August 27th, 2010
06:02 PM ET
8 years ago

Beck, Sharpton rallies could cross paths

 Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton are both holding rallies in Washington, DC on Saturday.

Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton are both holding rallies in Washington, DC on Saturday.

Washington (CNN) - The planned large rally by Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Glenn Beck Saturday on the National Mall is causing controversy because of its location and timing.

The timing is 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the location is on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where the civil rights leader delivered his historic address.

Beck, a hero to many conservative voters across the country, says that the mission of the rally is to honor American troops and that the event is non-political in nature.

A press release for the "Restoring Honor" rally says "this non-political event benefits the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and pays tribute to America's service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor."

Tea Party activists from across the country are expected to attend, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Fox News contributor, is expected to have a prominent speaking role.

"Tea Party Patriots, our national coordinators, are going because our supporters from around the country by the thousands are going to be there tomorrow for this event," Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said Friday on "CNN's American Morning."

Beck has been heavily promoting the event on his Fox program and on his radio broadcasts and he says that the timing of the event wasn't intentional.

"It was not my intention to select 8-28 because of the Martin Luther King tie. It is the day he made that speech. I had no idea until I announced it," Beck said on his radio show in June, soon after the announcement of the rally.

"Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln. "Blacks don't own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that's really what this event is about. It's about honoring character," Beck said Thursday on his Fox program.

Also speaking at the event will be Alveda King, a niece of the late civil rights leader.

While the NAACP put out a cautious statement regarding the rally, there has been plenty of criticism of the event.

"It's offensive because it's out of line with the fact. It's out of line with the truth. The reality is that conservative movement in America historically has always opposed expansion of civil rights for all kinds of people," Michael Fauntroy, an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University, said Friday on CNN's American Morning.

"From my perspective, there's no real evidence that Glenn Beck is serious about trying to bring people together and to reclaim the civil rights movement, in my opinion; it's really about trying to confuse the civil rights movement and to delegitimize it and in fact dishonor it," Fauntroy said.
Expect a lot of debate over the size of the crowd.

While the National Park Service long ago stopped giving crowd estimates for events along the National Mall, organizers of the rally are putting out predictions. Brendan Steinhauser, director of state and federal campaigns for FreedomWorks, which has been helping to organize the event, predicts a crowd of 250,000 or more. He thinks the crowd will fill up the Lincoln Memorial area, the reflecting pool and reach the area by the World War II memorial.

FreedomWorks is a nonprofit organization that helps train volunteer activists and provides some of the organization behind the Tea Party movement, including last year's 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington.

"FreedomWorks has been sharing our logistical notes from organizing the huge 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington in 2009 with Glenn Beck's staff," Steinhauser said. "They are doing the heavy lifting on the 8/28 event, and we've tried to be as supportive as possible in terms of promotion, sending volunteers their way, helping them navigate the bureaucratic obstacles to doing events in Washington, and most importantly, turning out FreedomWorks members for the weekend's events."

One hour after the start of the Beck rally, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will join Al Sharpton and his National Action Network and other civil rights leaders in a mass rally just a few miles away. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is also participating.

Following an event at Washington's Dunbar High School, the participants will march to the site of the future Martin Luther King Memorial just a few blocks from the Lincoln Memorial.

It's possible participants in both events could cross paths.

Organizers of the Beck rally and FreedomWorks say they have not coordinated their efforts with Republican Party officials and officials at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee all say they are not involved in the event.

But a top House Democrat charges that Beck's claim that the rally is non-political is nonsense.
"It's blatantly political," Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said at an appearance Friday at the National Press Club. "I mean, come on. You have seen Glenn Beck and a lot of the talk show hosts on Fox News out there talking about this election for the last 15 months since the day President Obama was elected president."

"You've had a constant tirade against the president, against Democratic efforts to get the economy turned around. Let's call it what it is. It's a blatant political effort."

Filed under: Al Sharpton • Glenn Beck
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If you don't think Beck's purpose is to gain support for his Mormon brother Romney, then you better think again. I like Romney myself and don't care if he's Mormon.

    August 27, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    I would like to see more Tea-party, Green Party, and Libertarian rallies.

