Glenn Beck: The Great Influenza


The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history

by John M. Barry

New York Times Op-Ed


Where Will the Swine Flu Go Next?

GLENN: You know, honestly I don't know what to think of this swine flu. You know, maybe most likely it's absolutely nothing but, you know, you've got to pay attention to these things because it has happened before and it has been nasty. Now, most people if you've been alive, 1968 we had another pandemic. I was 4 at the time, but do you even remember reading anything about it? The one that everybody fears is 1918, the great influenza. There is a great book out called The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History. Imagine this scenario in America where we just had the former Health and Human Services secretary where he said all businesses need to just have in their head some sort of a plan. What are you going to do if a third of your workforce can't come in to work? That sounds crazy. I don't know how you how does anything survive if that's the way it is? John Barry is with us. He is the author of the Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History and fantastic book. John, set the scene a little bit on what was happening in America right as the plague hit. How did this manifest itself and what happened?

BARRY: Well, for us it hit right toward the end of World War I, although people did not realize it was, the end of the war was only weeks away. So because we were at war, the government was so concerned with, quote, morale, unquote, politicians didn't want to say anything bad is happening, but that compounded it. In addition they had a law on the books that made it punishable by 20 years in prison to criticize the government.

GLENN: Right. If I'm not mistaken, to even criticize the president. By the way, if you are a fan of this show, you can guess what president it was. It was Woodrow Wilson. And so this played into people being quiet about the flu? They couldn't speak out?

BARRY: Absolutely. In fact, when one newspaper started to tell the truth about the flu, the army started to prosecute, and they were serious about the war. They sent a United States congressman to jail for 15 years for criticizing the government. But that's the setting, and the reason it's important is because the whole approach of both local and national government almost everywhere was to say what they actually said, it was called Spanish flu. And they said, this is ordinary influenza by another name. You have nothing to worry about if proper precautions are taken. But people are hearing this message but in their homes they are seeing their neighbor or spouse dies 24 hours after the first symptoms with horrific symptoms. Probably the scariest would be bleeding from not just nose and mouth but the eyes and ears. And they very quickly know this is not ordinary influenza and they very quickly lose all trust in any authority. And personally I think society is based essentially on trust. That's the bond. And when trust broke down, society in some places started to disintegrate to the extent that people with influenza were dying of starvation because healthy people were afraid to bring them any food. And I think that was a direct result of what today we would call bad risk communication strategies, unquote. And worldwide i n a population only one third as big as today's, 50 million people probably died at least and possibly 100 million. And that number comes from a Nobel Prize winner. So that was a very scary pandemic. But I think let me make a couple of comments about today. First, this is not the swine flu of 1976. There is absolutely no question this is an extremely serious threat right now

GLENN: Wait, wait, wait. John, why do you say that? Why do you say that?

BARRY: Because of the nature of the virus. Because we have you know, it's in New Zealand and Nova Scotia. It clearly has human to human transmission. The 1976 event was limited to a single locality really under special circumstances. Everyone they were army recruits, they were already stressed, weakened immune systems, they were all together, barrack situation, so forth, and

GLENN: And it never left Fort Dix if I understand.

BARRY: That's the point, whereas this has already gotten all over the world and infected I don't know the case count in Mexico, nobody does. But I would guess it is at least ten times and it could easily be many more than ten times the number of cases that are reported.

GLENN: Well, how many what are they saying? There's 100 dead and I think they are saying there's 1600 cases. If so, that makes it extremely virulent, much more virulent than anything that we saw in 1976.

BARRY: That's true, I wouldn't get too concerned about that. I am dead certain

GLENN: That's what you are saying, there are many more cases out there that aren't dying.

BARRY: Exactly. You know, if you've got 100 dead and there are 100,000 cases, that is still something to be concerned about, but it's not the same and I don't know if there are 100,000 cases but I can guarantee you there are more than 10,000 cases.

GLENN: Well, if I'm not mistaken, and you would know, that in the great influenza, it was about 2% mortality rate.

BARRY: In the west. In the west, in the developed world. In the less developed world it got much higher. I mean, there were and the reason, and your readers may be interested, today's there's an op ed in today's New York Times that I wrote that covers background on the four pandemics that we really know something about in detail. There were isolated places in the world where they had probably, people had never seen any influenza virus whatsoever in their lives. So they were extremely vulnerable to it. Their immune systems couldn't protect them. And in those places it was not unusual to see 30% of the entire population dead, whereas in the developed world where ordinary everyday influenza was, you know, an annual occurrence, so they had some cross protection to this new virus, that's where the case mortality was around 2%. Now, interestingly Mexico was sort of in between the worst case and the developed world. You know, obviously Mexico City is a very different place today than it was in 1918, but it is perhaps worth noting that the mortality rate in Mexico was much higher than the United States.

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

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It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

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Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

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Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below: