Olbermann Nails Glenn Beck for Misspelling O.L.I.G.A.R.C.H.

Hilarious and yet deeply horrifying. Glenn Beck makes a spectacular spelling error while using a chalk board to explain to his feeble-minded viewers that Obama and liberals have a secret plan to overturn the republic and install an oligarchy in its place. In his demonstration, Beck misspells “oligarch” by leaving out the letter “c.”

Beck is projecting, of course. Oligarchies are by definition right-wing autocracies in which a tiny elite cadre imposes authoritarian control on a small middle class and a vast impoverished underclass. Examples include the Mexican government today, the Confederate States of America during the (first) Civil War and imperial Rome.

It’s horrifying that Beck has any credibility at all, and that what credibility he does have is among misguided Tea Baggers, Birthers and Deathers who have been duped into arming themselves for a second Civil War — to water the tree of liberty with blood — for no other reason than to protect the trillions in profits of health-insurance megacorps.

Thanks to FWA, our man in Savannah, for the tip.

Transcript follows:

OLBERMANN: The danger of today‘s version of the mythical, home spun, awe shucks, TV totalitarian Lonesome Roads, Glenn Beck is summed up by remarks today in which he claimed that a revolution has begun in this country, “a stealing of America in the guise of an election,” and his repeated insistence that the president is a Marxist. In our number one story in the COUNTDOWN, the comfort of today‘s mythical, home spun, awe shucks, TV totalitarian, lonesome roads Glenn Beck is that every day he gives away the essential truth that he is an idiot.

If you are going to warn the colonist that the English have arrived in the bay, you are not going to get very far by jumping onto a horse and yelling, “the brutish (ph) are coming. The brutish are coming.”

If you are trying to tell Mr. Chambers that the alien book “To Serve Man” is not about helping people, but eating them, you kind of lose your credibility if you say, “Mr. Chambers, don‘t get on the ship. The rest of the book, ‘to serve man,‘ it is a phone book!”

Here‘s Mr. Beck last week, with the zeal of Paul Revere and the panic of Mr. Chambers assistant cryptographer, Pat, and the spelling ability of a third grader.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I told you we were going to—we were going to talk about these things. We were going to talk about Obama, the left, internationalist, graft, acorn-style organizations, revolution and hidden agenda. O-L-I-G-a-R-H—

One letter is missing. Why did I select these words? Because Acorn selects tides. They all select their words first, and then tie them all together into one word. Oligarch—the one that‘s missing is Y.

I don‘t know if we are turning into an oligarchy or what we‘re turning into. But unless you ask why, we are going to transform into something. Ask questions.


OLBERMANN: I have a question. Don‘t you rehearse? Oligarchy? Did Obama steal the letter C? Mr. Beck came back the next day and tried to bury the reality that the less than one percent of the country that watches or listens to his show thinking they are not listening to an uneducated, imperceptive, panicky whack job are completely mistaken.

Channeling his inner Pee-Wee Herman, he said everything but I meant to do that, and suggested he almost left out the C in oligarchy on purpose, that the C stands for czars. This was desperation at its worst. The fascination with czars is fodder for a segment of its own. The use of the Russian dictatorial term czar for a presidential appointee did not just begin yesterday. It began with President Nixon, when he put in an energy czar, William Simon, during the oil crisis of December 1973. Simon probably announced we‘d be starting daylight savings not in April, but in January. That‘s a czar.

The true era of American czars came under, gosh, Ronald Reagan. He created the position of drug czar, filled more or less continuously since 1982. So Mr. Beck, if you are going to insult czars and the sainted memories of President Nixon and President Reagan, I‘m going to have to challenge you to a duel. That‘s D-U-E-L, by the way. It is hard to say what percentage of that less than one percent watches in rapt, mesmerized fascination as the truth teller, whose low brain function is no lower than their own, and what percentage watches, as the rest of us do, for the never unfulfilled promise of a train wreck yet to come.

He misquoted Shakespeare the other day. To me, train wreck. To his gullible viewers, golly, he knows about Shakey‘s Pizza. I mean, look, he quotes Theodore Roosevelt, yes, the guy who looks like the mountain.


BECK: We speak without fear, while basing it all in fact. Walk softly and carry a big stick. That ain‘t a gun, man. That is the facts.


