Last December, Media Matters highlighted the special relationship that Glenn Beck has with his advertiser Goldline International, Inc. Since then, he has been mocking and fighting back against the attention generated by this questionable relationship. One of the talking points that Beck and his fellow Goldline defenders constantly fall back on is that Goldline has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
But when Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) began a congressional investigation into Beck's relationship with Goldline, he pointed out a 2009 Los Angeles Times report about the Better Business Bureau's problematic grading system. A business can pay the BBB to be listed as “accredited” business - and that in turn seems to affect their grade. The Times wrote that “a random search of the organization's database of about 4 million North American companies seems to show that the roughly 400,000 accredited businesses, even those that get numerous complaints, very often receive higher grades than unaccredited companies with spotless complaint records.”
As we've noted here before, the BBB rating doesn't mean much. But just to drive that point home, the author of the website BBBRoundup went a step further to illustrate just how easy it is for an entity to earn the BBB's seal of approval. He registered the terrorist group Hamas with the LA BBB, paying the $425 for it to become an “accredited business” with the venerable consumer bureau. The BBB's Hamas listing states that the business is devoted to “providing educational services to troubled youth,” and that it has received an “excellent rating” from the BBB. And just to show what kind of companies earn an “F” from the BBB, the site also compared the BBB rankings of a fake company it paid to accredit, Moores Sushi, with the coffee chain Starbucks. The BBB gave the fake sushi supplier that forked over some cash an “A-” rating, while Starbucks, which is not a BBB member, got an F.