Yesterday, Glenn Beck aired a new “documentary,” “Revolutionary Holocaust,” which, with the assistance of noted revisionists like Jonah Goldberg, attempted to trace the modern progressive movement’s origins through Nazism, communism, and other historical horrors. The attacks aren’t new, nor are their easy rebuttals. That Hitler pushed for universal healthcare (just like Obama!) conveys about as much information as the fact that Hitler, just like Sarah Palin, was known to eat food.
What’s surprising is that Politico, in an article published today, attempts to give an honest read to Beck’s inflammatory, violent, and simply false allegations, by first treating it as plausible:
Not everyone who watched his history lesson was convinced – especially some professional historians.
And second, by quoting agenda-driven historians with known allegiances as authoritative. Interviewing a Heritage Foundation expert who appears on the show about the film’s veracity is not an alternative to fact-checking:
But Edwards said he was impressed by Beck’s “solid research” and willingness to take on “still-prevailing myths about Che Guevara and Mao.” In Edwards opinion it was “one of the best documentaries [he’s] seen on communism,” and rare in today’s media world.
“I think this suggests the line on Beck that he is some kind of wild man is just not true,” Edwards said. “This guy is thoughtful and interested in history. How many journalists in cable, print or whatever have this kind of interest in giving you a historical context. I think he should be commended for that.”
Politico‘s instinct is all too familiar to those of us who follow the public “debate” over creationism. There, great evil is done by journalists who, in a misguided attempt for “balance,” strive to give each side equal time. But like creationism, Glenn Beck is emphatically a case where it’s not fair to be balanced.