OLBERMANN: Yes, it is. Walk softly and carry a big stick. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Whatever. That‘s the facts. One other thing here. College communications programs don‘t teach you much about actual broadcasting. But I have one professor whose full-time job was as general manger at one of the local radio stations. Among many things, he taught me one truth that he said separated the men from the boys. “I hate those egotistical good morning world sign-ons,” Don Martin said to me. “People watch and listen to radio and TV one person at a time. Talk to one person at a time. Whenever I hear good evening, everyone, I turn around to see who comes in the room with me when they say that.” Ahem.


BECK: Well, hello, America.

Good night, America.


OLBERMANN: Don‘t forget, squawk softly, carry a big brick and leave off the last C for savings. That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,314th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.

I‘m Keith Olbermann, to paraphrase Ron Burgundy‘s sign off, stay classy, COUNTDOWN-land.


  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    How did Beck misquote Shakespeare? Olbermann never said. I’m assuming he was referring to when Beck quoted from Macbeth: “Screw your courage to the sticking place.” But that is an accurate quotation (Macbeth I.vii.60). Olbermann made a big deal about how the appointment of czars began under Nixon, but he forgot to mention that the first person to point that out was Beck himself. Beck is no fan of Nixon either. Olbermann also said that the “true era” of czars began under Ronald Reagan, when Reagan appointed William Bennett drug czar in 1982. On this point, Olbermann is just plain wrong. William Bennett was appointed drug czar in 1982, but in 1989. And it was not Reagan who made the appointment, but George H.W. Bush–upon the recommendation, I might add, of none other than Joe Biden. Olbermann seems to imply that this appointment of one czar who was confirmed by the Senate is somehow the equivalent of Obama’s scores and scores of czars who are not confirmed. Perhaps before Mr. Olbermann goes throwing accusations of ignorance around, he should get his own facts right first.

  • September 2, 2009 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    First, I’d like to say good job Scott with actually using facts. Ponder, did you even thing about googling oligarchy? There is no distinction of an oligarchy being left or right by definition. Why don’t you try wikipedia some time. You should especially look at the “Modern Democracy as Oligarchy” section.

    I’d also like to tell you how sorry I am you actually listen to and believe anything that’s said on MSNBC.

  • Dustin
    September 2, 2009 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Well said, Scott. I didn’t take the time to research your claims, or Olbermann’s, but you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Beck couldn’t spell “Oligarchy”. Olbermann may have gotten a date wrong.

    Beck is accusing our president of dismantling the country and having a deep seeded hatred for white people. Olbermann is accusing Beck of being an idiot.

    Apples and oranges, my friend.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    I understand the point your making about apples and oranges, and I would not normally criticize Olbermann for getting tiny facts incorrect. But my point was a larger one. I was not criticizing Olbermann for being incorrect so much as I was criticizing him for being a hypocrite. If Olbermann’s going to waste so much time pointing out a teeny-tiny mistake of Beck’s, but doesn’t take care with his own facts, then it’s just the pot calling the kettle black.

  • required
    September 2, 2009 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Scott, according to Wikipedia, “The ‘drug czar’ title was first published in a 1982 news story quoting Joe Biden by United Press International which reported that “Senators… voted 62-34 to establish a ‘drug czar’ who would have overall responsibility for U.S. drug policy.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_czar)

    Dustin, that’s “deep-seated,” not “deep seeded.”

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I saw the Wikipedia article — and knowing that Wikipedia is not the most accurate source in the world, I did some further digging. Joe Biden recommended the creation of a drug czar as a Cabinet-level position in 1982 (that’s where Olbermann’s 1982 date comes from, maybe, but he attributes it to Reagan rather than Biden). Reagan was opposed to a drug czar, believing that it was more big government, to which he was opposed. Finally, the Cabinet-level office was officially created in 1988, and president-elect Bush the first to actually fill the position by naming William Bennett to it. Bennett was confirmed in the Senate with 97 votes in favor, and sworn into the position in 1989.

  • September 2, 2009 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    You are correct that Bennet was the drug-addicted (nicotine) drug czar under Bush I. (He has also set himself up as a morality czar, despite having a serious gambling addiction.)

    The Reagan anti-drug campaign was dreamed up to give Nancy a “cause” to work for in order to take heat off of her for spending lavishly on White House china. She was arguably the first drug czar. The czar position was officially established later well after the china controversy was papered over.

    As to the definition of oligarchy, I supposed statist societies could technically be considered oligarchies but in context the word traditionally applies to monarchies and other right-wing despotic regimes.

