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Jess Levin

Author ››› Jess Levin
  • The Top 5 Digs Fox Took At Beck

    Blog ››› ››› JESS LEVIN

    During his two and a half years on the network, Fox News figures were constantly forced to distance themselves from Glenn Beck. Here are the top five examples.

    5. NYT: Fox Executives Questioned Beck's Gold Promotion. In December 2009, The New York Times reported:

    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. [The New York Times, 12/13/09]

    4. Beck's Fox Colleague Van Susteren: Beck "Should Move His Event." In August 2010, Fox's Greta Van Susteren criticized Beck's plans to host a rally in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Van Susteren wrote on her Fox News blog:

    On August 28th my colleague Glenn Beck is going to lead an event on the mall in Washington, DC. It is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. The event is causing much controversy ...some support and some don't support and some are even furious and upset. Yes he has a First Amendment right to do it...but what about the wisdom of it? Remember...the Muslims in NYC have a First Amendment right to build a mosque but most Americans don't want it...and you have to ask the wisdom of the Muslims to push the issue. Just because you have the right to do something does not mean you should. My view? No mosque at ground zero and Glenn should move his event.

    It does not help heal the country on so many fronts if we poke a stick in eyes. [FoxNews.com, GretaWire, 8/17/10, via Media Matters]

    3. Kristol: Beck Is "Marginalizing Himself" Through His "Hysteria." Fox News contributor Bill Kristol was publicly critical of Beck's reaction to protests in Egypt:

    Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it's a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

    But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s. [The Weekly Standard, 2/14/11]

  • Does Glenn Beck really not "make any money" from promoting books?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & JESS LEVIN

    During his big 9-12 Project special in March of last year, Glenn Beck told Fox News viewers, "I've got a couple of books for you that you can start. This one is called 'The 5,000-Year Leap.' It is fantastic." Beck added: "I want you to know I don't make any money on these things."

    But Beck's suggestion that he doesn't "make any money" from promoting books appears to be highly misleading, if not outright false. Glenn Beck's websites direct fans to buy books on Amazon.com through its affiliates program, which gives referral fees for every product purchased. In other words, Beck's company likely receives a commission from Amazon anytime a fan purchases a book through Beck's websites.

  • Politico: "Fox corrects Beck, O'Reilly gold ads"

    Blog ››› ››› JESS LEVIN

    From Kenneth P. Vogel's December 17 Politico article:

    Glenn Beck may be blowing off concerns that he's gotten too cozy with gold-sellers who sponsor his shows, but Fox News is taking the gold endorsement issue a little more seriously.

    On Thursday, the network indicated it would ask Rosland Capital, a gold retailer, to remove from its website the logo for Bill O'Reilly's Fox show, the O'Reilly Factor, which Rosland features along with an audio clip of O'Reilly urging listeners to buy gold because "The U.S. Dollar is under attack!"

    Fox's concern was that O'Reilly's endorsement of Rosland was specific to the radio show he no longer does, and Rosland is not a sponsor of his television show.

    Rosland spokesman Steve Getzug said the company had not heard from Fox but was already "in the process of pulling the reference down as part of an overall update of Rosland's website." He called the O'Reilly endorsement "dated" and said "it's been a while since the company has updated its website."

    Last week, Fox, which also airs Beck's television show, requested that Beck clarify his relationship with another gold retailer, Goldline International, leading the company to tweak its trumpeting of Beck's endorsement. Goldline removed an identification of Beck as a "paid spokesman" from its website, but left the rest of the site - which prominently features his endorsement, photo and a radio interview he did with the company's president Mark Albarian - intact.

    [...]

    In fact, Beck's critics have not suggested that he was actually influencing the price of gold, which had been rising steadily until this month, by encouraging his fans to buy coins from Goldline.

    But some financial analysts and precious metals experts did tell POLITICO that potential gold investors would be wise to look into bullion or exchange traded funds intended to track the price of gold, rather than the coins sold by Goldline and a handful of other firms that advertise on Beck's shows and those of other conservative talkers. That's because those firms focus on collectible or antique coins, which they sell for many times the value of the intrinsic gold and promote as being exempt from a potential government seizure of gold like that which occurred under Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. Beck has suggested that gold coins are a good buy now because President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are steering the economy towards disaster.

    And that feedback loop - Beck stoking fear of economic collapse, hyping gold as a hedge against collapse, and endorsing a company selling gold - prompted liberals from the watchdog group Media Matters to MSNBC host Keith Olbermann to Comedy Central's faux-news hosts Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart to allege a glaring conflict of interest.

    Previously:

    Glenn Beck promotes gold to audience while profiting from gold investment firms

    Politico reports: "Right-wing talkers go for the gold"