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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 14, 2010 9:00am-9:30am EST

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they had to do tests so theyo could figure out what shape a propeller should have, something as simple and basic as that. so the airplane was really developed with very, very little science to back it w and i want to emphasize things like that this afternoon so that we understand that if we just wait for science to bring us the rawer materials for innovation, we're either going to have too wait a very, very long time, or we're wasting time because we don't need complete information to move ahead. .. to move ahead. >> they you consider yourself a scientist or an engineer? >> i consider myself both. but i am in engineer in that i am very interested in -- books i see as creations but i am a scientist cause i do have to get to the heart of the matter and in most of my studying, includes
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a lot of science. so you really learn to think like a scientist as well as an engineer. one of the things i will talk about is albert einstein to show you can be both. he is a classic example but it is not widely known. is widely known he worked on patents when he was young because he couldn't get a job as a scientist. but in the 1920s he began to be an inventor in his own right. after he won the nobel prize he could have sat back and do science but there is a special challenge to invention and engineering. what he did was a very mundane thing. among others but refrigerators in the 1920s were very new. they were subject to weeks and the refrigerant they leak was poisonous. so whole families were being killed when they were sleeping
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because of a leaking refrigerator. einstein said there must be a better way and that is exactly what an inventor says. he went on to inventor refrigeration system that would not leak. he tried to market it. but the timing was not right. refrigerator companies came up with free on which is not poisonous. so they just replaced refrigerant. as we know decades later we discover that freon doesn't poison people but it poisons the atmosphere. that is another one of those examples of unforeseen consequences of. >> we are talking with henry >> dana building, syndicated call ms. with the "washington post," presents his criticism of fox news host, glenn beck. mr. milbank argues that mr. beck is a show man rather than an ideologue.
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and examines mr. bixby articleep theories come his viewership ann his effect on today's political debates. >> good afternoon and welcome to the st another inside edition. i'm your host. today we're happy to welcome. "washington post" columnist dano milbank. welcome washington post columnist dana milbank who writes the washington post must read and just recently named an op-ed writer for the editorial page. he is the author of three books including the latest, "tears of a clown," glen beck and the teabagsing of america. t.a.r.p. joined the washington post as a political writer and later recovered president bush's first term and as a white house correspondent on the national staff. she won the white house correspondents award for repeated excellence in white house coverage and before joining the post he spent two years as senior editor of the republic and in spite of that he was a staff reporter at the wall
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street journal. please help me in welcoming dana milbank. [applause] >> i want to get to the subject at hand but first i would be remiss in not asking you to get your reaction on tuesday's midterm elections. president obama got a shellacking. is that an accurate description? >> in 2006 george bush said he got a something. i'm trying to work out the difference but it is probably 50 seats. what is extraordinary, you could lose 60 seats and say we expected that. it is not as bad as people expect because they didn't lose the senate but that is extraordinary. >> what does it mean for president obama? is there a silver lining? >> guest: it would have been better for president obama to have gone ahead and lost the
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senate and campaign against congress. he is a real tricky spot right now. you saw mitch mcconnell give a speech at the heritage foundation. that is not a man who is looking to compromise. it will be pretty exciting for journalism. good times for the museum. >> host: what inspired you to write a book about bollenbach? >> guest: i did a column on glen beck at the beginning of this year and. i was aware of this phenomenon but didn't understand it. in the process of researching, came across a gallup poll that indicated people were asked to volunteers and name of the person they most admired, most influential of any living person in the world and glen beck came out ahead of the pope. not to mention every living
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former president, narrowly edged out by nelson mandela but only narrowly. i got to find out what this guy is all about. the fact of the matter is he is a radio guy with ten million listeners a week, has two million on fox news which is a huge but he is so much more than that. he is a movement leader. i am sure we were all on the 20 eighth of august, even if you weren't, you saw the pictures that you knew that this is clearly a man whose aspirations go beyond broadcasting to being a real movement leader. i call him the first true demagogue of the cable news here. >> host: that is how he differs from bill o'reilly or rush limbaugh. they command higher ratings but that is a class by himself. >> guest: o'reilly gets more viewers but he is in prime time