    The tired lies of the Republicans and Democrats need to be exposed and the Status Quo challenged.

    It would be great to vote on actual issues again and not beauty contests (Palin and Obama are examples)

    August 27, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. benson

    Glad I didn't go to George Mason University, Michael Fauntroy sounds like a complete idiot. To say that conservatives have always opposed civil rights is blatantly wrong when Abraham Lincoln, the man who ended slavery, was a conservative.

    August 27, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Big Ed

    Beck should be sedated. He spews lies, half-truths and egotistical and self-appreciating garbage. What he is doing is a slap in the face of Dr King's landmark speech. Beck has sold his soul and given up any semblence of sanity for the love of money! I feel sorry for the sad, misguided people who take what he says as the truth.

    August 27, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. sara

    A Rally against AMERICA! Never mind on the eve of MLK speech in 1963. Nazi Beck could never measure to the "gum" on MLK shoe soles.

    This is the man that called our President "racist with a deep-seated hatred toward white people". This is the man with all his side- kicks at the American network, that funds the Republican party with 1 million dollars that has talked down the President for the past 17 months, while calling unemployed Americans "lazy and "unAmerican".

    Becks sole job at Fox the Republican channel, is to drive up do you do that.....pitting race and ethniticy against one another. I wouldn't follow this liar and hater around the block.

    August 27, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. u2canfail

    It will be interesting if the groups cross paths. I hope more folks show up for the Al Sharpton rally. These people have a point.

    Beck, the faux group, and Palin belong in an small room together, perhaps in a mental facility. With cameras.

    August 27, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. JFK

    Restoring Honor will just send this country backwards. Thanks Mr Beck, you truly are a mouthpiece of the hate agenda.

    August 27, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Scott H.

    I think Beck and his rhetoric are hateful and demeaning to all Americans.
    I say this as a middle age white man from the South. I have seen too many divisions and it is Beck who is posing as a "true" American, when a
    true American would embrace diversity and know that is what made this country great.
    To plan a speech on the same day as Dr. King's "I Had A Dream" speech,
    where he made it, is pompous and ill served. You can honor the troops on your show-for those that can stand the negativity that you spew.
    I wish someone would get a speaker system and drown out his
    hate mongering and make the mall a musical celebration instead.

    August 27, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Glenn Beck is reclaiming the Civil Rights movement from whom? I seriously doubt he even understands what that even means. Did he even
    graduate from high school or was he too busy getting drunk as skunk or doing a boatload of drugs – as he confessed.

    August 27, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Doc

    We, the troops, do not need our honor restored. It was never lost or questioned by anyone that mattered to us anyway. Glen Beck only needs to do one thing to welcome us home. Dedicate himself to the truth in reporting. Something that I have not personally witnessed on his show or really on his network. To be clear this is not about restoring honor or reclaiming the civil rights movement it is about Glenn Beck.

    August 27, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Rich

    Fewer than 200 people will show up for this Beck fiasco. These teabagger rallies have been disastrous failures of late. Fox will be using the tightest lens they can buy so as not to reveal the empty Mall.

    August 27, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. jim

    Al Sharpton is just out to stir up trouble!!!This is how he operates.Cause conflict and wait for the media and the NAACP to screem racism and come to his defense !!!!

    August 27, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Get A Grip

    The people arriving for the Glenn Beck rally will be there because they want to....the people at the Al Sharpton rally will be there because they were bused in and I'm guessing paid.

    August 27, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    TO Conservatives:

    The reason Liberals and others are SO deeply offended by the Beck rally being held on the anniversary of Rev. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, is because Conservatives like Beck demonized, demeaned, disrespected and labeled Dr. King a communist and socialist! Sound familiar?

    It is offensive to me, that Beck a man, who promotes lies, hate, fear and division in our Nation would hold a rally on August 28th!

    Beck is exactly the type of Conservative, that would have condemned Martin Luther King, Jr.! Shame on Beck!

    PS. Faux News will say 100,000 showed up, I predict 10,000.

