Beck (left) and Murrow share a home county, but little in the way of ideology.

Skagit Brothers: Glenn Beck, Ed Murrow

As Mount Vernon honors the former, we compare the two broadcasters.

It seems unlikely that the same community that gave the world Edward R. Murrow also gave it Glenn L. Beck. Both were raised in Skagit County, the verdant valley north of Seattle. One went on to become one of history’s most admired broadcasters, the other went on to become Glenn Beck. And it is the latter who will be remembered, receiving the key to the city of Mount Vernon, on Sept. 26 (unless a coalition of irate Mt. Vernon city councilmembers is successful in getting the event canceled).

Some are fine with this, especially if they can change the locks afterward. Others, particularly Left Coast liberals, haven’t been this livid about Righties trampling their territorial history since Lou Dobbs—after departing Seattle and KING-TV—went to the other side, becoming one of TV’s blustering conspiracy theorists.

Thing is, though the careers of Murrow, the pride of Edison, and Beck, who put the agit in Skagit, are politically and professionally divergent, they do have more in common than stomping grounds: Both became well-known for memorable thoughts and expressions they made on the air. George Clooney repopularized a lot of Murrowisms in the 2005 movie Good Night, and Good Luck, while Beck has been getting attention lately for his legendary comments. Here’s a few from both for comparison:

Murrow: “This…is London.”

Beck: “This…is Louisville.”

Murrow: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”

Beck: “With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, ‘Let’s cut and run.’ And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'”

Murrow: “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”

Beck: “When will America wake up? The left has started a revolution. No different than Hugo Chavez… he did not tell the people in the beginning that he was a communist. Can we stop claiming that this man, Van Jones, is an average everyday capitalist America, an American?… We must start having the necessary critical discussion of, do we want communists, radicals, revolutionaries in the United States government as special advisors to the president of the United States?”

Murrow: “Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices—just recognize them.”

Beck: “This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture…I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

Murrow: “If I have offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I’m not in the least sorry.”

Beck: “Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization…And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did. That’s what Al Gore, the U.N., and everybody on the global warming bandwagon [are doing].”

Murrow: “People say conversation is a lost art; how often I wish it were.”

Beck: “You pinhead. You think we would actually be sitting here and saying ‘Well, look at the way she was dressed?’ If she were Joan McCain, stop it. You self-centered self-righteous socialist out-of-control dangerous man-hating bitch. Shut your mouth. We might have bought into this crap in the 1960s because too many people were doing LSD. We’re not on LSD anymore—we need to start making sense.”

Murrow: “We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men…[Joseph McCarthy] didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.'”

Beck: “So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research…Eugenics. In case you don’t know what eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person…The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening.”

Murrow: “Good night, and good luck.”

Beck: “You know, we all have our inner demons…I can’t speak for you, but I’m on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can happen by the end of the show.”

Among the marvelous Skagit tulips sprouts the occasional daffy-dill, indeed.


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