Beck: OK Atheist on TV Was a Setup

For some bizarre reason, Glenn Beck is rather upset over Wolf Blitzer’s awkward question to an atheist victim of the Oklahoma tornado about thanking God. On his Wednesday show, he launched into this really weird tirade about the “forces of spiritual darkness” who were supposedly behind the whole thing:

During Wednesday’s radio show, Beck asserted that Blitzer’s question was “peculiar in the way that it was stated.”

“I think he was fed some information about the guest he had on beforehand — that’s what producers do — given some questions that he should ask, etc., etc.,” Beck explained. “Some producer, who is sympathetic to the atheist plight or just doesn’t like Christians or whatever it is, thought it was important to point out that, in the middle of the heartland in American where most people are God fearing, there are atheists there too.”

“It’s important because it informs others what they are being taught about atheists from atheism and the bully pulpit and other sources of bias that is not a correct reflection of reality in plain view,” he continued. “We are not fighting against flesh and bone, we are fighting the forces of spiritual darkness. And it doesn’t matter what people’s intent are, but I will tell you that, that was there for a reason.”

I blame the forces of intellectual darkness in Beck’s head.

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  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Did the young lady or Wolfie use Vick’s Vapo Rub?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “I think he was fed some information about the guest he had on beforehand — that’s what producers do…”

    Ordinarily, yes, but this is CNN we’re talking about. All they have left of their news operation is cameras and talking heads.

  • Chiroptera

    Beck: …who is sympathetic to the atheist plight….

    Whoa! Did he just admit that atheists have a “plight”?

  • steffp

    According to the last ARIS report, 1.6% or 4.8 million Americans identify themselves as Atheists/Agnostics.

    About the same figures (1.7 or 5.1 million) apply to Americans of Jewish faith,

    Mormons (Beck’s people) are about 2.2%, 6.5 million.

    Talk about minority representation…

  • brianwestley

    I don’t think there’s an intellectual anything going on in Beck’s head…

  • raven

    According to the last ARIS report, 1.6% or 4.8 million Americans identify themselves as Atheists/Agnostics

    It’s a lot more than that.

    According to ARIS, Pew, Gallup etc., around 22% of the population are No Religions/Nones.

    According to Barna 37% of Americans are “post-xians” meaning a lot of xians are just box checkers.

    So, 69 million are No Religions.

    117 million are Post-xians.

    Contrast with 6.5 million Mormons. According to church sources, half of those are inactive, apathetic, or gone. Other sources put the number higher.

  • raven

    “We are not fighting against flesh and bone, we are fighting the forces of spiritual darkness.

    If that is true, Beck is on the Dark Side.

    Most xians don’t even consider him as a Mormon to be a xian.

  • bahrfeldt

    Well then, Wulfy should get an Oscar for convincing us that he was so surprised.

  • Synfandel

    Is this alleged atheist-sympathizing producer supposed to have set up Wolf Blitzer for embarrassment behind his back or colluded with Wolf Blitzer to set him up for embarrassment? Neither sounds like a smart career move for either of them. Hanlon’s razor would suggest that neither is the case.

  • Draken

    I’m wobbly about these ‘no religious affiliation’ types. For all I know, they might be evangelising their arse off for Jebus but not claim to belong to any acknowledged sect. Or they might be christians who claim that ‘christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus’ (spit).

  • raven

    I’m wobbly about these ‘no religious affiliation’ types.

    and

    Or they might be christians who claim that ‘christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus’ (spit).

    Well, then you have a lot in common with xians.

    They are wobbly about how many of their members are real xians.

    Data once again. (You do know what data is?)

    1. There is a lot of survey data that many xians are just census xians, box checkers.

    Barna, the evangelical polling organization identifies 37% of the US population as Post-xians. This was discussed on Ed Brayton’s blog a few weeks ago and is readily available from google.

    Richard Dawkins found the same thing in the UK in an ipso facto poll. There are a lot of box checkers there too.

    2. The Mormons claim 6.5 million members in the USA. According to the church themselves, half of those are inactive, apathetic, or gone. The LDS church also cooks their numbers. Other sources say it is higher.

    Retention rates of converts to Mormonism run around….zero.

  • raven

    Barna.org: discussed on EB’s blog April 22, 2013

    To shed light on this, the Barna team created an aggregate metric of post-Christian culture based upon 15 different measures of identity, belief and behavior. To qualify as post-Christian, individuals met 60% or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria). Highly post-Christian individuals met 80% or more of the factors (12 or more of these 15 criteria). These 15 factors are shown in the infographic below…

    “For decades, our research shows the variations of asking people about faith. For example, many self-described atheists also claim to pray to a deity. Long-time churchgoers often lack basic orthodox beliefs. People who effortlessly self-describe as ‘Christian’ may live like practical atheists in most other parts of their lives.

    “Also, understanding secularization in the U.S. begins with realizing the enormous footprint of Christianity in this country. The Barna measure is designed to take an over-arching, aggregate view of society’s engagement with faith generally and Christianity specifically. While Barna Group interviews all U.S. adults in our polling, regardless of their faith, we have a unique vantage point on measuring engagement with Christianity. Therefore, our measure looks at the degree to which the nation is post-Christian.”

    and…..drumroll, trumpets, laser lights:

    The differences by generation are striking, and they suggest a less “Christianized” nation in the decades to come. The younger the generation, the increasingly post-Christian it is compared with its predecessors. Nearly half of Mosaics (48%) qualify as post-Christian compared with two-fifths of Busters (40%). One-third of Boomers (35%) and one-quarter of Seniors (28%) are post-Christian. These patterns are consistent with other studies that show the increasing percentage of “Nones” among younger generations.

