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Beck's "look-you-dead-in-your-eyes" audaciousness of his claim indicates that if perception truly is reality, then it is not just Beck's followers who are in need of a perception overhaul. The delusional fraudulence that steeps Beck's concept of who he is -- which feeds his preoccupation with engendering a sanctified view of his role in delivering America from its enemies within -- would indicate that in his mind, any statement Beck makes, including the obvious lies, have their origin in God's honest truth. After all, it was Beck himself who tearfully fretted: "I'm turning into a freakin' televangelist" during a fit of pathos-saturated histrionics on his television show a while back.

Going for the gold

The $2 million that Fox News Channel paid Beck to host his television show provided a relatively insignificant supplement to the reported $32 million he earned in total last year. His five year, $50 million contract for his radio show, for example, garnered Beck an additional $10 million last year. The rest was generated via publishing deals ($13 million); web-based ventures ($4 million); and tours and speaking engagements ($3 million). His annual salary for his radio program roughly mirrors his ratings numbers within that segment of the media. At roughly 9 million listeners per week, Beck's radio show currently holds steady as the third highest rated talk show in America; only Rush's (15 million weekly) and Hannity's (14 million weekly) radio shows' ratings are higher.

But the ratings for Beck's Fox News Channel television program have roller-coastered dramatically since it began airing in early 2009. In late January of this year, Beck's show averaged about 3 million viewers daily. By February's end, that number dropped to roughly 2.6 million viewers per night. However, on March 9, his show reached its ratings zenith when 3.4 million viewers tuned in to watch Beck's awkward interview of former Democratic New York Congressman Ed Massa. The interview turned out so remarkably pointless that toward its conclusion Beck was forced to acknowledge that he'd "wasted of an hour of your time."

Apparently, about one third of Beck's television audience agreed as reflected within days of the Massa interview by an overall a drop by that percentage in his show's viewer average. A show that aired on April 22 drew 1.8 million viewers, which had been the lowest for this year until a June 18 telecast which drew 1.39 million. However, as of early September, Beck's post-rally viewer averages had bounced back over the 2 million mark.

Yet, should Beck's television show undergo a sustained period of ratings decline, even to levels below his dreadful March through June numbers, it's unlikely -- at least in the near-term -- that the show would be cancelled by Fox. On the strength of the numbers he drew to his August rally, Fox is probably aware that at this point, Beck's overall popularity with the type of person who fits the profile of your average Fox viewer may not be accurately reflected by his television show's ratings. Fox is perhaps mindful of the potential for some form of viewer backlash -- which could impact other Fox opinion shows -- resulting from a cancellation of Beck's show. Therefore, it's probably not too far off-base to surmise that shoring up Beck's television ratings could be one of the factors behind the network's de facto sponsorship of the Restoring Honor rally.

Meanwhile, Beck's March through June ratings decline had been preceded by an exodus of about 100 major advertisers on the heels of his characterization of President Obama as "racist" and the Van Jones controversy. Included among these sponsors are: General Mills; Proctor and Gamble; AT&T; Radio Shack; Sprint; Wal-Mart and Geico.

But there is one sponsor Beck probably wouldn't want to lose. Goldline International, a sponsor of Beck's radio program, an advertiser on his television show, and a company from which Beck receives financial compensation, is as its name implies, a marketer of precious metals including gold -- a crucial commodity essential for surviving the social calamity Beck claims is now bearing down on America.

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Questions have been raised as to whether Beck is sincerely looking out for his followers' best interests in warning them to stock up on gold coins --purchased from Goldline of course --if they expect to stay ahead of the impending Armageddon he prophesizes for America. Thus far, there are indications that Beck is shrewdly peddling off fool's gold; the appeal of which he enhances by way of fear generated through his radio and television shows and direfully evangelical events like his Restoring Honor rally.

"Here's the deal," Beck explained in his Goldline pitch, "Call Goldline, study it out, pray on it. If it's the right thing for you, then do it. But please study it out. Find the people that you trust. The people I trust are the people at Goldline."

Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) sees it a bit differently. Weiner has charged that Goldline is "a gold peddler posing as an investment advisor" to sell "grossly" overcharged coins, and asserted that Beck and others including former Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson, have utilized their shows to exploit "the public's fears of inflation and socialist takeovers while actively promoting the purchase of gold coins as insurance against this purported government overreach."

According to Rep. Weiner: "(The company) employs several conservative pundits to act as shills " By drumming up fears during financially uncertain times (they) are able to drive a false narrative."

On its face, the concept of investing in gold coins -- even those priced within reason -- as a hedge against financial ruin or as protection against any government confiscation of wealth and/or assets seems fraught with pitfalls and ambiguity that Beck and company fail to fully disclose as they push their sales. It is reasonable to assume for example, that Beck is aware that while gold coins may be a popular investment tool, most savvy investors understand that gold coins can cost far more than the value of their gold content. In fact, there are those who feel that a prudent investor would be better off pouring his or her cash into a company like Microsoft; since the entirety of the world's present gold stocks are valued at half of Microsoft's present worth.

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In addition, gold coins offer no protection against any potential government appropriation of wealth -- something to which Beck constantly alludes -- due to an implied exemption from current federal laws related to the confiscation of gold bullion in times of crisis. According to the Arizona-based CMI Gold and Silver Inc., a dealer of precious metals, there are "no federal laws or Treasury Department regulations" supporting claims being made that gold coins are exempt from such federal confiscation.

Said Rep. Weiner, who this past May released a report of its Goldline investigation: "Glenn Beck has dedicated entire segments of his program to explaining why the U.S. money supply is destined for hyperinflation. He will often promote the purchase of gold as the only safe investment alternative for consumers who want to safeguard their livelihoods. When the show cuts to a commercial break, viewers are treated to an advertisement from Goldline."

Weiner is considering legislation to force Goldline to "disclose its dishonest business practices" which he charged come in the form of "astronomical markups and deceitful promises of profitability."

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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