Former Fox News host Glenn Beck was "shocked" to hear how the NSA scandal was discussed over at Fox News and let it be known on his radio show (listen here for the relevant portion of the show). Beck expressed shock at the tone of the discussion on Fox, in particular how the panelists were throwing around the word "treason." While Beck agreed with the Fox hosts that the NSA surveillance program was bad, he found their use of language disturbing enough to note. Beck recently called the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a hero.
While Beck's concerns over language would be okay coming from most news anchors, Beck's history of inflammatory language, as well as his previous tenure at Fox, makes his "shock" dubious at best.
Beck's previous rhetoric has likewise used words with very serious meanings and implications and thrown them around. Here is Beck talking about how Benghazi is "treason," that old word. Here he is calling for Obama's impeachment over the Boston bombings. For more highlights, including how President Obama is a racist, and how former Vice President Al Gore's push to combat global warming is just like Hitler Youth, look here. Beck has clearly thrown around many of the most extreme words used in political discourse in manners that are obviously not appropriate. Boston was a tragedy, but it was by no means an impeachable offense, and any comparison of global warming to Hitler Youth, especially with no explanation, is inane at best. Fox's misuse of treason is no worse than what Beck does everyday. This is Beck calling out a village for crying wolf while wearing the "there's a wolf" T-shirt. He's a hypocrite.
When we use words like "Nazi" for every political enemy we encounter and respond to any unfortunate event in the country with calls of treason and impeachment then we have reached a point where we stop debating ideas. Treason is a serious offense; only 13 people have been convicted of federal treason over the course of the United States existence. It is not done often, and it is only done to obvious enemies such as spies and terrorists. To thus bring up treason, and to claim that the president does it, is not actually claiming that the president would likely be guilty of treason under an equal jury. The hosts at Fox and Beck know this, they just don't care.
For Beck to now claim to be "shocked" at these hosts is odd, because Beck, and others like him, have left few things out there capable of shocking. They use extreme examples as casual vernacular, and hope that their listeners don't think too hard about it. It is possible to be a bad president without being guilty of treason just as one can be controlling but not be a Nazi. We should respect our language enough to speak as such.