    Thems the data from the fundie xians themselves.

    Really, if you want to worry about intangibles with no evidence, you can do better.

    You could be surrounded by Reptilian hybrid shape shifters, 50 million imported-by-Obama closet Moslems, or Pod people.

  • Sastra

    This is weird, in that when I watched the clip I got the same impression that Beck got: Blitzer wasn’t just fishing for the usual crowd-pleasing let’s-bring-God-into-this trope, he had some inside information that this woman was an atheist and he was setting her up. But my interpretation of this was the opposite of Beck’s. Blitzer was hoping to discredit atheism some way — or at least provoke a little drama for the camera.

    Most ordinary people who are not used to the media will avoid saying something they think will make them look bad on camera. We extoll Rebecca Vitsmun’s ‘bravery’ in this case because we all know what the understandable reaction to this sort of subtle bullying would normally be: freezing up with embarrassment and mumbling some variation of “Yeah, yeah… I’m blessed. I thank God. Um hmmm.” We’re impressed instead by Vitsmun’s aplomb, her poise and humor. That wasn’t to be expected from some ordinary member of the public doing a live interview before a national audience.

    Blitzer didn’t expect it, either. He was hoping she’d go along with his urgings to go with the spiritual script. Why?

    My first thought was the usual: self-affirmation of one’s own faith. Blitzer believes in God (or a Higher Power) and wants to see it confirmed that yes, when the going gets tough even atheists believe. They don’t have the courage of their convictions. Better yet if this is shown on camera. The desired response?

    “Well, Wolf … I used to be an atheist. But I just can’t any more. It’s things like this which show people like me that God IS out there, and is watching over me with the same sort of love and concern you saw me display with my own child. There IS a God! Thank you so much for asking…”

    That’s a headline. That would be an interview which would be a news story in itself. And even if this hadn’t been a spontaneous reaction — if Vitsmun has mumbled the expected “yes, we were blessed” response then the intrepid reporter could have gone after this admission by asking, oh so innocently: “gee, I thought you were an atheist?”

    Maybe. It occurred to me, at least. I more or less dismiss it because well … it sounds a bit paranoid and over-dramatic. After all, it’s not as if people left and right aren’t all thanking God after a disaster and Blitzer could have just stuck his foot in it assuming the woman he was interviewing would be grateful for the opportunity to gush, right? But the insistent tone in Blitzer’s voice struck an odd note with me.

    It also seems to have sounded a bit odd to Beck, too. Which could, of course, mean absolutely nothing at all: EVERYTHING sounds like there’s some nefarious hidden motive lurking beneath the surface if you’re Glen Beck. But, on the other hand, perhaps Beck is especially sensitive to propaganda-speak (for obvious reasons.) He hears an otherwise inaudible dog-whistle.

    And then gets what it means completely wrong.

    Yeah, I can hypothetically entertain that scenario.

  • raven

    I’m waiting for someone to thank god for sending that tornado.

    It says right in their magic book, Isaiah 45, that god is responsible for everything, weal and woe.

    According to the fundies, god is in charge and everything happens for a reason. In this case, given how god soaked Oklahoma is, we can assume that…god hates fundie xians.

    Isaiah 45: KJV

    7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    What god himself says.

  • howdini

    Sastra, l had that exact same feeling you described in your first paragraph. Loathe as l am to agree with anything Beck says, it really seems that Blitzer had prior knowledge of the woman’s beliefs: the way he repeats his question, and “…the insistent tone in Blitzer’s voice struck an odd note with me.” Exactly.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    @13&15:

    Well, I wouldn’t rule out Wolfie being a clueless douchebag AND a conniving piece-of-shit.

  • raven

    This is weird, in that when I watched the clip I got the same impression that Beck got: Blitzer wasn’t just fishing for the usual crowd-pleasing let’s-bring-God-into-this trope, he had some inside information that this woman was an atheist and he was setting her up.

    Maybe.

    1. Xian surrounded by a destroyed house after losing all their possessions and thanking god = common and not news.

    2. Atheist surrounded by a destroyed house after losing all their possessions and saying, “weather happens” = news.

  • grumpyoldfart

    He was in the conference room with his TV crew and somebody dared him to invent a conspiracy theory involving the Blitzer interview and he said, “I’ll give it a go.”

    They’re all back in the conference room now, looking at the spike in the donations graph; hailing Glenn Beck as a genius, and marvelling at the extreme gullibility of their audience.

  • Ichthyic

    when I watched the clip I got the same impression that Beck got

    I didn’t.

    The impression I got, and still do, is that of Wolf having conducted dozens of this exact same kind of interview with other survivors previously, and gotten the inevitable “thanks to god I’m alive” spiel ever time. so he was programmed by that to think that this would be yet another one, and was caught off balance when she wasn’t.

    no conspiracy, no set up, just Wolf being the poor interviewer he always has been.

  • dan4

    “It’s important because it informs others what they are being taught about atheists from atheism, and the bully pulpit and other sources of bias that it is not a correct reflection of reality in plain view.”

    Huh? Can anyone translate this for me? I don’t speak “Beckese.”

  • Ichthyic

    Can anyone translate this for me?

    not I sir, not I.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_of_the_Wolf podkayne

    I’m suprised no one has blamed her athiesm for causing the destruction by incuring God’s wrath yet. At least, not not particularly loudly or publicly.