    But there is no doubt that the underlying objective of the modern conservative movement is to cede the power and wealth of this nation upwards. Try to think of a policy passed into law by conservatives over the last 30 years that did not have the effect, directly or indirectly, of making the elites more powerful and wealthy at the expense of the middle class and especially the poor and ignorant — who ironically make up most of Beck’s and Fox’s audience and who are the very ones who are literally praying for Obama’s assassination these days.

    But this was not a tiny mistake Beck made. We are constantly told that Fox is the most popular channel. But are they best? FNC has never broken a story in its 12-plus years of existence. One recent poll found that 75% of Fox viewers believe erroneous facts about health-insurance reform. If it were a “real” news channel, the fact that so many loyal viewers were misinformed about a major news story, heads would have rolled. But not a single one of its bikini-model newsreaders has been let go.

    Fox isn’t a news channel, of course. It’s a propaganda outlet for the GOP and its corporate oligarch masters. As such, you’d think they’d at least take the time to get the propaganda right.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Oh, misspelling oligarchy was not a tiny mistake? Okay, a bit of looking in the mirror is required here. You misspell William Bennett’s last name. It’s two T’s, not one. You also say that Fox has not broken a story in more than twelve years. Well, what other network has been talking about the czars? If another one started talking about them before Glenn Beck did on Fox News, I’d like to know which one. Also, the 75% of Fox viewers who believe what you call “erroneous facts” believe them not because they heard them on Fox, but because they read them in the bill. Finally, the phrase “erroneous facts” is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as an “erroneous fact.” If it’s erroneous, it’s not a fact.

    Oh, but that lying Glenn Beck, who misspelled “oligarch.”

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Also — what conservative have you heard praying for Obama’s assassination? Have you been bugging their bedrooms? Are you kneeling down next to them at church, where they’re saying these prayers loud enough for you to hear them? Or which conservative have you heard say on TV or radio that he wants Obama to be assassinated? When did that happen? Have I missed something? That’s a pretty wild accusation to make if you don’t have any evidence for it. I’d think the Secret Service would be interested in talking to you if you have inside information like this.

  • September 2, 2009 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Scott, the secret service is looking into the Rev. Steven L. Anderson, who has been praying for Obama’s death. Meanwhile right-wingers are showing up at presidential events armed to the teeth. One of them held a sign that indicated he felt it was time to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants — like, you know, the liberal fascist-socialist terrorist Obama.

    The atmosphere at the town halls has been charged with violence and hatred toward the president. It’s clear that the ultra right wants Obama — whom they call “little Hilter” — to be killed.

    Aside from being wrong on every level of morality and decency, this is also politically foolish. If they do kill him, he will instantly become a bigger martyr to democracy than JFK, MLK and RFK combined, and the outrage among normal Americans toward the right will make the anger over 9/11 look mild in comparison.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The Secret Service or police was well aware of the TWO individuals, each of whom showed up with a SINGLE firearm. That’s hardly “armed to the teeth.” The first of these did not go to the presidential event, the Secret Service was aware of him, it was legal in that state to carry a concealed weapon, and they judged him to be no threat. The second of them was outside a town hall meeting, not in it, he was black, and it was also legal to carry a firearm in that state. I agree that what they did was stupid, but don’t exaggerate the facts. I’m not aware of the Stephen L. Anderson story–I’ll have to check into it–but if he has in fact been praying for Obama’s death, the Secret Service should be looking into it. He hardly represents all conservatives, and is probably a lone nut case. Don’t take exceptions and extrapolate them as if they represent a majority. The “tree of liberty” quotation comes from Thomas Jefferson, and without knowing who was carrying that sign or talking to him to find out what he feels the quotation means, I would hesitate to make any judgment about it.

  • September 2, 2009 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Scott you are an excellent debater. Seriously. I hope you have your own blog. It’s just a shame you’re wrong about everything.

  • Leonard
    September 2, 2009 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I hope that no one ever takes a rapist and a murderer seriously, whether he’s misspelling something or not.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    LOL. I certainly hope I’m not wrong about everything. (That would hurt my pride!) :)

  • Gary
    September 2, 2009 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I recently heard a rumor that Glenn Beck raped a murdered a girl in 1990 as well.

  • Nikolai
    September 2, 2009 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    “I recently heard a rumor that Glenn Beck raped a murdered a girl in 1990 as well”.

