Stunned, Liberals Applaud Glenn Beck

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Of all the right-wing pundits, Glenn Beck is arguably the most reviled by the left. To liberals, the Fox News host is synonymous with the conspiratorial right, and he is regularly lampooned by liberal bloggers, columnist, television hosts and Comedy Central satirists (witness Jon Stewart's epic, 15-minute Beck takedown.)

But Beck's defense of reading Miranda rights to Times Square "Failbomber" has prompted a once-in-a-blue-moon shift from the left. Praising his defense of civil liberties, liberals voiced approval and shock in defending Beck.

  • 'Glenn Beck Gets It Right,' reads a headline at the Huffington Post, where Robert Scheer praised Beck for standing up to those who would have abandoned Miranda rights for Faisal Shahzad.
Credit Glenn Beck of Fox News for breaking with that sort of demagoguery and asserting that the rule of law is basic to our freedom and not just an inconvenient indulgence. "He [Shahzad] is a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens," Beck had the guts to assert in a Fox broadcast. "If you are a citizen, you obey the law and follow the Constitution; [Shahzad] has all the rights under the Constitution."
  • Glenn Beck, Civil Libertarian? At Balkinization, a stunned Sandy Levinson gives credit where credit is due. "As someone who has certainly not refrained from harsh criticism of Mr. Beck--I think I used the word 'fascist' to describe him--it seems incumbent to recognize his decidedly welcome support of constitutional rights for (at least) unpopular citizens," he notes approvingly. "That's more than John McCain is now willing to do."
  • Part of a Conservative Split? Longtime Beck lampooner Rachel Maddow puzzles over Beck's uncharacteristic comments. "To see a split between somebody like John McCain and somebody that's sort of the new right, the new libertarian in the form of Glenn Beck, does that split map with that old grudge against Miranda rights in the conservative movement?" she asks The Nation editor Chris Hayes (at 6:00).

  • Ah, Memories After playing the clip of Beck defending Miranda rights for Shahzad against McCain opposing them, Stewart is moved to sing, "Memories..." (at 3:00).

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.