Frances Fox Piven: “It Only Takes One Person Who Is A Little Deranged”
The racket Frances Fox Piven heard in the middle of the night last weekend sounded like someone pounding on the front door of the small, isolated house she calls home in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City. Startled and awaken from her sleep, Piven, who had plenty of reason to feel on edge, pondered her next move.
A City University of New York professor and scholar of grassroots activism, the 78-year-old Piven has been the target of relentless Glenn Beck attacks. For an entire year now the Fox News talker has been pushing a tangled conspiracy theory that puts Piven, and her late husband, fellow academic Richard Cloward, at the center of an all-powerful left-wing movement to “collapse” the United States economy and government — a devious collapse designed to allow President Obama to radically transform the country, according to Beck.
The talker’s basis for the dark attacks date back to a Nation essay Piven and Cloward wrote 45 years ago. And as part of his misinformation campaign, Beck has repeatedly demonized Piven, denouncing her as an “enemy of the Constitution” and someone who wants to “destroy America.” Piven has become a star player in Beck’s rogue gallery of treacherous, all-powerful (often Jewish) liberals, seeking to eliminate the American way of life.
Beck’s fans have recently taken notice of Piven. On a website Beck runs, The Blaze, which also traffics in the Piven smear campaign, readers began posting lurid threats against the elderly academic. “ONE SHOT…ONE KILL!” announced one. “Why is this woman still alive?” asked another. And this particularly shocking threat: “Maybe they should burst through the front door of this arrogant elitist and slit the hateful cow’s throat.”
Through it all, Piven has watched with a growing sense of amazement, as well as guardedness. “It only takes one person who is a little deranged to take such rhetoric and make it real,” Piven told Media Matters in an interview. “It’s a big country and there’s all kinds of people. And there are also right-wing guerilla groups who have a kind of culture, or code, of death and it may prod them into action.”
The warnings prompted the Center on Constitutional Rights to write Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, urging him to stop Beck from portraying Piven as a terrorist, and falsely accusing her of advocating political violence. “You can stop the reckless endangering of the safety of Professor Piven,” the Center wrote. [“Bite me!” was Fox’s response (essentially).]
The violent taunts (“We should blowup Piven’s office and home”) have made Piven “wary,” but she remains unbowed. “I think what the death threats are intended to do is extort silence from me. Although I think there is danger out there. I think most of them are simply ridiculous.”
Piven specifically notes that Beck’s paranoid theories have a “frightening potential,” in light of the Tucson massacre, and says that the Beck attacks take so much of her time that she might not be able to get back to what she wants to do — writing: “I would like to work, but if this continues I won’t be able to because I’m not going to just duck and ignore it.”
So, apparently this is the form that censorship will take under the Tea Party. They’ll point to the scariest leftists and academicians, and through intimidation make these individuals so fearful that they stop working. Piven worked to bring the plight of the poor to the front of the public’s consciousness. Now she’s spending her time worried for her life and fending off the attacks of a crazed madman who has the ear of nearly half the people in this country (either via his website, Fox, or his radio program.)
THIS IS INSANITY, PEOPLE. (And reminiscent of another period in this world’s history, IYKWIMAITYD. (GODWIN!)
To really understand the gravity of this clusterfuck, one has to foray in to the Land of NotsoBreit-bart: here’s Breitbart nitwit Dana Loesch’s article on the subject [Although “article” is not an apt description since her “article” comprises nothing more than dog-whistles (“ACORN! “Palin of Arc!” “Boogity Boogity!”) interspersed with crazytalk and jibber jabber]:
I love when progressives who’ve stood against Israeli settlements and “zionists” suddenly find compassion for Jewish people, even if it’s manufactured compassion to feign straw man outrage at conservatives. Baby steps!
Considering that many pundits openly admitted to not even knowing who she was, I hardly believe that they knew she came from Russian parents of Jewish descent. Does it matter? When someone makes insane comments, do we first need to ask for everyone’s laminated identity politick card before freely criticizing them? Or can we criticize the merits of someone’s argument without regard for religion or ethnicity?
Or – do not yet live in the age of which Dr. King spoke, an age where we can be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character? Progressives can’t have it both ways. Either we’re a society that looks beyond religion and race or we’re a society that caters to it and assigns exceptions because of it – which is, itself, racist.
Piven claims to not have any idea why Glenn Beck “plucked” her out of “thousands.” She distances herself as much as she can from ACORN, her participation in the New Party, and her involvement in the inner circle which ultimately launched the President’s political career.
Glenn Beck merely repeated Piven’s words. Progressives, by way of their hysterical reactions, are only validating what the public already believes: that Piven’s remarks epitomize the “vitriolic rhetoric” progressives say should stop but can’t help but to engage in themselves. It’s the double-standard on full display.
Again, where was this attention when Sarah Palin’s church was burned down? When she was threatened publicly, multiple times on Twitter?
On Facebook? There wasn’t any.
As for Beck, there isn’t any “Jewish problem.” He’s criticizing a woman for her own comments. Can those using this inane narrative prove that he used her religion against her?
Says Jeffery Goldberg in a post with which I partially agree:
That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.
If Beck is anti-semitic then all those opposing Sarah Palin hate women and mothers and are sexist as does anyone who disagrees with this post; those who oppose Antonin Scalia hate Italian Catholics – and those who have ever criticized or opposed Andrew Breitbart are also anti-semitic. I guess they didn’t think that through.
You see? On the one hand, Glenn Beck — who spouts nothing but crazy from his mouth-hole — has spent eighteen months calling Frances Fox Piven an enemy of the Constitution on TV, radio, and in a little internet enclave called The Blaze. Sarah Palin’s 1000-member church was burned down two years ago (By whom? For what reason? Did the arsonist hate Palin? Did the arsonist hate one of the other 999 members of the church? Who knows! Let’s just speculate because it would be irresponsible not to!). On the other hand, a handful of people — who are not organized in any fashion or bowing at the altar of any one person1 — have written unsavory shit about Palin on the Twitterz.2
BOTH SIDES DO IT.
2 One person said: “I hate Sarah Palin’s ugly ass. I just wanna punch her in the face and take her to Lens Crafters.” Now that’s just comedy. Also, too, blood libel.