    It’s true! I saw it on the internet!!

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Nikolai saw it on the Internet. Well, that settles it. Nothing false has EVER been posted on the Internet.

  • September 2, 2009 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Has Beck denied he raped and murdered a young girl in 1990? If not, then there must be something to it.

  • September 2, 2009 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Nikolai Said,
    September 2, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

    “I recently heard a rumor that Glenn Beck raped a murdered a girl in 1990 as well”.

    “It’s true! I saw it on the internet!!”

    I thought that Pierre Salinger was dead.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    If people like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh spent their time responding to every false rumor that’s out there, they’d have no time for anything else. Some rumors are so ridiculous it’s not even worth the effort of denying them. I don’t see Jennifer Aniston out there screaming that the latest National Enquirer story is false, so I guess she must have given birth to that two-headed baby.

  • September 2, 2009 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Jon Said,
    September 2, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

    “Has Beck denied he raped and murdered a young girl in 1990? If not, then there must be something to it.”

    I guess that we all have to watch the program tonight to see what he says about this.

  • September 2, 2009 - 1:54 pm | Permalink


    Figures, an alleged murderer can’t spell. Ask Beck if he can define and use OLIGARCH in a sentence.

  • irwinjbirnbaum
    September 2, 2009 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    It may be true – there are photgraphs or scanned images from a police report being posted in many places:


    If this is true, I will be very, very disappointed! and! upset!!!

  • September 2, 2009 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    That link is pretty funny.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who’s taken an elementary course in logic should know about the “argument from ignorance,” in which you claim that such and such is true because it’s never been proven false. The argument from ignorance is a very common form of fallacious reasoning, and the legal principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is meant to avoid arguments from ignorance in court. It’s not up to the accused to prove himself innocent. It’s up to the accuser to prove him guilty.

  • Lut3s
    September 2, 2009 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, we can’t have a rapist like Glenn Beck spewing his rapist propaganda all over Fox news!
    In all seriousness, all I’ll contribute to the discussion is Scott, your opinions are great and like Trish said, you are a master-debater. But the normal people in America (Read: people who don’t believe everything they see and have their own opinions) see these people traveling to presidential meetings with a (loaded) ar-15 assault rifle (with an extra loaded magazine in his pocket) and think “Woah there cowboy, not around the president.” I understand the values and the rights that everyone has and that everyone wants to keep those rights. But as the town hall meetings become more and more heated, and topics switch to more opinionated topics (sex-ed in schools, creationism in schools, evolution in schools, prayer in schools) I think that there will come a time when one person extreme enough will rise up and declare a “holy war” on all those gays/blacks/jews/democrats/republicans/independents/what-have-you. And Scott, I want you to answer why this won’t happen? It seems we’re already on the road to it with these crazy fear-mongering “news”casters telling the people what they want the people to believe and outright lieing to them in some instances.

    And contrary to popular belief, wikipedia is a great source of information, as long as you CHECK THE GOTDAMN SOURCES!!!11 Just like you should ALWAYS do when you look up ANYTHING on the internet.

  • September 2, 2009 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Logic, Scott? If right wingers used logic we wouldn’t be having a “debate” about health-insurance reform. For example, as David Frum pointed out recently, if the govt wanted to force old people to be evaluated for euthanasia by “death panels,” it doesn’t need to wait for reform. The old people are all under the boot of a govt-run single-payer socialist health insurance system now: Medicare.

  • Scott
    September 2, 2009 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t sound like logic, Jon, your argument about death panels. Sounds more like an inductive supposition to me. In any case, when I made the point about logic, I was discussing the Glenn Beck “rape-murder” rumors, not the health care bill. A course in logic and argument would also cover the insufficiency of diversionary tactics, whereby when you’re unable to address the merits of one subject (the argument from ignorance), you change the subject (death panels). But anyway, are you admitting that Medicare has people “under the boot”? I don’t recall the phrase “under the boot” being in the Medicare bill, any more than the phrase “death panels” is in the health care bill. I also don’t know where the phrase “separation of church and state” is to be found in the Constitution. However, maybe I’m changing the subject.

  • September 2, 2009 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

    More logic: Beck lost another 11 sponsors today.

  • September 2, 2009 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Jon Said,
    September 2, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

    More logic: Beck lost another 11 sponsors today.

    Today alone? Got a link that reports that fact?

  • Comments are closed.