Glenn Beck is a busy man.
Sure, he just hosted a much-publicized rally in front of Honest Abe and a new website — to, um, apparently supplement the multiple sites that Rupert Murdoch already has all over the web. But keeping up with news? That’s tough work. And heck, old news can still be good news.
For the August 31 rollout of his new website, The Blaze, Beck’s team produced a video highlighting Professor Ricardo Dominguez’s 2009 comments about providing GPS phones to help immigrants illegally cross the border into the United States.
But it added nothing to what AOL News reported in December.
Ricardo Dominguez describes himself an “artivist” — a cross between an artist and activist — and he calls his newest act of civil disobedience a “Transborder Immigrant Tool.”
It’s a cheap Motorola cell phone retrofitted with GPS technology. Dominguez, an associate professor of new media arts at the University of California, San Diego, hopes to get the tool into the hands of people making the treacherous crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border on the so-called Devil’s Highway.
The Transborder Immigrant Tool was inspired by a university colleague of Dominguez’s who developed a Virtual Hiker Tool to help him keep his bearings during desert hikes. The Transborder Immigrant Tool will give the user basic orientation, distance from destination, and the location of water. (It will also be loaded with short, haiku-like poems written by poet Amy Carroll. “We wanted to have a hospitality tool,” Dominguez says of the poems. “At the core of the poems is a rethinking of the idea that good fences make good neighbors. Borders do not make good neighbors. We should be welcoming.”)
The tool, which will cost less than $30 per unit, is undergoing field testing and tweaking. Dominguez has so far collected $15,000 in grants to fund its development and rollout, and by next summer, his plan is to have churches and groups like Border Angels and No Mas Muertes distribute the phones and train users on their features.
If no one was still outraged over the nine-month old news about a silly-sounding project that cost less than a new car, the budding king of all media then used his television pulpit to remind them of the since-forgotten news.
The segment began with a quote from Dominguez. “It is a tool that not only allows the safety, but also creates kind of this deeply poetic centering of hospitality,” said the professor. “In a certain sense, we think of it as the Statue of Liberty that one carries along as one walks.”
“So they have the GPS cell phone paid for with your tax dollars coming in across the border at night illegally,” noted Beck.
“You can teach whatever you want, but not with tax dollars. I would also tell you I think these people should be fired,” he said.
Then Beck amped up the hysteria.
“Let me ask you, there was a time not long ago in this country we walked you through walls of fire to make sure we weren’t funding Hamas or Hezbollah. I have news for you. There are a lot of universities that are as dangerous with the indoctrination of the children as terrorists are in Iran or North Korea,” said Beck.
It’s doubtful that Beck was referring to his own university as a potentially dangerous one. But many educators might.
If the nine month old news doesn’t catch on, perhaps Beck can use his media empire to warn about the Y2K bug next.
This video is from Fox News’ Glenn Beck, broadcast Sept. 1, 2010.