Glenn Beck's Golden Conflict Of Interest

Glenn Beck's fervent advocacy of gold — coupled with his role as a paid spokesman for a gold sales company — has prompted some to wonder why he doesn't disclose his apparent conflict of interest.

The New York Times' Bill Carter asked Fox News about Beck's promotion of gold, but the network did not address the conflict of interest or the question of disclosure.

"In every mention of gold on the TV or radio program Beck is very clear that gold is an option for some and may not be for others," Joel Cheatwood, Fox News' senior vice president for development, said last week.

The dire tone sounded in the ads often echo the occasionally apocalyptic economic forecasts of the shows' hosts, many of whom have endorsement contracts with the gold retailers, appear in their ads, or have had their executives as guests to trash the economic course set by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, and to preach the attractions of gold.

Vogel quotes a promo in which Beck says, ""If you've been watching for any length of time, and you still haven't looked into buying gold, what's wrong with you?...When the system eventually collapses, and the government comes with guns and confiscates, you know, everything in your home and all your possessions, and then you fight off the raving mad cannibalistic crowds that Ted Turner talked about, don't come crying to me. I told you: get gold."

Michael Smerconish explained the phenomenon to Politico, telling Vogel that there is a "natural synergy between conservative talk radio listeners and gold."

Last month, Keith Olbermann called Beck out over the conflict of interest. In naming him one of the evening's "Worst Persons in the World," Olbermann said of Beck's gold hawking:

Beck's dirty little secret is that American society means as much to him as faith means to a televangelist. It's a scam. It's a cash cow. He's in it for the money. He keeps trying to sell people gold, largely because his a disproportionate number of his advertisers sell people gold.

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