Friday, September 03, 2010

Glenn Beck Invokes George Washington … And Lies

The care and preservation of historical documents is my life and my work.

When I heard Glenn Beck claim he had held George Washington’s 1st inaugural address, I was suspicious. Even a state archives guards its treasures. I know that the National Archives would do more so.

The story is now out at Mother Jones. Beck never touched the document that he discussed in a nearly-tearful moment in his rally last weekend.

Mother Jones tells the story:
During his much-ballyhooed "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday, Glenn Beck told a whopper involving the founding father who was supposedly unable to tell a lie: George Washington.

Speechifying at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, the controversial Fox News host highlighted the legacy of the nation's first president to drive home his claim that encouraging honesty and integrity was a main aim of the event….

Beck also invoked Washington while describing the inspiring experience of visiting famous tourist destinations around the nation's capital. "I have been going to Mt. Vernon," he explained. Holding out his hands for emphasis, he declared with emotion, "I went to the National Archives, and I held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington."

It was an eyebrow-raising revelation and certainly an original image: Beck cradling the actual words of the first president. But would the persnickety gatekeepers of the nation's historical legacy at the National Archives allow some talk show bombthrower to put his mitts on a rare (and fragile) artifact? The answer, it turns out, is no way. Beck was not telling the truth.

Beck did receive a special VIP tour of the archives, arranged by an as-yet unidentified member of Congress. During that tour, he did get a peek inside the "legislative vault," which isn't open to ordinary visitors. But [U.S. National] Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper insists that Beck didn't lay a finger on any precious documents, much less George Washington’s inaugural address. That would be a major violation of policy. "Those kinds of treasures are only handled by specially trained archival staff," she explains. Cooper acknowledges that someone at the archives did show the document to Beck, but that was the extent of it….

…Beck's whopper gave his speech more heft and rhetorical flourish. It was high patriotic drama. But his fib stands in stark contrast to the point of the rally, which was all about restoring the principles of courage and honor that the nation was founded upon. In fact, one of Beck’s only prescriptions for fixing the country was to "tell the truth."
You can see the clip here.


But the long and short of it is: Glenn Beck is a liar.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

and then there are the fake tears courtesy of Vick's

9/03/2010 10:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh my! I hadn't seen that, Ann.

I can just see the credits rolling: "Fake tears courtesy of Vicks." That about the most cynical thing I've seen anyone do. Gadzooks!

9/03/2010 10:42 PM  
Blogger IT said...

the fake tours story is old. The guy is a serial liar. But he gets away with it---no one cares.

9/04/2010 12:15 AM  

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