The Salt Lake Tribune published an opinion piece on July 27 by an "art historian and educator" named Alexandra Karl that has some members of Glenn Beck's staff so disgusted that they say they'd be happy if he took legal action.
Titled "Karl: Glenn Beck's Nazi Exhibit," the op-ed is both riddled with factual inaccuracies and filled with horrific implications about Beck's character.
"Beyond plain unadulterated stupidity," is how Beck's co-host Pat Gray described it on radio Tuesday. "That’s character assassination and defamation territory.”
The opinion piece begins by getting the name and location of Beck's "Man in the Moon" event wrong (it has been updated to correct the location as of this article's writing, but not the name), before claiming certain items at the "Independence Through History" museum Beck created for the event came from his "personal collection," though he doesn't actually own them.
But far more offensive was the implication, Gray said, that Beck is a "Nazi sympathizer."
The op-ed says of the museum:
To start, I can’t help wondering what prompted Beck to collect such macabre objects and include them among his personal belongings. What are the virtues of owning Göring’s love letters, Hitler’s signature or a few drops of his blood?
Surely, harboring such items adheres to a personality cult and suggests a sympathizer rather than a critic. The very presence of these objects begs the question: How does this material survive?
More than 70 old, most of the detritus of Germany’s Nationalsozialisten was destroyed after the war and continue to be banned to this day. The survival of such "memorabilia" can only be achieved with help from Nazi sympathizers wishing to pass on the torch. [Emphasis added]
Beck and his co-hosts pointed out that the purpose of displaying such items is to remember history to ensure it doesn't repeat itself, though they excused what they described as a "progressive" art historian for failing to grasp that concept.
Gray also noted that it's unlikely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would praise a Nazi sympathizer as "fearless in defending Israel," or that he would win the Defender of Israel award.
Later on TheBlaze Radio Network, a caller identified as "Don from Minnesota" said he managed to get in touch with the article's author, and that she admitted that she hadn't actually attended the museum in person.
This surprised "The Pat & Stu Show" co-host Stu Burguiere, particularly considering Karl's description of how viewers "wound their way through the room in an almost robotic torpor, demonstrating neither revulsion nor too much interest either."
TheBlaze attempted to reach out to Karl, but a website that appears to belong to her has been taken down and an associated phone number returned only a busy signal several times.
Burguiere eventually concluded that the Tribune should probably print a retraction at this point.
Though commentary and opinion sections are certainly different than news articles -- and the woman has every right to express her own views -- Burguiere argued it would be wise of the Tribune not to act as her platform, particularly since a number of websites are referencing the article as simply a work of the Tribune.
More from the Pat and Stu Show, below:
The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Get it all with a FREE TRIAL.
The Tribune published a counter-opinion to Karl's in the early hours of Wednesday morning. We've included that letter to the editor below:
Letter: Uninformed opinion
How is it possible that Alexandra Karl, a self-described educator and art historian, wrote such an incredibly shortsighted, uninformed, misguided opinion piece with regard to Glenn Beck’s "Independence Through History" ("Glenn Beck’s Nazi exhibit," July 27).
Her lack of knowledge about what Beck stands for discredits her opinion. Museum tours were sold out and more tours added. What Karl describes as apathy on the faces of museum-goers was, in reality, somber amazement at the true history presented by Beck through his passionate, thoughtful collection of historical artifacts that remind us of positive and negative historical outcomes. Macabre as it may be, a few drops of Hitler’s blood reminds us to never repeat the tragedy of the Holocaust.
I dare to suggest that perhaps Karl is a liberal cultist due to her inability to understand Beck’s goal of exposing current tendencies in American politics and around the globe to repeat tragic history (Nazis, KKK, etc.). To tie the tea party ideology to Beck is to say that they stand for individual liberty, honor and courage — respectable concepts that lead to love of fellow man and justice for all.
Shame on The Salt Lake Tribune for publishing such an uninformed opinion.
The Salt Lake Tribune's Twitter feed from Tuesday is almost entirely comprised of responses to concerned readers, and the paper continues to tweet virtually non-stop about Karl's piece (as in, multiple times per minute on occasion) into Wednesday.
They are primarily emphasizing that the piece is "reader submitted commentary," not news, and directing people to their opinion editor.
They even responded to Glenn Beck's radio co-host and executive producer Stu Burguiere's inquiry into how opinion pieces get published: