This is a follow-up to a post I wrote last week on civility, Hey, I Got Your Civility Right Here, Champ!, where I outline that we are uncivil because it pays.
Over the last couple of months a really smart guy, James Rucker, put a web site together to bring the Forces of the Civil to bear on one, Glenn Beck. The man got tired of the racist rants being put forth by Glenn Beck and did something about it.
ColorOfChange.Org asked web surfers to lend their names to a list after reading a call to arms about Glenn Beck. Travel the link and lend your name too, if you like.
I like this guy. He is a stand up guy who has gotten folks to see his point of view. Better yet, he has the ability to lead people to do something to change their condition. This is a man to reckon with.
The result is that a number of big ticket sponsors have left the Beck echo chamber and the main stream media has double clutched. This is fairly old news.
However, as we the people, start to flex our vocal chords and change our spending habits, Time Magazine has done a complete cover package with Glenn Beck sticking his tongue out at the rest of us.
Hence, the title of this post (and you thought it was about the conflict between my expanding waist line and my modified Atkins Diet (anything that moves is fair game for lunch…)).
Time has, in the name of The Almighty Dollar, undone what Mr. Rucker has set to do by giving Glenn Beck this forum. This is the beginning of a rehab job for Beck. Time is trying once again to make it okay for people to sponsor this “person”.
Yes, the cover of Time, as they like to tell all of us who will listen, is for really important people or subjects. This gives Beck credence where he should be reviled. (I guess this is where I can say Time has had Hitler, not only on the cover a number of times, but as Man-of-the-Year 1938.) Beck is controversial and confrontational for the same reasons as Jerry Springer and Nancy Grace, to make a buck.
Beck is a right wing demigod and is dangerous because he is creating the same environment that Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon created prior to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. As you may recall, Rabin won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for trying to solve the knots that bind the Middle East from attaining any sort of peace. Rabin sought real solutions to problems that still exist in the region.
The right-wing of Israeli politics created a similar environment where it was okay for a demented Orthodox law student to take matters into his own hands and kill Rabin after a rally in November 2005. The eventual political beneficiaries of this act were Netanyahu and Sharon. These are people who have stalemated the process over there for the last decade and a half.
Am I putting Beck and Time at the same level as the ultra-right-wing of Israeli politics? In my opinion, yeah, they go there. These people are creating a dangerous environment that saying it is ok to be racist and carry on like our country is being destroyed, and giving them a warped intellectual license to do something about it. Seeing guns at forums where the president is speaking scares the daylights out of me. These people are creating the American Taliban.
The over-acted emotional soliloquies that Beck performs could eventually have the effect of creating the space for an American Yigal Amir, the right-wing nut job that killed Rabin. Time, by it's irresponsible journalism, is providing gasoline for this arsonist.
But can any one person be held responsible for what we are seeing unfold before our eyes right now. It will be like the accident scene that took Princess Diana. A lot of idiots on cable will cluck their tongues saying how the paparazzi drove the Princess into the wall while the other parts of the media pay big bucks for the pictures.
I am not saying that I want Time to be censored by the government, I am saying I want Time to be censored by you, in the marketplace. Just like James Rucker has stood up to a bully like Glenn Beck.
We are still at a point where we can do something about this. We all see where the road is going. If you want to do something about this here are some starters:
- Find your voice. When in conversation and somebody is making the goofy remark, nicely, and I mean nicely, challenge them on their facts.
- Email Time: Letters@Time.com. Let these guys know what you are thinking. When I send my email to them I’ll be posting a link to this article once it posts on the site, with a little note to say that Time is acting irresponsibly in its coverage.
- Copy what you send to some of the sponsors of Time’s web site. It is especially effective if you are an AT&T, or Sprint, or Comcast, or Liberty Mutual customer and let them know how you feel.
- Comment here with some other ideas. I am not that smart, help get me a clue. I'll incorporate the best ones with names and dates into the text of this article.
Imitation is the sincerest for of flattery, it’s time to do the James Rucker thing.
Addendum: I just got out from under a rock. Katie Couric is now celebrating this person, giving him the same rehab job as Time has. Please include a note to CBS News on their feedback page... http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/feedback/fb_news_form.shtml