The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Credit Where Credit Is Due: Breitbart, Beck and the Dana Loesch Lawsuit

Posted on | December 28, 2012 | 60 Comments

Back in the Day: Andrew Breitbart was a guest on Glenn Beck’s Fox News show

In April 2011, Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller reported that Glenn Beck had been accused of using bloggers’ content without attribution:

Mandy Nagy, a conservative blogger known online as Liberty Chick, spent untold hours last fall creating a chart that tracks left-wing billionaire George Soros’s influence over media organizations, only to see it appear, in its exact form and without any attribution, on Beck’s famous chalkboard. “We were laughing that he went to all the trouble of [recreating] the visual on the blackboard,” Nagy said, not sounding entirely amused.
John Sexton, who blogs at, has provided Beck with material several times, and has sometimes received credit for it. But in several other cases, Sexton says, “he’s used our stuff without any hat tip at all. I don’t understand that.” According to Sexton, in one instance even famously liberal CBS News credited for content it used, while Beck, who lifted the same material, did not.
Pamela Geller of recalls watching Beck use a story she wrote about campaign contributions the Obama campaign received from donors in Gaza. Many other publications referred to the story, Geller says, but only Beck refused to give her credit for it.
“I went through thousands of pages of FEC documents and it was an enormous task to uncover the campaign contributions from Gaza, a Hamas-controlled area, to President Obama,” Geller says. “It’s in my book and it wasn’t a secret that I wrote the story. I don’t know how to describe such outrageous and proud thievery. I like his work, but he’s a thief.”

You can read the whole thing. Let’s be clear that Glenn Beck is certainly not the only broadcaster or journalist who has been accused of failing to give adequate credit to the work of others, and bloggers especially get used to being shortchanged by the big shots.

That April 2011 article, however, was sort of an Empire Strikes Back episode in what became a widespread backlash against Beck after he had a falling-out with Andrew Breitbart. And this is relevant now because, as I reported Christmas Eve, “people are telling me that it was Glenn Beck who wanted to hire Dana Loesch away from,” and Dana has filed a federal lawsuit against

Let’s be clear (a) there’s a whole lot of backstory to this, which may never be entirely known, and (b) I cannot verify that there were actually any negotiations between Dana and Beck — it’s just what “people are telling me.” Obviously the plaintiff in a lawsuit can’t talk about it, and nobody at either or Beck’s operation has said a word about it. Then again, I haven’t gotten any angry e-mails denying it, so . . .

In order to understand why might take especial umbrage at the idea of Dana Loesch leaving to join Glenn Beck’s rival New Media operation, it helps to listen to a podcast interview Andrew Breitbart recorded in December 2011 with Stephen K. Bannon.

Because Bannon is now executive chairman of, this is a very important interview. Becca J. Lower and Danielle Saul have provided a full transcript, which I briefly excerpt here:

Breitbart: [T]here are a lot of Beck supporters. In the past, Beck has made a lot of mistakes and his supporters come out and try to defend him, because Beck is a coward and will not defend himself when he makes a mistake or lies about a person or steals content —
Bannon: Hold on, I want to go back over this: you’re saying that Glenn Beck’s a coward, Glenn Beck’s a liar, and you’re saying that Glenn Beck steals material from people?
Breitbart: Oh yes, and this is well-documented. And whenever he does it, he never answers to the charges. He’s a coward. He won’t have me on the radio show, he won’t have himself [and] me on GBTV, refused to have me on Fox when he threw me under the bus. During the Sherrod thing, I asked to be on TV or radio to explain why he had it wrong. Months later, we found out why he wouldn’t have me on is because he lied to his audience on television that he didn’t do the Sherrod story. . . . In order to rectify the situation, he went on TV and tried to pretend like he was above the fray and told O’Reilly, to his face, a lie . . .
He also has historically been found to take countless bloggers’ content, to turn it into book gold, to turn it into chalkboard gold . . .He will not answer to the charges, and his minions online like to defend him. . . .

You can — and certainly should — read the whole thing.





  • Jackie Wellfonder

    Uuugghh, this whole thing still saddens me very much…I can say, I totally appreciate your quest for truth and the efforts of Danielle and Becca!

  • robertstacymccain

    As previously noted, this story is going to get told at length sooner or later by the liberal media. We can’t help that. It’s therefore kind of important to get ahead of it now, to get as much of the story as possible told by conservatives, rather than to leave it to the MSM vultures to exploit for their own purposes.

