Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart is going to be on vacation the week following Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial so he took the opportunity Thursday to preemptively critique the event.
Beck’s speech is planned on the anniversary and at the same location as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In his defense, the Fox News host claims that when he scheduled the rally that he wasn’t aware of the significance.
“Glenn Beck didn’t know it was an important day in American history,” noted Stewart. “I find that totally plausible.”
But Beck explained that there is one major difference. “I am certainly no Martin Luther King,” he said. “I am not going to be standing on the stair that Martin Luther King stood on.”
“I’ll be two flights down from that stair as is appropriate,” said Beck.
“In Glenn’s defense, I would have guessed he would have gone two flights up, sat on Lincoln’s lap,” joked Stewart in a segment titled “I have a scheme.”
After learning the date’s importance, Beck seemed to co-opt King into his talking points. “It’s about the things that Martin Luther King stood for, the contents of character, not the color of skin,” he said.
Beck has decided that the event will help he and his fellow right-wingers “reclaim the Civil Rights movement.” He liked that phrase so much, he has two different versions. One states that it is because ” it is “distorted” and “turned upside down”. The other has enough chutzpah to choke a grown rhino: he seeks to reclaim the movement because “we were the people who did in the first place.”
Unfortunately, Beck will get coverage, mainly because Fox News is promoting as if it were the Second Coming. And there is nothing wrong with honoring the men and women of our armed services. And nothing wrong with honoring people who have done great service to our country out of uniform as well.
But Glenn, don’t get caught up in your messianic self-promotion and think for a moment that you can use this moment to hijack the civil rights movement. I’m not sure what “distortion” of Dr. King’s dream you are talking about, but I do recall that the speech dealt with judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
On that note, Glenn, you have failed miserably.
“The people have been acting as though no white man can mention or praise or support the mission of Martin Luther King. African-Americans don’t own Martin Luther King,” said Beck.
“Black people don’t own Martin Luther King,” observed Stewart. “White people — wait, that’s not right,” he said.
“By the way, who acts like white people can’t praise Martin Luther King or is it that they don’t want people who called Barack Obama — the first black president — a racist to praise Martin Luther King?” Stewart wondered, referencing Beck’s infamous Obama description that even shocked fellow Fox News colleagues.
Stewart continued, “Here is something that never happened to me…”
“Martin Luther King is one of my personal heroes,” declared Stewart in a mock solemn voice, before switching to a ‘not-the-greatest’ impression of an angry African American woman interrupting himself: “‘Oh no, you didn’t, white boy.’”
Stewart waited a moment then added, “Thank you to Tracy Morgan for that impression.”
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast Aug. 26, 2010.