The quiet money behind talk radio’s biggest names

Politico.com may have come up with today’s best behind-the-scenes piece:

If you’re a regular listener of Glenn Beck’s radio show and you wanted to contribute to a political group that would advance the populist conservative ideals he touts on his show, you’d have plenty of reason to think that FreedomWorks was your best investment.

But if you’re a fan of Mark Levin’s radio show, you’d have just as much cause to believe that Americans for Prosperity, a FreedomWorks rival, was the most effective conservative advocacy group. And, if Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are who you listen to, you’d be hear a steady stream of entreaties to support the important work of the Heritage Foundation.

That’s not coincidence. In search of donations and influence, the three prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts. Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups, while urging listeners to donate – often woven seamlessly into programming in ways that do not seem like paid advertising.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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66 comments Add your comment

td

June 15th, 2011
10:35 am

And this is news? Three good, honest groups to support conservative talk radio. I am sure if you look at the left you an find a George Sorros funded group behind everything.

Skram30082

June 15th, 2011
10:43 am

And for every George Soros group, you’d find another group funded by Rupert Murdoch.

td

June 15th, 2011
10:46 am

Skram30082

June 15th, 2011
10:43 am
And for every George Soros group, you’d find another group funded by Rupert Murdoch

Liberial spin. Prove it.

ProgressivePeach

June 15th, 2011
10:49 am

Conservative payola. Selling out America.

gsmith

June 15th, 2011
10:55 am

i cant believe how many people that listen to talk radio think its the absolute truth and the ” real news” . they dont realize that these guys get their talking points daily and most the stuff that comes out of their mouth was not originated by them. and that there is another side to every story and that every opinion that the shock jock has there is an opinion that contradicts everything that he or she is saying. im not saying you should not listen to talk radio , just that you should take everything they are saying with a grain of salt

td

June 15th, 2011
10:56 am

ProgressivePeach

June 15th, 2011
10:49 am

That should read saving America from you progressive/socialist that want to do away with the very things that made this country great. Independence, hard work, depending on oneself and not the government.

Junior Samples

June 15th, 2011
10:57 am

td

June 15th, 2011
10:58 am

gsmith

June 15th, 2011
10:55 am

And who writes the talking points for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NY times, Washington Post? Media Matters?

Jeb

June 15th, 2011
10:59 am

Td its called Fox

Anthony Weiner

June 15th, 2011
10:59 am

BE ADVISED: Sending photos can be hazardous to your political future.

Logic 05

June 15th, 2011
11:01 am

Your liberal bias is showing again. How is this news? Do you write articles about George Soros ties with media?

gsmith

June 15th, 2011
11:02 am

td , i dont think anyone tells writers for the ny times what to write i think that most of them are all liberal already. i dont think that an abc news cast or cnn news cast was given to them by media matters , but i do think that a talk show host who gives an opinion all day does get his talking points from other sources , opinion talk IS NOT THE NEWS , the problem is alot of people out there think it is .

James

June 15th, 2011
11:02 am

I think you should write an article about newspapers ties to retail stores…since they are the main advertisers for the AJC. The public has a right to know!

John Edwards

June 15th, 2011
11:04 am

I’m looking for attractive women that do NOT owe video cameras. If interested, please contact me.

GaBlue

June 15th, 2011
11:06 am

Yes, the talk radio wh0res are paid for their tricks, and paid even more for making it believable. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but it’s good to remind the delusional from time to time that we know the passion is faked for profit.

td: Bless your heart.

td

June 15th, 2011
11:06 am

Junior Samples

June 15th, 2011
10:57 am

According to your own link: Murdoch contributed $47,400 to PAC’s and candidates during the 2010 election cycle when there was almost $500 million spent in all the campaigns. This amount of money means he controls the Republican party? Writes all the talking points? Nice try but I am not buying it.

joe

June 15th, 2011
11:06 am

@ GSmith–i cant believe how many people that WATCH MAINSTREAM MEDIA TV think its the absolute truth and the ” real news” . they dont realize that these guys get their talking points daily and most the stuff that comes out of their mouth was not originated by them. and that there is another side to every story and that every opinion that the SHOW HOST has there is an opinion that contradicts everything that he or she is saying. im not saying you should not WATCH MAINSTREAM MEDIA TV , just that you should take everything they are saying with a grain of salt

You were correct in your post, but, so is mine…works both ways.

gsmith

June 15th, 2011
11:08 am

td

June 15th, 2011
11:16 am

joe

June 15th, 2011
11:06 am

Thank you Joe for making the point more eloquently that I was attempting to make.

There really is no such thing as an “unbiased news account”. Thanks to Fox and talk radio we now have a conservative brand to offset the liberal brand from network TV and the major papers. The problem is the liberals will not admit these outlets are slanted to the left.

Aquagirl

June 15th, 2011
11:20 am

Ah, the conservative projectionists have landed. Of course since they do things a certain way, they automatically scream that “lib’ruls” ruin America by doing the same x1000.

