White House fact-checks Beck

WHITE HOUSE FACT-CHECKS BECK…. Like a variety of far-right activists, Fox News’ Glenn Beck is attacking President Obama for his efforts to bring the 2016 Olympics to the United States (specifically, the president’s adopted hometown of Chicago). On his program yesterday, Beck and his cohorts made a series of ridiculous claims, all of which were false, and all of which the White House felt compelled to knock down in a “reality check” item this afternoon.

Beck claimed, for example:

“Vancouver lost, how much was it? They lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics.”

In reality, Vancouver’s Olympics won’t begin until next year. Beck is so far gone, he apparently doesn’t know what year it is.

Beck’s guest, Fox News contributor Pat Caddell, said:

“[Obama] is going to go [to Copenhagen] with Valerie Jarrett who was last seen with the NEA pumping up their use of, you know, money.”

This is apparently a reference to an August United We Serve/NEA conference call — which Jarrett was not on.

Caddell added:

“Chicago is closing the government several days a week because they cannot afford to be open. They are going to go and reward — this is the biggest scandal.”

In reality, Chicago, like many cities, has looked to cut costs, and has had exactly one reduced-service day this year. It will have two more later this year — the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Beck asked, “Is it possible that [Valerie Jarrett] is going to benefit if the Olympics come to Chicago?” Caddell responded, “Well, that’s the word. She has certainly had a lot of dealings going on in real estate.”

In reality, the White House explained, Jarrett “divested all her investment real estate holdings upon entering government except for a single real estate holding that she was unable to sell. This single real estate investment has been determined by White House Counsel and the independent Office of Government Ethics to present no conflict of interest in performing her duties as a White House advisor. It has nothing to do with the Olympic bid.”

This obviously tells us more than the obvious (that Glenn Beck is comfortable with misleading his audience). The fact that the White House published the reality-check item suggests the administration is taking the effort to win the Olympics for the United States quite seriously — the piece called it “a source of pride and unity for the country” — and knows that Beck’s nonsense is often taken seriously enough that it warrants correction.

Update: An alert reader emails that I may have missed the key phrase. At the very end of the White House item, it reads, “For even more Fox lies…”

In other words, the White House is not only accusing Glenn Beck of lying (which is warranted), it’s also accusing the Republican cable news network of repeated and deliberate falsehoods (which is also warranted).