Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist, author, and an expert on the intersection of religion and politics. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The Nation, Salon, The Washington Post, and Religion Dispatches. Read more at her website,


Recent Articles

Yes, Valerie Jarrett Is Beck's Next Target.

Two weeks ago, I wondered whether, based on a WorldNetDaily smear job linking her communists and other nefarious people, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett would be Glenn Beck's next target. Today, referring to Yosi Sargent's resignation from the National Endowment for the Arts, Beck is saying on his radio program that Sargent is small fry. "The one you need to start asking questions on is Valerie Jarrett. . . . it's the ones at the top of the ladder that you have to pay attention to." More evidence of Beck's source: WorldNetDaily , co-host of this weekend's How to Take Back America Conference . --Sarah Posner

The Skousen Admiration Club.

Dave Weigel points out the hypocrisy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's professed admiration for W. Cleon Skousen , the Glenn Beck ideological godfather and anti-Communist oddball, at this weekend's Values Voters Summit. While many in the Christian right sidelined Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism, now Mormons like Skousen and Beck are all the rage. But it's not that surprising -- because it's not that new. The conservative movement has long admired Skousen, and he has a long list of Republican and movement insider admirers. Mark Skousen , a frequent contributor to Human Events , is Skousen's nephew. When Beck started promoting his uncle's book, The 5,000 Year Leap, on his television program, Skousen wrote a paean to his uncle and Beck in Human Events , "Glenn Beck Re-Energizes the Conservative Movement." Skousen did not overestimate his uncle's influence, even though Beck's discovery of him was recent. (Skousen called that "hope we can believe in.") When the elder Skousen died in 2006,...

Glenn Beck's Mentor Exposed.

I highly recommend Alexander Zaitchik's feature in Salon today, "Meet the Man Who Changed Glenn Beck's Life." In it, he profiles not just Beck and his band of aggrieved, paranoid disciples, but the man who inspired him, W. Cleon Skousen , whom Zaitchik describes as "too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era." Beck has resuscitated Skousen's book, The 5,000 Year Leap , catapulting it to the top of Amazon bestsellers and waiting lists at public libraries. Zaitchik, who is at work on a book about Beck, writes: Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous...

Does Size Matter? The Impact of the 912 Rally.

Don't mind Sarah Posner -- She's just "part of the government-controlled press." From sarahposner on Vimeo . As I rode the Metro down to the Mall yesterday, the size rumors had already begun. (Yes, even the anti-government cranks -- who said things like "when the government takes over, everything goes downhill" -- extolled the virtues of the, ahem, government-run public transportation system in D.C.) Blackberries abuzz, the first rumor I heard was that the estimated crowd was not the anticipated 100,000, but closer to 300,000. The day wore on, indeed the crowd grew, but the size rumor grew exponentially larger. So large that the march organizer, FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe , claimed onstage that ABC (which many participants accused, along with all the other networks and cable stations save Fox, of being controlled by the government) had estimated the crowd at between one and one and half million people. Problem was, ABC never said any such thing. It had reported 70,000, based on D.C...