A number of conservative activists and bloggers say they’re furious at media magnate Glenn Beck for what they call content theft. Over the past several years, Beck has relied on video, audio and written content from others to fill his radio and television shows, as well as his websites. Often he has credited his fellow conservatives for their work. Yet in many other instances say dozens of conservative journalists who spoke to The Daily Caller, he has not, often taking elaborate steps to cloak the origins of the material.
Publisher Andrew Breitbart has seen a number of his stories surface on various Beck media properties over the past few years. While he describes himself as “grateful for the many times he has credited me and my sites,” Breitbart says that “sometimes he also uses other peoples’ work without crediting them, making it appear as though it were his own. But especially since adopting ‘The Truth Has No Agenda’ slogan – and trying to deliberately re-position himself as the pious conscience and judge of many of those he took content from – he has exposed himself to his new motto’s unforgiving standard.”
By any standard, Beck seems unusually reliant on the work of others, and unusually reluctant to credit it. In an interview with TheDC, Roger L. Simon, CEO of Pajamas Media, suggested that Beck has committed the journalistic equivalent of a notorious crime. “It is not a question of just doing it right the majority of the time. It is a question of doing it right always,” Simon said. “Doris Kearns Goodwin is forever a fraud in my estimation because she has been caught plagiarizing once. If you rob a bank once, you still robbed a bank.”
A remarkably large number of conservative writers say they feel robbed. During the March 18 airing of his television program, for example, Beck ran a portion of video created by a Chicago-based blogger who calls himself Rebel Pundit. The blogger, who does not publicly reveal his name, says he was initially pleased to see Beck running his video, which featured left-wing protesters demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants. He was soon shocked, however, to see that Beck’s staff had obscured the watermark logo of his website, RebelPundit.com, from the tape.
“I put my website name on there for a reason – to bring people from the movement to my website so they can see the other stuff that I’ve done,” the man behind Rebel Pundit told TheDC. “You’ve got pretty much the biggest guy in the movement take your stuff and actually have his editors spend the time to scrub my name off of it.”
Ironically, while Beck’s staff had gone to the trouble of removing any trace of the phrase “rebelpundit.com” from the video, they apparently missed an obvious obscenity in the background of the frame. Clearly visible on a sign held by one of the protestors was the demand, “Open the fucking border.” When it appeared on his show, Beck said, “Oh, don’t show that please.”
It was hardly an isolated incident. On a number of occasions, Beck has aired videos on his show without mentioning that they were produced by the Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog group. On February 28 of this year, for example, Beck used MRC footage of Van Jones speaking at a rally in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Beck never indicated where the video came from, even as he berated the press for failing to investigate who was behind Jones’s rally.