Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Glenn Greenwald 1, Bob Murphy 0

Dang, GG put the smackdown on me in the comments of this post.

[Bob Murphy wrote:] "I am going to go out on a limb and say that Glenn Greenwald has listened to Beck's radio program about as much as I listened to Al Franken's."

[Glenn Greenwald answered:] This is false. Over the past 6 months, I've watched Glenn Beck's show more than any other political talk show by far. That's true for numerous reasons, including the fact that I purposely expose myself to outlets with other views and don't make comments about things unless I'm certain I know what I'm talking about.

As for Beck's alleged small-government and anti-corporate sentiments, he was FOR the Wall St. bailout and argued it should be larger -- was FOR the Patriot Act and virtually every other policy of empire-building and civil-liberties infringement during the Bush era.

And here's the video GG linked to. It's pretty brutal.

I knew Beck had supported the war and Patriot Act, but I didn't realize he had championed the TARP at the time. (I only really started listening a lot about 9 months ago, I'd say.) That almost impresses me, that he could be so audacious with such a quick flip-flop.

Aren't we support to want people to change their minds on this stuff?
GB seems to be going the way of the prevailing winds. Yes, we'd like to see people change their minds when they see the truth...how do you know if it's sincere? I don't trust demagogues and as Dr. Paul said- he does tend to demagogue.

I rarely watch the guy, but when I see him do his little weepy eyed, look in the camera and tell us all how much he cares about and believes in us americans act, I get ill.
Bob, this is one of the things I like about you.

But since you and GG stalemated before, my count is Greenwald 2, Murphy 1.
I remember reading Beck's column on CNN.com at the time; the point of it was that he supported the bailouts partially out of fear and partially out of ignorance.

It was the economic collapse, bailouts, and Ron Paul's campaign that made me wake up and think about these things for the first time. I had never heard the true free market argument before.

Beck should not be ashamed of being ignorant (I'm not). It's never too late to become informed and change one's views. However, I am not surprised that he pretends that he was consistent all along.
Greg, of course we want people to change their minds. But an overwhelming majority of Americans did oppose the TARP at the time; it took opinion leaders like Glenn Beck (and Larry Kudlow) to champion the TARP to help the government ram it through.

Now if Beck and Kudlow said a few months later, "Oh my gosh, I made a terrible mistake, here's where I went wrong: blah blah blah," then OK.

But that's not what Beck is doing at all. I wasn't a listener at the time, but I've listened probably 4 times a week over the past 5 months. And I was stunned to hear that Beck supported the TARP at the time. On his show he regularly pats himself on the back for having "seen all this coming" for years, and often asks his sidekick, "Stu, remember when everyone thought I was a paranoid nut two years ago? Well now they don't think I'm so crazy after all."

So Beck is now being completely dishonest. (BTW that's why I often bring up the fact that I made a bad call about the direction of the economy in early 2007; I don't want to lead people to think, "I predicted the housing bubble all along.")
In defense of Glenn Beck, I would submit this clip dated July 29, 2008.


If Beck ever supported TARP, it was probably out of ignorance. But judging by this interview with Peter Schiff, he smartened up fast.

As a side note though, I never saw Beck claim he was a libertarian, he always says he's a conservative.
I feel bad nitpicking here, but I think there are issues being erroneously combined.

For years now, Beck has given his original support of the Patriot Act as a mistake he made in the hubbub after 9/11.

Beck still believes that without the bailouts at the time, the credit markets and therefore the economy would have collapsed overnight.

Though he is perhaps putting too much (any) faith in what his Fed was telling him then, I think he has begun to see that the Fed is generally a misleading and inappropriate organization.

Beck talking about his last 2 years' economic predictions is more about the overall integrity of the housing bubble and government deficit spending than bailouts or the appropriate response. Mostly, his counter to it was that people needed to live within their means.

Basically, for two years the guy was saying, "Hey, I don't think these consumer spending numbers are based on reality, and it might come back to bite us."

Once his basic predictions (apparently) came true, I think Beck just listened to the "acknowledged expert voices" on what to do (i.e. bailouts).

I mean, we might as well eviscerate him because he hasn't laid out serious views on aggregate demand.

