Beck Spreads Dubious Rumor to Claim: Obama Uses ‘Chicago Thuggery’ ‘That Borders on Treason’

December 17, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Glenn Beck, the fearmongering Fox News host, has finally gone too far. Earlier in the year he accused President Obama of being a racist with a deep seated hatred of white people. On Wednesday, Beck went off the rails and he accused President Obama of treason. The conspiracy-theorist-in-chief devoted his Fox News program to peddling a dubious right-wing rumor that the Obama administration threatened Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) with the closure of Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base, to obtain his vote on health care reform. The highly dubious and poorly sourced rumor started on right-wing blogs and was repeated by Weekly Standard columnist Michael Goldfarb. Both Sen. Nelson and the White House House have categorically denied the false rumor, but that hasn’t stopped Glenn Beck from presenting it as fact and to use it to accuse the President of the United States of treason.

After acknowledging on his show that Nelson denied the rumor, Beck dismissed his denial and concluded that “the preponderance of evidence of the Chicago thuggery” in the White House was proof that the rumor was true.

Weekly Standard columnist Michael Goldfarb of Bill Kristol’s neconservative magazine and former McCain campaign operative, at first attributed his claims to an unnamed “Senate aide” and Goldfarb claimed that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel delivered the threats to Nelson through a message to Senate Leadership. In his post entitled “Source: Dems Threaten Nelson In Pursuit of 60,” Goldfarb repeated the right-wing rumor:

“While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson’s demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn’t fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a “naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson’s vote.” They are “threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?” asked the Senate staffer.

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.”

According to Think Progress: “When appearing on Beck’s radio program earlier in the day, Goldfarb said that Emanuel “delivered” the “message to the Senate leadership” about Nelson and Offutt. When Beck interviewed Goldfarb later on his Fox show, Goldfarb “changed” his “story from this morning,” saying that rather than Emanuel it was “just someone in the White House.”’

Jake Thompson, a spokesman for Nelson issued a statement denying the story of a threat to close the base: “The rumor is not true” and that “this misinformation is coming from inside-the-Beltway partisans who only want to derail health care reform.” Nelson also told reporters on Wednesday that no threat was made. Additionally, Beck said he “called Senator Nelson’s office” and Nelson said “No, no, no. That’s not true.”

The White House issued a statement denying the false rumor:

“Proving that they will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to undermine health reform, some blogs opposing reform are now trafficking an absurd rumor that Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base is being threatened over Senator Ben Nelson’s vote on the Senate reform bill. To be perfectly clear: these rumors are completely baseless and false.”

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer issued another denial to Talking Points Memo:

“This rumor is absolutely false, as the people spreading it well know. This is nothing but a cynical, crass political game that is designed to maintain the status quo. Let’s be clear: the people spreading these falsehoods think nothing is wrong with a system under which families and businesses continue to bear the brunt of skyrocketing costs, insurance companies are allowed to discriminate and drop at will, and thousands of Americans lose their coverage every single day.”

On Beck’s Fox News show, Beck claimed that Goldfarb now had three sources to back up his story. And Beck used the word treason three times on his Fox News show saying, “if it is true,” it is close to “treason”:

“There’s a story at the bottom of the hour that if it is true, and we have three sources on it now, if it is true. I mean how much closer do you get to treason?” […]

“I’ve said it all along. Principles over party. Principles. Well, one senator apparently agrees with me, I think, kind of, maybe. But his party reportedly very angry and allegedly making threats. This one borders treason, I believe.” […]

“But this! Using the military and our strategic command as a pawn. Threatening to weaken our national security defenses to fulfill your Utopian social justice agenda. To me that borders on treason.“ […]

Beck then apparently decided that Sen. Ben Nelson was lying and pointed to Obama’s “Chicago thuggery,” as the proverbial cherry on top of his false conspiracy theory:

“Ben Nelson, who even if the story is true, would obviously deny it to protect the party and his president, or do we take the story at face value, based on the peponderance of evidence of the Chicago thuggery we have already seen.”

Fox News Sean Hannity and hate radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh jumped on the false rumor peddled by Goldfarb, as well. Hannity cited Goldfarb’s report and stated on the December 15 edition of his radio show, “They’re threatening to close a base vital to national security.” Limbaugh suggested that “Dingy Harry and Obama” said “we’ll exempt Offutt” in return for vote.”

Watch Beck at work as he spins the dubious rumor into a full fledged act of treason:

Source: Think Progress

(Update:A group of Republican Senators led by Nebraska’s Sen. Mike Johanns have called for a hearing by the Senate Armed Forces Committee to investigate the right-wing rumor.

(Further Update: Sen. Ben Nelson says that he knows who started the vicious rumor. He told the Nebraska Radio Network today: “…that when that source is exposed it will be “embarrassing for the other side of the aisle.”’ “The Nebraska Democrat adds that he welcomes an investigation by Republican Senators, including Nebraska’s Mike Johanns, into the alleged threats.”


One Response to “Beck Spreads Dubious Rumor to Claim: Obama Uses ‘Chicago Thuggery’ ‘That Borders on Treason’”

  1. Old Man Dotes on December 17th, 2009 3:03 pm

    Glenn Beck conspired with Saudi radicals to get flight training for the hijackers who crashed airliners into the World Trade Center.

    My sources are just as reliable and truthful as Beck’s sources, but *my* sources are true patriots, while Beck’s sources are motivated purely by greed for personal gain.

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