When someone registers a domain like glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, they probably expect to hear from Glenn Beck’s lawyers. In this case, it took two days. The site’s anonymous operator tells Ars that the whole thing is satire—but that may not be enough to avoid charges of defamation.

The controversy started a week ago in the Fark forums, where someone picked up on an old Gilbert Gottfried roast of the “comedian” (scare quotes fully intended) Bob Saget. During the roast, Gottfried repeatedly said (watch the video) that Saget had “not raped and killed a girl in 1990.” The Fark forums took the joke about the power of insinuation and applied it to right-wing talk show host Glenn “Obama is a racist” Beck.

One of the Fark readers then took the forum meme to the next level, registering a domain name and launching a web site in order to make a point about talking head TV demagoguery. “Why won’t Glenn Beck deny these allegations?” asks the site. “We’re not accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering a young girl in 1990—in fact, we think he didn’t! But we can’t help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won’t he deny that he raped and killed a young girl in 1990?” At the very bottom of the page was a small text disclaimer saying that the site was satirical.

I spoke to the anonymous owner of the site, who tells Ars that launching it “just felt right”—it flipped the “birther” non-falsifiable conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth and citizenship around and applied the same tactics to one of the biggest talking heads (no pun intended?) on cable news. It’s just “using Beck’s tactics against him” and is a small way of “directing all this frustration” with Beck and others into action.

Read the rest of the article to learn about the legal aspects of this.




  1. Angus says:

    I’m going right now to grab barackobamarapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, johncdvorakrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, tedkennedyrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, and algorerapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com. Why should Democrats have all the fun!?!? It’s a whole Goose/Gander thing.

  2. Howard Beale says:

    #22 Bobbo
    “You take your umbrage at the media too far.”

    I’m not saying it was illegal or that I’m unhappy that Beck got a bit of good for the goose good for the gander comeuppance, I confess to that guilty pleasure. To keep the moral high ground you need clearly separating fact from innuendo. It will never happen but a guy can dream.

  3. bobbo, words have a context says:

    #33–Howard==”This is wrong when Beck and his ilk do it and it is wrong for this Fark guy.” //// parsing:

    This is wrong when Beck and his ilk do it /// correct.

    and it is wrong for this Fark guy /// No.
    \

    The former is whipping up their mindless zombie base creating a very real risk of Presidential Assasination.

    The later is SATIRE whipping DOWN the mindless zombie base creating a balance against the risk of Presidential Assasination.

    See the difference?

  4. Angus says:

    Go to the website. It’s about as satirical as a Michael Richards comedy routine. Not saying it can’t exist, just that if you have a right to say something, you need to have the guts to stand up to the consequences of what you said. i.e. Theone and his terroristic threats.

  5. Howard Beale says:

    #34

    Yes, in that the Becks have powerful platforms at their disposal with the facade journalistic fact check editing implied and Fark guy just made a web page.

  6. Benjamin says:

    #34 bobbo, “The former is whipping up their mindless zombie base creating a very real risk of Presidential Assasination.”

    Citation needed. Seriously, do you actually think Obama is at risk for assassination by anything Glenn Beck has said? If you think so, you are stupid. The only ones creating a risk of Presidential Assassinations are the morons who let John Hinckley out of jail. Glenn Beck is simply telling the truth about the President’s plans. He has never advocated any action outside the political system.

    Glenn Beck has had to hire private security at his own expense because some on the Left want to physically attack him. Barack Obama has free taxpayer provided Secret Service security to keep assassins away. So there is no risk of words said by Glenn Beck to cause a Presidential Assassination.

    Besides there is a fool proof (assassin free) method of ridding ourselves of a Obama Presidency. We run someone against him in 2012 and that person becomes President. If that fails, we just wait until 2016 (actually, January 20, 2017) and he will have to go away due to term limits.

  7. Scients says:

    Well he seems to be highly offended by this little website. Wouldn’t the same libel issue apply to Rick Santorum? Apparently not, since that site is still up and running smoothly years later.

  8. smittybc says:

    This is just normal for the leftist totalitarians ask Solzhenitsyn. It’s not enough to call your opponents names (though they are happy to do that too) it’s about destroying those you disagree with personally. Make an example out of those who disagree with you so others won’t dare challenge “the one”.

    Make no mistake Beck is an idiot. He patches all kinds of crap together and calls it “news commentary”. But so does Lou Dobbs and Olbermann and all kinds of idiots in media. Most of us will either take them or leave them, but if you are a leftist totalitarian and they disagree with you….. you must destroy them.

  9. Dallas says:

    I didn’t think it was possible, but Bill O’Really has some stiff competition from Beck as the most obnoxious person on Fox.

