Bette Midler on the Rwandan Genocide

Midler compares Glenn Beck to instigators of genocide and conservatives cry foul, then return the favor

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On the Wednesday debut of CNN's new program, "The Joy Behar Show," host Behar asked the singer and entertainer what she thought of Glenn Beck, and got the following response:

I don't think he's funny even a little bit. I've never had a laugh from Glenn Beck. In fact, I find him terrifying ... He's like an old-school demagogue and it's really frightening. Because you know if you look around at the rest of the world and what this kind of behavior has done, like in Rwanda where the demagogues got on the radio and formented all that hate between the Tutsis and the Hutus, you know it's terrifying.

Baffled and outraged, conservatives have struck back at Midler for comparing Beck to genocidal agitators:

  • Where the Heck Did That Come From?  "Of all the demagogue comparisons," writes Allahpundit at Hot Air, "she could have drawn and with which Beck is forever being bludgeoned ... she reaches for ... Rwanda? Her political frame of reference is certainly diverse, I'll give her that." 
  • 'Asininity'  "I do hope," responds the National Review's Jonah Goldberg, "that most of Beck's more thoughtful critics can at least agree .. that Bette Midler is an idiot." What really fascinates and disgusts him "is the assumption that millions of Americans can be easily duped into murdering their fellow Americans."
  • Typical  "[J]ust what the primetime cable news lineup needed," begins NewsBusters' Jeff Poor: "another ... program tilted toward left-of-center politics with character assassination on conservatives." He is unimpressed with Midler's denunciation of "hate speech," and her argument that those "educated to be civil are civil."
  • Glenn Beck and Friends Respond: No, You're a Genocide Instigator  With a guest beginning by saying that he "hate[s] [Midler's] music," the Glenn Beck Program turned up the heat. Beck thinks Midler was making a statement about how uneducated people "[d]on't really have a right to speak," and that this is to be expected of the progressive movement. "This is the kind of thinking that leads to genocide," he responds, "[a]t least with eugenics. First it starts with, well, we can breed a better person ... Then when that doesn't work, maybe we should exterminate those who are just not right."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.