Glenn Beck Responds To Fareed Zakaria By Hypothetically Advocating Zakaria’s Death
And the world’s most exciting semantics and mathematic debate continues! The argument over Glenn Beck’s assertion that 10% of Muslims were terrorists had gotten a new participant this weekend when Fareed Zakaria pointed out that, by Beck’s own definition, he would be a terrorist himself. Today, Beck responded with his own extension of logic that by pointing out that, by Zakaria’s definition, were Beck to vocally advocate the CNN host’s violent death, he “wouldn’t be in trouble.” Whoa. This argument took a hard left turn at some point.
The big kerfuffle began last week when Beck offhandedly suggested on his radio show that 10% of Muslims are terrorists while discussing the amount of violent radicals in the country. Unsurprisingly, the many Internet news outlets balked pointing out that this would mean there are 157 million Muslim terrorists. Beck and crew then backed up their claim in Stu Burguiere’s blog post that used a poll and a definition of “terrorist” from Dictionary.com which explains that a person just has to advocate violence to be considered a terrorist. Next, Zakaria jumped in the fray, repeating the 157 million calculations and making the “that means Beck’s a terrorist!!!” claim.
Alright, everybody. Gather round and let me point out the problems with rash exaggerations and putting words into people’s mouths. Let me start with Zakaria because he’s not getting off the hook. While he basically argues the same thing I did (that the Dictionary.com definition doesn’t entirely mesh with the common sense definition in this context), he hurt himself when he mischaracterized Beck’s argument. First off, he claimed Beck was asking why these terrorist figures weren’t getting more media attention when Beck was actually asking that question about violent Socialist radicals (he was using the number of violent Muslims as a counterpoint). Furthermore, Beck wouldn’t fit under the definition of “terrorist” in any configuration because he has not yet advocated an act of terrorism (feel free to get out your URLs to prove me otherwise). He may have had some Sarah Palin-esque “Don’t retreat, reload” type close calls, but, as far as I know, he’s never gone on the radio and said, “Dude, someone should bomb something.” Saying you don’t like the president is one thing, advocating terrorism it is not.
Now onto you, Mr. Beck. Zakaria is not saying that advocating violence or murder is “no big thing” or defending those that do it. He’s just saying that those people don’t fall under the definition of “terrorist.” Furthermore, and this is a biggie, hypothetical death threats? Look, I know that seemed like a the logical extreme of what Zakaria was saying (asides from the point I just made), and that that is the basis of satirical, Swiftian debating, but it’s totally not a good idea. I’m not just saying this on Zakaria’s behalf, but also on yours. For a guy who gets his quotes as frequently mangled and taken out of context, do you really want to go on the radio and say “I want someone to snap Fareed Zakaria’s neck?” Stick to pointing to your poll and definitions.
Ok. I hope we’ve all learned a lesson here. Exaggerating and misrepresenting what your opponent is saying is wrong. For further proof, let me say that the point in these video clips where Zakaria and Beck both agree that the eating of adorable puppies should be a widespread and applauded practice was reprehensible. For shame.
Man, I bet the Socialists Beck was originally talking about are getting pretty lonely right now.
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