Fox News’ Beck Gunnin’ for 78 Year-Old Columbia University Professor


Glenn Beck isn’t satisified being a popular FoxNews bloviator.  He appears to be driving some of his more deranged followers to take a potshot at a distinguished City University of New York professor, Frances Fox Piven.  Maybe he even expects a rating bonanza as a result.

Prof. Fox Piven is one of America’s foremost authorities on poverty.  Her writing and strategies for fighting it and advancing the interests of the disenfranchised have been among the most influential to emanate from American academia.  Earlier in her career, she taught at Columbia’s social work school.  She made the ‘mistake’ of writing an academic paper in 1966 (45 years ago) which advocated that poor people, in order to advance their political agenda, flood the welfare rolls and cause a crisis in the U.S. economy which would force Congress to legislate new welfare laws to eradicate poverty.  According to Beck, Fox Piven called for the destruction of American capitalism.

You can imagine how the Jared Loughner’s among Beck’s audience have reacted to this.  On Beck’s personal website, one reader offered this ‘benediction’ for the professor:

“Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas [sic] ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back.”

She has reported numerous other death threads sent to her directly via e-mail.  What is Beck’s response?  The professor brought it on herself:

Her assertions that “an effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece,” and that “protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones,” led Mr. Beck to ask on Fox this week, “Is that not inciting violence? Is that not asking for violence?” Videos of fires in Greece played behind him.

And what about Roger Ailes and FoxNews management?  Not their job:

Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president, said Friday that Mr. Beck would not be ordered to stop talking about Ms. Piven on television. He said Mr. Beck had quoted her accurately and had never threatened her.

“ ‘The Glenn Beck Program,’ probably above and beyond any on television, has denounced violence repeatedly,” Mr. Cheatwood said.

He said he had no knowledge of the threats against Ms. Piven, and noted that The Blaze [Beck’s own website, where numerous threats were posted] was operated independently of Fox News.

Will they be saying that after New York’s version of Jared Loughner lies in wait for Prof. Fox Piven and empties his Glock into her head a la Gabrielle Giffords??  And then, should we expect the left’s version of Jack Ruby to try to take revenge on Beck himself?  Where and when does this all end?  Does it have to end up like the political Shootout at the OK Corral?  Will a mushroom cloud of violence on the streets of America make these nutcakes happy?

Roger Ailes has ice water running through his veins and I expect no humanity from him, but Rupert Murdoch, though no saint, has at least a few pints of real blood running through his.  Perhaps someone can appeal to Rupert to rein his pitbulls in before they maul a diminutive 78 year-old professor who never hurt anyone and who doesn’t deserve to live in fear of her life.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

3 thoughts on “Fox News’ Beck Gunnin’ for 78 Year-Old Columbia University Professor

  • January 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    You can imagine how the Jared Loughner’s among Beck’s audience. The authorities have stated Jared Loughner was not in Beck’s audience. Do you have facts and proof of this, have you given it to the authorities? It is clear that you hate President Obama and his call for civility and to lower the emotional charged rhetoric. It is time to get over it, President Obama was elected. President Obama is our President.

  • January 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    This is McCarthyism of the worst kind. What is being done to stop Beck and Fox News?

  • January 23, 2011 at 12:48 am

    What is left out of this article is that this person is an avowed communist who calls for the violent overthrow of capitalism by any means necessary. She is one of the leaders of that movement. Beck shows her speeches stating those goals. Look on his website “the blaze”. JFK was killed by a communist. Communists have killed more humans in the last 100 years than any other political movement by far, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, hundreds of millions. Richard Silverstien clearly loves genocide.


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