Since Rep. Anthony Weiner last week released a report accusing conservative talk show host Glenn Beck of misleading fans into buying over-priced gold coins from a sponsor, Beck has been on a crusade against the liberal New York Democrat, accusing him of McCarthyism and conspiring with the White House to destroy him – not to mention repeatedly making fun of his last name.
But to date, Beck has made no effort to confront Weiner face-to-face, or even satellite feed-to-satellite feed, according to Weiner’s office.
Instead, the two have attacked one another in absentia through dueling appearances on the television show of Beck’s fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, with Weiner in a high-decibel back-and-forth Monday night blasting Beck and O’Reilly for failing in their responsibility to their fans and saying he “would be glad to” debate Beck one-on-one.
Beck’s spokesman would not comment when asked about the challenge, but O’Reilly said he would have Beck on his show Thursday to respond, then have Weiner back on Friday.
O’Reilly accused Weiner of pursuing “a witch hunt” against “one company tied in with a guy you don’t like.” And, though Weiner said his effort “is not really about Beck, so much” and is instead an effort to protect consumers from being gouged, he added “Glenn Beck has a responsibility to the people who watch his show to say ‘you know what, there are smart ways and dumb ways to buy gold. And I’m advocating – this is a bad way.’”
Weiner’s report last week charged that Beck and Goldline International, a California-based gold retailer that sponsors Beck’s radio show, colluded to use fear mongering tactics to bilk investors. The report alleges that Goldline grossly overcharges for the gold coins that constitute the bulk of its business, uses misleading sales techniques and takes advantage of fears about President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy – which are stoked by its stable of paid conservative endorsers including Beck, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Fred Thompson – “to cheat consumers.”
O’Reilly – in a televised colloquy aired Friday on his show – told Beck he should be taking Weiner’s report more seriously and promised to stick up for Beck.
“If Weiner is working with people in Congress or in the White House to try to destroy you, that's not a joke, Beck,” O’Reilly told Beck during a pre-taped segment on Friday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor. “Then I have to get involved and defend you,” said O’Reilly, whose combative interviewing style contrasts sharply with Beck’s hyper emoting showmanship.
Beck has responded to Weiner’s report by defending Goldline, noting that it has an “A +” rating from the Better Business Bureau, and pointing out that he urges his fans to be cautious before investing. But mostly he has attacked Weiner, repeatedly steering his fans to a newly created website called Weinerfacts.com that features negative stories about the congressman under a cartoon image of a dancing hotdog with Weiner’s face superimposed on it, and calling on his listeners to submit “pictures of Congressman Weiner with his nose as a weiner.”
On O’Reilly’s show on Friday, though, Beck – speaking to the camera, presumably to Weiner, said “Please call me to testify. Please? Please. I’ll be so respectful.”
Beck also noted that Weiner’s newly hired press secretary until recently worked at Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog that has accused Beck of crossing ethical lines in shilling for sponsors including Goldline, and asserted that Weiner was targeting Goldline and Beck at the behest of the White House, which has rebuked Beck for his scathing attacks on Obama.
Weiner, in an interview with POLITICO last week, said he hadn’t spoken to the White House about Goldline or Beck, and cast his report as a consumer-protection effort.
“This was a report about – if you’re going to buy gold and make an investment, whether you should go to this place Goldline, or some other place,” Weiner on Monday told O’Reilly, questioning the host’s motives. “You’re doing exactly what Glenn is doing – you’re being a shill for this company,” said Weiner. “I understand you’re defending this company that advertises on your network. I understand Glenn Beck is your business partner. I get it, but defending someone that gouges consumers, you should be ashamed of yourself.”