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“This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that The War of The Worlds has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be. The Mercury Theatre’s own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying Boo! …So goodbye everybody, and remember please, for the next day or so, the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody’s there, that was no Martian… it’s Halloween.”

Orson Welles, one of Glenn Beck’s broadcasting heroes. In fact, the name of Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts (officially known as Glenn Beck, Inc.), is based on Welles’ CBS radio show — the radio show that famously aired one of broadcasting’s most legendary hoaxes: The War of the Worlds.

Unlike the various Glenn Beck shows and publications, the Mercury performance of the H.G. Welles classic featured a disclaimer at the end (quoted above), formally noting the fictitious nature of the broadcast. Imagine if, unlike Beck, Welles had never broadcast a monologue postscript revealing that what had unfolded on the radio was purely theater. It’s not a stretch to suggest that the ensuing hysteria during and after the show would’ve been far greater.

Every day, for four hours a day, Glenn Beck is playing out a Welles fantasy — leaping out from behind an array of Carrot Top-meets-Gallagher props and gizmos while shouting BOO! at his audience without taking the slightest responsibility for the ensuing hysteria. In Beck’s case, the “boo!” comes in the form of Joe McCarthy style red-baiting and Lee Atwater style race-baiting — insisting with wildly incomprehensible chalkboard scribblings that Marxists and communists are lurking under our beds waiting to steal our money. Money that’s better served feeding Glenn Beck’s empire of fraud. I mean, just look! Those random words on the chalkboard spelled out the acronym “OLIGARHY!” Run for your lives, and all that. It’s an OLIGARHY!

No disclaimers letting the audience off the hook like Beck’s hero, the vastly more responsible performer Welles did. Beck, like several other Fox News Channel actors in Roger Ailes’ ratings-at-all-costs strategy, presents his show as an honest assessment of the truth without any sort of in-show sign that it’s almost entirely farcical.

One of the most common e-mail responses I’ve received from Beck supporters so far has been, simply: “Prove it.” Suffice to say, I never would have started down this road without some sort of confirmation that my theory about Beck was on the right track. So prior to typing a single word, I spoke with some sources close to and within Fox News Channel and they confirmed exactly what I suspected: Glenn Beck is “a bullshit artist.” A faker. A phony.

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Domestic Enemies of the State

Crooks and Liars- By Jason Sigger Tuesday Apr 13, 2010 12:00pm

The Tea Party fever has entered the bloodstream of the US military.

A new Tea Party group, Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots, has grown quickly since being launched last month by an active duty Marine Corps sergeant. The group, which vows to “stand up on the very soil we defended to preserve common sense conservatism and defend our Constitution that is threatened by a tyrannical government,” currently has over 400 members, who have signed up through its Facebook page, though many are not active duty military. And it has close ties to the broader Tea Party movement.

“People in the military need to be heard,” the group’s prime organizer, Gary Stein — a Marine Corps sergeant stationed at Camp Pendleton in southern California — told TPMmuckraker in an interview. “Our opinions do count.”

From the organization’s web page:

Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots
World Wide
We have taken a oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the Unites [sic] States against all enemies foreign and domestic…” We have done so around the world… From the jungle of Vietnam to alleys on Fallujah… and now its time we stand up on the very soil we defended to preserve common sense conservatism and defend our Constitution that is threatened by a tyrannical government. For all those that are serving or served and their family members.

Other than to follow the Tea Party’s inability to spell, this isn’t entirely surprising. Since the military is an all-volunteer force derived from the general US population, you can probably count on a third of them being from the loyal conservative base that served CheneyBush so well. But for active duty service members to join this movement who believes that they are imperiled by a “tyrannical government”… wow. Any active duty service member who publicly signs up for this (or for the Oathkeepers) should be instantly nominated to have his/her security clearance revoked and be processed out of the military. We really don’t need a fifth column force within our armed forces.

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