CUNY sociology professor Frances Fox Piven has found herself in the midst of a political crossfire for a work she published 45 years ago. Piven, along with husband Richard Cloward published a work in the 1960s that now forms the crux of the attacks on the Obama administration from The Glenn Beck Program, and now Piven is speaking out against Glenn Beck and Fox News for death threats she has received via email since becoming a major character in Beck’s narrative.
“Of course he’s not accurate,” Piven argues in a video interview released to counter claims made on Beck’s program in 2010. Piven became in late 2010 and early 2011 what Van Jones was to the program in 2009: the ultimate bogeyman, with an academic, methodological plan to destroy America. Beck doesn’t exactly attack her, however, as much as the people in the Obama administration who he argues adhere to her 45-year-old plan to flood the social programs such as to drown the nation in debt. The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter elaborates:
The article, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” proposed that if people overwhelmed the welfare rolls, fiscal and political stress on the system could force reform and give rise to changes like a guaranteed income. By drawing attention to the topic, the proposal “had a big impact” even though it was not enacted, Ms. Piven said. “A lot of people got the money that they desperately needed to survive,” she said.
Piven now argues that “that article was as much as reflection of what was already happening in society as a plan,” and she does not see how the Obama administration is culling from her work. Nevertheless, she tells the Times she is receiving death threats, and that Beck’s site, The Blaze, allegedly sports anonymous comments like “Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas [sic] ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back” (they are typically taken down within a short period of time). While Piven has said she has received email death threats, she has not produced them. Piven says she has taken security measures, but nothing that would interfere too much with her daily life.
Fox News, on their part, has responded supportively, falling squarely in the Beck camp. Senior Vice President Joel Cheatwood told the Times that “probably above and beyond any [show] on television,” Beck’s “has denounced violence repeatedly,” and that the network had no plans to tell Beck to stop mentioning the professor.
Much like previous Beck battles (again, the aforementioned struggle with Van Jones and with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn), this one is unlikely to be put to rest soon, especially if Piven is ready to launch a counterattack of her own.
Below, Piven’s response to and evaluation of Beck from 2010 and, below that, a clips from The Glenn Beck Program (via Fox News) where he details the Cloward & Piven strategy:
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org