If Glenn Beck is trying to get the country raging at President Barack Obama and the federal government, he is doing a great job -- according to a prominent rights group that labels the TV host as the key figure for causing the growing anger inside the United States.
The Anti-Defamation League released a new report Monday called "Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies." It points to the anger gaining steam since Obama was elected last November.
The report points to the anti-government "Tea Parties" where protesters have compared the Obama Administration to Nazis, as well as the resurgence of the militia movement and the host of conspiracy theories out there as signs that all is not well.
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"In the year since we marked the historic election of the nation's first African-American president we have seen a tremendous amount of anger and hostility," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "There is a toxic atmosphere of rage in America being witnessed at many levels, and it raises fundamental questions for our society."
"While not all of America has bought into these conspiracies, they seem to be seeping more and more into the mainstream," added Mr. Foxman.
And no media member has contributed more than Fox News' Glenn Beck, claims the report:
"Some segments of the mainstream media have played a surprisingly active role in generating anti-government sentiment. Though a number of media figures and commentators have taken part, the media personality who has played the most active role has been radio and television host Glenn Beck, (emphasis by the ADL) who along with many of his guests have made a habit of demonizing the Obama administration and promoting conspiracy theories about it."
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The report admits there are other critics out there besides Beck. But they don't go as far as he does:
"While other conservative media hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, routinely attack Obama and his administration, typically on partisan grounds, they have usually dismissed or refused to give a platform to the conspiracy theorists and anti-government extremists. This has not been the case with Glenn Beck. Beck and his guests have made a habit of demonizing President Obama and promoting conspiracy theories about his administration."
The report runs down a litany of Beck's anti-Obama rhetoric, including calling Obama a "dangerous man," Beck's comparisons of Obama to Hitler, and Beck's insistence that FEMA was building concentration camps to house "dissidents." Beck later backed away from this false story.
"These kinds of claims from Beck create an intersection between the mainstream and the extreme. They play an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream, making them more receptive to the more extreme notions and conspiracy theories."
When reached for comment by the New York Daily News, a spokesman for Beck refused to say anything about the ADL report.