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Glenn Beck Gold Scheme

By Kim Miller - Posted on 28 July 2010

I can only watch Glenn Beck in small doses.  I watched his interview with Sarah Palin and realized that Palin was the rational one in the room.

One thing I noticed about Beck is that a company that buys gold coins advertises A LOT on his program.  I was curious about a gold coin company touting economic doom and gloom that would advertise on his show.  Apparently, I'm not the only one whose curiousity is piqued.  Turns out, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was also intrigued, and issued his findings.  

Here is the Beck scenario:

  • Glenn Beck pitches the destruction of the US Dollar. "100% guaranteed hyperinflation like Zimbabwe." (Actually, financial and economic experts fear deflation at this point but Glenn -- don't let facts get in your way.)
  • Beck cites the 1933 executive order FDR issued claiming the government will "take all your gold" except antique coins.
  • Beck has devoted numerous shows to how the US money supply is destined for hyperinflation under President Obama. Show then cuts to commercial for Goldline.
  • Glenn Beck personally endorses Goldline.  "Call Goldline, study it out, pray on it. They're not going to pressure you.  Trust the people at Goldline."

Key findings in Congressman Weiner's report regarding Goldline:

  • Gross markups: Goldine's average mark up was 2X competitors
  • The price of gold would have to double for their clients to break even
  • Goldline misrepresents their salespeople's ability to give "investment advice" -- no one at the firm is licensed or regulated in any way.  Based upon this, the Missouri Sec'y of State recovered $200,000 for an elderly person who fell for their tactics.

From the beginning of my involvement with RFO, I have voiced my disgust at the direction the media is taking toward its own corporate agenda.  This, however, is the worst and most blatant case I've ever seen.

I heard about this conflict of interest. Could Beck face any penalty or legal action due to his involvement, or is this just a case of exposing his severe moral blemishes (which his devoted audience will ignore or attribute to the lamestream media trying to harm him, since he is the only light of truth?

I doubt seriously Beck would face any retribution at all.  (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.)  I'm just disgusted by corporations / advertisers having such incredible influence over the content of the programming. 

And for those who think I'm picking on Fox, I'm just as disgusted at MSNBC or any other outlet that allows advertisers to dictate content.  Talk about the tail wagging the dog...

The company IMO should face some sort of challenge because they hold themselves out to be "financial advisors."


There is something disarmingly "retro" about  commentators being the spokespersons for their or other sponsors. In early radio and some early television, this was standard practice.  A few of the broadcast traditionalists like the late Paul Harvey and Limbaugh (at least in his earlier years; I don't know if he still does) did their own ads. Sometimes sponsors would insist on it or pay a premium to have the star commentator push the product.

Beck seems to be quite open about a lot of this. He says he is a businessman and is trying to make money. He talks about gold as salvation in the economy and then sells it with his name and face out front. 

Much of what Fox News does (fake footage, push invented story lines, create or echo Republican/conservative talking points) is far less above board than this.

If people want to have hair like Jennifer Anniston or wear clothes like Lil Wayne because of what they see on tv, I have no problem if they want to invest like Glenn Beck.

If the company he represents is shady, he is hardly the first spokesperson to have either participated or gotten caught in that. I am fine if Beck gets busted for this, but also not bothered if he keeps doing it, as long as he is this open about where his interests lie. 

I've seen his ads for Goldline. He is not calling anyone a racist. He is not yelling about Obama's birthplace. He is saying the economy is tanking and you're better off with gold.

No Biggie.


ABC interviewed one of Goldline's VPs and the interviewer acknowledged that their salespeople are not listed as financial or inestment advisors and are not licenesed or registered as such. They are "precious metal specialists" -- thus they fall under fewer rules.  This does not mean, even in legal terms I believe, that a sales person cannot make a suggestion.  But Goldline does not offer investmenet advice per se as a professional service.

As for Beck butchering economics news, well this is Fox. And he does not claim to be an economist. His persona is part of the radio "front porch sage" tradition of storytellers and broadcasters where a regular guy  seems to have greater country wisdom than all the world's geniuses.

From FAQ Goldine (UK)
"Can you give me advice about my investment strategy?"
We do not provide guidance on your investment strategy, we can only tell you about the products we sell and are unable to provide a forecast regarding metal prices.


I heard about this conflict of interest. Could Beck face any penalty or legal action due to his involvement,...

Like other news organizations, Fox News prohibits its on-air personalities from making paid product endorsements. But it makes an exception for its commentators who are also radio hosts, who are allowed to perform live reads, says Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president for development.

It's not like this is a flyby night company. They been around a long time. I'm not going to feel sorry for a few complainers that got into gold coin investing without understanding it. It's why advertising has the disclaimers that it's not for everyone and do your research first.

Kim, don't you remember Jon and Colbert covering this topic a few times? (:

No because I am waaaaayyyy behind on my TDS/CR viewing. 

Life has been a bit stressful for the past month+ (personal stuff I don't want to post), and while I believe that laughter is the best medicine for stress, turns out the kind of laughs I need right now are those of the Seinfeld variety -- where I don't have to think.  :-)

I'm sure Stewart and Colbert both did an awesome job of it. 


Okay, so my RFO friends have talked me down from some of my ire... However, I don't care how long blatant on-air-personality, poorly disguised endorsements have been going on -- it's still a scummy thing to do and I, for one, choose to be aware of it and try to avoid being an unwitting sheep. It's one of the many, MANY reasons my main news source is the very boring NPR, and that I get my financial and economic information from sources way outside the MSM.

"...It's one of the many, MANY reasons my main news source is the very boring NPR,"  TOTALLY WITH YOU ON THAT ONE.

and that I get my financial and economic information from sources way outside the MSM.  ME, TOO. BUT I AM SO BAD WITH THE MONEY I HAVE, I SHOULD PROBABLY GO WITH GLENN BECK BECAUSE, AS GLENN SAYS, "I TRUST THE PEOPLE AT GOLDLINE." LOL.

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