“We know who this Saudi national is. We know who this man is and, listen to me carefully, we know he is a very bad, bad, bad man.”
- Glenn Beck, via The Blaze, May, 2013
Well, well, there’s a big surprise.
The self-appointed spokesman for libertarian personal responsibility fails to take responsibility for his own thoroughly debunked bullshit and the massive damage he did to another human being.
Then he tries to hide behind the protection of the government he despises.
Ain’t that just typical?
And, no, I did not in point of fact raise a surprised eyebrow at the news.
That’s exactly what I expect.
These people, they complain piteously about the sad state of journalistic integrity while spinning fantastic conspiracy theories solely in order to justify their own bitter insanity and their blatant bigotry and their yellow-eyed hate.
They put responsibility for their own misery and bile on everybody but themselves.
They wave Atlas Shrugged as if it were Holy Writ instead of a poorly written long out-of-date science fiction novel penned by a deluded hack.
They claim the moral high ground and decry “takers” and “the lazy” and the “immoral” and the “irresponsible.”
But – but – when shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are wrong, utterly wrong, wrong in every way it is possible to be wrong, they shrug off any responsibility and never admit error.
Then without fail and with 100% predictability they blame others for their own mistakes and their own false statements.
And then they shamelessly move right on to the next conspiracy.
And nobody is a better example of this staggering hypocrisy than Tea Party poster child Glenn Beck.
In the smoldering aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, investigators briefly looked at Saudi national Abdul Rahman al Harbi, who was near the finish line when the bombs went off.
Al Harbi was injured in the attack. His wounds were relatively minor and he was immediately available for questioning. Police spent nine hours interviewing Al Harbi in his hospital bed. He cooperated fully and federal agents quickly dismissed him as a suspect in the terrorist attack.
Every single piece of evidence since that moment bears out Al Harbi's innocence.
Every single piece of evidence.
Every single piece.
There is no question whatsoever that Abdul Rahman al Harbi is innocent of any involvement in the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Like any of a hundred thousand others that day, al Harbi was just another face in the crowd. He was just another bystander come to enjoy the day and who was caught up in the middle of a heinous crime.
But Glenn Beck didn't see it that way.
Glenn Beck, without access to any actual evidence of any kind, looked upon al Harbi’s olive skin and decided that the man must be a terrorist.
Beck declared that al Harbi was not only involved, but that he was the mastermind of the entire thing. A genuine Al Qaida terrorist and the guy who bankrolled the bombing.
Beck spun one conspiracy theory after another, each more sibilant and desperate than the last.
Beck used all the resources of his vast media empire to wage a personal assault against al Harbi.
Beck designated himself a qualified investigator with access to information only he could know. He became judge, jury, and America’s self-appointed executioner. And he sent his legion of mindless haters after al Harbi en masse.
Which is ironic, given Glenn Beck’s relentless and teary-eyed love for the US Constitution – you know, the document which forms the foundation of American law and in which is enshrined the ideal of justice and liberty and innocence until proven guilty. I’m not sure how a lynching fits into Glenn Beck’s interpretation of America, but then I’m not insane.
And then, because in Glenn Beck’s world all roads always and inevitably lead to Obama, Beck declared that the President had conspired to bomb Boston. Beck knitted together bits and pieces, layering fevered conspiracy on top of wild-eyed hysteria like a mental patient weaving random delusions into his nightmare world. Beck became so caught up in his own insanity that he issued an ultimatum to Obama: admit your complicity or I’ll expose you on my show.
Beck gave Obama three days.
Unsurprisingly, in the midst of national crisis, the president didn’t so much as acknowledge Glenn Beck even existed.
Beck then spun out his infamous “212 3B” theory, telling anyone who would listen how the President of the United States was engaged in a massive cover-up. Beck claimed Obama had conspired with the Saudis to blow up Boston because something something Muslims ook okk Bigfoot blert blert New World Order buy gold!
Beck even claimed that Al Harbi had met with President Obama in the Oval Office.
And then came the clincher, Beck claimed he had irrefutable “evidence” Al Harbi was about to be deported under US Code section 212 3B for “terrorist activities.”
Since Obama hadn’t responded, Beck gleefully issued a challenge to the rest of America: Prove me wrong. Go on. You’ll just just embarrass yourselves!
Beck was in his element. His idiot audience was blood maddened and howling for a good witch burning. The guy Beck accused was a nobody, a foreigner with a funny sounding name who couldn’t fight back and his guilt was a foregone conclusion. There were plenty of dead and horribly maimed Americans, all Beck had to do was hate on Obama and Muslims and wave the flag with a tear in his eye and the money poured in. Beck gorged on it, like a feral hog nose deep in rancid slop, oblivious to the lives he was destroying in the process, and utterly oblivious to the terror he himself inflicted on the innocent.
Unfortunately for Glenn Beck, somebody took his challenge.
That somebody was retired Immigration and Naturalization Service Special Agent Bob Trent, who in a few short minutes on Beck’s show completely dismantled Beck’s conspiracy theory. Live on the air, Trent effortlessly demonstrated that Beck’s entire theory was based solely on Beck’s ignorant misunderstanding of the actual law.
Beck was wrong.
Wrong in every way it is possible to be wrong.
Al Harbi was, is, no terrorist. He was not “about to be deported.” He was just a student, studying in America.
And, as I mentioned above, every single piece of evidence gathered in the Boston Marathon Bombing has supported Al Harbi’s innocence.
Glenn Beck’s personal crusade fell apart the night he interviewed Special Agent Trent.
And, true to form, he stopped talking about it.
He never apologized.
He never admitted that he was wrong.
He never admitted he’d been made a fool of.
He just moved on to other conspiracies and other victims and the depth of this man’s hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. Beck claims to own Iva Toguri’s microphone, the one she used as Tokyo Rose during WWII. Beck called Toguri a hero and even wrote a book about her, decrying post WWII media personalities who painted Toguri as a terrorist and as an enemy of America and who would have had her executed if they could have pulled it off. I myself wrote about Beck’s obsession with Toguri in detail, and as I said then, while Toguri was certainly a tragic figure, calling her a “hero” might be stretching the definition of that word to the breaking point. That said, and whatever your opinion of Tokyo Rose, Beck is willing to hoist Iva Toguri up onto the plinth of American heroes while himself waged a personal campaign in the media to crucify an innocent man.
Abdul Rahman al Harbi’s life was destroyed by Glenn Beck.
He was wounded when the bombs went off, but the injuries inflicted on his life by the murderous Tsarnaev brothers are nothing compared to the damage done by Glenn Beck’s lunatic greed.
Al Harbi filed suit against Glenn Beck, The Blaze, Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Radio Networks for defamation and slander.
Instead of owning up to his mistake, Beck attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed.
True to form, the man who touts “personal responsibility,” who pilloried media personalities for waging a campaign of defamation against Iva Toguri, that man argued even though every word he’d ever said about Al Harbi was a proven falsehood before he said it, Al Harbi was a “public figure” and therefore Beck should be able to say whatever he liked without consequence. Never mind the fact that Beck himself was the one personally responsible for making Al Harbi a public figure in the first place.
The judge didn’t buy it.
Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris ruled the suit brought by Abdul Rahman al Harbi could go forward.
Defamation and slander are damned hard cases to win, but if anybody has a chance it’s Al Harbi.
I wish him the best of luck.