For evidence of how little Glenn Beck trusts his biggest fans' behavioral inclinations, look no further than the guidelines the Fox News host has established for his August 28 rally at the Lincoln Memorial, an event he's calling “Restoring Honor.” Along with rules forbidding guns (“real or simulated”), knives and alcohol, Beck is also putting a ban on regular old signs: “NO signs (political or otherwise) as they may deter from the peaceful message we are bringing to Washington.”
At this point, it's a matter of public record that supporters of the Tea Party movement — many of whom fill out Beck's fan base — have a tendency to express themselves with unreasonable, alarmist and even racist placards. By barring signage from his rally, Beck is obviously acknowledging that at least some of his followers are dimwits who can't be trusted not to carry around pictures of President Obama with a bone through his nose. What's not so obvious is why Beck is choosing censorship over education in order to tamp down on the bigotry.
Beck has five hours a week on a major cable news network in which he could spend some time telling his fans, frankly, “If you make signs that depict Obama as a monkey, you're a racist, and you should do something to work on your racist psyche.” He does'’t do that, however. Instead he uses his screen time to do exactly the opposite: gin up fear amongst his viewers by calling the president a racist with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
It's an interesting case, this Glenn Beck banning signs; it's watching a man — a shameless man — trying to hide the very evils he's helped summon forth.
Cord Jefferson is a staff writer at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.