Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” Uses WordPress. Shouldn’t Glenn Object?

It struck me as odd Beck would eschew commercially produced software for this more “socialist” platform put together by unpaid volunteers and shepherded by community activists.

Recently Glenn Beck’s website “The Blaze” has gotten well deserved positive publicity. It was The Blaze which revealed James O’Keefe’s NPR “sting” video was edited out-of-context.

I’d never heard of the site much less been on it, but tonight decided to take a look. It’s clean and nicely designed.

It didn’t take long to realize it’s based on WordPress the heavily used free open source blogging/content management system software.

This blog also runs on WordPress as do a bunch of other sites I’ve built. I’m a huge fan. It’s tough not to be.

Still it struck me as odd Beck would eschew commercially produced software for this more “socialist” platform put together by unpaid volunteers and shepherded by community activists. After all:

Everything you see here, from the documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community. WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. (More than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms.

Beck is free to use WordPress. Encouraged is probably a better word.

Ethically should he?

Maybe I’m just simplifying a more complex issue, but WordPress seems the kind of enterprise he’d be against not one he’d embrace.

12 thoughts on “Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” Uses WordPress. Shouldn’t Glenn Object?”

  1. Open source does not mean free. There are also business packages and paid themes to use. Research before you post, Geoff.

    1. Kyle – I don’t think the point of the article was about WordPress being free. I think Geoff’s point was regarding the open source community that drives WordPress.

    2. Kyle- Where WordPress refers to itself as open source it also links to the Open Source Initiative website. They are the “stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD).”

      The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

      So you can use it within a larger product and charge for it, but anyone (even the person who buys it from you) can then give it away free. If you do include it in another product that product must also be open source licensed.

      “The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.”

      1. — So you can use it within a larger product and charge for it

        In general, a shibboleth. Open Source, esp. GPL, don’t allow for the charge of license or purchase of software created under those licenses (Apache and BSD are more lenient, and corporations tend to prefer software with those licenses; most of it isn’t very good, stuff from Apache excepted). What, for example Red Hat do is charge for “support”. The issue comes down to what “within” means. There lies a tale.

        As to use “within a larger product” is rife with controversy. If you “extend” the GPL (for example) licensed product, and include said in your product, then your product (within a legal delta) is now GPL-ed software; which is why corporations tend to grab from the Apache/BSD litter. If you create a product which runs under (some distribution of) linux (as example), you can distribute linux with your product and charge for your product; Oracle is making quite a business doing just that. The same is true of the Apache webserver; although the Apache license is even more corporate friendly than the GPL.

        Those who blog with WordPress or (Google) Blogger aren’t modifying or extending either, and can freely inundate visitors with ads or charge for whatever is promoted on their blogs.

        This last is the subject recent FUD w/respect to some work done by Google.

  2. Or perhaps it fits perfectly in-line with his capitalist ideals: Use the most affordable solution for the best results. Why should he pay thousands of extra dollars for a commercial framework when there’s a perfectly good one he can get for free?

    I don’t really think its fair to generalize a persons political beliefs in such a way that you then have to be critical of every life choice they make. If Glen Beck rode a public bus would you think he was hypocritical for not hiring a private taxi or limo but instead using the public option? Do legislators who want to do away with the $500 property tax credit not take that credit for themselves when filing their own taxes?

    “Wait a minute, I thought you were pro-choice? Why are you having a baby?”

    1. Micah – I think I said a number of nice things about Beck and his site (especially their excellent job on revealing the O’Keefe NPR video was edited out-of-context) before scratching my head about his use of community produced software. It is Beck who has railed against President Obama often citing nothing more than his work as a “community organizer.”

      I would think Beck hypocritical if he rode a public bus after complaining public buses were bad. I think that’s a better analogy. Beck has shown disdain for the same concept that’s behind WordPresses development.

    2. Micah – since when does pro-choice equate to childless? Unless you have adopted Beck’s narrow world view.
      You can support a woman’s right to choose and still breed!

  3. First principal of the Right: socialize cost, privatize profit. In Beck’s case, he’s using a community maintained product in order to socialize his cost (in this case, WordPress folks haven’t be coerced into providing a “free” product, SFAIK), and increase his profit. Same old, same old.

    Now, some corporations, notably IBM and Oracle (for different reasons), do “give back” to open source projects that they use. The vast majority don’t, of course. The widely used ones, particularly that are used by corporations, mostly have corporate “sponsors” in the sense that IBM employees, for example, get paid to work on Eclipse or whatever.

    And, the “free” doesn’t mean as in “free beer”, but as in “free to modify”, with certain reciprocity, depending on which OS license has been chosen by the author(s).

    In all, not a simple question.

  4. There’s always the possibility that he payed somebody a pile of money to put together a web site for him, who then turned around and used WordPress to build it.

  5. I’m a bit late to chime in but I think Beck is probably all for WordPress and how WordPress was created…via community. If WordPress would have received tax payer dollars, he would probably object. Why? Because people who did not want to participate would then be forced to.

    To use an example from above: if public buses were run like the WordPress community, volunteers would build, drive and maintain the buses. Individuals would donate to keep the service going. No one would be forced to participate.

  6. Thanks, Jon. That’s the most logical and sane thought I’ve seen on the topic, so far. I love when someone chimes in on the internet to talk about someone else’s “world view” based on….nothing.

    As a Capitalist, I completely agree. Also,as a Capitalist, I offer my work on the internet completely free. Does that make me a hypocrite? Is reality really that simplistic for some of the folks who’ve posted here?

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