Glenn Beck in the throes of gold fever

By A. James Memmott

December 15, 2009 at 10:42am

When it comes to conflicts of interest, Glenn Beck, the conservative radio and television host, may have bumped against the gold standard.

Beck’s association with Goldline International, an online seller of gold coins, has opened him to the charge that he’s scaring people into buying gold and consequently lining his own pockets.

Beck, who joined the Fox News Channel last year after several years on CNN, denies the charge, saying that Goldline is simply one of his sponsors.

A spokesman for Beck, whose daily radio talk show is syndicated by Premier Radio Networks, told The New York Times that Goldline had never paid Beck a fee separate from what it pays as a sponsor for his radio program.

Goldline, in turn, has stopped referring to Beck as a “paid spokesman.” Rather, it now stresses that it is one of Beck’s sponsors.

However, the company’s website includes audio from Beck that has the phrase “Goldline is recommended by” over his picture.

In the testimonial, Beck opens with a nod to Ayn Rand, the champion of rugged individualism. He then takes a shot at paper currency. “The only thing of real value is gold,” he says.

Beck gives the Goldline telephone number for possibly interested buyers. “If you call them, mention my name,” he advises.

He concludes that gold is “good enough for Ayn Rand, good enough for Glenn Beck, good enough for you.”

But not quite good enough for Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show.”

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On his Dec. 10 show, Stewart devoted a segment to Beck’s gold fever.

“Glenn Beck is paid by Goldline to drum up interest in gold, which increases in value during times of fear, an emotion reinforced nightly on Fox by Glenn Beck,” Stewart said.

Stewart also showed a video clip of a Goldline advertisement featuring Beck that labels him as a “paid spokesman.”

The Times reported Monday that the Stewart segment might have led Goldline to drop the designation of Beck as a “paid spokesman.”

Or it may have been a letter to Beck from the Fox News legal department “seeking clarification” about his work for Goldline. (A Fox News official said that the letter was sent before the Stewart segment aired.)

According to a statement later issued by Fox, network policy prohibits “on-air talent from endorsing products or serving as a product spokesman.”

Fox policy does allow for on-air talent to read ads from sponsors.

Beck seems cheerfully unrepentant about his link to Goldline.

In a video on his website, he gives a mock “apology” for endorsing a product he believes in. He concludes by giving Goldline’s toll-free number.

Beck is not the only conservative radio host to recommend Goldline.

Dennis Miller, Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley and Fred Thompson, the former Senator and Republican presidential candidate, all are featured on the Goldline website.

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  • #1.   Rich Ahlgrim 12.15.2009

    This is much to do about nothing. You can’t attack his message so you attack him. Pathetic. Glenn Beck does not say to ‘invest’ in gold. He claims, and rightly so that it is a bad investment. What he does say is he buys gold as an insurance policy. Which is why you buy gold.

    I have seen many claim conservatives must be stupid, but really these continued attacks are so transparent that only and idiot would believe in their validity.

  • #2.   klatoo 12.15.2009

    So You’re saying I shouldn’t buy anything from Goldline? They must be bad people if you’re saying that.

  • #3.   Rich Ahlgrim 12.15.2009

    I also find it odd how the liberals are constantly pointing the finger and accusing others of tactics they themselves use on a routine basis. Just look at all the crap that is going on in trying to pass the health care bill.

  • #4.   grh 12.16.2009

    Salesman. They are all salesman & hucksters - Whether it is propaganda or fear or gold. It is what they do..

  • #5.   Robby 12.16.2009

    Beck is not a conservative just a shill with a platform Goldline sells gold for a 40% mark up…all in all both are a scam but most are to dumb to figure it out

  • #6.   Hank Rearden 12.16.2009

    Using Stewart’s own device: You can’t spell ‘John Stewart’ without t-r-a-s-h …

    Same old leftist ploy — when you can’t win the argument, try to smear somebody.

