Posts Tagged ‘Paddy Chayefsky’

Right off the bat, allow me to be perfectly clear: I don’t want Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or any of the other far-right talkers to be silenced or fired, that is unless their corporate bosses decide they ought to be silenced or fired. And if they are, I hope it’s for a funny reason — like Hannity getting caught on a surveillance camera peeing into the break room coffee pot, or Glenn Beck conspiring with Billy Bibbit to steal all of Charlie Cheswick’s cigarettes.

That said it’s becoming increasingly evident that the recent shooting sprees aren’t just isolated incidents, but are actually part of a dangerous trend. And regardless of whether or not there’s a direct connection with the usual cable news and talk radio suspects, broadcasters like Beck ought to take responsibility for some of their more incendiary remarks — remarks which appear to be ginning up the darker, uglier, fanatical tendencies in an already militaristic, jingoistic, reactionary audience.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. For example:

…in this day and age where we have a lot of fanatics out there, I find the whole concept unbelievably irresponsible. Did you not think that there are people that are going to see this and maybe take an idea like that and run with it? Did you think about that? […] You’ve got to — do you not have a responsibility to think of the impact, the impressions that could be made on people?

That was Sean Hannity on October 26, 2006 interviewing the director of the mock-documentary The Death of a President, a film that dramatized the potential aftermath of a successful assassination attempt against George W. Bush. Hannity was saying in no uncertain terms that merely discussing a violent act might encourage a viewer to do something crazy, and so the purveyor of such a discussion is being dangerously irresponsible.

Oddly enough, I agree with Hannity in theory, though not in terms of context. Hannity and others on the far-right seem to crap their cages only when it comes to works of make-believe. Video games, Teletubbies, Spongebob. Yet real-life cable news networks, according to Beck and others, should be allowed to broadcast whatever insanity happens to achieve the biggest ratings regardless of taste, standards, ethics or professional responsibility.

To wit: on the Monday edition of his FOX News show, Glenn Beck was outraged that anyone would look to his militaristic rants and crying jags — specifically his Obama-is-coming-for-our-guns hysteria — as a possible contributing factor in last weekend’s Pittsburgh shooting spree during which an ultra-far-right maniac murdered several police officers in cold blood because he feared his guns would be taken away by President Obama:

Blaming anyone except the nut job for what happened in Pittsburgh is crazy.

Okay, but here’s the problem. The Glenn Beck who said this on Monday is clearly at odds with the Glenn Beck of Spring 2008 who blamed the video game Grand Theft Auto for “training our kids to be killers” and “our sons to treat women like whores.”


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