Door-to-door salesman are not part of our modern world, but we can still recognize the lightning-rod man today. He comes during a storm, strikes fear with his stories, has something to sell, and has something to gain. The Lightning-Rod Man is an enduring parable about consumerism, religion, and politics. Buy me, pray to me, vote for me or you'll end up dead.Or poor. Glenn Beck is the modern lightning-rod man, or snake-oil salesman if you prefer. The Fox commentator spins wild, paranoid tales of the the coming economic apocalypse and then tells his gullible audience that buying gold is the answer. See, first he scares you, but then he saves you!
Of course, Beck wants his viewers to buy gold from Goldline which is one of his few remaining sponsors. Now, whether you believe gold is the answer or not, one thing is looking clearer and clearer: Goldline is screwing consumers. Their average markup is 90% above melt value. Their highest markup is 208% above melt value:
One customer, whose name was redacted by the FTC, filed a complaint in February, writing, "Not knowing anything about buying gold, I called Goldline International, Inc. because of their advertisement on Fox News and the fact that Glenn Beck endorses them." Like Richardson, this customer originally wanted bullion, but the sales rep "absolutely insisted" on 20-franc coins, and the customer relented. Unable to get a refund, the customer reported paying $369 apiece for coins that could be bought elsewhere for as low as $208.But now that Rep. Anthony Weiner is onto Goldline’s sleazy sales tactics and ties to right-wing pundits, what can Beck do? (Do I even need to ask?) He will weave an intricate web of conspiracies involving Van Jones, Jim Wallis, evil government agencies, and Media Matters -- all determined to take down Fox News!
And his fans will believe every deluded word even as he swindles them.