  • smitty

    I just can’t understand the failure to attribute. Those breadcrumbs are as crucial to the author to remember where material came from as they are to the stature of the source.
    Everybody loses when material is mooched.

  • MrPaulRevere

    I’d buy Beck a cup of coffee for his work in taking down Van Jones but otherwise his contributions to the cause have been well, somewhat thin.

  • Becca Lower

    Then again, I haven’t gotten any angry e-mails denying it, so . . .
    It can’t be understated that persons close to the Breitbart organization (and who were friends with Andrew himself) have approached all of us and encouraged us to continue this project. And as Stacy points out, if anyone wanted to ask us to stop– from either Breitbart or Beck’s camps– they can easily do so. They have not.

  • robertstacymccain

    Well, I understand in a broadcast format that you cannot footnote everything you say, interrupting every second sentence to include an attribution. What the Daily Caller article seemed to suggest, however, was that there was a pervasive pattern to what was happening with Beck, and that this pattern included some particularly egregious examples.
    I have tried to make it a habit to be as generous as possible in attribution, mainly because I know how it feels to be deprived of credit, but also because attribution actually strengthens the credibility of the material. When you cite your source, people can look it up and see for themselves. Furthermore (and this is important), by saying “according to so-and-so,” you are protecting yourself against a potential libel action if there should be any question about the accuracy of defamatory material. You, as the reporter, don’t want to be the one making damaging accusations on your own authority. Rather, you are simply reporting what others have said.

  • Adjoran

    Say, I used to know a guy who started doing basically the same thing with content. I think it was Tiny Chartreuse Golfballs or something like that.

  • Adjoran

    Look at Beck and Limbaugh. Both started out as humorists on radio talk shows with a strong conservative bent but without a grounding in the intellectual foundations of conservatism, either historically or from Russell Kirk and Buckley. Both did learn more over time.

    Limbaugh always credited his mentors and the web contributors to his thinking. His self-education was public and without pretense for the most part.

    Beck is more like every twenty-something who first reads Rand, he instantly thinks he is the professor of it all – and like many in academia fails to properly footnote his sources.

  • JohnInMA

    The most surprising aspect to me is that would allow it to devolve into a lawsuit. Perhaps the team will never come close to matching the cultural/media savvy of Breitbart himself. What would they possibly gain at this point?
    And if Beck (the org) is as intangled as described so far, it is the less surprising aspect for me. I’ve never been a detractor but I’ve also been at best a like warm bystander of his work. For me there is a tinge too much of the tent revival performer in his style. And his overt efforts to always seem modest just don’t quite convince me. So, to imagine he might try to buy talent away contentiuosly from another ‘competitor’ may not be so far fetched. Many people I’ve worked with in my past have not been overtly highly egotistical, but their actions proved it out. This ‘feels’ like that could be the case.

  • Causation

    When will these journalists learn?

    1. They have all taken work that didn’t belong to them.

    2. They have all pretended not to know the victims whose work they stole when the victims came under attack. (Mandy Nagy)

    3. Some of them have even attacked those victims to gain notoriety for themselves. (Lee Stranahan)

    This isn’t about Glen Beck. This is about journalists who really didn’t care about the story they were supposed to be telling. They don’t have the passion that the Tea Party had and it shows. But yet, they tried to control it and boasted about controlling the narrative themselves. They care about money and their high school cliques.

    The good news is, the people know better. If you fail as a result, you have only yourselves to blame because you’re not speaking for the people who don’t really care if Dana Loesch is suing to get out of her contract. It’s irrelevant to the direction the country has taken.

    If you’re that divided, the reason is because you are not united on principle and for that, the people will walk away from all of you – mostly because you walked away from them and their concerns. They don’t want a king. This isn’t Great Britain.

    And before the left gloats, I will remind them of the worse scandals in their own closets to tune of Countdown with Keith Olberman and the non-US-citizen Piers Morgan who jumped in his coffin (so to speak), to mention a few of the more celebrated losers out there. If we want to point out the lesser known nutjobs, there’s always Ron Bryanert and Raw Story to make you feel better.

  • Causation

    And you don’t think writers at Breitbart have done the same thing? I know for a fact Mandy Nagy was one of them so she shouldn’t be included in this as a witness because she’s just as guilty.

    I’m more concerned about how the people are being treated after putting their butts on the line for the sake of truth and who didn’t make a dime for their efforts. They were put through hell while Dana Loesch seems to be the only one who stuck her head out for them, at least at one point. I liked her when she was like that. I didn’t like her when she became intimidated by what her fellow employees did to people and jumped on the “let’s ignore them” bandwagon once they got what they wanted, the story.

