Politically conservative commentator Glenn Beck penned a surprisingly liberal op-ed for the New York Times Wednesday encouraging Americans to lend a listening ear to groups they may not understand or agree with.
In it, Beck specifically urged empathy for Black Lives Matter, the growing social justice group critics have wrongly accused of being anti-police.
The television host and political pundit was hit with public backlash early last month when he compared members of the anti-police violence movement to Donald Trump supporters.
“I thought this was a simple idea, but the criticism was immediate and sharp,” Beck wrote. “How dare I try to understand the ‘other side?’ But as people, wouldn’t we all benefit from trying to empathize with people we disagree with?”
The political commentator considers himself a “classical liberal” and said he has always tried to respect the views of others, even if they conflict with his own. Beck then began preaching empathy toward controversial movements like BLM, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, among others, who share similar social and political grievances.
“In their own ways, they say: ‘I am not being heard. I don’t feel like I belong anymore. I have no control over my future,’ ” he wrote.
Beck confessed that his opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement hasn’t changed “180 degrees,” but it has definitely evolved for the better. The tragedy in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven others severely wounded is what led the political commentator to invite a few Black Lives Matter activists to appear on his show.
The parents of lone Dallas gunman Micah Xavier Johnson had previously appeared on Beck’s television network The Blaze. Their televised interview left many conservatives outraged and wondering how the network could portray “those grieving parents as human beings.”
Beck reasserted his support for law enforcement but said the Dallas massacre served as a reminder that we can and must come together as Americans. That’s when he extended the invitation to Black Lives Matter.
“I got to know them as people — on and off the air — and invited them back again,” he wrote. “These individuals are decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans.”
“The individuals I met that day are not ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ” Beck added. “They are Black Americans who feel disenfranchised and aggrieved. They are believers; they are my neighbors and my fellow citizens.”
The network producer went on to describe empathy as genuinely listening to one another and trying to understand each other’s pain and hardships. He asserted, however, that being empathetic does not involve conceding to the idea that one’s said grievances are justified.
“Empathy is acknowledging someone else’s pain and anger while feeling for them as human beings — even, and maybe especially, when we don’t necessarily agree or understand them,” Beck wrote.
“America, and the world, has one path to ‘united we stand, divided we fall,’ ” he concluded. “Which path will we take? Which one will you?”
Despite his heartfelt plea for Americans to take a walk in someone else’s shoes, not everyone agreed with the TV host’s stance. Beck’s critics took to social media to blast him for “selling out” and pandering to Black Lives Matter. Others saw his message as a disingenuous nod to the social justice movement.
John Ziegler thought he sold out.
Pretty amazing that the last major "conservative" host (Glenn Beck) to not yet sell out to Trump, has instead sold out to Black Lives Matter
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) September 7, 2016
Delo_Taylor is skeptical of Beck until he puts his money where his mouth is.
— D (@Delo_Taylor) September 7, 2016
Reggie Giles proclaimed there was something “seriously wrong” with the pundit.
— Reggie Giles (@ReggieGiles) September 7, 2016
@MikeRoySF dissed BLM for supposedly inciting violence.
Glenn Beck just went full cuck
Empathy for Black Lives Matter
They riot, incite violence, talk about segregation & more.
— Let Freedom Ring (@MikeRoySF) September 7, 2016
Paul Joseph Watson shared statistics of his website The Blaze since he became a “social justice warrior.”
Glenn Beck's The Blaze has fallen off a cliff since Beck turned into a social justice warrior. Imagine my shock. pic.twitter.com/8oNOy0zA1B
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) September 6, 2016
And @TheHomeboyChris called Beck a “pathetic hack” who is desperate for attention.
Glenn Beck is such a pathetic hack. He went against the grain, now desperate for any kind of attention he can get.https://t.co/r0gtLitPqv
— KGB Soviet Homeboy (@TheHomeboyChris) September 7, 2016