Thursday, September 2, 2010

Glenn Beck's George Washington Whopper

During his much-ballyhooed "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday, Glenn Beck told a whopper involving the founding father who was supposedly unable to tell a lie: George Washington.

Speechifying at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, the controversial Fox News host highlighted the legacy of the nation's first president to drive home his claim that encouraging honesty and integrity was a main aim of the event. Beck even told attendees that "the next George Washington" was "in this crowd. He may be 8 years old, but this is the moment. This is the moment that he dedicates his life, that he sees giants around him. And 25 years from now, he will come not to this stair, but to those stairs. And he can proclaim, 'I have a new dream.'"

Beck also invoked Washington while describing the inspiring experience of visiting famous tourist destinations around the nation's capital. "I have been going to Mt. Vernon," he explained. Holding out his hands for emphasis, he declared with emotion, "I went to the National Archives, and I held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington."

It was an eyebrow-raising revelation and certainly an original image: Beck cradling the actual words of the first president. But would the persnickety gatekeepers of the nation's historical legacy at the National Archives allow some talk show bomb thrower to put his mitts on a rare (and fragile) artifact? The answer, it turns out, is no way. Beck was not telling the truth.

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