BECK TELLS AUDIENCE THERE’S ‘NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE’…. The good news is, Fox News’ Glenn Beck told his viewers yesterday that they shouldn’t become violent. The bad news is, Beck’s wild-eyed on-air tirades probably made the pronouncement necessary.

Beck started by noting that his viewers should watch elected officials “like a hawk,” so that policymakers can “feel your burning gaze.”

“But here’s the thing I’m concerned about,” Beck said. “Your interaction with them needs to be respectful, polite, forceful, and peaceful. I’ve been warning Congress for a couple of years, and the time has come and passed for them to be able to learn from this. I’ve been telling them, ‘You have to listen to the people,’ or they’ll be in real big trouble. Well, now let me give the warning to you. If anybody thinks it would be a good idea to turn violent, think again. It would be destroy the republic. I feel it with everything in me.”

Beck said the electorate is, from his perspective, “starting to wake up,” but “one lunatic, like Timothy McVeigh, could ruin everything that everyone has worked so hard for.” As Beck put it, a McVeigh-like lunatic would become a p.r. problem, exploited by politicians and the media, making it harder for those who share his worldview.

“There is no excuse for violence,” the host said. Only a “crazy person” picks up a gun to register political protest. He concluded, “If you ever hear someone talking about, or thinking about, turning violent, it is your patriotic duty to stop them. The only way to save our republic is to remain peaceful. Forceful, but peaceful.”

I’m glad Beck said this. I would have liked it even more if he hadn’t included the public relations calculation, but I suppose I shouldn’t be picky.

Beck has spent months — literally screaming and crying — insisting that the president is a socialist/fascist/communist/racist who’s trying to destroy the country through totalitarian means. Major media outlets have plenty of irresponsible voices, but Beck has been unique in his insane rantings. It wasn’t hard to imagine some of his viewers/listeners getting so worked up, they might at least consider doing something dangerous.

To that end, I’m glad Beck made it clear violence is unacceptable. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last time he raises the point.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.