Glenn Beck Didn't Rape And Murder Anyone... But He Doesn't Want Websites Discussing It

from the well,-this-should-be-fun dept

Ok, first off, I'll say this: I don't watch 24-hour cable news shows. In the rare moments when I catch any of the talking heads for any of those networks (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC), it makes me somewhat crazy, because none of them seem to have the slightest common sense. Frankly, they're all just a bunch of entertainers who appear to either be completely clueless, or exaggerate and lie for effect. I have little time for such people -- no matter what ideological bent they happen to come from. One of the popular tactics of such shows, is to use the ever popular "report on a rumor" setup, which lets them insinuate something, without ever officially stepping up and saying it themselves. The simplest form is the "some are saying..." lead in that lets these folks spend plenty of time discussing things without ever actually investigating if they're true. But, at times it goes much deeper into finding some random conspiracy theorist, and building them up into a "movement." It seems to happen pretty regularly, and it's rather silly.

In the last couple of weeks, a random internet meme apparently sprung up to highlight this sort of reporting, initiated in a comment on the ever-excellent Fark, it involved a commenter questioning: "Why haven't we had an official response to the rumor that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?" The idea, which seems plain to many involved, is not to actually suggest that Glenn Beck did such a thing -- but to highlight this tactic of making a totally bogus rumor into "news" by stating it, and wondering why there hasn't been a denial. A bunch of folks have picked up on this claim and run with it (apparently greatly upsetting some loyal Beck fans), turning it into one of those internet memes with legs.

Someone -- quite anonymous -- then set up a website to chronicle all of this, called (appropriately, given the meme): GlennBeckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com. The site itself is clear that it's a parody, attempting to highlight this sort of "news" tactic, and the fact that it's often employed by Beck:
This site is parody/satire. We assume Glenn Beck did not rape and murder a young girl in 1990, although we haven't yet seen proof that he didn't. But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.
It turns out that Glenn Beck isn't happy about this either. He's filed a domain name dispute over the domain name, claiming that it violates his trademark:
Now, you might see some sort of claim over defamation (but, even that seems iffy, given that it's clearly a parody), but a trademark claim seems really iffy -- and not particularly smart. First, the site in question doesn't have any commerce. It does link to another site that sells stuff, which is how Beck tries to claim that it's a commercial site. For a trademark violation to occur, the name needs to be used in commerce. It's also supposed to be confusing -- but as plenty of "gripes sites" have shown, it's perfectly reasonable to use a trademarked term in a domain name (and, hell, Beck's name isn't even fully registered yet) as a part of a gripe/protest/parody, when it's clearly not run by the actual mark holder.

As for why it's not particularly smart -- whether he wins or loses -- is because he just called a whole bunch of attention to some silly internet meme that clearly wants attention. Beck would have been better off just ignoring it. Instead, in legitimizing it by trying to take it down, many more people become aware of the meme -- and may start calling attention to situations where Beck (and others) make use of such tactics.

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  1. identicon
    Sarah P, 9 Sep 2009 @ 10:44am

    I'd never let Glenn Beck near my children!

    My guess is even the right wingers that are piping up about how great Glenn Beck is would have to have at least some fear in their mind about leaving Beck alone with their own children. These rumors about his past are wide spread! Even if you love it when he's calls Obama a Marxist and a racist, would you leave your little girl alone in a room with him? What if the rumors are true? He's certainly not denying them, but rather than trying to silence them with a team of lawyers. Not exactly the approach of someone that is innocent? Why won't he face the allegations? Why won't he take a lie detector test?

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