Tag Archives: Glenn Beck

Jon Stewart & Steven Colbert announce Rallies on the National Mall 10-30-10

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Stewart, Colbert ready to rally
  • Jon Stewart says he will host a “Rally to Restore Sanity” on October 30
  • Stephen Colbert counters with a “March to Keep Fear Alive”
  • The announcements come weeks after much-publicized rallies in nation’s capital

(CNN) — Two Comedy Central funnymen are apparently entering into the partisan political fray with rallies of their own in the nation’s capital.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have set October 30 as the date for their respective rallies.

On Thursday night’s airing of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” the comedian announced plans for a “Rally to Restore Sanity.”

“See you October 30 on the National Mall to spread the timeless message, ‘Take it down a notch for America,’ ” he said.

Stewart dubbed the event a “clarion call for rationality.”

“A million moderate march, where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says, ‘We are here! We … are only here until 6 though, because we have a sitter,'” he said.

On “The Colbert Report,” which airs immediately after Stewart’s show, Colbert fired back with plans for his “March to Keep Fear Alive.”

“Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom,” Colbert said.

Given both hosts’ penchant for satire, it was unclear whether the rallies would actually take place.

But Stewart was adamant on his Thursday show that he had reserved a spot on the National Mall, saying, “The forms have been filled out, the checks have been written.”

Stewart is known more for commentaries on his 30-minute show than publicity stunts. But Colbert has engaged the public several times outside his show’s New York studio, filing papers to run for president in South Carolina and shaving his head while taping his show in Iraq to show support for troops.

In a nonscientific online poll after the death last year of Walter Cronkite, Time magazine named Stewart “America’s most trusted newscaster.” Stewart captured 44 percent of that vote, with NBC’s Brian Williams finishing a distant second at 29 percent.

See the poll results here

Actual scientific polling in 2007 by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found Stewart tied for fourth place as viewers’ favorite news person, ranking alongside Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and just behind Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Bill O’Reilly.

See the Pew poll results here

In a separate Pew survey, 16 percent of Americans said they regularly watched “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report.” Those numbers are comparable to some major news programs. For instance, 17 percent said they regularly watched Fox News‘ “The O’Reilly Factor,” and 14 percent watched PBS’ “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” regularly.

See the full survey results

The announcements come less than three weeks after conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck hosted a much-publicized “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall, urging large crowds to “turn back to God” and return America to the values on which it was founded.

That event drew criticism for its timing and location — on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in the same place.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN at the time that Beck was mimicking King and “humiliating the tradition.” And other civil rights activists gathered nearby with the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network in a “Reclaim the Dream” rally.

Stewart first publicly floated the idea of a counter-rally in a profile in the September 12 edition of New York magazine.

“Maybe we would do a ‘March of the Reasonable,’ on a date of no particular significance,” Stewart says in the article.

Read the New York magazine profile

The website logos and icons created for the Colbert and Stewart rallies mimic Beck’s, using identical typography and similar stylized images.

“We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard,” the website for the “Rally to Restore Sanity” says.

The “March to Keep Fear Alive” site takes a more alarmist approach: “Never forget — ‘Reason’ is just one letter away from ‘Treason.’ Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.”

CNN’s Jim Kavanagh contributed to this report.

Muslim until proven Christian

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?


He’s a Christian. Nevertheless, that question has been a background whisper to the right-wing narrative about Barack Obama even before he became a candidate for president — Obama made his announcement almost a month after the false InsightMag.com report that he attended an Indonesian madrassa as a child.

That whisper became more of a shout in the past week after some thoroughly depressing polling was released showing that disproportionately large percentages of the American public either believe (contrary to established fact) that the president is a Muslim, or are unsure (in spite of intense media scrutiny) of which faith he adheres. This can’t be seen as anything but a huge victory for the right, which has, for the better part of three years, made sure to take every opportunity to use “Obama” and “Islam” in the same sentence. Sometimes it’s more explicit, like when Franklin Graham proclaims that Obama was “born a Muslim.” Other times it’s slightly less explicit, like when the Washington Times‘ Jeffrey Kuhner — who was editor of InsightMag.com when it made the false Obama-madrassa claim — callsObama a “cultural Muslim” and the Times Photoshops a star and crescent onto his face.

Either way, the end goal is the same — to portray Obama as different, dangerous, “other.”

Given that they’ve worked so hard at fostering this image, one would think that the release of polling showing that more and more Americans buy into their bogus storyline would be cause for celebration. That, however, is not the case, as the right is eager to disown responsibility for this bigoted line of attack and place it squarely on Obama’s shoulders.

Stephen Hayes suspects that the Muslim rumor persists because of Obama’s “outreach to what he calls the Muslim world.” Rush Limbaugh claims Obama hasn’t been “obvious” about his Christianity, while Glenn Beck faults the president for practicing “a Christianity that most Americans just don’t recognize.” Byron York wrote a blame-the-victim masterpiece for the Washington Examiner in which he traced responsibility for the Muslim falsehood all the way to Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father.

The logic is amusing — the default setting for most people is to think Obama is a scary Muslim, and it’s his responsibility to convince them otherwise. In practice, the argument is devious. These right-wingers give the appearance that they’re rebutting the false Muslim rumor, but at the same time forward it by attacking Obama for doing things that make him seem like a Muslim. They absolve themselves of responsibility while reaping the benefits of smearing their ideological adversary.

But it’s not just the president who’s getting a bad shake. Implicit in this smear is that being a Muslim is an undesirable trait, something to be feared and loathed. And that has the potential to make difficult the lives of American Muslims.

One need not look any further than the ongoing, increasingly ludicrous row over the Park51 Islamic center — currently suffering under the ignominious “Ground Zero mosque” misnomer. After weeks of Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media blithely lumping Muslims together with terrorists, Nazis, and enemies of the state, the protests against Park51 have taken on a virulently xenophobic character, with protesters holding signs with slogans like: “Islam = Hate”; “Islam = terrorist”; “Islam = Killing.”

But if we’re going by the right wing’s rules, then that’s the fault of Muslims for not sufficiently proving they’re not all hateful, murdering terrorists.

Simon Maloy is a Research Fellow at Media Matters for America.

Must Read …MMA

Media Matters August 25, 2010

How did the atmosphere of hope and forward progress around the 2008 election turn into today’s toxic stew of anger, paranoia, and distrust?

Why do so many people believe already-disproven falsehoods about President Obama’s birthplace, religion, and ideology?

Why is our news cycle increasingly driven by phony scandals, fearmongering, and political opportunists?

It’s no accident — and Media Matters Senior Fellow Will Bunch explains it in his must-read new book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama.

Pre-order “The Backlash” today.

Bunch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, reveals the secrets behind the crusade against Obama, exploring how forces like radical militia groups, the Tea Party, pro-gun zealots, and Glenn Beck have combined old-fashioned populist outrage with digital-age phobias to produce a wave of resentment that many have ridden straight to the bank. It’s a well-researched, compelling book uncovering a dangerous political moment that poses legitimate risks to democracy in America. The Backlash hits stores Aug. 31 — but you can pre-order your copy today.

Pre-order “The Backlash” today.

To understand our political environment, you must understand the sources of myths and smears, and the machine that elevates them to the top of our national conversation. With The Backlash, Bunch provides an essential guide.

David Brock

Media Matters for America