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O’Reilly Looking Out For Beck Not “The Folks” Who Might Be Customers Of Goldline

Reported by Ellen - May 25, 2010 -

Bill O’Reilly says in every show that he’s “looking out for you.” But when he hosted Rep. Anthony Weiner last night (5/24/10), the only one O’Reilly really seemed to be looking out for was multi-millionaire Glenn Beck who, O’Reilly feared, might have gotten singled out unfairly, in Weiner’s very critical report about how Beck’s sponsor, Goldline, rips off unsophisticated investors.

Weiner’s report, issued last week, accuses Goldline of bilking their customers by overcharging for their gold coins, by falsely claiming to offer good investments, having their salespeople misrepresent their ability to give “investment advice” and forming an “unholy alliance” with conservative pundits like Beck who, Weiner noted, often promotes gold as the only safe investment before cutting to a commercial break with an ad from Goldline.

Rather than respond to the charges, Beck mocked Weiner on The O’Reilly Factor Friday night (5/21/10) and whined about a conspiracy against him. Last night, O’Reilly hosted Weiner for a debate that focused, not on the substance of Weiner's charges but on whether or not he was singling out Beck. In a follow up discussion with two Fox News contributors, Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams, O'Reilly continued to seem more concerned about protecting Beck from what O’Reilly considered might be unfair scrutiny than he was in making sure that viewers were not getting scammed.

Beck has become a multi-millionaire thanks in part to Goldline and his own apocalyptic shenanigans. But, as Mother Jones reported after their own recent investigation of Goldline, many of Beck’s viewers have not done nearly as well with the company. “The price of gold has increased 133 percent since the beginning of 2006, yet many Goldline customers say they have lost money on their purchases after discovering… that they had badly overpaid for their gold coins.” Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer noted that 44 people across the country have filed complaints against Goldline with the Los Angeles BBB in the past three years and that “customers have also griped about their dealings with the company on message boards such as Ripoff Report and PissedOffConsumer.com. Regulators in Missouri have sanctioned the company for pressuring an elderly couple to liquidate their other investments to buy overpriced coins.”

Yet, instead of investigating for himself whether Fox News viewers are being had, O’Reilly’s main worry was whether Weiner was singling out Beck. “I don’t really care about Goldline… But why are you bothering with Beck?” O’Reilly said by way of opening the discussion with Weiner.

“It’s not really about Beck so much as…” Weiner began

He was interrupted by O’Reilly. “But you made it about Beck.” Well, Beck made it about Beck and here was O’Reilly making it about Beck. But I digress.

Weiner said that due to financial insecurities, “a lot of people are looking at gold.” He pointed out that his report was about “if you’re gonna buy gold to make an investment, whether you should go to this place, Goldline, or some other place.” He added that you can be overcharged 112% for gold coins from Goldline.

O’Reilly showed no interest in how that might happen or what data Weiner had uncovered. Instead, he echoed Beck by asking why, then, had Goldline gotten an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Weiner said that anyone who (successfully) complains is forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. He also said that the Better Business Bureau awards A+ to those who pay higher fees. These statements comport with what Mother Jones found, as well. Weiner added that other agencies such as the SEC and the Missouri Attorney General had or were investigating Goldline’s practices.

O’Reilly seemed not at all curious to know more about those investigations. “We looked into this,” he said dismissively. “Every gold company… or any kind of commodity company has complaints… The fact of the matter is, you have picked out one company and there are dozens. You can’t tell me this is the only company.”

Weiner said, “This is the biggest… Glenn Beck has a responsibility to the people that watch his show to say, ‘You know what? There are smart ways and dumb ways to buy gold and… this is a bad way.”

O’Reilly countered, “He doesn’t have that responsibility… Goldline can charge whatever they want. It’s the consumer’s responsibility to find out... This is a selective prosecution by you”

As the argument intensified, Weiner said that O’Reilly was sounding like Beck. “You didn’t ask Glenn about the prices of these products when he was on.”

“Because I don’t care about it.” O’Reilly said. “As long as the company gets an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, I’m OK with it. Whatever they want to charge, they can charge… Smacks of a witch hunt, here. Smacks of a witch hunt.”

Weiner was not intimidated. He said, “I understand you’re defending this company that advertises on (Fox). I understand. Glenn Beck’s your business partner. I get it. I get it. But defending someone that gouges consumers, you ought to be ashamed of yourself… In tough times like this, middle class people, investing their money, we should be doing everything possible to prevent them from being gouged… I have to tell you something. You bear some responsibility, unfortunately, when they advertise on your show.”

O’Reilly continued to worry more about Beck than any possible Goldline victim in the next segment, excerpts of which can be seen here and here.

O’Reilly likes to boast that he looks out for "the folks." Who knew he was talking about millionaires and corporate sponsors, only?

A debate between Weiner and Beck may be in the offing. O’Reilly asked and Weiner said he “would be glad to” debate Beck one-on-one on the show. Let’s see if Beck will accept the challenge. Politico reported tonight that Beck’s spokesperson would not comment when asked about it.

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