Strange bedfellows: Glenn Beck, PETA join forces to give Al Gore what for
A day has dawned that we never thought we would see: conservative Fox News commentator Glenn Beck (who recently shocked viewers with his throwing-a-seemingly-live-frog-in-boiling-water gag) has publicly expressed his admiration for controversial animal-rights group PETA.
All right, so Beck's strange leap onto PETA's bandwagon just so happens to give him some ammunition against another of his regular targets, former Vice President Al Gore.
PETA has long held that Gore, whose work on behalf of the environment is well-known and who has apparently become the world's first "carbon billionaire," is remiss in failing to promote vegetarianism as an effective means of helping the environment. ("Gore should have named his movie Sorta-Inconvenient Truths if he didn't want to cover the environmental destruction that his meaty diet causes," PETA blogger Shawna Flavell wrote earlier this year.) Odd as it may sound coming from him, Beck says he agrees.
The Fox host explained last week that he's "siding with PETA on this one -- once again asking Al Gore: If you really want to save the planet, put down the cheeseburgers and pick up the veggie burgers. Time for soy milk and [Tofurky]. No more delicious chocolate cookies -- how about a nice bean-thing. That is, if you want to save the planet." (Apparently Beck hasn't tried the host of delicious and widely available chocolate cookies that are free of animal products, but we digress.)
"I've said before I disagree with PETA," Beck continued, "but I respect them because they are not hypocrites: They say what they mean and mean what they say. I just disagree with what they say -- except when it calls for Al Gore to eat tofu." To cement the point that he sides with PETA rather than Gore on this issue, Beck even invited PETA cofounder and president Ingrid Newkirk to appear on his program. (Newkirk lost no time in asserting that "you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist" before calling Gore a "baby" and "basically a steakaholic.")
The media-savvy animal-rights group seems, predictably, over the moon about having Beck as a strange bedfellow. "Makes me wanna send Mr. Beck some vegan chocolate kisses," another PETA blogger, Karen Bennett, gushed last week. But others are less than thrilled; environment site Ecorazzi tweeted today, "I know PETA loves publicity, but Glenn Beck? Really? You have got to draw the line at conversing with this fool." PETA promptly tweeted the response, "We'll do whtvr it takes 2 show ppl the connection between meat production and the environment."
For his part, Gore addressed the meat-vs.-environment issue in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer this week, chuckling at a clip from Beck's show before describing concerns over the meat industry's environmental effects as legitimate. Though not a vegetarian, he said, he is eating less meat than he used to. (You can see the full interview at ABCNews.com.)
"So, Tofurky for you? Thanksgiving?" Sawyer asked.
"I don't ... I don't plan to," Gore responded. That's no surprise to us, or, we'd wager, to Beck and Newkirk.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Top photo: Gore speaks at the Leaders in Dubai conference on Oct. 27. Credit: Kamran Jebreili / Associated Press
Bottom photo: Beck attends the Time 100 Gala in New York. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press