    The good news is Beck gets the truth out, almost single-handedly, and his audience is growing exponentially. Truth stands on its own bottom — and Stewart, by definition, is a joke.

  • #7.   grh 12.16.2009

    LOL. Hank Rearden says it is a “leftist ploy” - to smear somebody when you can’t win an argument. Then he turns right around and smears Stewart. Don’t people like this read their own posts?
    BTW, the fear that Beck is peddling comes from the arrogance and greed of the financial community: the lenders, the big banks, the Federal Reserve. Fear is also being generated by the pharmaceutical industry in an effort to sell it’s vaccines. And then there is the oil industry behind our rush to war and those evil “terrorists”. Fear everywhere. Buy gold if you like. But, as far as I can tell, it is definitely not the “leftists” who are behind any of these things just listed. Why you choose to blame them rather than looking at who is truly behind these things, only attests to the fact that the Corporate Media (and guys like Beck) have done a good job of shifting the blame away from themselves. Divide and conquer.

  • #8.   jakamo 12.18.2009

    Nuance and witticism. It would help you learn about them, grh. Stewart, by definition (and profession) IS a joke. Calling him a “not funny” joke might be construed as a smear, however true. Your comprehension is as poor as your writing skill. “Salesman” is singular, while “salesmen” is plural. “Its” (no apostrophe) is the possessive form, while “it’s” is a contraction (e.g., “it is” or “it has”).

    You’re way out of your league; and, unfortunately spell-check cannot detect or correct blatant ignorance. Get your comprehension up to at least 8th grade level and your writing up to 6th grade or so and then try your hand at argument. Or feel free to keep embarrassing yourself by stringing bumper sticker slogans end-to-end with little rhyme or reason; it’s a free country after all.

  • #9.   grh 12.19.2009

    Oh my. Someone is attacking the messenger again - rather than the issues.

    Proving again my point.

  • #10.   Ratchell 01.01.2010

    Let us just bicker into oblivion and the powers that be will take over our lives.

    Then when government tells you how many and how much you can eat in a day, you will be left scratching your head.

    Only question I have is : Where are the Constitutional Lawyers? We dont need three more years of this!!! I want them all in front of a Grand Jury…

  • #11.   KW 01.13.2010

    Yup, the guys telling the truth about paper currency, the Fed, top heavy government, Libertarian causes are all under attack. Here’s a suggestion…flip channels on TV to find PBS, and listen carefully to the list of sponsors who fund the gibberish in their programming. Hardcore MONOPOLISTIC corporations, the very elitist of the elite, the very corporatists who cause many of our economic and environmental problems are funding warm and fuzzy programming about those same problems, and when they aren’t doing that, they are spewing propaganda to a mostly Leftist, faux-Marxist American audience. Conflicts of interest? Glenn Beck tells you exactly how gold is nothing more than an insurance policy on worthless paper money. He’s being truthful with the public. Come on Muckety, I just singed up for your newsletter…don’t piss me off the very first day with this kind of garbage article.

  • #12.   D-san 05.14.2010

    And while we’re all bickering about this, proving we deserve what we get from our media/government/financial industry, the people who are at the source of our ire or praise are sleeping peacefully.

    Get off the internet and do something, whether you believe in Beck or not. If you write letters to Congress and protest and inform, good for you; if instead you browse political message boards looking for ways to win impossible arguments, well.

    Well, you have fun with the world you’re creating.

  • #13.   tim patriot 06.13.2011

    I still can’t get over the fact that people claim Glenn Beck has “scammed” people by encouraging them to buy gold… at the time he first began advocating gold purchase and being sponsored by Goldline, one could buy a 1 oz gold coin from Goldline for around $600… that same coin today would run around $1500… what other “scam” do you know of that makes the “victims” a 250% return on investment? Can anyone clarify this for me? If anyone knows of another “scammer” giving that kind of return , let me know… I could sure use the big profit.

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