Ron Radosh: Glenn Beck’s TV Documentary on 20th Century Totalitarianism
[Ronald Radosh is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at The Hudson Institute, and a Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York. He is the author or co-author of 14 books, including Red Star Over Hollywood:The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left (2006).]
Last Friday, along with millions of others, I watched Glenn Beck’s first TV documentary, “The Revolutionary Holocaust: Live Free or Die,” his attempt, as he puts it on his website, “to examine the roots of socialism and communism and the evil that followed.” As one of the most controversial and one might say hated contemporary media figures on the Right, it was to be expected that his entrée into the documentary field would meet instant harsh criticism....
So, I suspect that although I did not learn anything new from Beck’s program (I am hardly, however, the average viewer), his footage and interviews on Communism were excellent. On Cuba, the two talking heads were Cuban scholar Humberto Fontova, author of numerous books and two exposing Che Guevara in particular; and Reason magazine’s former editor in chief and now head of Reason TV, Nick Gillespie. Both did a yeoman job of putting Castroism in context, and in revealing the reality of Castro’s prison island. Gillespie essentially said on camera much the same thing as appears now on his magazine’s website. Beck also included a tear-wrenching interview with a Cuban widow and her daughter who witnessed the execution of their husband and father by firing squad on Cuban TV after Castro took power....
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Colleen Doody - 2/8/2010
On the subject of liberal fascism, Radosh points out that "Had Beck or his researchers known about it, it might have been more effective for American audiences to hear the words of the founder of the American labor movement, Samuel Gompers, who in the journal of the American Federation of Labor praised Mussolini and the doctrine of Fascism as a model for American workers to emulate and to build upon in the United States. The example of Gompers would, I think, have been far more effective in revealing how Mussolini’s economic and political doctrines received wide support in the United States from those like Gompers who normally would be considered on the Left of the political spectrum...."
Gompers was hardly alone in his praise for Mussolini. The Catholic church also praised corporatism as a model for workers to emulate. Radosh is being rather selective in picking out the roots of fascism.
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