Say what you will about NBC's Today show but they recognize a ratings winner when they see one and they demonstrated that, when they invited Fox News host Glenn Beck back for a second appearance on Wednesday's show. However with that second guest spot came another opportunity to accuse him of fomenting hate.
In the 7am half hour Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira accused Beck of contributing to "a dialogue of hate" that led to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and in the 9am hour it was her colleague Natalie Morales' turn to make that ugly inference as she pressed Beck: "How do you respond to the accusations...that people make" since the Tucson shooting "that you may be somewhat to blame?"
This time around, Beck took a back seat to his co-author psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow who offered this professional diagnosis for those critics that blame Beck and other conservatives like Sarah Palin for the tragedy in Arizona: "Refer them to me, they're crazy."
(video, audio and transcript after the break)
The following exchange was aired on the January 19 Today show:
GLENN BECK: I'm sewing, right now, into all of my shirt tails a little tag I have made for all of my shirts that just says "Be who you were born to be." So when I'm getting dressed in the morning, I just have that reminder. Don't be the person you've allowed yourself to become, be who you were born to be. And that is a good decent person that tries to make things better.
NATALIE MORALES: But let me ask you, because "Be who you were born to be" but a lot of people will say well one of those things, appears to be now, you being a very outspoken critic of liberals. In particular, let me just get to this.
DR. KEITH ABLOW: I know we were going there.
MORALES: You say, you've compared liberals to fascists.
BECK: People who don't like me or like me know-
MORALES: May I?
ABLOW: You write a self-help book and you can bring a psychiatrist in.
MORALES: You compare liberals to the fascists, and the fascists and the Nazis of the 1930s. And since the Tuscon -
BECK: Not, not liberals.
MORALES: Well that's-
MORALES: Progressives, okay. And since the Tucson shooting, though, where so many have been outspoken and criticized you, in particular, Sarah Palin as well, among many others. And they've said it's exactly that tone and the political vitriol-
ABLOW: That's crazy.
MORALES: -that is fueling the fires.
ABLOW: That's so crazy. I mean I'm sorry to interrupt. I know, he's the bigger guy on the planet but, but really we have so much work to do to repair the mental health care system in America, a system that would literally send Jared Loughner home from college and say "Don't come back here." Can you imagine if he had diabetes and he was collapsing all over campus, what doctor would say "Go home and never come back?" So I don't like the distraction to-
BECK: Here's, here's, here's the thing. You look at the, you look at these seven things. You look at the 9/12 Project. Nine values and principles - 9/12. You look at those things and you say, don't read the book.
BECK: Don't read the book, if you're just gonna read the book, don't buy the book. If you're going to activate the words in it, if you want to change yourself, you're not gonna - forget about changing the country in Washington, because it's not gonna happen. And that's one thing I've learned in the last two years. It's not going to happen. We must change ourselves. Our spending in our own lives is just as out of control as it is in Washington. So who are we to say? Fix that!
MORALES: And just really quickly how do you respond to the, to the, to the accusations that people make and to the criticism that they've been saying in the past week, since that shooting? That you may be somewhat to blame with, with the political discourse in the country?
BECK: Well you go back to, you go back to-
ABLOW: Refer them to me, they're crazy.
BECK: Go back to, go back to Jefferson and Adams in 1800, the election of 1800. Listen to what they said about each other. Jefferson was saying that, or Adams was saying if Jefferson was elected that you're children were gonna be raped and your, and your villages would be burned. C'mon, c'mon. We've had this kind of passion before. I'm not telling you that anybody's coming over to rape your children or burn your town down.
MORALES: Alright, well we're gonna have to leave it there. This is clearly something you have to turn to the book for some more of your answers. The book, again, is called The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life. Glenn Beck, Dr. Keith Ablow.
ABLOW: Thanks Natalie.
BECK: Thank you Natalie.
MORALES: Always great to have you with us. Thank you so much. We're hope you're back for more Glenn.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here