Money for Nothing

I was listening to this bit by comedian Jamie Kilstein, where he calls Glenn Beck the “white Osama bin Laden” because he’s basically disappeared off the face of the earth, and then I saw this (via Atrios)

Former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey says the conservative outlet that helped launch the Tea Party paid Glenn Beck at least $1 million last year to fundraise for the organization, an arrangement he said provided “too little value” for the money.

“The arrangement was simply FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money and Glenn Beck said nice things about FreedomWorks on the air,” Armey, the former House majority leader, told Media Matters Friday. “I saw that a million dollars went to Beck this past year, that was the annual expenditure.”

Armey, who left the organization this past fall after a dispute over its internal operations, said a similar arrangement was also in place with Rush Limbaugh, but did not know the exact financial details.

Freedomworks also was a co-sponsor of some of Beck’s rallies, where “activists” where charged between $20 and $971 (!) to attend.

Now that DC journalists are treating their crush on the Tea Party the way a middle-aged born-again housewife treats her college flirtation with a lesbian, how big of a mark, sucker or fool do you need to be to continue supporting Glenn Beck?

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40 replies
  1. 1
    Tokyokie says:

    Well, if you were already buying gold coins at substantially marked-up prices as an investment……..

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    middle-aged born-again housewife treats her college flirtation with a lesbian

    Those crazy soccer moms…

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money

    Grifters gotta grift. Beck will do very nicely in 2013, but at least he won’t be the Official Spokesperson for President Rmoney.

  4. 4
    sfHeath says:

    Love me some Jamie Kilstein. Libel, Slander, and Sedition is a great album. And Citizen Radio is an excellent podcast, though I’ve recently spent more of my time with Democracy Now.

  5. 5

    I’m surprised Palin has latched on to this source of “funding” from the Wingnut Gravy Train. With a little more digging they’ll most likely find all kinds of interesting “investments” and “donations” to other wingnut media darlings.

  6. 6
    quannlace says:

    last year to fundraise for the organization, an arrangement he said provided “too little value” for the money.

    I think that pretty much sums up the entire 2012 Republican campaign machine.

  7. 7
    amk says:

    This is nothing. Ask the clueless billionaires who backed the wrong rafalca in 2012. Who are the real rubes here?

  8. 8
    Russell aboard M/V Sunshine says:

    It appears Dick Armey is not the only one who “could not leave with empty pockets.”

  9. 9
    danielx says:

    Now that DC journalists are treating their crush on the Tea Party the way a middle-aged born-again housewife treats her college flirtation with a lesbian, how big of a mark, sucker or fool do you need to be to continue supporting Glenn Beck?

    Shorter (in the best tradition of the fine young men at Sadly, No!):

    How big of a mark, sucker or fool do you need to be to continue supporting Glenn Beck?

    The same kind of mark who followed P.T. Barnum’s sign about ‘this way to the egress’, the same kind of mark who sends 20% of their Social Security check to TV preachers, the same kind of mark who thinks Orly Taitz is the only person who really knows what’s going on…

    It’s an old (if not so fine) American tradition.

    Also, too – there are still any number of Villager journalists who treat the Tea Party as a serious (as in thoughtful) political force, as opposed to a group of people who are still waiting for their nice canvas jackets with sleeves that tie in the back.

  10. 10
    red dog says:

    Limbaugh and Beck can take credit for the demise of the GOP while fattening their wallets. Looks like there IS one born every day in RED STATES.

  11. 11
    the Conster says:

    Has anyone seen Karl Rove? Shouldn’t he be sleeping with the fishes like Osama?

  12. 12
    me says:

    Hah! Armey gets kicked out of freedumbworks and now he’s shitting on it and it’s head Matt Kibbe to Media Matters of all places.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    Here’s an article from September about how Beck was doing with his online ventures. Apparently he’s making about $40 million/year. No idea how long that will last, but so far it’s working out for him pretty well.

