Earlier this year, we noted that Glenn Beck shares a tendency with his good friend David Barton to incessantly repeat talking points despite the fact that what they are saying is simply not true. Just yesterday, we pointed to evidence of Barton doing this again and last night on his television program, Beck followed suit.
Beck was speaking with his studio audience and telling them that most of the innovation that has happened in America over the last decade has been because of the internet, but now that is under threat because of government regulation.
To illustrate this point, Beck repeated his false claim that Bill Gates had recently stated that he never would have been able to start Microsoft today because of onerous government regulations and the need to hire lobbyists.
“Bill Gates just recently said two things,” Beck asserted. “He couldn’t start Microsoft today if the laws were like they are now, he would not be able to do it under the regulations … The second thing he said was the biggest mistake Microsoft made was that Apple didn’t make, we didn’t think we needed lobbyists. Apple, when they started, hired lobbyists right away. That’s their biggest mistake as a corporate giant.”
Bill Gates, of course, never said those things, as we noted the last time Beck made this claim:
What actually happened was that Brad Silverberg, who served as senior vice president at Microsoft for nine years, was asked “what were Bill Gates’s worst decisions as CEO?” and he suggested that not hiring lobbyists was a key mistake:
Top of the list for me is that Bill did not engage – either himself or the company – in the political process early enough. When Microsoft’s competitors were effectively lobbying the government, Bill’s attitude was the government should just go away and leave Microsoft alone. In his view the company was competing hard but fairly; it was creating value for customers and that should be enough. Well, this approach of not constructively engaging the government and concerned politicians, of not alleviating concerns that were not going to go away, was a disaster. The US federal government, many states, and the EU all essentially declared war on Microsoft, and Microsoft paid a devastating price.
Intel did a better job figuring out how to negotiate with the government and avoided the catastrophic fate Microsoft suffered. Google has done a better job with the US government but it seems the EU is on Google’s case now.
Gates didn’t say that failing to hire lobbyists was the worst mistake he ever made, nor did he claim that he couldn’t start Microsoft today because there is too much regulation. Those were things that Beck simply made up after apparently misreading news articles and then, as usual, proceeding to making false declarations based on his own lack of information.
But obviously Beck is not going to stop saying this just because it happens to be totally untrue.