Monday, February 15, 2010

Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck and David Barton Tossing Around the Founders

Yeah, this is just another one of those David Barton/politics and religion posts. With that said, I still thought that some might find this interesting. No comments needed on my part...make up your own mind.

***It should be noted that this video does not, in any way, represent the feelings of the author or fellow contributors to this blog. With that said, we here at American Creation try to provide a complete view of religion and the founding (from all perspectives) which is why I chose to post this here. Again, decide for yourself.***


Jonathan Rowe said...

Isn't it "Keith" instead of "Kieth"? I before E except after C and now I spel moore korectlie.

Brad Hart said...

Heh...come on now! I just got out of bed! Night shift messes with my spelling!

Tom Van Dyke said...

Brad, I think you certainly should have posted this with comment.

Olbermann misrepresents Barton's errors---Barton didn't fabricate any quotes, he wrongly believed apocryphal quotes invented by others in the years since the Founding. Since then, Barton has made every effort to correct those errors.

Keith Olbermann should not be presented on our blog as an honest and credible source. He is neither, and we err when we pass on remarks such as these uncritically.

Brad Hart said...

I posted this without comments because I'm not really interested in a political battle. With that said, I think it was still worth posting for the simple fact that we try to be an all-encompassing blog on this topic and this has happened to be in the news (and you know my feelings on keeping the blog postings coming).

As for Olbermann, Barton, Beck, etc. I really don't have an opinion because, frankly, I think they are all a bunch of "shock jocks." But that's just me. I'm sure we have readers who love the guy just like we have readers who adore Glenn Beck. Just not my cup of tea.

I won't pass off anything any of these doomsday artists say as accurate, which is why I prefaced this with, "make up your own mind."

That's my $0.02

Anonymous said...

That's my $0.02
Or is it tuppence?

Brad Hart said...

Like I said, Oprah, make up your own mind. I don't really care.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Brad, would we give our mainpage over to an interview with David Barton without comment?

It's funny that Barton is always trashed for his lack of academic credentials, but Olbermann's guest, Rob Boston, assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has only a journalism degree from Penn State.

And my other objection is that Olbermann's sliming Beck with Barton here, and our mainpage says, as the result of the first frame of the video, "MYTHMAKER BECK."


Now, although I find him amusing and sometimes find his historical research even informative [unlike the lazyass Olbermann, who does none] I'm no Beck supporter. In fact, on my other groupblog [the conservative Southern Appeal], I made great pains to disassociate the blog from becoming an outright Beck-supporting blog.

So when I object to MYTHMAKER BECK on our mainpage---a charge supported by neither you or Olbermann in the video [he doesn't even try], I object, sir, I object!

In fact, I object to Olbermann on the mainpage atall as a credible source of anything.

Tom Van Dyke said...

A tuppence is two cents, Brad. I think Oprah was just being wry.

Brad Hart said... are doing exactly what I asked...deciding for yourself. Like I told Oprah, I just don't care. I'm not turning our main page over to anything. This blog is about religion and the founding and this topic fits that (albeit it's political which is why I don't want to weigh in). But we'd fail in our endeavor to become the internet't one stop source on all things relating to religion and the founding if we didn't post stuff like this from time to time.

You seem to be more interested in it than I so we will let your comments be the comments for this thread. This is just one of those "commercials" you love so much.

Brad Hart said...

Yeah, I know about tuppence...wasn't taking a shot at her...just stating again for the record where I lay.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You would post a David Barton video on our mainpage uncritically, even if it were as full of errors as Olbermann's is? Really?

Brad Hart said...

Maybe...perhaps I have turned over a new leaf, Tom. =) Like I said, I'm not interested in these Barton/politics debates anymore. In case you haven't noticed, I have bowed out on all the recent ones.

But we still have a responsibility to at least mention this stuff here (even if in commercial form) which is all I am willing to give these discussions now).

Anonymous said...

I was just making a silly comment. Political debates can be fiery and I think a dash of humor lightens a lively debate.

Brad Hart said...

Thanks, Oprah. And in no way was I intending to take a shot at I told Jon, I had just woken up (I work graves) and sometimes it takes me a minute to get "plugged in." I apologize if my response seemed like an attack. I was just trying to restate my position that I think anything from extremists on either side (Barton, Olbermann, Beck, etc.) isn't really's just a waste.

But alas, they still merit at least some kind of recognition on this blog...even if just in a "commercial" form.

By the way, welcome to the blog!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brad. Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Anderson Cooper (whoever is the liberal news monger over there- I don't know) you are right are extremists. Personally, I watch HLN in the mornings. It is fast and cuts out all political talking heads crap. But on the other end you have the Joy Behars and Nancy Graces of news TV.

Is there ever a balance!? *puts hands in air*

bpabbott said...

Re: " Olbermann misrepresents Barton's errors---Barton didn't fabricate any quotes."

It appears that Olbermann has been misrepresented. In this video, Olbermann doesn't claim that Barton fabricated the quotes, only that he is responsible "promulgating" the fabricated quotes.

Olbermann does state a generalization; that those who object to Madison's and Jefferson's "separation of church and state" are responsible for fabricating quotes to support their position ... which sounds like a reasonable assumption, but is really nothing more than a pundit's speculation designed to shock the viewer.