  14. 14
    Donut says:

    These FreedomWorks guys aren’t even bright enough to get some kind of NDA in place with Armey. For $8m they should have gotten something back from him, but instead he runs straight to the dreaded Media Matters and starts blabbing? This is juicy stuff, but unfortunately, I doubt many denizens of the right wing propaganda machine will really peel back this onion for their readers and viewers. The fact that guys like Beck and Limbaugh get paid seven figures and get their operating expenses covered by “sharing” staffers and studios and who knows what else with FreedomWorks should be a huge scandal, as respects the donors who give up the cash to make this all possible – but it won’t amount to anything, I bet. Maybe their benefactors will watch their dollars more closely, and given where he took this story, that may be Armey’s goal, but the rubes who listen to Beck and Limbaugh are none the wiser. Either that or they won’t ever give a shit. So long as those guys are presumably still pissing off Teh Libruls, they don’t care what else goes on.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    @Violet: Forty mil a year? Cripes, at this rate his family will never get him the mental health treatment he needs.

  16. 16
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Now that DC journalists are treating their crush on the Tea Party the way a middle-aged born-again housewife treats her college flirtation with a lesbian,

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    Excellent.

  17. 17
    RaflW says:

    This is why we needed to raise tax rates on the rich far more that we were able to. Because if they have this much loose change sitting around that they can pay Rushblo and that other turd $1,000,000 each for basically nothing but more baseless invective, then one mil has been seriously devalued.

    The pernicious thing about low taxes isn’t that they’ll buy politicians, they’ve been doing that for decades and tend to do that with dollars they actually care about. It’s a worthwhile investment.

    No, its that when they’re this rich, they’ll blow multiple wads on multiple cultural wastrels and morons who degrade the general society.

  18. 18
    Liberty60 says:

    @Donut:

    So long as those guys are presumably still pissing off Teh Libruls, they don’t care what else goes on.

    This is about it. The wingnuts I engage with never care about this sort of stuff. the same way that they don’t make the connection between their support for the 1% and the same 1% robbing them blind.

    They see FreedomWorks, Beck, Limbaugh and the rest as THEIR soldiers, beating up on the hippies at the behest of Real Murkins.

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    With Limbaugh I thought the issue was that FW was paying for his list income so he wouldn’t suffer from lost advertising. With Beck, how is his appearance fee different from David Brooks giving a speech at the Aspen Institute?

    I wonder how common this is and if the reason Armey had to go to Media Matters is that no one else wanted to cover the payola part of our media business. I mean a lot of The CNN anchors are so dumb that “but someone else is paying their salary” makes the low quality sensible.

  20. 20
    Faux News says:

    @Baud: Today we are all Soccer Moms who were young Lesbians at Smith College.

    I think the correct term is “heteroflexible”.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Would rather see them waste their lucre than place it where it might have real oomph.

  22. 22
    Boots Day says:

    Well the preacher kept right on saying
    That all I had to do was send ten dollars
    To the church of the sacred bleeding heart of Jesus,
    Located somewhere in Los Angeles, California
    And next week they’d say my prayer on the radio
    And all my dreams would come true

    How would you feel if you sent a check for a hundred dollars to FreedomWorks, hoping they would do their part to keep the socialist hordes at bay and fight to preserve the constitution as the supreme law of the land, then learn your money went straight into the pocket of Glenn Beck? Just so he would say nice things about FreedomWorks?

    I mean, I know these people aren’t the brightest, but surely some of them must recognize that there’s something horribly wrong about this.

  23. 23
    RaflW says:

    The title is a bit lame, but this Molly Ball interview with former Repub. Rep LaTourette has some interesting insights:

    You look at the very beginning of the last Congress, H.R. 1, the omnibus, there were hundreds of amendments from the stupid to the sublime. One was offered to defund the president’s teleprompter. Another was to defund the electrical upgrades needed to bring the White House up to code. But Boehner’s deal was, OK, go for it, let people participate. There was an expectation that, given the opportunity to improve the bill, they would then vote for the bill. But beginning with that bill there have been 20 to 50 members who will make adjustments to the bill that guarantee you’re not going to get one Democrat to vote for it, and then they still vote against the bill themselves and deny Boehner the 218 votes he needs to bargain with.

