Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Transcripts: Glenn Beck v. Anti-Tutsi Genocide Propaganda

Oh Glenn, Don't Come to the House TonightLast week, prompted by the, oh, let's call it "strange tenor of modern American public discourse," I sought out a website that allowed me to peruse some RTLM transcripts. (RTLM, or Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines, was the "news" station that broadcast anti-Tutsi propaganda during the Rwandan genocide.) I wasn't sure what I'd find, but I thought it might be interesting to read some historic vitriolic hatred while living in a time of other, newer vitriolic hatred-it was sort of like how people sip decades-old wine to help them better appreciate their veal.

After browsing around for a few minutes, I did what any thinking person would do: I went to Glenn Beck's website, where, as you might imagine, I discovered that many of Beck's declarations were jarringly, frighteningly, stupidly similar to the RTLM's.

I wrote about this in a blog post here. But because that's a small blog, I thought I'd give the original post some traction by cross-posting it at HuffPo, everyone's favorite non-paying, Pete Wentz-publishing, liberal media titan. Not two minutes after pressing "Publish," I got this:

Hi Cord,

Thanks for your most recent post, "Beck's Fearmongering Mimics Rwandan Genocide Propaganda." Unfortunately, we had to move this post to draft as we do not allow comparisons between public officials and Hitler, genocidaires, fascists, etc. We just wanted to let you know why the peice was unpublished. Thanks for your understanding.


"But Glenn Beck's not a public official!" I said. And it's an affront to logic to compare what I've written-something that points out the similarities between two propagandists-to someone saying the health care bill is like Nazism. Right? Wrong:

Hi Cord,

I misspoke, I meant "public figure" when I said "public official." Agreed, Beck is not a public official.

However, we do not accept juxtapositions between genocidaires and anyone.

Best ,

So, yeah, there's your progressive media giant, which, by the way, just ran a post that asks: "What if Fox News actually wants mob violence?" WHAT ARE YOU SUGGESTING, SIR?!

Whatever though, at least it's better than Glenn Beck, who seriously sounds like a damn Hutu warmonger out to incite a massive wave of disgusting ethnic cleansing.

RTLM: "It is not only today that the [Tutsis] want to take and monopolize power in order to oppress the Hutus and cast democracy out of the window; the Batutsis' superiority complex has been around for a very long time. … It is this superiority complex which set the Tutsis apart because, even today, many of them are still convinced of their intellectual superiority to the rest of the Rwandans."
Glenn Beck: "Isn't that exactly the thing that we used to like about America, that the average Joe could have a voice? That's what [progressives] don't like about Sarah Palin, and listen to the vitriol. … They don't like Sarah Palin, they don't like Joe the Plumber because they're average people, and if you're an average person, well, you're just not good enough."

RTLM: "The [Tutsis] … are wicked and a wicked person always finds a way of performing evil arts."
Glenn Beck: "I know who our czars are now. And this collection of these czars, these are evil people. These are wicked, crazy, frightening people."

RTLM: "When you look at them, you wonder what kind of people they are. In any case, let us simply stand firm and exterminate them…"
Glenn Beck: "There's a time for everything. To every purpose, there is a season. And let me tell you, today the season is clubbing people over the head with shovels."

RTLM: From Salon: "Radio Democracy, the voice of Hutu rebel forces fighting Burundi's Tutsi-controlled national army from neighboring Zaire, routinely brands government soldiers as 'bloodthirsty vampires.'"
Glenn Beck: "I think this is a sign that the government won't think twice before they jam their fangs into your neck. … These bloodsucker vampires are not going to be satisfied with just sucking the blood out of GM's top guy, the AIG executives or any other business or businessperson. Their thirst for power and control is unquenchable. They will not stop. There's only two ways for this movie to end: Either the economy becomes like the walking dead, or you drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers."

RTLM: "We then ask you seriously to help us and work with us on discovering and protesting against anyone who would still have evil plans of bringing us back to a worse situation. … give information to the soldiers, and all those who are in charge of security…
Glenn Beck: "I beg you, America, I beg you. Great and powerful evil is on our doorstep. Great and powerful evil is here. I beg you, read about the progressives."

RTLM: "This has been diffused by journalists of Radio France Internationale, who serve as [Tutsi] tools. The wish of these white men is that the preferred race, by God, must rule Rwanda.
Glenn Beck: "[Van Jones] is yet another community organizer. This is yet another black nationalist in the same way that Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a black nationalist. … And America, you need to wake up, because this country is being transformed, and if you don't think-it's way beyond socialism. It is way beyond socialism. It is into black nationalism."

