In October, ThinkProgress pointed out that Fox News’ Glenn Beck used his television to scaremonger about the dollar and promote investment in gold while failing to disclose the financial support he receives from gold companies such as Goldline, whose website features a picture of Beck and the following quote: “Before I started turning you on to Goldline, I wanted to look them in the eye. This is a top notch organization that’s been in business since 1960.” Now, Daily Finance’s Jeff Bercovici reports that Beck’s Goldline endorsement is in violation of Fox News’ policies:
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.
“When we hired Glenn at Fox News, we hired him with the understanding that he had a well-established, burgeoning radio business, and we had to be accepting of certain elements of that,” Cheatwood tells DailyFinance, noting that Beck’s relationship with Goldline dates back to his time at HLN, CNN’s sister network. […]
But the exemption is meant only to apply to live reads, not to the kind of broader spokesmanship Beck, to all appearances, provides Goldline. In particular, Beck’s ubiquity on the Goldline website is not in keeping with Fox’s rules. A Fox spokeswoman said the network’s legal department is taking up the matter with Beck’s agent, George Hiltzik.
On Saturday, Politico reported on the gold industry’s relationship to Fox News and conservative talk radio, quoting the president of one of Beck’s gold advertisers as saying that the companies expect favorable coverage. “You pay anybody on any network and they say what you pay them to say,” said Merit Financial Services’ Peter Epstein. “They’re bought and sold.” (HT: Ben Smith)