During 2009 and 2010, liberal commentators and even politicians made a point of bashing conservative commentators such as Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham for allowing gold companies to advertise on their shows, arguing that conservatives and gold companies cynically colluded to deceive viewers into buying bad investments. The recent spike in gold prices seems to prove that the conservative commentators were right after all.
Gold prices topped $1,900 an ounce on August 22. The price of gold rose over 400 dollars since the beginning of this year, up from $1,421.40 per ounce since January 1st, 2011, and has rapidly risen over the past two months. The price of gold was $854.60 per ounce at the start of the Obama administration. In other words, gold prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the Obama administration.
Gold prices tend to increase in weak or unstable economies. Economic instability and fears of future inflation serve to drive up the price of gold, which serves as a "safe haven" in times of economic distress.
Considering the current economic difficulties, it is hardly surprising that economists such as CNBC's Jim Cramer advocate investing a small portion of one's portfolio in gold in today's uncertain economy. Cramer predicted that the price of gold would increase to over $2000 in 18 months - in March 2011, when gold was still at $1,440.
It is also not surprising that conservative commentators, most notably Glenn Beck, encouraged listeners to invest in gold as a means to provide a safe haven from the wreckage of Obama's polices. And it would certainly make sense for a gold company to advertise during programs where commentators encourage their listeners to buy gold.
But liberal news outlets sought to discredit the connection between gold companies and conservative commentators, portraying it as a concerted effort by both parties to deceive credulous American viewers and listeners of conservative programs into buying overpriced gold coins.
(The criticism went nicely with attempts to pressure advertisers to drop sponsorship of Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel program.)
ABC News reporter Brian Ross investigated claims against two gold companies. One of these companies was Goldline, which was conveniently linked to Beck and other conservative luminaries. The complaint argued that the company was directing its callers to buy gold coins, rather than bullion bars, which command less of a premium above their actual gold value. In a related print piece, Ross declared that gold companies and conservatives had a "symbiotic relationship."
Politico's Kenneth Vogel reported on the relationship between right-wing media figures and gold companies. He closed his piece with a shot at conservative commentators, quoting a woman who had lost money after investing in coins that the article stated could have cost less elsewhere: "How could I be mislead [sic] by Glenn Beck, Fred Thompson and Marvin [sic] Levin?"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opined on "Countdown" that the relationship between gold companies and conservative commentators "has been profitable for everybody, except the viewers and listeners." Olbermann invited then-Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-NY, onto his program to launch a full-blown, histrionic attack on Beck and Goldline. Weiner railed against a legal, private business arrangement, calling the relationship between Goldline and Beck an "unholy alliance."
Weiner had previously issued a report attacking Goldline. His office went further, charging that "Goldline is little more than a gold peddler posing as an investment advisor, an unfortunate byproduct of the Tea Party movement." A "red-faced" Weiner went so far as to summon a representative of Goldline before Congress and blasted him for his company's advertising practices.
Weiner's charges went nowhere.
In perhaps the most serious and well-thought out of the charges, comedian Stephen Colbert mocked conservative talk show hosts who stumped for gold companies in 2009.
Conservatives media figures who advocated that their audience invest in gold were proven correct. The economic "recovery" has stalled. Gold prices have fluctuated in the last couple of weeks, but at this writing ($1832 per ounce) it still is worth more than twice its value when President Obama was inaugurated.
Where are the liberal pundits now?