RTLM: "[P]eople from Uganda, Burundi and elsewhere … instead of coming in peace, they steal our country, they destroy it. Therefore, let us get up and fight for Rwanda.
Glenn Beck: "Your country is being hijacked. They are using things like green jobs as a front. They are using healthcare as a front. In the context of Obama style reparations, that's what they're doing."

RTLM: "Another thing is that so far, the RTLM radio station has told the whole truth. And what it said happened. It has been proving what it said. … It will never be discouraged. It will never stop its transmissions."
Glenn Beck: "As for Fox, they only seem biased compared to the one-sided reporting of NBC, ABC, CBS and especially MSNBC. The fact is, I don't know of ANY lies Fox News has told. Fox gives both sides of the argument of virtually every issue."

[All RTLM transcripts via. Unless otherwise noted, all Glenn Beck transcripts via.]

Cord Jefferson is a writer-editor living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in National Geographic, GOOD, The Root and on MTV.

41 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)

Love this with all my heart. Would also love to see the same thing with anti-Hutu propaganda and Olbermann circa 2006.

It's Scare The Shit Out Of You Friday at The Awl!

I need more cute cat videos!

kneetoe (#1,881)

Today even the cute animals are dying.

Mackle (#446)

Well played.

Crantastical (#4,127)

O'Reilly got his followers worked up over Tiller and look what happened. And Palin twittered something about "reloading" recently:

Jared (#1,227)

IIRC, Hutu radio also had a signal word to let its listeners know when to start the genocide. I doubt Glenn Beck is working in cooperation with anyone who is actively planning a mass murder of the American left. This seems like a significant difference.

C_Webb (#855)

Then again, when Sean Hannity called his audience "Timothy McVeighs," they all cheered.

Crantastical (#4,127)

If he is fomenting right wing extremism for his own reasons, maybe that is ratings, and more groups like the Hutarees take that as justification to crawl out from under their rocks and start cop killing, I think he's played his role.

Jared (#1,227)

Being motivated by desire for higher ratings is very different from being motivated by the desire to participate in genocide. Providing moral support is very different from providing material support. Please don't give Tea Partiers any more excuses to feel persecuted. I'm just trying to Be Less Stupid here.

Ingrid Cruz (#3,771)

You know what? His motivations are ultimately irrelevant. If his insane ramblings inspire a bunch of gun-crazy wackos to violence, it is his damn fault.

Crantastical (#4,127)

I'm not talking about Tea Partiers. I'm talking about domestic terrorism. There's a HUGE difference between the two.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

C_Webb, I hate to find myself in a position defending Sean Hannity, but here we are.

Earlier quote that somehow didn't make into the Kos diary or whatever that you read:

"We've got veterans, we've got stay-at-home moms, people who really don't like the direction of the country. They're speaking out and they've been compared to terrorists, Tim McVeigh-wannabes. They've been called un-American. They've been called every name in the book. Now, the latest attack is that these people are violent," he said.

He then went on to call the assembled Teabaggers "McVeigh wannabes", sarcastically, to deride what "they" (liberal media?) are saying about the Tea Party. (Of course, I don't seem to recall anyone in the media actually calling the Tea Partiers "McVeigh wannabes," but that's not really germane to this issue right now.)

This is the danger of taking things out of context, because now I'm defending Sean Hannity and you are using the very same tactics that the idiots over on Free Republic often use with Obama and liberals. Please, let's not have to do this again.

Jared (#1,227)

Inspiring a bunch of gun-crazy wackos to violence is not the same thing as actually saying "OK, everyone got their guns loaded? When I say go, I want you to start literally rounding up and killing liberals. 3 2 1 GO!" Which is essentially what happened in Rwanda. I do not think this is too fine a distinction.

I understand the difference between Tea Partiers and domestic terrorists. My point is exactly that Glenn Beck is allied with the former, not the latter, and to suggest the opposite is likely to start a lot of people muttering about the librul media.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I think there is a point to be made here, which is that the tenor of Beck's ramblings has gotten out of hand. However, by simply presenting the side-by-side comparison, it looks like you're saying that Beck is just as bad – which he demonstrably is not.

I think the solution would be for the author to take a few paragraphs to make that differentiation – Beck doesn't want people to get killed, he just wants ratings. In the pursuit of higher ratings, he has let his rhetoric get completely out of his own control. Making it an appeal to Beck's conscience presumes that he has one and therefore draws a bright line between him and the people his propaganda style has gotten similar to.

barnhouse (#1,326)

I think the more interesting point here is that HuffPo is protecting Beck and his freakish incitements to whatever it is that really strongly resembles violence.

Don't think "he's just kidding!" is much of a defense, either.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

HuffPo isn't protecting anyone. That sort of rule isn't uncommon, and I can pretty much guarantee they came up with it in response to the Obama/Hitler thing.

