Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck has come under fire from media watchdogs and his employer, Fox News, for simultaneously endorsing gold as an investment on his TV show and pitching gold coins for an advertiser, Goldline International. The online precious metals retailer even bills itself as "Glenn Beck's Choice for Gold." Has Beck compromised his integrity as a commentator by tying his content and his endorsements too closely? (Watch a "Daily Show" segment accusing Beck of conflict of interest.)
Beck's conduct is ethically dubious: "There’s no joy in Mudville when I have to call out a fellow conservative," says Karen Northon at Newsreal. But in this case, Glenn Beck's credibility is in jeopardy. Touting the benefits of investing in gold while working as a spokesman for Goldline is a "clear-cut conflict of interest." Yes, Beck is paid for his opinions, but he "crossed an ethical line when he began espousing opinions that intersect with his own financial interests."
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The media is picking on him: While "no one could ever defend Beck’s every move," this latest round of criticism smacks of unfairness, says Alexander Nobles at Political Lore. For instance, are Al Gore's business interests — and their many ties to his global warming prognostications — subjected to this same level of scrutiny?
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If Beck think he did anything wrong, he's certainly not acting like it: For all the heat he's taking over this gold debacle, "Beck seems cheerfully unrepentant" about his links to Goldline, says A. James Memmott on Muckety. Following "The Daily Show" report, Beck posted a "mock 'apology'" on his website, and concludes the video "by giving Goldline's toll-free number." Not exactly a chastened response, now is it?
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