Last 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:
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 We just wanted to let you know why the peice was unpublished.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:
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.
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.