    Elsewhere in the interview he points out more than once how stupid some of his fellow GOPs are, and that he thinks Boehner should kick some of them out of the caucus (though now that the GOP caucus is smaller, that seems even less likely. And at the center is Boehner’s weird conflict-avoidant behavior.)

    Anyway, a good Saturday read, once you overlook the asinine article title.

  24. 24
    cmorenc says:

    @Violet:

    Here’s an article from September about how Beck was doing with his online ventures. Apparently he’s making about $40 million/year. No idea how long that will last, but so far it’s working out for him pretty well.

    One doesn’t need but a small handful of years like that to be very well set for life without doing another darn thing except fishing or skiing every day. In fact, I could make do with just one year like that and fish or ski every day the rest of my life and be quite happy.

  25. 25
    Walker says:

    I still have to put up with Glen Beck in my movie theater as they advertise the FathomEvents.com special with him.

    Does anyone go to those things?

  26. 26
    BrianX says:

    For whatever it’s worth, TheBlazeTV is one of the more popular pay channels on Roku. It’s about $5 a month I think.

  27. 27
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Violet:

    Well, revenue for the company is $40 million a year, not Glenn Beck’s personal income. But still, the man’s hucksterism is paying off.

  28. 28
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Faux News:

    I think the correct term is “heteroflexible”.

    AKA 4-year lesbians

    AKA LUGs (lesbians until graduation)

  29. 29
    Maxwell's Demon says:

    Ever notice that all the really good grifters are fleecing the righies, guess they know a target rich environment when they see it. Home schooled, believe in mythology, anti-science, resentful and bigoted – how can you miss?

  30. 30
    Tod Kelly says:

    “he calls Glenn Beck the “white Osama bin Laden” because he’s basically disappeared off the face of the earth”

    ” how big of a mark, sucker or fool do you need to be to continue supporting Glenn Beck?”

    Would that such were true. Beck is actually creating a fairly substantial empire within Right Wing Land.

    Many credit him being the number one reason that FreedomWorks was able to scuttle the seemingly slam-dunk UN treaty on disabilities last month.

  31. 31
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Boots Day: “I mean, I know these people aren’t the brightest, but surely some of them must recognize that there’s something horribly wrong about this.”

    You’re running with this in the direction I was gonna go. I thought conservatives were supposed to know the value of a dollar. I’m surprised they’re not indignant about being so fleeced. Maybe it’s a bit like the average sports fan. When a dirty player is on the other team, that player should be kicked out of the league: he’s horrible, subhuman! When that player’s on our team, well, he’s just a gritty, hard-nosed guy. You say you have evidence that my favorite college team’s players were being paid under the table by a booster? Well, everyone does that! My senator got busted for DUI? They all drink — he just got caught!

    I’m always surprised by how easy it is to accept crap when it’s delivered by one’s own people.

  32. 32
    Boots Day says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): That’s how unspeakably awful Glenn Beck, Dick Armey and FreedomWorks are: They have me feeling sorry for wingnuts.

  33. 33
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Boots Day: I’ve rarely heard Armey speak. I’ve seen Beck online or as he was featured/eviscerated on John Stewart’s show. At least Beck appears to be passionate about what he says. I can see how some of his viewers might call him charismatic even. (I am NOT saying he is; I’m only saying I can see how an uninformed person might.) There are a couple other characters like him. Dennis Miller will once in a great while exhibit something like humanity, humility, insight. Ann Coulter says something I agree with about once every year and a half (when she is pointing out the foibles of a fellow wingnut typically).

    But others are pure dreadfulness and I cannot begin to explain how they have a following: Hannity (are those eyebrows CGI or animatronic?), Malkin, Limbaugh, Savage, Palin, Bachmann, Steve King.

