Cable news hits a sad new low

Glen Beck's remarks to Rep. Keith Ellison are inexcusable.

If you’ve been watching CNN over the past year, you’ve probably noticed a smug new personality. His name is Glen Beck, a right-wing talk radio show host and self-described crusader against the evils of political correctness. Many believe Beck’s hiring was an attempt to dispel the supposed liberal bias at CNN, and now Beck does a show – tellingly, not as a journalist, but as a “news personality” – featured in the middle of CNN’s primetime programming.

Recently, Beck interviewed the newly elected representative from our Fifth District, Keith Ellison, and said to Ellison, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’ “

Beck has made a career on statements like this one, and while Ellison would have been completely justified in blowing a gasket on this ignoramus, his response was to chuckle and dismiss Beck’s accusations of treachery by stating that he loves our country and that he doesn’t need to prove his patriotic stripes.

When this paper endorsed Ellison, we did so because we believed he would make a good statesman and represent the Fifth District with dignity. His handling of Beck’s obscene questioning goes a long way toward proving he is capable of doing just that.

But we must ask ourselves if this is what we want from our news media. Do we really need another platform for dim-witted bigots with no professional credibility as journalists to impugn the loyalty of any American even remotely different from them? We certainly hope not. There are already plenty of avenues open for that kind of hateful bile and there is no need to open up any more for them in what should be a professional form of media. Beck’s show probably makes a lot of money for CNN and, today, that seems to be the only thing that matters. But we deserve more responsible voices from our media.

CNN promotes Beck’s show with advertisements saying, “Isn’t it time someone said what we’re all thinking?” If what we’re all thinking is what Beck is saying, we are truly in sorry shape.