Glenn Beck has made repeated mention lately of Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old liberal academic and CUNY professor. In Beck’s view, Piven’s a veritable enemy of the Constitution who’s responsible for a plan to intentionally “sabotage” the American economic system. Piven, pictured, actually authored The Nation story that led Beck to this conclusion 45 years ago. It’s called “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” and proposes “that if people overwhelmed the welfare rolls, the system could force reform and give rise to changes like a guaranteed income.” Somehow, Beck links what he termed “the Cloward-Piven Strategy” to Obama’s statement during the 2008 presidential campaign that “we are days away from transforming America.” Beck also accused Piven of “inciting violence” in The Nation this month by writing that unemployed people should be staging protests. Anonymous visitors to Beck’s website have now called for this lady’s death, and some, she said, have even contacted her directly.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is demanding that Beck stop his “false accusations” about the senior citizen, as he’s “putting Professor Piven in actual physical danger of a violent response.” Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice-president at Fox News, however, said Beck had quoted her accurately and had never threatened her.
Beck continues to rant and rave about this lady. “Under the cover of darkness, [Piven and other liberals] want you not to listen to me,” he said in a recent broadcast. “Because if you start to listen to me, you’re never going to willingly give up your freedom.”
Piven, meanwhile, is playing the whole thing totally cool: “I don’t want to give anybody the satisfaction of thinking they’ve got me trembling,” she told the Times. In a separate interview last year, she said, of Beck vilifying her: “It’s an old technique of right-wing ideologues: Finding a scapegoat. Somebody, preferably, who isn’t a farmer, right? An intellectual. And attributing things that go wrong in American society to somebody who’s foreign or dark-skinned or an intellectual.” In any case, so many more people will now have heard of the 1966 Nation article “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.”