    August 27, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. HypocriCNN

    Do I Think That This "Restoring America!" Rally Concocted By Glenn Beck (Becks!) Was Deliberate, Absolutely! However, They Have A Right To Assemble There. It's Funny Though (And Not Pointed Out By Some In The Media "Especially CNN!"), Some Of The Same Cast Of Characters In This Story (Charade) Are Telling People Where They Can And Can't (And Should) Worship. Nobody Has (Nor Has The Right To) Done That To Any Of Them.

    August 27, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Glenn Beck has said this rally will have nothing to pin on them as Haters or Racists, but when you include Beck, Palin and the Tea Party as part of this rally, all that's left is the label of racist and haters,
    Just becaus you wear shirt right side out, doesn't mean there isn't a label on the inside telling what the shirt is made of,

    August 27, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Palin=Political

    I would like to believe Beck is holding a rally about American values sans politics, but he is smart enough to know that Palin is one of the most politically polarizing figures in recent history. The inclusion of Palin makes this political, ideological, and nearly farcical in its inception.

    August 27, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    Beck's audience will dwarf that of Sharpton's!

    August 27, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. False and Biased brought to you by the GOP

    "Non-political" - everyone knows that is a crock. Plus, while the rally supposedly benefits the troops, the very small fine print on the bottom of the website promoting Beck's rally states that all donations will go FIRST to pay off the costs of the rally and whatever is left over (if anything) will go to the troops. Beck is a multi-millionaire. If he cares about the troops so much, why doesn't he pick up wth rally costs (it would be a tax write-off anyway) and allow all the donations to go right to the troops. Beck is all about money and attention for himself. He will even dishonor Martin Luther King and the proud history of the civil rights movement in his question for self-aggrandizement. Beck, who says that our President "is a racist who hates white people and white culture" goes against everything that MLK stood for. Beck is a greedy fraud.

    August 27, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Elle in Idaho

    It's obvious that Beck is going to get as much Press out of this event as his ailing heart can take. I, personally, have serious doubts about the legitimacy of his "message" at this event, but who am I to judge... I won't be there.

    August 27, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. olivia60

    If Glen Beck; and Palin are involved in the rally, it is political and racist.

    August 27, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. thomas

    How dose such a great country place a showman the likes of Beck on the high pedestal of honer ?

    Fear ?

    To bad Leni Riefenstahl ins't around to film the big event !

    August 27, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Lib Hunter

    So Becks Pro America, Pro Troop, and basically Pro Patriot Rally of hundreds of thousands of people may cross paths with Sharptons Radical Race Baiting Anti American Rally which will most likely consist of a few dozen people. LOL, Oh and on a sidenote Martin Luther Kings daughter will be speking at The Beck Rally. Im not sure, but maybe Sharpton will get a black panther to speak at his. LOL. Piece by piece America is being taken from the clutches of Imam Obama and his cohorts of Radical Liberals. Can't wait until November when the "Radical Extermination" begins.

    August 27, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    BECK lies – he is a ‘stoned face liar’!!
    There is a broadcast out there and when I find it, I will post it. BECK, last Year when he thought up this STING, stated that he felt Martin Luther's fight years ago was for "White people and their struggle’ today. I heard it myself. He knew long ago that the date he chose was the date MLK gave his 'I have a Dream' speech. He chose that date on purpose and now he tries to CLEAN it UP!

    I will be in DC tomorrow and I will not be anywhere NEAR BECK!!! I will be there to represent a day that we hold dear to us and that is for Martin Luther King, Jr.!!

    August 27, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. The Whisper

    Listen up, I Love Barack Obama with all my heart, but he failed for bi-partisanship with the republicans, he waited too long to achieve health care due to Olympia J. Snowe, what a waste of time. The very first day Our President was sworn into office the Republicans was gunning for him, with Justice Roberts leading the way, he tried to cross-up Barack when swearing him into office. They voted no on everything, and i mean everything. The Democrats hold the house and the senate with backstabbing Democrats that wants to see our President fail. Barack, i think Jealousy have alot to do with it. I guarantee you this, do you think for one minute that Barack Obama is going to roll-over and allow all of this misinformation to go un-notices. The Republicans have shown their hands, and now the Democrates are going to go to work. Because whats going on is hatred and the fact that Barack is a black President. Who do these crazy ass people think they are. And, oh my God Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, do they know whats going to happen tomorrow. God have mercy on there souls.

    August 27, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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