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Glenn Beck's news website: Can a guy who once said Obama is a Marxist run a "fair and balanced" outlet?

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August

Beck_8.18.jpgIt seems somehow fitting that a guy who used to be a Top 40 DJ would establish a news and opinion website which shares its name with rock radio stations in Fresno, Calif. and Salt Lake City.

But days after drawing thousands to the National Mall for his Restoring Honor rally, Fox News pundit Glenn Beck has started The Blaze -- his own website aimed at promoting stories he says are under covered or not covered. 

"Too many important stories are overlooked. And too many times we see mainstream media outlets distorting facts to fit rigid agendas," reads a message from Beck posted on the site, which said it developed in about two months. Later, he wrote: "The image of flame is a powerful. It has long stood for a burning truth. A truth that is not consumed. The Blaze will pursue truth."

The featured stories seem to offer an odd mix of material divided between glorifying Beck and exploring conservative issues, which headlines like "Shocking Racism at Al Sharpton's MLK Anniversary," "The Ballooning Welfare State," "The Children of 8/28," "NY Times Columnist on Beck: 'I Underestimated the Man,'" and "Kurtz Defends Beck: He's Not Like Al Qaeda." There's also a story on liberal-oriented website Huffington Post's decision to scuttle a blogger's post offering $100,000 for a sex tape of Beck.  

Mediaite reports that The Blaze editor is Scott Baker, a former employee of conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart -- who faced criticism in mid-July when he publicized an edited video incorrectly implying that USDA employee Shirley Sherrod was endorsing racism against white people.

Such connections leave little doubt whose truth will be splashed across the front page of the Blaze, which Time magazine has already described as a blend of the conservative-friendly news stories seen on the Drudge Report represented in a format similar to the liberal website Huffington Post.

Interesting to see this from a guy who already has his own bustling website,  TV shows, speaking tours, radio show and best selling books -- to say nothing of his connection to Fox News, which has its own news-oriented website.  It joins another website, The Daily Caller, that huffington_1653630c.jpgwas established by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson.

Given the success of liberal pundit Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post, it only makes sense prominent conservative commentators would try creating their own versions of such a site, promoting their own personal brands and causes. Launching The Blaze in the immediate aftermath of Restoring Honor guarantees even more attention.

But Beck's habit of twisting facts, combined with input from a colleague of the blogger behind the Sherrod fiasco, makes me wonder just how much truth will come burning through this latest media platform -- beyond confirming the host's own glory, of course.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:03am]

    

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