didn’t ask any follow-ups on liberation theology.
But now we’ll get to see how Beck’s new/old theme plays out, both on his show (it’s not the first time he’s brought up liberation theology), and in the broad range of media coverage, from the news channels to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, from which the mainstream media frequently uses clips to sorta-kinda ask the questions it should itself be asking of its subjects. Unfortunately for the MSM, Stewart’s show is in reruns this week.
Educational TV marches on!