Anyone who depends on talk radio hosts for news is a moron. It’s entertainment, not journalism, those guys get paid for sitting in a studio and ranting. They have no editors to fire them, and don’t even pretend to fact-check. Deride the AJC all you want, but they have done real work like tracking the Atlanta Public Schools mess. Given that APS isn’t exactly a conservative haven, I’m not sure how wingnuts think George Soros let them do this.

blue dog

June 15th, 2011
11:21 am

The Democrats and Republicans have never agreed on much these past decades, but if you look at more recent history, the divide between the parties has increased dramatically. It is no mere coincidence that this greater divide parallels the emergence of “Right Wing” talk radio. With their non stop barrage of unwarranted criticism of the anything not corporate friendly, these talk show host have attracted a following of people who are “anti everything” to do with the government.The irony of all this mean spirited propaganda is people who have no reason to side with corporate America, will do so against their own best interest. Psychologist will tell you that the best way for these host to keep their listener’s loyalty is to keep them “angry”. So, whatever it takes to fuel the fire from distorting the facts, to outright lies, nothing is sacred. I often wonder how these hosts sleep at night, knowing they have contributed greatly to this great divide between the parties. But, I guess they really don’t care about everyone else…including their loyal audience, because corporate America has enabled them to be wealthy…above the rest of us “losers”.

ragnar danneskjold

June 15th, 2011
11:25 am

I am a member of Heritage Foundation. Their materials are the best, other than those of Cato. Lots of good groups out there, just that Heritage is the only one smart enough to advertise on Limbaugh’s show.

Strange essay – is our host suggesting opposition to advertising-paid radio, and committing himself to support for only taxpayer-supported airwaves?

GaBlue

June 15th, 2011
11:26 am

There really is no such thing as an “unbiased news account”. Thanks to a couple of MSNBC pundits (but not all), a handful of actors and musicians, and two cable networks unavailable to 99% of American households, we now have a progressive brand to offset the conservative (as redefined by the powerful fringe) brand from network TV and the major papers. The problem is the “conservatives” will not admit these outlets are slanted to sensationalism and resulting corporate profits, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged “socialist agenda” that exists only in the minds of the paraniod fringe and those who exploit it for market share and and ad revenue.

Brainiac

June 15th, 2011
11:36 am

@td: “Slanting to the left ” is a huge understatement. How about “Landsliding to the left”?

Red

June 15th, 2011
11:37 am

If you bothered looking at Murdoch’s donations rather than just copying and pasting the Left talking points, you’d note he’s given quite a bit to Dems….liberal Dems at that. I guarantee you won’t see any Soros money being handed to any conservative causes. Once again, the Lefty conspiracy tinfoil hats can crawl back under a rock.

Red

June 15th, 2011
11:38 am

Aquagirl – flipside is anyone depending on unions, HuffPo, Maddow, DNC, Olbermann, Gore, etc for their news is an idiot. Seems plenty of idiots on your side as well. Judging by the Lefty comments on this board all most of you can do is copy and paste the talking points of others.

Smith

June 15th, 2011
11:39 am

Boortz is going to be so disappointed he wasn’t even mentioned in this blog.

Red

June 15th, 2011
11:41 am

Blue dog – check your history. This was the case much earlier than talk radio. Have you been to a union rally? A very left wing Black church? Keeping people angry happened much earlier than the emergence of talk radio. The difference is that talk radio just made the discussion public. Same with blogs on the internet. Before, the anger and whipped up rhetoric was behind closed doors.

consumed

June 15th, 2011
11:42 am

Getting paid is the name of the game and these three, and most others like them, will do anything to keep getting paid. Heck, they all hate unions but are union members. Oh, and George Soros is John Galt and those that hate him are just bitter folks who want to tear down the rich and productive people of the world. bwahhahahahahahahahah, Keep voting GOP GA . . . they haven’t run the state into the ground yet.

Whacks Eloquent

June 15th, 2011
11:44 am

Who cares who funds talk radio? It’s entertainment! Most stations do run relatively unbiased news segments in between the usually conservative-themed hosts, but they have no mandate for accountability. Why should they? They are a business, and exist to make money!

That was the problem with Air America. They certainly stirred up their listeners in the same way as conservative talk shows, but they could not get it to make money. Possibly because the anti-capitalistic views they espoused tended to turn off most would-be corporate sponsors. Where is Warren Buffett when you need him?

Brainiac

June 15th, 2011
11:50 am

@Bluedog: One who is rational and educated enough to make responsible decisions on his own does not need any talk show, conservative or liberal, to explain to him what is going on in the REAL world. I am a conservative and I consistantly disagree with some of O’rielly, Hannity, Michael Reagan and occasionally “RUSH”. I truly feel that I can reach my own “Fair & Balanced” conclusion on virtually any subject they can throw out to us. When you consistantly question yourself “Am I being fair to subjects from all angles” then you know when you feel good and comfortable with your attitude and public expressions,

PMC

June 15th, 2011
11:50 am

and national TV media is supported almost completely by perscription drug advertizing that we are forced to go get a doctors note just to purchase.

