Zakaria crunches Beck’s numbers

ZAKARIA CRUNCHES BECK’S NUMBERS…. That Glenn Beck has a propensity to inflate numbers for ideological purposes is well documented. After all, he had no qualms insisting that 87,000 attendees to a D.C. rally was actually a crowd size of hundreds of thousands of people.

But this week, the deranged media personality was at it again, this time trying to identify exactly how many of the world’s Muslims are terrorists. “What is the number of Islamic terrorists?” Beck asked rhetorically. “One percent? I think it’s closer to 10 percent, but the rest of the PC world will tell you ‘oh no, it’s minuscule.'”

On his CNN program, Fareed Zakaria decided to explore this in some detail, checking Beck’s math skills and eventually explaining that, by the Fox News host’s own standards, Beck may himself be a terrorist.

Zakaria is exceedingly polite about all of this, of course, but the takedown wasn’t subtle. He even included imagery from a chalkboard, presumably to help Beck keep up using his own favorite tool.

As a rule, fact-checking right-wing talk-radio idiocy is pointless, not worth serious figures’ time — fans of the idiocy don’t care about reality, and the sane world should already recognize garbage as garbage. But once in a while, when the claims are so egregious, it’s worth taking a few minutes to expose a charlatan as a fool. In this case, I was glad to see Zakaria do just that.

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Steve Benen

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.