Is Glenn Beck in trouble again? Maybe. The U.S.-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) condemned recent remarks by the talker about India, its religious heritage, and Indian physicians in a recent broadcast.
[ Editor’s note: Since this was posted, Beck has apologized…see www.rbr.com ]
Beck made several disparaging remarks about India’s medical education and its physicians while interviewing Karlyn Zimbelman, an American who underwent a successful hip replacement surgery in India recently. “He then went on to needlessly insult India’s religious heritage, disparaging the River Ganges, holy to a billion Hindus worldwide,” USINPAC said.
Zimbelman couldn’t foot the $40,000 bill for hip replacement surgery she would have had to pay in the US. So, she went to India, where the surgery and 13 days of medical care cost her $12,500 — $16,500 with travel and other costs.
Beck ran parts of a video testimonial from Zimbelman, who said: “I think the American health care system is excellent, but I just think it’s so expensive. Where’s the money going?”
Beck then said: The best I can figure is all that money goes to high-tech hospitals and doctors who studied at Harvard rather than Gajra Raja medical school…And also, in our research that it took us, oh about 40 seconds, we figured out that some of that money here in America winds up in the pocket of a skilled doctor that helps off-set the 20 years of schooling that he endured and the loans he took out. And – you’re not going to believe this one, Karlyn – some of that money seems to go to the 1 million SEIU (Service Employees International Union) workers in the healthcare industry that make slightly more here than in India. Because, you know, they have an American lifestyle, maybe a couple of cars, great union benefits, and homes with something that we in America like to call flush toilets. I don’t want a discounted doctor. I don’t want discounted wages. I don’t want any of this stuff. If I wanted to live in India, I’d live in India. I want not the Indian lifestyle, I want the American lifestyle…I’ve heard especially this time of year, especially by the – you know that one big river they have there that sounds like a disease? Come on, it does. I mean, if somebody said, ‘I’m sorry, you have a really bad case of Ganges,’ you’d want Cipro.”
Said USINPAC Chairman, Sanjay Puri: “I am deeply disappointed at the conduct of Glenn Beck. In trying to get some cheap laughs, Beck has ridiculed India’s heritage by low and derogatory comments. His remarks about the River Ganges, an important part of a lot of Indians’ spirituality and culture, are especially offensive. He has mocked India’s medical education system in an attempt to advance his view on domestic health reform. This is the same medical system where a large number of the over 40,000 US physicians of Indian origin were educated! I ask Glenn Beck to apologize to the nearly three million Indian Americans for this appalling behavior immediately.”
Manish Thakur, National Security Coordinator of USINPAC, said that “By making such outrageous statements, Glen Beck has hurt Indian Americans. Beck, who has himself, cited ‘personal responsibility’ as one of his core values should immediately offer an apology. Fox TV, whose affiliates are widely watched in India, needs to explain how they could allow such bigotry to pass on their channel.”
Meanwhile, Hindus have filed a formal complaint with the FCC against the Fox News remarks regarding India’s Ganges river (considered holy by Hindus), which Hindus found denigrating and ridiculing.
Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening, in this complaint, reportedly said that these remarks had denigrated Hinduism and ridiculed the Hindu community, urging action against Fox News and its parent, News Corp.
Acknowledging receipt of the complaint, FCC wrote back to Shinde: “The Commission will review what you have submitted carefully to determine whether it contains sufficient information to suggest that there has been a violation of the obscenity, indecency or profanity laws. If it appears that a violation may have occurred, the Enforcement Bureau will start an investigation, which may include a letter of inquiry to the broadcast station… thank you for contacting us about this important issue.”
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Fox and News Corp. to be more sensitive when handling faith related subjects, as television was a forceful medium. He asked News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Fox Chairman Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck to issue a statement.
See the Fox News Video with Glenn Beck’s interview
RBR-TVBR observation: Well, Beck certainly knows how to get under the skin of many. Let us count the ways: ACORN, Barack Obama, Arab Americans, The ADL and now Hindus. He has lost numerous advertisers, but his ratings remain. This is a very fine line that controversial hosts must walk. Yes the network wants the ratings, but at what cost? So far he’s been able to stay on the right side of that line, but advertisers will reinforce their “waryness” one more notch. With the FCC involved now over a religious slur, who knows what may happen.