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at 8:00 p.m.. to get three million people watching your cable news shows at 5:00 p.m. which is a fairly dead hour by comparison is extraordinary. there are couple reasons for this. love him or hate him the man is a brilliant entertainer. he pretends to boil a lot of fraud on his set, he wraps a fish. look at the tears out of his eyes. in this case, under the eye for the photo shoot. he is a gripping and exciting entertainer and i watched a lot of bollenbach for this and i found once you turn it on you have to say where is he going with this? you couldn't really turn it off. i can't believe he is going to say that but he does. that is one reason. he is a brilliant entertainer. he has also been able to appeals
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to case set of similar lessons in society that others haven't reached out to. even a guy like o'reilly takes things five steps better than i do which given this o'reilly thing is pretty far but what he has been able to is take the fringe in american politics and bring it into the mainstream and present that to millions of people and has a very devoted following. >> host: he brings in -- he is also a problem for fox. >> guest: he is in that he is -- has framed the way advertisers. i will not shed tears for fox. they're doing just fine. in some cases they have gone to other shows and are not losing out overall. the problem is if you look at who is advertising they have a
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variety of boycotts because stemming back to when he called the president a racist but if you look at fox news, the advertisements during his show now you will see things like advertising for something you can hold on to in a metal case and pull out seeds once the apocalypse comes so you can plant them in your backyard and keep your neighbors that they. in the last few weeks he has moved on to telling freeze dried food and backpacks for the apocalypse. your going to be living in style once the end comes if you follow this. his followers, many of them say they have been stocking up their pantries in preparation for that. people figuring the currency is going to collapse, as we were saying earlier it is a fringe. but there are a lot of people,
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three hundred ten million people, are on the fringe. >> host: will the election changed the tone of his show? talking less about the apocalypse? >> guest: it has been postponed but the end is still in the year. his timing was perfect. he came from cnn to fox with that election timed perfectly with the economic collapse and coming to power of the democrats. if you are in the opinion business you want to be an optimist. if you think the folks at ms nbc are depressed about the results, that is not the way these results. the bush administration was a great thing for john stuart, just as having democrats was terrific for glen beck.
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it will be difficult now. you got to play defense. defense your guys and work with other guys. it becomes a little more nuanced. and nuance in cable news is deadly. [laughter] >> host: tell us about his early years as a morning shock jock and the impact? >> guest: weaver talking about how he is a brilliant entertainer. he was a prodigy. he was doing morning radio when he was a teenager. out in washington state. became enormously successful at an early age. how around the country, a journeyman. by his own talent he was a very serious drug addict and
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alcoholic. the story is a compelling one. he has a bottom in the 90s in newhaven, connecticut. he kept slipping down as his addictions grab hold of him. at that point he cleaned up, he had been recently divorced, was going to get married and his wife said she wouldn't marry them unless they had religion and they went church shopping and settled on the mormon church. neither of them was a mormon. things happen in rapid succession. found god, clean himself up and became an enormous success in conservative talk-radio. before this he was by his own account a liberal, voted abortion rights, had a big ponytail. and overnight this was transformed. i don't want to say that he
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doesn't believe the things he says. i don't know what is going on inside his brain but we know he has made some rather radical transformations in what he believes. >> host: tell us about the impact of his religion on what he says on the air. >> guest: his base is the conservative evangelical protestants. some of the end times believers. a lot of these people, we saw this in august. the religious right is suspicious of mormons. he has been able to thread that quite well because he talks -- he gives his testimony in a generic sense. he is very fluent in the 12 step language. he is compelling to a broader audience. i have noticed he has ways that he speaks. i wrote a whole chapter on the
