A man was found in Oakland recently, dressed in body armor and armed to the teeth. He was a fan of Glenn Beck and intended to go on a rampage at a liberal non-profit. Seems to me that this story has happened maybe a half-doze times in the last couple years, if not more; what’s noteworthy this time around is that even the establishment press is starting to notice a trend.
When California Highway Patrol officers stopped him on an interstate in Oakland for driving erratically, Byron Williams, wearing body armor, fired at police with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308-caliber rifle with armor-piercing bullets, Oakland police say. Shot and captured after injuring two officers, Williams, on parole for bank robbery, told investigators that he wanted “to start a revolution” by “killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU,” according to a police affidavit. His mother, Janice, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching television news and was upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.”
But what television news show could have directed the troubled man’s ire toward the obscure Tides Foundation, which sounds as if it’s dedicated to oceanography, or perhaps laundry detergent, but which is in fact a nonprofit that claims to support “sustainability, better education, solutions to the AIDS epidemic and human rights”?
A week after the incident, the mystery was solved. “Tides was one of the hardest things that we ever tried to explain, and everyone told us that we couldn’t,” Fox News host Glenn Beck told his radio listeners on Monday. “The reason why the blackboard” — the prop Beck uses on his TV show to trace conspiracies — “really became what the blackboard is, is because I was trying to explain Tides and how all of this worked.” Beck accuses Tides of seeking to seize power and destroy capitalism, and he suggests that a full range of his enemies on the left all have “ties to the Tides Center.” On Monday, he savored the fact that “no one knew what Tides was until the blackboard.”
For good measure, Beck went after Tides again on Fox that night. And Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. That’s on top of 29 other mentions of Tides on Beck’s Fox show over the past 18 months (two in the week before the shootout) according to a tally by the liberal press watchdog Media Matters. Other than two mentions of Tides on the show of Beck’s Fox colleague Sean Hannity, Media Matters said it was unable to find any other mention of Tides on any news broadcast by any network over that same period. Beck declined comment.