While I think Olbermann makes an effort to associate this speculative behavior with Beck, I watched the video twice to be sure I hadn't missed it, I'm confident that Olbermann does not assert that Barton fabricated anything.

Regarding Olbermann's and Boston's, their comments were nearly exclusively designed to smear Beck, and Barton, respectively. I didn't take notice of any significant historical assertions by either of these men.

While I strenuously object to the destructive influence that the behavior of political pundits and shock jocks have on our society, I didn't make note of any factual errors.

Did I miss something?

Tom Van Dyke said...

It appears that Olbermann has been misrepresented. In this video, Olbermann doesn't claim that Barton fabricated the quotes, only that he is responsible "promulgating" the fabricated quotes.

Did I mishear it, Ben? Olbermann used "'fake' quotes," as I recall. Please don't make me watch his nonsense again.

The fact is---and you're a careful and conscientious observer---that both Olbermann and Boston attempted to delegitimize Barton for errors Barton's already corrected. They accused him of willful dishonesty, not error. Isn't that much clear?

Errors that Barton's corrected, although they made it look like a coverup.

But I don't want to talk about Olbermann: he has nothing to say affirmatively here, only attacks on his enemies. That's his style. All we learned was that James Madison didn't endorse the Ten Commandments, an assertion that Barton already withdrew, or in his own words, put on the shelf.

The Nonsense about the Nonsense, The Incoherence of the Incoherence.

And, as you fairmindedly write, Beck has nothing to do with this, so I think you'd agree that


is unfair in this context.

And I think we agree, let's get to the history and leave these bozos behind.

Half-truths vs. half-truths get us nowhere. That's what's going on here.

And Ben, if you can help my bleg about that holding of religious services in the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court, and Jefferson's attendance at them, I'd be thankful.

I think it was more an accommodation than an endorsement, if that helps. I try to be fairminded too: I'm not really up to any agenda except exploring an overlooked and underresearched historical fact here, which I think is terribly relevant. Accommodation vs. Endorsement. I think the truth of religion and the Founding lies somewhere in here.

bpabbott said...

Re: "And Ben, if you can help my bleg about [the] holding of religious services in the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court, and Jefferson's attendance at them, I'd be thankful"

Certainly religious services were held in the Capital building (I don't recall the part of the SC building, do you refer to the SC wing of the Capitol building?). Much in the same way religious services maybe, and are, held in public buildings today.

Regarding the services in the Capital building, it is my understanding that the services moved to local churches once those churches were built. It is my understanding that services were held in the Capital building during the period when no local church was large enough to accommodate all wishing to attend service.

That isn't to say they were kicked out once large churches were built. However, I see no evidence that the Capitol building was intended, or constructed, for a religious purpose. That it was used for religious services on the day they would otherwise be empty is very reasonable, and I think to do otherwise would be very unreasonable.

I've also read that some surprising perspectives on the services. For example, Margaret Bayard Smith (who Barton quotes several times here) made the comment below.

"[...] I have called these Sunday assemblies in the capitol, a congregation, but the almost exclusive appropriation of that word to religious assemblies, prevents its being a descriptive term as applied in the present case, since the gay company who thronged the H. R. looked very little like a religious assembly. The occasion presented for display was not only a novel, but a favourable one for the youth, beauty and fashion of the city, Georgetown and environs. The members of Congress, gladly gave up their seats for such fair auditors, and either lounged in the lobbies, or round the fire places, or stood beside the ladies of their acquaintance. This sabbathday-resort became so fashionable, that the floor of the house offered insufficient space, the platform behind the Speaker's chair, and every spot where a chair could be wedged in was crowded with ladies in their gayest costume and their attendant beaux and who led them to their seats with the same gallantry as is exhibited in a ball room. Smiles, nods, whispers, nay sometimes tittering marked their recognition of each other, and beguiled the tedium of the service. Often, when cold, a lady would leave her seat and led by her attending beau would make her way through the crowd to one of the fire-places where she could laugh and talk at her ease. One of the officers of the house, followed by his attendant with a great bag over his shoulder, precisely at 12 o'clock, would make his way through the hall to the depository of letters to put them in the mail-bag, which sometimes had a most ludicrous effect, and always diverted attention from the preacher. The musick was as little in union with devotional feelings, as the place. The marine-band, were the performers. Their scarlet uniform, their various instruments, made quite a dazzling appearance in the gallery. The marches they played were good and inspiring, but in their attempts to accompany the psalm-singing of the congregation, they completely failed and after a while, the practice was discontinued, -- it was too ridiculous."

In any event, I'm not sure why so many take issue (pro or con) with services being held in the Capitol building on Sundays. However, I do find the subject interesting for historical value. I wish I had more time to examine the details. Unfortunately, I have little time to study history and/or blog at the moment.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Thx, Ben. Churches were often the social hub of communities, so it appears the capitol buildings served that role too. In New England, they were often the Town Hall as well.

And I never pictured these services as particularly holy rollery, although not as much of a party atmosphere as Bayard Smith puts it.

In total, I do think we see that socially, the segregation between church and state wasn't as stark as we see today. It's sort of like the occupied the same space, but in different dimensions, if you get my sci-fi analogy here.

Naum said...

Errors that Barton's corrected, although they made it look like a coverup.

Then why do Barton and others of his ilk still trot out those fraudulent quotes?