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white horse prophecy which is rather obscure mormon prophesy not even mainstream for mormonism but goes back 150 years or so to the founder of the face his said there will come a time when the constitution is hanging by a friend and the leaders of the mormon church and others will save the nation. this has been passed through generations in the church and if you look at the glen beck when he had or and hatch on the show, the constitution is hanging by a friend. hatch says the constitution is hanging by a thread. people who are familiar know exactly what they're talking about but nobody else here is anything but the constitution is hanging by a thread. it is almost certainly not going to happen but also the works of a world government mormon conspiracy theorist who is not mainstream with him the church
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either but he is long dead but glen beck has gotten his books onto the best-seller list as well. he has not yet and done that for mine. we will keep an eye on that. there are ways in which there are threads of the mormon philosophy you have got to look for. >> host: i don't want to give much away but you document some pretty odd behavior on air. like the boiling of the fraud. tell us about other wacky on-air stunts. >> guest: there is no limit of them. one of my favorites was when he had someone wary nancy pelosi mask and attempted to poison her with wine. that was a special moment in cable news. he said president obama, why don't you just like us on fire? he pretended to pour gasoline
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over somebody's head and lit a match and went on debating whether that was gasoline on his head. the antics, sometimes they are sinister but often just funny and they are good television. what is more to -- more important is what is coming out of his mouth, what sets him apart, these constant references to violence. put a. through my head he will frequently say. talks about, poisoning nancy pelosi, opening over the shovel and killing michael more. in a broader sense, talking about succession, constantly talking to protect themselves. it is the words more than the
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antics that set him apart in terms of popularity and danger. >> host: one of his obsessions is president woodrow wilson. >> guest: i feel bad for woodrow wilson who is not here to defend himself. he is at the national cathedral. i dedicated my book to him. woodrow wilson, communist and fascism and the president. this is typically when you have somebody on the far right or left wingers bringing in the nazi references. what do the fascists and communists have in common? they are both from the progressives. they traced the progressive movement as being the author of all of our ills. he sees woodrow wilson, but came
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to the progressive movement. to the genocide of the holocaust and continue the line, to barack obama. he has something called the tree of revolution and wilder was -- would rules and is fertilizing the tree of revolution. he is under the trunk and they have sort of given birth to barack obama. they have various branches coming off of the tree. >> host: i want to get to audience questions. before i get to a question, is glen beck dangerous for america? >> i believe he is. i try to be careful whenever i make that accusation because he
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takes things up to a point and never gets on his show and says now is the time to start shooting people but we have had multiple instances where people feel -- have committed violent acts and say they were inspired by glen beck. we can't blame him for that but here's where he has gone too far. he told his followers listen to what i am saying in between the sentences. i will be shouting these things to you. when you are already on the fringe that is all the invitation you need. a few people have taken that invitation. he is dangerous. >> you talked about his past, morning shock jock and then other moments. does that mean that today who he is today, is he fraud? and the second question is the rise of glen beck and john stuart, how much culpability do
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you place on traditional media on the rise of these figures? >> bose good questions. when we talk about glen beck and his religious conversion, i don't want to say what is in his heart. circumstantially there are things that suggest he is a fraud now but let's take it out of the religious realm and say it was september of 2008 when he was still at cnn, at the time of the t.a.r.p. bailout, he said the only problem with the t.a.r.p. bailout is it is not big enough and all the wheels in washington know it. fast-forward a few months and he is at fox news and the t.a.r.p. bailout which was done under the previous administration becomes the very centerpiece of his argument that president obama is a socialist and bringing one world socialism to the united states. that gives us reasons to be
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suspicious that he saw a conservative backlash, got in front of that. he did it very well but he did it. if you are saying these things night after night, i believe through cognitive dissonance you start to believe them at some point. i really can't get inside of bollenbach's head. he has not been terribly forthcoming with me. i assume you are suggesting the mass media left a vacuum for these guys. that has happened but not out of -- not because the mass media--just the way media have fragmented because of technology and the internet and cable. we say mainstream media. there is no such thing anymore.
