Glenn Beck has apologized for years of divisive rhetoric, admitting in a recent interview that he has in the past fanned the flames of partisan anger in America.
In recent years, Glenn Beck has been intermittently at the forefront of a larger trend in conservative media, spinning up outrage over things that don’t always add up to any particular affront — but he’s also come out and said things like President Barack Obama has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
But yesterday, Beck appeared chastened and hasty to distance himself from more outlandish scandalmongers like Alex Jones.
Speaking after receiving a trade award for broadcasting, the former Fox News talking head was uncharacteristically apologetic in his comments regarding partisan divide in the US.
Beck said in part:
“For any role that I have played in dividing, I wish I can take them back … I don’t wish I could take back the truth that was spoken but perhaps — not perhaps — many times I could have said it differently.”
But Beck isn’t apologetic for speaking his mind in general, and decried a culture of boycotting and discouraging free speech from both sides of the aisle.
Of speech in general as an issue of tolerance, Glenn Beck said progress is only made “when you speak your mind and you challenge each other,” explaining:
“If they tell you to sit down and shut up, it’s trouble … If it’s a Republican or Democrat or independent, if it’s a Tea Party person or someone from Occupy Wall Street, if they say shut up, it’s trouble.”
Progressive news watchdog Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone was present when Beck spoke, and later commented on what he believes may be behind the seemingly new strategy:
“Beck’s entire history is a series of booms, busts and rebirths … Brand repair doesn’t happen immediately,. It’s a process. Beck knows that. This soft contrition seemed like an attempt to advance that slow process. I’m not sure this will be effective, though, given that his approach hasn’t really changed.”
In recent months, Glenn Beck has blasted Sandy Hook “truthers” for embracing that conspiracy, devoting an entire show to debunking the Newtown conspiracists’ claims.