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Monday, April 18, 2011

Glenn Beck Accused of Stealing Material From Conservative Bloggers

Several conservative bloggers are accusing Glenn Beck of stealing their content without giving credit.  Worse, there is evidence that Beck takes steps to hide the true source before using content on his show.

The Daily Caller has unleashed a string of examples of Beck pretending that someone else's ideas or content was his own.  Even conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart, a regular guest on Beck's television and radio show, accuses Beck of content theft.  Breitbart says that Beck occasionally properly credits a source, but “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.”

For example, in March, Beck showed a video of liberal protesters calling for amnesty for illegal immigrants.  No external credit was given for the video, leading the viewer to believe that Beck's own staff obtained and owned the video clip.  This was not the case.  The video was actually created by an anonymous blogger called Rebel Pundit.

Beck not only failed to give Rebel Pundit his deserved credit and valuable publicity, Beck went so far as to edit the video to hide a watermark for the RebelPundit.com website.  Rebel Pundit expressed his disappointment to the Daily Caller:

“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.”
Even Beck's trademark chalkboard is not always his own work.  A conservative blogger known as Liberty Chick presents compelling evidence that Beck stole the following chart outlining George Soros' media reach that she created and posted on her Bigjournalism.com website:



Compare Liberty Chick's chart to the Beck chalkboard in the following video clip:



It appears that Beck actually printed out Liberty Chick's chart, cut out the logos and stuck them on his chalkboard.  Unfortunately, he did not take the time to give Liberty Chick any credit for her work.

The article's many examples of copyright violations and plagiarism raise significant legal and ethical issues.  When a smaller blogger does dilligent work that is worthy of being published to Beck's large audience, that blogger deserves the credit and bump in website traffic that comes with having his or her name mentioned by Beck.  If Beck has actually gone out of his way to erase evidence of the proper source of the work, he deserves all of the ire from conservative bloggers that he is presently facing.

Beck's representatives disagree.  They say that too much is being made of these examples:
Beck’s office responds to complaints like these by pointing out that Beck is a busy man who broadcasts in one form or another for nearly 1,000 hours a year.  “Anyone could find examples of stories they think should have been sourced differently,” Beck’s representatives told TheDC.  “In addition, many stories mentioned have multiple sources.  Glenn’s shows have a high-standard and a long history of championing bloggers and attributing sources whenever possible including frequently providing extensive footnotes on GlennBeck.com.  For example, The Blaze has already linked to The Daily Caller over 40 times, and the shows have cited a wide-range of bloggers, websites and reports over and over again.”

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