Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glenn Beck: Why does anyone find him credible?

On the occasion I catch Glenn Beck's show, I often wonder to myself, "why would anyone find this guy credible?" I still wonder, but I have a feeling it has to do with his saying what they want to hear, more than actually being accurate. That's one of the fundamental problems: People, too often, look for what they want to hear instead of trying to figure out what is true.

Given the amount of credibility that Republicans give to Glenn Beck, I wondered what politifact thought of his statements. I have seen politifact quoted by both conservatives and liberals as being a good fact checking source. I occasionally question some of their statements, but as a baseline, they are relatively accurate. Here is their history on rating Glenn Beck's statements:

As you can see from the running tally in his PolitiFact file, we've rated 17 statements by the Fox News talk show host. It's fair to say that record skews toward the False end of the Truth-O-Meter.

His record (as of Aug. 27, 2010):

True 1
Mostly True 1
Half True 3
Barely True 4
False 5
Pants on Fire 3

Beck earned a True for his claim about the life expectancy of men and women when Social Security was created (he was trying to make the point that the program was not meant to benefit as many people as it does today) and a Mostly True for his claim about public support for the Arizona immigration law.

They continue:
He's earned more False ratings than any other.

He's earned them for his claim that union president Andy Stern was the most frequent White House visitor; that less than 10 percent of Obama's cabinet has private sector experience; that Mitt Romney's health care plan was bankrupting the state of Massachusetts; that 45 percent of doctors said they would quit if health care reform passes; and that the United States is the only nation with birthright citizenship.

We define Pants on Fire as a statement that is ridiculously false. Beck earned one for his claim that John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population."

Beck also earned a Pants on Fire for his claim that the health care reform bill provided health insurance for dogs.

Today, Beck earned his third for comments he made about the Restoring Honor rally. He claimed that the government was trying to close the Lincoln Memorial for similar rallies in the future, implying that the government was trying to silence his political speech. We found no evidence to support that. Pants on Fire.

Why in the world would anyone believe this guy?

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