    I don’t care if anyone doesn’t like Seth Allen (I don’t care for his political views either) but he did expose the Kimberlin criminal first, not Mandy Nagy. And she threw him under the bus just as bad as she did to Mike Stack and others. But she’s got the nerve to sit there and cry about a chart? If the public only knew the whole story behind that one.

    But, we won’t talk about that because it’s all about the clique and Lee Stranahan raving about how Mandy Nagy is a hero while hanging the very conservatives out to dry that he steals their life-stories from to make a buck.

    This article is lacking some serious truth.

  • Paul H. Lemmen

    Heh. What an understatement! A good chunk of the reason I stopped political blogging (not commenting, just blogging).

  • Film Ladd

    Oh, the Beck, babe, has such tweeps, dear
    And he fools them all the time
    Just a chalkboard has old MacBeck, babe
    And he keeps it always in sight…

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I do not care for the fact that Carbonite advertises on Beck’s show. Carbonite is dead to me.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    By being gracious and attributing, Beck loses nothing and gains allies in the trenches.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Slavery ended a long time ago. I hope they can work this out since a protracted feud only hurts the right and benefits the left.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Recovered alcoholics tend to have that tent revival vibe.

  • Matthew W

    The married couple that run the cafeteria at work listen to every single syllable uttered by Glen Beck as gospel. I have to hear non stop talk about Agenda 21 and how GEORGESOROS personally controls the planet (and micro manages it)

  • Paul H. Lemmen


  • Matthew W

    Yes, it is just that easy !!!

    I can understand if the Beck producers in the past have not told Beck what the sources were, but at some point the onus is on Beck to make sure his people do that.

  • Matthew W

    is he a former?

  • Wombat_socho

    Links to examples or GTFO.

  • Will Profit

    Actually, I am looking forward to the day when I write/post something that someone deems good enough to filch.

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  • willpeir

    Yeah, I subscribe to the Blaze for the “Pat and Stu” show, and the Agenda 21 commercials were obnoxious. Beck knew his audience was freaking out and worried about them, but he still went through with his publicity stunt for his new book and didn’t reveal what they were for about three weeks.

    Beck’s done some great stuff, but I think he’s really suffering from “I got away with it too many times,” itis.

  • Paul H. Lemmen

    You always have filchable content …

  • M. Thompson

    Good scholarship, good reporting, and good sense say to credit your sources.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Rush likes to promote conservative bloggers. Which is cool. And let’s not forget Limbaugh and Buckley were good friends and Buckley acted like a father/spiritual advisor (if you will) to Rush.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    It is so easy if it were an oversight to say “sorry” and give attribution. It elevates Beck, it does not diminish him.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Except most of his content is crap.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Ha! I hear once an alcoholic always one. But often they change from one addiction to another. It is a personality thing.

    I like Beck on the radio (I do not care for his TV schtick). I think he has talent. I do not see what he is doing as purely a cynical act. I can see through the huxterism, so that does not bother me too much. But he needs to make allies among conservatives. I can understand why Levin goes off on him every now and again.

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  • elaine

    As much as I admired Andrew Breitbart, this statement by him was absolutely not true:

    “…he (Beck) lied to his audience on television that he didn’t do the Sherrod story…”
    I was watching Beck the day Breitbart broke the Sherrod story; Beck didn’t mention it AT ALL. He didn’t touch that story. It was only the next day — after Sherrod had been fired and Breitbart was hung out to dry for hyping a “racist” story taken out of context — that Beck even started to talk about Sherrod.
    Like everyone else, even Breitbart had his flaws. His selective memory was one of them…

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  • Adjoran

    Limbaugh sought out Buckley and was proud to learn from him. He credits his sources for the most part.

    Beck’s a good entertainer who believes he is the first to discover these Eternal Truths, has fashioned himself a Mission to Educate the Masses, and regards his sources as a river regards its tributaries.

  • Adjoran

    It wasn’t at the time he started stealing it.

  • PoliticalClownParade

    Tiny Chartreuse Golfballs. That was genuinely clever. Thanks for the giggle.

  • PoliticalClownParade

    Me too, Will.

  • K-Bob

    He meant on Glenn Beck’s radio broadcast. By the 5pm timeslot, Beck’s tune had changed. THAT’s what Andrew pointed out.

  • K-Bob

    Wotta revoltin’ development.

