Glenn Beck is drawing sharp criticism after he compared those who attended the Norwegian camp where Friday's massacre occurred to the “Hitler Youth.”
Beck addressed the attacks on Norway during a Monday morning radio broadcast, when he suddenly crossed the line.
“As the thing started to unfold and there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth. Who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing,” he said.
The camp he was discussing is on Utoya Island and is sponsored by Norway's social-democratic Labor Party. CNN reports that the island, which is about 20 miles away from Oslo and can only be reached by boat, has been hosting the Labor Party's youth conferences for decades and also serves as a family camping destination.
There's nothing that's particularly sinister about the place. Young Norwegians go there to learn about democracy and to discuss politics, not to be prepared for military service under a fascist leader like the Hitler Youth were.
Hitler Youth, or the Hitler Jugend, was an organization created under the rule of Nazi Germany. In 1938, Adolf Hitler spoke to those in the organization, saying, “The weak must be chiseled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel.” This is a far cry from young people gathering to discuss politics and enjoy spending time with fellow campers.
Torbjørn Eriksen, a former press secretary for Norway's prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, told The Daily Telegraph, "Young political activists have gathered at Utoya for over 60 years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about. Glenn Beck's comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful."
He also described the comment as “a new low” for Beck, who many see as one of the most divisive characters in the media.
Beck isn't being accused of trying to justify the shooting spree; he later described accused shooter Anders Behring Breivik as being “as bad as Osama bin Laden.” But still many believe he took his commentary too far.
Time also points out the peculiarity of Beck's statement, stating that an organization he founded in 2009, the “9/12 Project,” has chapters in several states that host politically-oriented camps.