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we have reached the point where john stuart or glen beck, people can find somebody to reinforce their views. and filter out anything else. one of the glen beck followers who became violent, he research online and anything that contradicts that i rejected that because it was planted by george soros. you have these echo chambers. is not as bad on the left the things like that exist too. it is the collapse of the mass media that caused it but not because we tried to collapse. we tried hard not to. >> we have a question? >> you focus the lot on glen beck but what has happened to america when so many millions of people watching time and time again, the audience of glen beck. where does that come from all of
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a sudden? >> guest: that is why i was talking about the fringe. this has always existed in america. i don't think there is a new anger out there. it has been validated. it has been given a platform. in the past it would have been some guy in his basement reading soldier of fortune magazine and on the internet certainly you go to alex jones and find things far wackier than glen beck has ever said but what happened here is these people are often isolated. and there is somebody on fox news who is saying exactly the things i kind of had theories about and i think that is driving and huge amounts of popularity. these are cute numbers for cable news, two million people or even three million people but when you think in the context of this
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country or broadcasting it is not that large but it is extremely passionate and powerful. >> host: go ahead. >> to the danger concept this celebrates the first amendment as it should and we are proud of that but we also have the -- you can't cross a far cry fire in a crowded theater. is it possible for glen beck to go too far? >> guest: sure it is. i think he is fairly well controlled and he knows when he stepped too far he pulls it back like when he mocked the president's daughter or call the president a racist. what he is doing is saying there is a fire in the movie theater but don't rush to the exit. he is very careful about calibrating. it has the effect of sending some people who are worried about that fire, stampeding
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toward the exit. it is the constant violent imagery, i have been keeping a running tally but on average he mentions hitler or nazis every show. sometimes he will do it in one show but not for a week or so but in our culture, once you start calling your opponents hitler the argument is over. you can have a rational discussion. that indicates where we are. he is on average once a day calling his opponents hitler. >> this is a follow-up to that. i may have misunderstood but i thought you said we shouldn't hold responsible when his followers behave violently. just before that you said he is often times saying read between the lines and we are talking about and calling his opponents hitler and most people would
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have thought violence response to it would have acceptable. [talking over each other] >> guest: let me explain what i am saying. you can't hold him responsible for any individual act. >> my question is why not? [talking over each other] >> why wouldn't we? >> guest: there are a lot of crazy people out there. somebody may say because i said the color blue they will shoot somebody. there are a lot of crazy people out there. i don't want to say this guy who killed four cops in pittsburgh, yes, he posted a glen beck video on a neo-nazi web site shortly before doing that. and a guy who was going to block the hyatt foundation in oakland was going to -- kept threatening to kill patty murray in washington state. they were all glen beck followers but an unstable person
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-- on an individual basis i can say glen beck is the cause of this. something else could have also caused it. i am also saying in the aggregate what he is doing is extremely dangerous and he has to know and fox news has to know that this is going to cause violence. i can't say it will cause of that particular violent act but this is what inevitably results. >> i have a question. did you approach glen beck for his response and what was his response? >> guest: i did. this is a fair and balanced look. it is not about fox news. there's terrific first-rate journalism at fox news and i have respect for a lot of what they do and they have a problem in glen beck. i approached him. he has probably already seen we are working on this. so he knew where i was coming from. ..
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think there's a pretty close parallel there. different times. people have brought up that peoe before. and i think what will happen to beck is what happens to demagogues all the time. you can flame out or you canime. fadeu away. i suspect beck is too smart and de too controlled to flame outhe there to say something sotoo cod outrageous that even just followers, s they would anything to do withou that. 't even have anything to do with it. i think much more likely what
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happens is the economy improves, people are not quite as angry at the government as they were before and it loses its residents. and i think that will happen. beck is a brilliant entertainer. i have no doubt he'll be able to reinvent himself for whatever circumstance arises, but it may be less honorable. >> and other question here. >> there are a lot of mormons in this country in the test is not all catholics are followers of charles conklin, how do the mormons overall, to your knowledge, regard having beck as one of their number. >> that's a good question. and i'm careful here to say when were talking about the white horse prophecy or klingon scout, were not talking about


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