Mostly, Beck seems a media guy who actually hates political corruption, and irresposibility in government (spending et al).

Beyond that, his value is certainly questionable, but of course he is the guy saying "I'm an alcoholic rodeo clown..."

Here is his article from last year. Sorry I don't know how to get the link to work!


I borrowed Common Sense from a friend, but just have not got to reading it yet; it should be interesting to see what he says on this topic.
Phil David,

There is a whole pattern here though, of Beck saying one thing when it's popular, and then when it's unpopular acting as if he's opposed it all along. Like I said, I've been a fairly frequent listener for months, and I was stunned to hear that he supported the bailout. I guess I've never heard him literally say, "I told you at the time the bailout was bad, folks," but if his position is, "It was a necessary evil," then the stuff he's saying now is nuts. I.e. his diagrams about the Goldman Sachs connection etc. don't make any sense, if he thinks, "Paulson did what he had to do to save the world financial system."

And in the video of this post, they show Beck saying, "I'm a libertarian at heart." So if that means, "I'm not actually a libertarian," OK, but you can see why actual libertarians might not want anything to do with him.

And last thing: Sure, he's got Peter Schiff on, now that everyone knows Schiff was right. I don't know that Beck really has been calling "all this" for two years. Has he? I am not going to just take his word for it, since he's been so dishonest about everything else. E.g. did Beck play clips of Democrats railing against the phony Bush economy, and say he agreed with them? I would be stunned to hear anything like that from him in 2006.
Ethelyn does bad things to the brain.
ethanol. I mean. Though - who knows.....

May also explain it. Particularly the AD part.
Much has been discussed about beck and what he really is. Since he moved to fox it seems he has swung more libertarian. Some could say its a side effect from opposing obama. Fair enough. But I have wondered if Judge Napolitano has been an influence on him. Just throwin it out there.
Peter Wehner -- a Kristol / Bennett / Bush neo-con -- is attacking Beck for being a libertarian and a Ron Paul cultist .. and seems to believe that being "libertarian" is incompatible with Reagan. It's a bizarre world.
Just me being paranoid, but...

1. Fox only has Judge Napolitano's show on the internet, not on TV. So no one is really going to watch him unless they are already converted. But we are left thinking that we are “movin’ on up”. in the media.

2. Beck is becoming the public face of "Ron Paul" style economic analysis in the general media. Therefore, anyone offering a "Ron Paul" style analysis must clearly be a double-talking hypocrite nutcase like Beck.

Is it all just a dastardly plot?

BTW, is Greenwald going to try to minimize the evil of ACORN because Republicans are hypocrites about trillion dollar spending on war and Haliburton?
Beck usually says that he's a "libertarian at heart..." of course he also has a caveat that immediately follows (see here).

As for Glenn Beck's claims for "seeing this thing coming for years now!" I can't say he's being dishonest for sure. I listened to Beck in the months leading up to the poo hitting the fan and he wasn't saying anything specific like "watch them credit markets people" or "housing prices are completely artificial right now folks"... but he was agreeing with most of what Ron Paul said (with the exception of not wanting to murder people). So when he now claims to have called it I just kind of let him get away with it... he didn't not call it, I'll put it that way.

Something that is typical of how he "called it" is when he would start talking as if he were speaking to just you. It always creeped me out but he would say things like "something bad is coming, and you are the hope, YOU are the future." I'd listen at work and get embarrassed like my mom was standing around my while my coworkers laughed as she pointed out what a great job I was doing.
No wonder Greenwald is nuts.
Guys! Come on, it's Glenn Beck. Why are you expecting anything other garbage?

I remember when years ago when he was just another dyed in the wool neo-con.

While I appreciate he's given Peter Schiff airtime, I don't think he's suddenly seen the light at all.

I think he's a TV personality that's found an easier way to get attention and make money. Does it make sense nowadays to be a hardcore neo-con? No, it makes more sense to be a libertarian flavored republican. Sadly, at the end of the day it's all a mirage. He's just another hack.

On Fox, only Napolitano brings the truth. Beck brings hyperbole with a little truth unintentionally mixed in.
For what it's worth, I don't think anyone takes Beck for a scholar. He will not tarnish the mantle of libertarianism.
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