Fox News questions Beck's gold promotion

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From a December 13 New York Times report:

Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president of development for Fox News, said the network's legal department had recently sent a letter to Mr. Beck's representatives "seeking clarification" about his work for Goldline.

"They sent back word that he is not a paid spokesman," Mr. Cheatwood said, adding that it would be "problematic without question" if Mr. Beck did have a position as a paid spokesman for a product.

Fox News released a statement outlining its official policy about such issues: "Fox News prohibits any on-air talent from endorsing products or serving as a product spokesperson."

Fox News stressed that it was not aware that Mr. Beck was listed on the Internet as a paid spokesman. But he definitely was, until very recently. On cached editions of the Goldline Web site over the last week to 10 days, a photograph of Mr. Beck was accompanied by an asterisk which led to a line at the bottom of the site that read: "paid spokesman."

[...]

Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Mr. Beck, said the host should never have been listed as a "paid spokesman" because he did not receive separate fees beyond the sponsorship for that or any other work he did for the company.

Before he moved onto Fox News, however, Mr. Beck appeared in a video on the Goldline Web site extolling the virtues of gold. And Mr. Beck routinely reads Goldline ads on the radio, a practice Fox said was acceptable under its guidelines.

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Glenn Beck
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