Hucksters of the Year

So as not to beat the dead horse that is the year-end top-ten list, today I wish to highlight a very short “best of” list: the year’s most distinguished misinformers. Who has put the lowest premium on the truth while simultaneously claiming to hold that sacred torch which guides our way? Who has promised to call a spade a spade and proceeded to call a spade a moss-covered three-handled family gredunza? Glenn Beck and Betsy McCaughey, here’s your prize; now please go jump in a lake.

Media Matters for America, a non-profit that sniffs out conservative media lunacy as well as more subtle bias, has named Glenn Beck and Betsy McCaughy their misinformers of the year. Thanks to both of them for their service to God and to country.

Glenn Beck is everyone’s favorite party joke. His infinite grotesqueness excuses his less vitriolic but nonetheless knuckleheaded comrades. He is why Keith Olbermann might win the Nobel Peace Prize one day. As Media Matters documents, political (and human) minds from James Carville to David Brooks and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) decry Beck as a race-baiting divider.

The lesser-known but perhaps more influential Betsy McCaughy is the second award-winner today. An allegedly intelligent person—she is a former lieutenant governor of New York and has a Ph.D. in history from Columbia—McCaughy killed Hillary Clinton’s health reform plans with a fraudulent breakdown of its components and was responsible for starting the “death panel” rumors around Democratic healthcare legislation in 2009.

To see just how resistant she is to reason, watch the interview she gave to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

In both instances, opponents of the Beck/McCaughy hyperbole are neutered by the lame insistence that everyone is entitled to their own point of view and that to say otherwise is persecution. When, instead of being mild-mannered and ironic, will we tell liars (even now we can only say they “spin” the truth) that their services are no longer needed?

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