C_Webb (#855)

You're right, I did see something that I was not aware was out of context, but it was not on Kos, it was on the FB of a good friend who has since taken it down. I apologize for spreading it. So point taken, but in the next time that won't exist may I suggest that you provide the correction but have the good faith in this commenter community not to assume that an honest mistake is a "tactic."

cherrispryte (#444)

More like this, please.

hockeymom (#143)

This makes my heart hurt.

brent_cox (#40)

That is very very awesome. Horrifying, but point well made.

Dickdogfood (#650)

Hutu warmongers compare their enemies to vampires. Glenn Beck compares his enemies to vampires. Therefore, Glenn Beck is a Hutu warmonger. Right? OR…

Glenn Beck hates certain kinds of people. Who know who else hated certain kinds of people? HUTU WARMONGERS!

barnhouse (#1,326)

Can you at least compare genocidaires to genocidaires, or do they really mean 'anyone'? Won't that result in one of those "this statement is false" snafus?

Also why do they call them 'genocidaires'?

C_Webb (#855)

Good question. That suffix always makes me imagine a top hat and cane.

Jared (#1,227)

Uh, presumably because this is what they are called in Rwanda?

NicFit (#616)

On a side note, it's interesting how white militias are just exercising their 2nd amendment rights, but black and latino equivalents are called gangs and thrown in jail.

Swass LikeMe (#1,317)

The rightwingers like to claim that they are "legal" gun owners. Because they are totally cool with registering all of their firearms with the government.

HiredGoons (#603)

Glenn Beck is, in fact, the one who sucks.

crookedE (#1,817)

I hope you cleansed your palate with a little Cute Overload after wallowing in this muck. Well done.

Multiphasic (#411)

As an absolute case-in-point, I just read that as "Cute Overlord".

ish (#3,041)

Oh now I so want to see "Cute Overlord." Would it be pictures of Hitler playing with kittens? Or would it be pictures of Alien babies?

mjohnso2 (#4,268)

Good piece!
Two points:
(1) Some of the posters/commentators at African-American the field negro blog and at have called the Beck/Limbaugh/Savage radio crew as "Radio Rwanda" for a while now. You may want to cross post this with one of their blogs.

(2) It's almost more insidious to engage in this incitement for profit than it is to do so for politics. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the motivation is. Playing on people's fear and ignorance in order to grab power and dehumanize one's political opponents leads to chaos and may result in tragedy.

Any day now, I fully expect Beck to tell his audience that it's "time to cut down the tall trees."

Jared (#1,227)

Yes, that was the phrase! Thank you. But I don't believe you actually expect Beck to say anything like this. Hyperbole! OK. But still, he's not a mass murderer.

God, when I woke up this morning I did not dream I would spend this much energy defending Glenn Beck.

Anarcissie (#3,748)

Genocidaires are called by a Frenchy name because Rwanda is or was a part of the French Fact — the mysterious and yet incontrovertible fact of the existence of the French, their deeds, their former empire, the ghost of Pierre Trudeau, and all that.

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

HuffPo (which speculated over whether Sarah Palin's lip-liner was a tattoo or just makeup during the 2008 elections) is going to be kicking itself over this missed pageview opportunity when it comes to.

What's also fun is substituting "Jew" for "liberal"/"socialist" etc. in anything Glenn Beck says.

Scum (#1,847)

Cord, was your post supposed to be ironic?

Surely attacking Beck for his comparison of political opponents to a genocidal movement based on trivial similarities between them by comparing Beck to a genocidal movement based on trivial similarities between them and Beck was not an argument made in earnest?

KarenUhOh (#19)

Didn't have the slightest problem with this. Beck wants to paddle his Free Speech Surfboard out to the rough waters of hatespawn–and don't fuck around calling it anything else–then he can ride those waves back to shore.

Ratings schmatings. Joe McCarthy did big numbers, too.

Abe Sauer (#148)

God knows this kind of thing is up my aisle. But why redact the HuffPo name? To protect your future publishing abilities there? It seems you are pointing out several villains here but only taking one to task publicly….

Cord_Jefferson (#2,111)

I considered not doing that, but then I figured I'd give the HuffPo employee in question the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes demands like that come from up high and I didn't want to shame the messenger, y'know?

Abe Sauer (#148)

Doesn't that kind of, by extension, make you "the messenger" though? And isn't demands coming "from up high" also part of the problem you're exposing? Shame the messenger and there will be fewer messengers. HuffPo runs its empire with willing messengers. No unwilling messengers equals no HuffPO.

Abe Sauer (#148)

"No willing messengers…"

Joel Crouse (#4,300)

Glen Beck is not worth commenting on. First and last time.

Post a Comment