Lobbiest and trial lawyers are the scum of the earth. Welcome to the fray.

blue dog

June 15th, 2011
11:51 am

Red

“Check your history”. Please enlighten me…give me something showing that partisan politics was just as bad…pre talk radio.

PMC

June 15th, 2011
11:53 am

I should add insurance and virtually everything involved with that God forsaken process.

The Amish may have this thing as right as anyone.

Red

June 15th, 2011
11:58 am

blue dog – reread my post. And if you really want a challenge, reread history on how bad it was between Hamilton and his followers and Jefferson and his followers. The heated rhetoric has always been there. Talk radio just added another player to the game and brought it to a more public light.

gm

June 15th, 2011
11:58 am

This is why good old Sean, limbaugh are cleaning up, making millions off these low self estem hate field right idiots. This is why Sara the Air head can make 18 million year without holding office teasing fox news and their close minded tea party bigots, this is why fox will not report anything good the President does for the country, it might ease some of the hate.

Good old Sean is always promoting th Hertiage foundation a organization that most of the klan had a membership to, fox will take money from the klan and any organization that want to keep certain Americans at certain level in soiciety.

Brainiac

June 15th, 2011
11:59 am

@Red: You are becoming my favorite on this site. How about giving some thought to running for GOP office, I supported Ms. Handel for governor but held my nose and voted for Deal in the final election. It should send a huge message to “KING ROY” when a lowlife like our current govenor kicks Barne’s a$$ by a 2 to 1 margin.

Max

June 15th, 2011
12:02 pm

Beck is not a Populist.

Stephanie

June 15th, 2011
12:07 pm

Can we get anymore polarized? Listen to Glenn Beck and read the Huffington Post. Get an original thought going and then may be we can talk.

Brainiac

June 15th, 2011
12:07 pm

@gm: How dare you spell my hero Limbaugh’s name without capitalization. Please rest assured that Fox will report anything good that our current president does WHEN and IF he evers makes such an accomplishment. You seem to know quite a bit about “The Klan”. Did you ever run into Senator Robert Byrd at any of those rallies?

Brainiac

June 15th, 2011
12:12 pm

@Stephanie: Ariana Huffington is an illegal immigrant. Nuff said.

Whacks Eloquent

June 15th, 2011
12:14 pm

Stephanie,

How about DailyKos and Michael Savage? I think I’d be rabid by the end of the day!

td

June 15th, 2011
12:18 pm

blue dog

June 15th, 2011
11:51 am
Red

“Check your history”. Please enlighten me…give me something showing that partisan politics was just as bad…pre talk radio.

Go bak and read this article about the 1828 Presidential election and the mudslinging done in the papers by the two politial parties. The papers in those days were worse than most today.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2008/10/15/20081015campaign-dirt1015-ON.html

blue dog

June 15th, 2011
12:25 pm

Rangar

The Heritage Foundation forecast that the Bush tax cuts would produce significant job growth. It produced -0-jobs. They also approved Ryan’s budget proposal’s claim to reduce the deficit Without raising revenue. The Ryan proposal has been called a “farce” bordering on “dangerous”, by most leading economist including Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman, who stated that his budget would not reduce the deficit by “one cent”.

Centrist

June 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

This blog subject is just another liberal rant by the grossly biased AJC. Most of talk radio is KNOWN to be slanted right, but this blog purposely Ignores the left bias passed as news by the likes of Michael Moore, George Soros, Al Gore, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, Newsweek/ Time magazines, and most big city newspapers.

John K

June 15th, 2011
12:35 pm

Shocked I am not. Those blowhards know the more they promote fear, the more $$$ they get.

We don’t have a media anymore, just a lot of yelling.

DW

June 15th, 2011
12:38 pm

TD = Total D0uchebag in case you didnt know already.

GaBlue

June 15th, 2011
12:42 pm

There’s no money to be made in objective, unbiased, fact-based reporting. Americans worship money. Do the math.

blue dog

June 15th, 2011
12:46 pm

Red

Ronald Reagan, President…Tip O’neil, Speaker of the House. Bill Clinton, President…Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the house. Reagan got everything he wanted passed through Congress…I remember it.
Clinton and Newt passed tax increases and spending limits resulting in a budget surplus. Then Bush had a GOP House and Senate majority…no gridlock there. Cut the revenue stream to “create jobs” and her we are back in the RED. Now comes Obama, trying to “get back” to a healthy economy only to be told “no” to every attempt to get the economy back to pre Bush status. Now…if this is not “total gridlock” by anyone’s definition, compared to “recent history”, you are wearing blinders.

jd

June 15th, 2011
12:50 pm

Follow the money — Goldman Sachs wins.