    NOT that I spend much time in their electronic company, mind you… I see bits online and will occasionally visit Miller on the radio to see if he’s still as big a sell-out/liar as I recall. I can constitutionally stomach about 30 seconds of Limbaugh a year before I go into clinical depression at the state of political discourse in America.

    Bottom line, rightwingers seem impervious to the toxic, vile fumes wafting from the mouths of their leaders and pundits.

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):
    Bottom line, rightwingers seem impervious to the toxic, vile fumes wafting from the mouths of their leaders and pundits.
    Is the reason being that maybe they are too stupid to do anything more than cheer, like actually think about what is said? Many on this blog talk about their wingnut acquaintances/relatives who basically recite talking points but can rarely or never explain how or what about they are on about. Maybe a good percentage of people really are, just that stupid.

  35. 35
    Boots Day says:

    I have only seen dribs and drabs of Beck’s act, and I will not pass judgement on how serious he is about his ideology. I am happy to assume that he takes it very seriously indeed. But consider his position here: A political group that is presumably his ideological ally feels the need to offer him a huge sum of money just to say good things about them in public. And Beck is only too willing to accept the deal.

    Is such a thing even imaginable on the other side of the aisle? If the ACLU offered Rachel Maddow a million dollars to promote their causes on her show, would she accept? Or would Maddow think that money was better spent elsewhere, and tell them she’d be happy to talk about the ACLU publicly if she thought they were a worthy organization? Would it ever occur to the ACLU that they need to pay lefties to help promote their causes? The questions are almost too preposterous to ask, much less to answer.

    What we see here, then, is that these people are far less about effecting political change than they are about lining their own pockets. This is something many of us on the left have suspected for a long time, but Dick Armey is openly confirming it. He and Glenn Beck might have some political goals they’d like to achieve, but first and foremost, they’re about taking money from the rubes.

  36. 36
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Ruckus: 27%, in fact. Yes, I think that a segment of the population is unreachably ignorant or willfully stupid.

    @Boots Day: I have a couple of times now tried to start a thread in an open forum in which I’ve asked people to reveal who on “the left” they find embarrassing or distasteful. I’ve been called a “concern troll” once for my efforts. But to answer your question, I do not think that Maddow would sell-out for the cash. I think she is too intelligent and honorable to do so. On the other hand, I don’t know how a Carville can play footsies with his rightwing pundit wife. I can also look at him and say (yes, I’m being a bit shallow now) that he is somewhat odd in appearance and manner. I can see how some viewers may not care for him based on his looks and such. (SNL certainly has had fun poking fun at his excesses over the years.) And yet I think that Carville, while he definitely tows the party line, is not doing so exclusively for money.

    Are there leftwing sell-outs? Are there people who represent Democratic concerns who you wish would shut up or who you find especially abrasive? Any BJers want to take a stab at that?

  37. 37
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @Boots Day: They probably wouldn’t mind since they think Beck is also bravely keeping the socialist and blah hordes at bay.

  38. 38
    Boots Day says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): It’s an interesting question. I personally am suspicious of someone like David Brock, who was a committed right-winger in the 1990s, then shifted wholeheartedly to the left. Perhaps I missed some part of the story, but it wasn’t as if Brock was like John Cole, who realized that conservative policy, such as the Iraq War, was bad for the country; he just realized the right wing was a bunch of kooks and that he fit in better among the left wing. I don’t think there was ever any change in Brock’s political principles, but there may not have been any political principles there to begin with.

    There will always be people in politics who are in it more for the sport of it, and pundits who got in because they want to be entertainers. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, but I also don’t think these people take policy seriously, and I don’t think we should take them seriously, either.

  39. 39
    nellcote says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): \

    Are there people who represent Democratic concerns who you wish would shut up

    Ed Rendell, Ed Shultz, Michael Moore

  40. 40
    markwilliam says:

    I wish Freedomworks would have gotten in touch with me first. I would have done the same job for $1/2 million.

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