Republican Party

The Conservative Entertainment Complex is a Racket

Eric Boehlert posted a comprehensive look at the money-making scheme that's being orchestrated by the conservative entertainment complex. For example:

Remember when Glenn Beck charged fans $125 to sit through the taping of his radio show? Or when he charged $500 if they wanted to attend a meet-and-greet before the show? And that was after Beck banked $32 million the previous year. More recently, conservative pundits and outlets have rushed to cash in on election spending by renting their emails lists, while Fox News' Karl Rove lightened wealthy donors' bankrolls by $300 million via his failed political groups.

It's conservatism as an ATM.

The "racket" implication also extends beyond the media world and into the Tea Party, which Fox has faithfully touted as a "grassroot" movement. That feel-good characterization was hard to square with the recent revelation that former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey stepped down as chairman of FreedomWorks, an influential Tea Party non-profit group, with a staggering $8 million golden parachute. (He will reportedly be paid in $400,000 installments, annually, in "consulting fees.")

The amount of money that's being tossed around by Glenn Beck and others is astonishing. $32 million? Where does it come from? The model seems eerily familiar -- televangelism. Give desperate people what they want to hear by professionally manipulating their emotions and they'll pay anything for it.

It's less of a movement and more of a scheme to make money for the top personalities.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Nothing really new here. Dick Morris has been fundraising furiously for Newsmax, then turns around and rents his email list from Newsmax. It costs him virtually nothing, but rakes in some serious coin. Then there’s Newt’s fake awards scam, where for just a few thousand dollars, you can get dinner with Newt and a 10 cent certificate.

    After 30 years of promoting the idea that unchecked greed is a virtue, should any republican be surprised that their heroes are in it for the Benjamins?

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Caveat emptor, as they say. But then again, a fool and its money are soon parted.

  • bphoon

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Duh.

  • moofus

    I prefer the term Conservative Propotainment Complex. i think its called propoganda when your media corrals the general discussion in a coordinated way along approved talking points in concert with a political body. i.e. reporting AM radio conspiracy theory crackpots as what the media are talking about on the aligned 5:00 news hour, ensuring that the only “facts” that are reported are only those which contribute to the overall approved narrative, that kind of thing.

  • BD

    Not that I care for GB, but this is all voluntary exchange, as opposed to the government confiscations which nearly everyone on this blog advocates. It’s quite sickening that people get in such a tizzy about people voluntarily exchanging money for a service or product. This article could say the same thing about a high level comedian, football stadiums, etc.
    what is the difference between this and Obama dinners costing $3500 a seat?
    If people are giving their money towards agenda based recipients, then let them do so. As if liberals don’t donate to or purchase from leftist-agenda institutions and individuals.
    This post is a third grader blame game. Pathetic.

    • gescove

      Ranting today, are we? By government confiscation I assume you mean paying taxes. But I suspect that most people not in the thrall of libertarian nonsense recognize that paying taxes is the price for a civilized society and do so willingly. No one is arguing that people don’t voluntarily give their money to right wing conservatives. Rather, that they are mistaken to believe their money will be used for anything other than the self-serving agendas and enrichment of the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, Rove, et. al. The snake oil salesman has no interest in a cure. His livelihood depends on fleecing the sick with a convincing promise of a cure.

      • BD

        “paying taxes is the price for a civilized society”. Well aren’t you a good little serf. It is forceful confiscation of the earnings of individuals. Stop using euphemisms to disguise what it truly is. If it were voluntary then it would not be a tax, it would be an exchange. Also, by your own claim, you infer that one must pay for the cost of their very existence.
        Is it ever appropriate to provide a product or service at the barrel of a gun? Based on your comment I assume your answer is “yes”. Sad, sad, sad.

        • gescove

          Was Oliver Wendell Holmes (author of the tax quote) a serf? Really? As to existence, my willing (not voluntary) payment of taxes does, for example, afford me a police force to protect my life, my family, and my property. And since this force is controlled by a city or county government (also afforded by those taxes) it is accountable to the citizens/taxpayers. That’s an arrangement I prefer to, say, paying protection money to a war lord. I think the libertarian paradise you desire can be found in Somalia. Enjoy your trip… I hear the weather is lovely this time of year.

          • BD

            Ah, the predictable Somalia jab. A country bombed into a state of constant tribal warfare between extremist sects. How well off are their neighboring STATE countries of Ethiopia and Kenya?
            There are little property rights in Somalia which allow for recourse to damages and invasion. I do not advocate a stateless society which does not respect property rights.

            Your “willing” to pay taxes for your existence but you put in parenthesis “not-voluntary”. How can this be? If something is done of a non-voluntary nature is it not against ones will? Do you think before you write?

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Do you think before you write?

            You don’t think period, Ricky Retardo.

          • gescove

            I was suggesting some nuance between willing and voluntary, the latter implying without legal obligation which does not hold in the instance of paying one’s taxes. You support a state to respect (read defend or enforce) your property rights. How is this state apparatus maintained without some mechanism of funding it? The Somalia jab is predictable only because it’s the closest example we have to a society that functions (or not) under the parameters you’ve suggested. Go figure that there are few property rights and the country is torn by perpetual strife amongst competing war lords. Who would have guessed?

    • bphoon

      Blah. Blah. Blah…Fuck. You.

    • Victor_the_Crab


      • bphoon

        LO fucking L

  • Casey Motl

    What trgahan said. Lost amid the frothing mouths and attack ads is the fact that folks are banking some serious coin from our political discourse, and have a vested interest in exploiting chaos, ignorance, and fear as commodities. Look at the abortion debate. What meaningful action did the GOP take when they had Congress and the White House under Shrub? Zip. They know a good political truncheon when they see one, and there are far too many votes to be had and checks to be written to allow such a successful wedge issue to go away anytime soon.

  • trgahan

    I always thought it was rather obvious that conservative media was a giant con being played on a group people deparate to have their world view confirmed by someone, anyone!

    I can’t help by wonder if Romney was intentionally misled and given bad poll numbers so he’d keep the campaign running at full speed and everyone involved could keep making money. I’m also curious of how much of that $300 million Rove spent went into his own pocket as “consulting fee.”