It’s the classic double-negative: God forbid anything bad happen to the people I so love to hate.
That was the theme of Glenn Beck’s Thursday radio broadcast, in which he spun a series of myths about the president’s ongoing trip across Asia into a violent fantasy about Obama getting his head cut off by radical Muslims angry that he’d supposedly forsaken Islam.
It apparently cannot be stated often enough: President Obama was raised Christian and claims it as his religion. There is no evidence that the president is or ever was a Muslim. This fact, however, has not stopped right-wing media from spreading the Obama-is-a-Muslim rumor as often as possible, starting even before he became the Democratic nominee to seek the presidency in 2008.
In Beck’s Thursday afternoon radio spiel, the often dramatic and conspiratorial right-wing radio host suggested that because Obama had supposedly forsaken Islam, he’s placing himself at risk of being killed by radical extremists in India, who would just as soon “behead” him.
“God help us all,” he said. “Why is the president putting himself in danger? Why is anyone allowing him to put himself in danger, and if it’s not a danger, why do we have 34 warships? [...] I don’t care if you spend $10 billion to protect the President. Nothing can happen to the president, period. I don’t like the man. He’s the President of the United States nothing can happen to him, so I don’t care how much money you spend, but why is he going there? Why are we spending $2 billion to put him there?”
The remark about 34 warships, and the claim of expenditures topping $2 billion for the president’s trip, is without merit according to the White House. Talk of the president’s trip across Asia costing over $2 billion started with a report out of the Indian press that cited an anonymous source making wild claims about the planned expenses.
For security reasons, the White House does not disclose exactly how much the president’s travel costs.
That initial report, circulated first by the Press Trust of India, has been a cause celebre of the right-wing press in recent days, with everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Michael Savage and Rep. Michelle Bachman using it as a rhetorical weapon despite a complete lack of evidence.
“I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we’re deploying 10 percent of the Navy, some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier in support of the president’s trip to Asia,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters earlier this week, according to CNN. “That’s just comical. Nothing close to that is — is — being done.”
The network added that a similar 11-day trip to Africa by President Bill Clinton cost about $5 million a day — a far cry from the alleged $20 million a day for President Obama’s trip.
As Beck’s rant continued, he began to “fantasize” — as one blog put it — about what an Obama assassination might bring.
‘If anybody thinks he was a Muslim over here, well God forbid, they think he was a Muslim over there because he left his religion for Christianity, death sentence, behead him.”
“God forbid” something happens to him, he kept saying, or there will be a “New World Order” overnight.
The term “New World Order” is like a dog whistle to some of more conspiratorial Beck’s audience members, meant to trigger unfounded fears of a sudden establishment of prison camps and military occupation across the United States.
Considering that President George W. Bush made a similar trip in 2006 and no quibbles were raised in conservative media about expenses or security, the aggrandizing of this story seems just another bit of disinformation in a long lineup of manufactured controversy.
Beck has long been criticized for allegedly inspiring acts of violence against individuals and organizations that he makes out to be tyrannical figures fighting to destroy America. He’s even previously joked about poisoning outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and insisted that President Obama’s ultimate goal is “white slavery.”
“The reality is that Obama will be the sixth U.S. president to visit India,” the Politics USA blog noted. “Dwight Eisenhower was the first in 1959, followed by Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Obama’s visit to India presents no danger to him or the United States, so what is Beck really talking about? Glenn Beck is getting himself all excited over the prospect of a holy war. In Beck’s mind Obama would be the martyr and serve as the justification for the great holy war between Christianity and Islam. Obama’s assassination would be the reason for a full attack on Islam.
“If fantasizing on the radio about the assassination of the President of the United States sounds sick to you, that’s because it is.”
This audio was snipped by Media Matters, as broadcast by The Glenn Beck Show on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010.