Thursday, February 24, 2011

And the apology

So Glenn Beck apologized for his comparison of Reform Judaism and Muslim Extremists. Full transcript is found below (taken from MediaMatters, which is linked to above, and has the video). It's uncomfortable to read, and it's awkward (as apologies often are), but I'll take it at face value and as sincere (he indicates, as I did, that he walked it back as soon as he said it, so at some level he understood that he said something naughty). As we know, real tshuvah is in the form of apology and a change in action. So, here's hoping not only that the apology is sincere, but that Mr. Beck will choose to weigh his words more carefully in general and find a way to entertain (I'm sure he would say, 'inform') without resorting to demagoguery.

That he and his co-host declare their intent to charge into offense (jokingly, of course) doesn't give me too much hope, though.

I still want a T-shirt.

BECK: Stop the music for just a second, because I want to, I want to lead with my mistakes. I have always told you that if I make a mistake, I'm going to lead with it. You also know that I don't apologize willy-nilly for things. I don't, I don't really care, you want to boycott me, boycott me, you disagree with me and you want to cause all kinds of problems and call me a racist, or whatever, you go ahead and do that. Let the chips fall where they may. That is my belief, if I know I have something right. If I have something wrong, I've always told you that I want to lead with it. Well, I made a mistake on Tuesday, and I want to make sure that you understand that I was wrong on this and I, and that I also apologize for it.

I do this, because I have always told you to do your own homework, and in this case, I didn't do enough homework. I also tell you that you, you have to guard your word, you have to guard your honor and your integrity, because people have to be able to believe you. The only way people will believe you is if when you get it wrong, you do apologize, and you, and you point it out, and not like the New York Times or anybody else, bury it on page two. I lead with my mistakes, because I think it's important as a human being to demonstrate to other human beings that we can be stronger if we correct our mistakes and flaws and move on.

With that being said, I think it was on Tuesday that I was making a point about political activists, and I started to talk about the difference in Rabbis. Somebody has called me ignorant for what I, what I said on Tuesday, and I think that's a pretty good description of my, what I said. I had, was having a conversation with a few friends the night before--one of them, I trust on things like this, and I'm not even sure if I misunderstood him, or misheard him, or what, but I certainly had not done enough homework to be able to go on the air and haphazardly make a comment, like I did, and it was just about political activists, it was, you know, I'm not going to rehash it, but it was, it was ignorant.

The second thing that happened was, I made one of the worst analogies of all time, and I knew it when I said it, and I just kept going, 'cause I'm like, you can hear it if you listen to the tape, or you know, if you go back and listen to Tuesday's show, you can hear, what I'm starting to talk--here I am talking about Judaism, and I start comparing Islamic extremism, and it was just, it was, it was a nightmare. And I knew it as I, I mean I started in on it, and I don't know if you noticed this Stu, but halfway through, I was like, and, well, no wait, this is not exactly, because I just knew --

STU: [laughs] yeah..

BECK: -- what a stupid--

STU: Yeah, and you did clarify it immediately, that it had nothing to do with, you know, but, you know--

BECK: Well, whatever, whatever.

STU: Attempted, at least--

BECK: Yeah. I mean, it's just, you get into--here's the thing. I'm on the air for four hours, every single day. Four hours every day, live, without a script. That is a recipe for disaster. That is, that is, trouble, because you and I have a--you know it's like Stu said yesterday: he was really, very concerned at the end of the show. You keep, I know you Glenn, you say you don't care anymore, well we do, we need a job! And you and I, as the host and listener, you and I, have this problem. I'm sorry, I don't know what is wrong with my microphone today.

PAT: Do you want to switch to mine? You want to switch?

BECK: Wow, yours sounds good.

STU: That's really nice, Pat.

BECK: That's nice of you Pat.

PAT: I'm not sure if it's the mic or just the incredible--

STU: Sultry tones?

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Of Patrick.

PAT: Dulcit tones of my voice.

BECK: No, our mics won't reach each other, so--

PAT: Oh, okay.

BECK: So, I try to keep him at more than an arm's length. What were we talking about here?

PAT: How you're on the air for four hours.

BECK: Oh yeah, how we're on the air for--see, this is a good, good example. We just have a different relationship, you know, you and I, as the host and the listener, we have a relationship where I'm like, hang on, my mic sounds weird, hang on, let me switch it. I mean, this is a very unprofessional show at times, and part of that is because we've been together for so long, and you know, you know me, and I feel as though I know you, and so when you have that kind of relationship, you are just talking like you talk in your cubicle.

Well, that brings me back to the original point. I've told you to guard your credibility. There's no way you're never gonna be wrong, there's no way you're never gonna say something stupid. But the people around your cubicle, and you happen to be around my cubicle, have to know that when you make a mistake, for honor's sake, you correct it, and you don't hide from it, and you go, "Man, was I stupid, and I was ignorant, and I apologize."

Abe Foxman brought this to my attention, and Abe Foxman is not, I mean he didn't directly. I don't agree with Abe Foxman on, really, I don't think, anything. Well, I think, we, years ago, I think we had dinner together and I, we may have agreed on what we--he may have had a steak, and I may have had a steak, but on this one he's right. And to Abe and everybody else: If I offended you, it was not my intent, I see how I did that, and I apologize for the action and the words. 'Nuff said. All right. Now, now let's see who we're going to offend, but do it with credibility. I mean--

PAT: We're gonna offend someone?

BECK: Let's mean it.

PAT: Yes, yes.

BECK: Let's just not back into offense, let's go head on into it.

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