  10. bobbo, happy to build community says:

    #40–shitty==I mean, “really.” Yes, Beck is a crackpot but it is totalitarian to call him on it?

    YOU are an idiot.

  11. Since Benji seems to be having such a difficult time with the concept of “satire”, let me clarify:

    satire, noun: “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.”

    Now – just because *you* might agree with Beck that Obama isn’t a U.S. Citizen, and therefore his point isn’t fallacious, most Americans (that’s over 60%) don’t agree, and in fact find it *folly* to claim that Obama is: 1) racist, or 2) not born in the U.S. or to American parents, 3) anything else Glen Beck spews.

    Thus this site is perfectly within the realm of satire: using ridicule to expose folly.

    Case dismissed.

  12. Scients says:

    Maybe Beck should put a disclaimer in his show: “For entertainment value only.”

    As in, little to no serious reporting. In fact, I’d say at least 75% of “News” personalities could stand to use this disclaimer.

    Then maybe people would reflect instead of getting sucked into all this finger-pointing sensationalism.

  13. The0ne says:

    #31
    I’m not entirely sure why I’m even responding to your nonsense. I have my opinion, you have yours about me due to my comment. Glen has made left and right turns when he felt the need to. He stands for sht because he doesn’t have anything. He goes with what people want and people evidently like that.

    So my opinion of him is because I think he’s dangerous and a fanatic. My other comment is to be sarcastic about him suing the person for voicing his opinion while Glen is on freaking TV with millions of supporter claiming Obama has a deep hatred for the country. This with no proof to his comments and cmon..look at him when he said it!

    Get the point?

  14. Hugh Ripper says:

    As much of a wanker Beck is (and I dont know a lot about him), and as much as Jon owned him on his parroting of the Fox healthcare mantra, the domain name is defamatory and providing a ‘satire disclaimer’ is weak beyond belief.

    Publicly announcing that someone raped and killed someone else when they havent been convicted or even charged with this crime, satire or not, is slander.

  15. B.Dog says:

    This sort of thing is called “pig fucking'”

  16. bobbo, the devout evangelical anti-theist says:

    #46–Hugh==so what do you think of the Falwell Case or do you just come to post ad nausea without learning a thing?

  17. Hugh Ripper says:

    #47 Bobbo

    The what?

  18. Hugh Ripper says:

    #47 Bobbo

    Say I really hate you. I decide to take out a full page ad in your local newspaper with the title “Did Bobbo rape and kill my granny” or “Is Bobbo a paedophile”. All of your neighbours and your family read it. You have not been charged with or convicted of any of these crimes.

    You argue that you haven’t been slandered? You have no recourse other than to refute these accusations, knowing that mud will stick?

  19. bobbo, the devout evangelical anti-theist says:

    #49–Baby Hughy==of course its slander “but” a defense to it is the “Public Figure” status of the target==just like Falwell who Larry Flint said had sex with his mother. Flint won because Public Figures are public targets and the better known they are, the more people know that Falwell never had sex with his mother.

    When you argue that Beck has been slandered, you very much are arguing that you think he really could rape a young girl. In THIS case, you also have to prove you are too stupid to be required to understand “This is Satire” means it isn’t true.

    YOU just lose the argument from every viewpoint there is. Pretty rich really.

    From Post #8.

  20. Buzz says:

    Actually, Glen Beck shot a Pro Choice demonstrator in 2002, but didn’t kill her.

    Later, he tried to steal bearer bonds from a safe in the Wilshire Center, but the key to the safe room was the wrong shape and he had to retreat.

    Recently, he posted many entries on the Dvorak Uncensored site under several pseudonyms including “bobbo,” “anonymous” and “buzz” among many others.

  21. Hugh Ripper says:

    #50 Bobbo the arrogant one.

    Oh so its SATIRE is it? I didn’t realise. You decided its satire and therefore its OK eh? So on my Bobbo hate advertisement, if I put a ‘just joking’ on it that makes it OK?

    Seems to me its only satire if you get the joke. Who decides? The Falwell advertisement in Hustler, IMHO, was clearly satirical but ill bet many slack jawed god botherers didnt get the joke. Who decides if its satire?

    If you have to have a ‘satire disclaimer’ your in trouble. Pretty piss poor stuff.

  22. smittybc says:

    #50
    That’s right take something defamatory and say “Just kidding… ha ha.” Comparing Fallwell to this is laughable, they admit on the website they believe the statement to be false. Why don’t you actually read the decision, especially the part about “actual malice”.

    Secondly nowhere in the Campari ad did Flynt suggest Fallwell broke any laws or committed any crime. He basically spoofed a spoof and said Fallwell had sex with his mother and gave sermons while drunk.

    Intimidation via ridicule is nothing new for the left, and accusing someone of rape and murder is intimidation.

