Glenn Beck, Fox News' former staff conspiracy theorist, is at it again this week, though this time it's his antics that are raising eyebrows and not his over-the-top ideas. Beck, in taking on the IRS scandal, cited the same debunked "smoking gun" making the rounds on Fox News about former IRS Commissioner Shulman's 157 reported White House visits.
During this time, Beck claimed, it was inevitable that a conversation about how to cripple Tea Party groups arose. In order to implicate the White House, Beck sought to connect the strategy to a now infamous paper written by the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein.
Cass Sunstein's paper, penned in 2008 while at Harvard Law School, found that conspiracy theorists created threats of violence and posed a significant problem to what would otherwise be considered sensible policy and law. His proposed solution? A covert thought-war, in which the government would seek to infiltrate such groups as either fellow concerned citizens or "independent" experts. These infiltrators would then deliberately push the administration's agenda in an attempt to debunk the conspiracy theories and restore trust in the government.
Was that enough to make you get your tin foil hat on? Great, because now you should have perfect reception of Glenn Beck's private, paid subscription internet television show.
This week, Beck wasn't content to just explain that he thought Shulman got orders to target conservatives from the White House. Instead, Beck decided to treat his audience to an example of how he believed the conversation, which may or may not have actually happened, would have happened if indeed it had.
In a staged conversation, complete with a body double, a wig and moustache which would be the envy of Tobias Fünke, and donning an accent that resembled an emasculated Zangief, Beck illustrated several points for his viewers:
-The White House is feigning ignorance and perpetuating a "cone of silence" on scandalous issues. While we're not 100% sure as to what exactly that is, we're at least 95% sure it's much more sinister and significantly less adorable than the cone of superior notoriety, the cone of shame.
-Death panels — the repeatedly debunked criticism and Politifact's esteemed "Lie of the Year" — are completely real.
-The government thinks they know what's best for you, and believes you're completely ignorant. Which, given Beck's audience, is not an entirely unfounded argument.
-The administration believes unflinchingly in President Obama, despite his apparent ignorance of what's happening within it.
It's not that Beck isn't raising some good criticism this time; it's that he's doing so in such an absurd way that his antics got more attention that his actual message. Fortunately, you don't have to take my word for it, you can check out the stage show below.
You will, however, have to provide your own til-foil hat — though I'm sure for another fee, Beck would be happy to sell you one of his own, manufactured in America and blessed by descendants of the Founding Fathers to safeguard against all forms of creeping socialism.