    The overall originality problem is often made ridiculously complex by parties involved. Of course, the problem exists all throughout the world of creativity, not just among journalists. It’s even hard to pin down who coined the phrase about “good ones borrow, great ones steal,” and Steve Jobs and Milton Berle were both known to be celebrated, unrepentant “stealers” of stuff (to name only two from among many).

    For some reason, only in the world of print is plagiarism deemed a firing offense (or possibly a reason to be given a Pulitzer, depending upon the owner of the rag in question, and the number of sycophants in one’s retinue). For the rest of the world of creative endeavor, plagiarism or copying is merely a brand-damaging act.

    If you’re caught.

    We can easily understand someone’s anger when the work they’ve done is co-opted by another. But few understand how to deal with the situation—or the anger—well. For example, Debbie Schlussel became a raving nutjob over the fact that Sean Hannity evidently used some of her research without attribution. We also have folks like Michael Fakename-Savage, who cry crocodile tears at those who steal from him while he obviously, and clumsily steals from others.

    The fact is, content theft is the shark in the waters of creativity. And while people rightly fear sharks, the oceans would be horrible places without them. Predators are part of the ecosystem, and sometimes you have to fight them directly to survive (the Loesch lawsuit, for example, showing, BTW, that this rant is on-topic). But sometimes you simply do what it takes to survive, despite their presence.

    Thus all the usual, cliched tricks become necessary in the high-stakes game of, “my career in the creative arts:”

    Play your cards close to the vest (keep your secrets).

    Keep a sharp eye out (intel is your friend).

    Always carry a backup gun (#Metaphor).

    Develop good marketing (like surfing: sometimes you catch a wave, sometimes you have to do the hard work of paddling into and through them to get ready to catch another).

    Hire a shark for a salesman (or an attorney, or both).

    Put up with some lowlives (like those of us here, in the comment section) in order to deal with even worse lowlives (#OWS, #JournoList, #BackBenchers).

    Out-produce the competition (Otherwise known as Production Is The Solution To The Problem Of Survival)

    I could go on, but someone will probably just copy it and take credit. But hey, we’re all friends here. Besides, I just used a quote without attribution. Sue me.

    As to Beck, his huckster vibe is bad enough. But his need to be at the front of his own movement (like say, a certain magazine where the owner’s face appears on every cover) is kind of embarrassing to watch. The recovering alcoholic bit adds to it, in noticeable measure, but I guess, good for him. He ain’t drinking.

    Beck frequently likes to refer to the words on a sign on Reagan’s desk that said “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” However, he clearly does seem to care who gets the credit. Otherwise he’d employ a simple solution: It would only take a webpage for each show, which could be cranked out in a few minutes by a staffer using notepad.

    You’re welcome, Glenn.

  • K-Bob


  • K-Bob

    The internets: I can quit anytime.

  • K-Bob

    Like his gigantic, Rally To Nowhere in DC in 2010.

  • K-Bob

    I left out of that rant an important element: not all stealing is “stealing stealing” (thank you, Whoopie Goldberg). If it were, you could never honorably use a “classic, Pink-Floyd-style Fender-Rhodes keyboard sound” in one of your songs. Obviously that style gets used a ton.

    Funnily enough, if you use, say a sound from a famous, sample-based duo (like say, Chemical Brothers) in one of your songs, that’s considered déclassé. But B3 organ?, Fender-Rhodes?, “oh, that’s different.”

    And some bands have been decried on radio and in fannish magazines for using the standard, 12-bar blues pattern in their songs. “Hey, man, all their songs sound alike, what a ripoff!”

    If such “stealing” were forbidden, some art forms—like the blues—could never exist.

    (Yes, I know, some of you would cheer, but still)

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  • sheryl

    I miss Breitbart. As for Mr. Beck, it’s all in the eyes. I can see it, just like I could see it in Bill Clinton’s eyes. It’s there…something in the eyes.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Well put.

  • K-Bob

    Hey, what happened to your lil’ Disqus picture thingy?

  • SDN

    Another perspective:

    When ‘Omer smote ‘is bloomin’ lyre,
    He’d ‘eard men sing by land an’ sea;
    An’ what he thought ‘e might require,
    ‘E went an’ took — the same as me!

    The market-girls an’ fishermen,
    The shepherds an’ the sailors, too,
    They ‘eard old songs turn up again,
    But kep’ it quiet — same as you!

    They knew ‘e stole; ‘e knew they knowed.
    They didn’t tell, nor make a fuss,
    But winked at ‘Omer down the road,
    An’ ‘e winked back — the same as us!