- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

PERILS OF GLENN BECK

Colors for Change, the activists who spearheaded an advertising boycott of Fox News host Glenn Beck for the past three months, have some advice for him. They suggest he get off Fox altogether and create a whole new broadcast genre: the conspiracy channel. The San Francisco-based group has been on Mr. Beck’s case since July, after he suggested that President Obama was “racist” toward whites, an observation made after the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the public turmoil that followed.

“It goes way beyond those remarks. What is problematic is that Glenn Beck is systematically stoking the country’s racial fears, and he is putting out stuff that is false information on a ‘news’ channel,” the group’s executive director, James Rucker, tells Inside the Beltway. “Could he fix this? Yes, he could. He could stop race-baiting and fabricating things. And he could get off Fox News - a news platform - and start up an entertainment and conspiracy channel. Then he could say what he wants.”

In recent months, U.S. advertisers have indeed pulled their advertising from Mr. Beck’s show, which dominates cable ratings in its time slot. On Tuesday, the boycott went global, however. A major British supermarket also yanked its advertising dollars from Mr. Beck’s show, seen in the nation on Sky Broadcasting. But the activists are not taking direct credit.

“No, we did not make direct contact with the advertisers in the U.K. We have 280,000 members, and we believe some of them independently led this effort. They’re still pretty fired up, and we’re now figuring out ways to support them outside the U.S.,” Mr. Rucker says.

MATTER OF TRUST

The Big Man Upstairs at last has a spot in the $621 million Capitol Visitor Center. It was not always thus. All references to “God” had been omitted from the 580,000-square-foot site when it opened with much fanfare last year, a matter that did not escape the 2-million-member American Family Association.

“While there was plenty of room for mentions of Earth Day, AIDS rallies and casinos, there apparently was no room for God,” says Tim Wildmon, president of the group.

It was the work of “secular fundamentalists” who were more comfortable with the phrase “e pluribus unum - out of many, one,” he adds. The Mississippi-based pro-family group spent a year contacting lawmakers to convince them that something should be done about the omission. And something has been done. A new engraving of “In God We Trust” recently was unveiled in the center by acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers for all to see - and that’s that.

“Because we believe, we stand. Because we stand, we can make a difference,” Rep. J.Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican who was supportive of the grass-roots campaign, said in a letter to the AFA on Wednesday. “If we can stand together to get the words ‘In God We Trust’ engraved in the Capitol Visitor Center, I believe we can get those same words written on the hearts of the American people once again.”

REVISITING RUSSERT

Presidential libraries typically re-create the Oval Office as part of their historical political showcases. And the Newseum? The museum devoted to all things journalism has crafted an exacting mock-up of the late Tim Russert’s old digs at the NBC News bureau in Washington for future visitors.

The office has been partially reassembled to look as it did on June 13, 2008, the day Russert died at 58 from a heart attack he suffered while recording voice-overs for the next installment of “Meet the Press.” He had hosted the program for 17 years. The exhibit opens Nov. 20.

SAVAGE BANNED AGAIN

A hoity-toity British debating society has withdrawn its invitation for talk radio host Michael Savage to answer British officials who labeled him a hatemonger, placed him on a list of “undesirables” and banned him from the country last year. Mr. Savage’s appearance via a video uplink had been set for Oct. 15.

“We have reconsulted with our counsel and been informed that there are numerous legal issues with Mr. Savage speaking here,” the Cambridge Union told him in a letter Wednesday. “Because of all of the technical, financial and legal problems involved, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that the event cannot proceed.”

Mr. Savage was to weigh in on political correctness and other matters as well.

“What did the socialist Brown regime fear I might say during the debate?” he asked. “What are they hiding from the general public that would have been exposed? Why do they wish to hide what they did to an innocent broadcaster?”

GENERALIZATION

It’s now dueling headlines for Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal:

“Gen. McChrystal is no MacArthur.” - Jeff Stein, the Huffington Post.

“McChrystal is not Shinseki.” - Michael Cohen, New America Foundation.

POLL DU JOUR

• 32 percent of Americans have paid off and closed out a credit card account since January 2008.

• 50 percent of them did so after the company imposed new fees or lending rates.

• 21 percent overall say they were treated unfairly by card companies.

• 41 percent said they are satisfied with their card issuer.

• 45 percent are charging less; 43 percent charge about the same.

• 54 percent pay off their balances each month; 33 percent do not own a credit card.

Source: A Consumer Reports survey of 1,211 credit card users conducted throughout July.

Caterwaul, cute noises, cool surveys to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.


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