    I don’t mind the totalitarian bent on the left. I mind that the nouveau left don’t admit it. From curbing speech and calling it “politically correct” to “abhorring labels” while calling the other side sexist, racist, homophobic, fascist, liars, killers, etc.

    In years past at least the leftists didn’t attempt to hide it. Saul Alinsky was happy to talk about what is going on.
    Rules for Radicals:
    Rule #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    Rule #12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

  23. deowll says:

    I don’t need to read the rest. Under TN law this guy would be heading for jail. If I recall right 2 years.

  24. MikeN says:

    If Glenn Beck had done the same thing to Bush administration folks, the same people who hate him now would be calling him a great newsman.

  25. bobbo, the devout evangelical anti-theist says:

    #52–Hugh
    #53–shitty

    You two just don’t “get it” do you? Explaining something you don’t want to understand would be playing patty cakes. If this case ever goes to court, it will be dismissed with strong reliance on the Falwell Case.

    You two don’t understand the legal reasoning undergirding your own First Amendment Rights and the Political Speech Interest when addressing Public Figures.

    Further, you don’t get at all how ironic it is (satire) that Glenn Beck get some of his own medicine or how you braying is tantamount to thinking it might have done it.

    Foolish small minds.

  26. Hugh Ripper says:

    #56 Bobbo

    Its not satire so I think you’re wrong. The Falwell case relied heavily on the material being clear cut satire, if there is such a thing. This is neither.

    Giving Beck some of his own medicine is not the point. Just because you don’t like the guy doesn’t make it any less libel. I don’t like him or his politics either.

    Are you a professional arrogant condescending twat, Bobbo, or is this just a hobby?

  27. bobbo, the devout evangelical anti-theist says:

    #57–Hugh==communication is such a difficult thing. I think I see/understand this issue in ways that you are missing and you think I’m just not agreeing? And thats not accurate either as “in the main” I am saying Falwell is controlling and you disagree.

    My comment about satire was to correct saying it was about irony.

    You are only half right about giving Beck his own medicine is irrelevant. Thats true, but the “irony” of the situation is Beck being criticized in the same manner that he criticizes others. Not a legal argument, just a poetic one. I always wonder just how judicial judges can keep themselves from the poetry involved.

    This case won’t go to court because Beck’s lawyers will tell him he doesn’t have a case because of FALWELL.

    No two fact patterns Falwell compared to Beck are the same yet court cases are still followed for the PRINCIPALS they espouse. If you don’t see satire and I do, is it there or not? If you don’t see satire but the website says IN WRITING “THIS IS SATIRE” (just for those who don’t see it) what will the courts think?

    I don’t think GB has sex with young people AT ALL–so I approach this website pretty much assuming it is satire. Why don’t you?

    In real life I am very quiet and unassuming. I think the same way I post here but have learned to keep my mouth shut. I have no interest in forcing my opinion on anyone but do enjoy being challenged and shown that I am wrong. It doesn’t happen often enough, but still worth the effort.

    Sorry if you aren’t enjoying the possibilities as much as I am, although I do constantly think about stopping the blogging and just reading. Pretty isolating though. And why not do both?

  28. Uncle Patso says:

    Hey The0ne, please stop shooting your mouth off about killing people! That, and that kind of talk, are exactly what we DON’T need. The country, indeed the whole world, is tense enough. We don’t need to add to the problem by advocating political murder. So please just STOP IT!!! OKAY??? (Not even as satire.)

    – – – – –

    I think it’s not only satire, it’s poetic justice! # 10 jescott418 says he (Beck) “get’s[sic] you thinking.”

    No, he gets you and some others _reacting_ to the BS he spews. Though I must say, every time I see him he does get me thinking. I think, “Will today be the day he snaps and takes out an entire Starbucks?”

  29. MikeN says:

    I think you’re right Bobbo, but you may have the reasoning wrong. Being a public figure isn’t enough. According to wikipedia,

    Accordingly, because the parody did not make false statements that were implied to be true, it could not be the subject of damages under the New York Times actual-malice standard.

  30. bobbo, watching the media's downhill slide says:

    #61–Mike==well said. What, you don’t start drinking until after noon? Yes, being a Public Figure is NEVER enough for a defamer to escape liability, it just makes it harder to do. The NYT test is all about “do you think GB would actually rape a kiddie” but as too many people refuse to read/understand one linked lawsuit, I didn’t want to add a second.

    More subtly, this really is all about the balance of allowing FREE SPEECH to CRITICIZE our political leaders (Public Figures) in a very robust manner while still trying to avoid inflaming the mob to violence.

    In the United Kingdom, I take it from reading this blog, their legal right to criticize is more restricted than ours. We have a constitutional right, they do not.


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