Mercury Confidential - The man behind Mercury INK

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at Mercury Radio Arts? Just how do all of Glenn’s crazy ideas get done? Does anyone ever get a chance to sleep? Well, over the next few months we are going to take you inside MRA, giving you the inside scoop on everything from publishing to special events, Markdown to GBTV. We will be interviewing members of our New York, Columbus, and Dallas staff, bringing you all the info, so you can know what it’s really like to work for Glenn.

Sitting in his office high atop Sixth Avenue, one thing is for certain: Kevin Balfe has a lot of books. From signed copies of Broke to foreign language translations of The Christmas Sweater, books line the windowsills, the shelves, and the tops of desks. As for the wall space, it is occupied by – you guessed it – posters of various Glenn Beck and Mercury Ink book covers. For Balfe, Senior Vice President/Publishing at Mercury Radio Arts, being surrounded by books has become just another day at the office, but it wasn't always that way.

After graduating from University of Connecticut as an accounting major, he went to work for a few accounting and consulting firms and eventually ended up at an online financial start-up at the height of the dot com era. That company was bought by a newsletter publisher and Balfe became chief operating officer. It was there that he had his first foray into the publishing world.

"I got a couple years’ experience of running a direct to consumer publication," Balfe said. "And when Glenn decided his first business outside of radio was going to be a magazine – that was sort of how I got hooked up with him."

Balfe joined Mercury in January 2005 and was tasked with starting a monthly magazine for fans of The Glenn Beck Program. "I took over Fusion magazine which is The Blaze Magazine now, and launched that soup to nuts. I got that whole thing going."

Within two years of Balfe's arrival, Glenn inked a deal with Simon and Schuster, the world’s largest publishing house. Being that he was the only member on staff with some form of publishing/writing experience, Balfe became the go-to person for the new book.

"Since I was the only person with 'writing' experience at the time, I went over and did the book thing – An Inconvenient Book it was called." The book was instantly a hit and became the first of seven #1 New York Times bestsellers for Glenn. It remained on the chart for 17 weeks.

"When that one did so well, Simon and Schuster signed Glenn up for more. That’s how I got my start in the book business," Balfe recalled.

Today, Balfe oversees Mercury’s partnership with Simon and Schuster, which encompasses the books Glenn publishes each year, in addition to Mercury Ink – Glenn’s imprint with Simon and Schuster that publishes books from third party authors. Mercury Ink’s first book, Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

"I was hired to start a direct magazine – 10 issues for $35/year – and now I am writing and editing and coordinating the production of – I think we are doing 14 books this year or something. So it’s quite a bit different," Balfe said with a laugh.

"And I had no book publishing experience, which is the cool thing. I think if you take a look, most people around here didn’t get their education in the field they are working in, including Glenn, so we take it from the top. So (this job) bears no resemblance to what I was doing, but I love it."

He may love what he does, but his job does not come without its headaches. One of Balfe’s favorite stories about Glenn has to do with a book promotion they were running.

“We did a promotion, I think it was for Broke, and BarnesandNoble.com agreed that one week before the book went on sale, if you went to BN.com, for one day only, they were going to sell the book for 50 percent off,” Balfe explained.

“I wrote it all up for Glenn and gave it to him to read on radio. What that translated to on air was ‘Today only Barnes and Noble is selling this book for 50 percent off.’”

Glenn, not always realizing the power of his words, mistakenly sent thousands of listeners to Barnes and Noble retail stores, instead of Barnes and Noble’s website to purchase the book. “So, all of a sudden, thousands of people across the country in their cars are pulling into Barnes and Noble stores and going up and saying that Glenn told me this book is 50 percent off. The stores had absolutely no idea what these people were talking or that the online promotion even existed. So essentially we had thousands of very confused customers and Barnes and Noble employees across the country.

“That was fun,” Balfe said sarcastically.

And when it comes to Glenn’s book pitches, headaches can also come in spades. Glenn's thoughts come a mile a minute on the air, and his book ideas are no different. Balfe has heard it all over the years, but he says the one of the worst book ideas, from an economic perspective, that Glenn has ever pitched is one they actually ended up publishing.

"The worst pitch that we actually ended up acting on is We Are Brothers," Balfe responded while walking to the windowsill to pick up a copy of a book created in the wake of Beck’s “Restoring Courage” trip to Israel in 2011. "This book is so typical Glenn. He does this trip to Israel and sends his photographer over there on two trips, which is not inexpensive, and then tells me we need to do a book."

Initially, Balfe didn't mind the idea. "Fine, we will do a photo book. We did a photo book for 8/28 (the Washington D.C. event called “Restoring Honor,”) and it was beautiful. We sold a lot of them."

Unfortunately for Balfe, this photo book would not be like the others. He said that Beck told him, "This has to be the nicest book ever created."

Simply looking at a copy of We Are Brothers proves this book lived up to that mandate. With a luxurious imported cloth cover, embossed gold lettering, and high quality paper, the book feels expensive – and it is.

"I mean the whole thing is beautiful. The problem is it is literally the most expensive book ever created. Like these things cost – I won’t even give you the number because you wouldn’t believe it – but it’s more than most books even retail for," he lamented.

"So we have sold like four of these. And I have thousands and thousands of them sitting in a warehouse. And I blame Glenn.

"Do you want one... or 20,000?"

Editor's Note: I took one home with me, and I have to say it would make a lovely gift... Father's Day perhaps?

Despite the minor misstep with We Are Brothers, exciting things are coming up for the publishing department. Cowards, which was just released, returns to the oversized, color, non-fiction issue type books like An Inconvenient Book, Arguing with Idiots, and Broke that have been so popular with the audience.

"This was really about getting back to Glenn’s roots. He loves these types of books – when the book is not about one topic, but rather a theme." In this case that theme is how radicals, politicians, and the media refuse to tell us the truth out of their own self-interest. Each chapter of the book focuses on a different issue, which satisfies Glenn's desire to basically fit five books into one.

"It lets him focus on violence at the border, and the media, and economic terrorism, and George Soros, and religion, and all these things that would typically not fit inside one book," Balfe said. "We all know that Glenn is so ADD, and he wants his books to be like he is on-air, which is all over the place. It’s basically a brain dump, and my job is to make that cohesive and make it feel like it was actually meant to be one book."

Cowards deals with 13 different issues that all tie back into the theme. "Again, there is a common thread in that it is all about the idea that we are five months before the biggest election of our lives and people don’t know the truth about these things, and that is frustrating to Glenn."

A book of this caliber would typically take at least a year to create. Cowards, however, went from concept to completion in just 12 weeks.

"I would say normally if someone just came to me and said we need to write this book, I would say this is a good year because it takes a ton of research,” Balfe explained. “This thing has 35 pages of footnotes and it requires going out and finding experts in the field that we can consult with because, as much as Glenn really knows his stuff, when you get into drug cartel violence on the border, there is a lot of nuance there that Glenn doesn’t necessarily know. We have to have a series of meetings and calls with experts and really understand the stuff before we start writing.

"So you have that whole process. And then you have the writing and editing process. And then, of course, Glenn wants artwork and sidebars, and text boxes, so you have all that stuff. So I would say a year—and we did it in 12 weeks, which was definitely a record for us. And it was not anything I ever want to do again. I basically did not sleep for three months."

And what about the army of people it would take to research, write, and edit a book like this? "I would say 20 people probably contributed in a material way to the book,” Balfe said. "I kind of play general contractor. Like if you want to build a house – no one guy can go and build an entire house. You have to hire the specialists like the plumber and the electrician. You have to make sure they are all in the right order and that no one is stepping on each other’s toes. At, the end of the day, someone has to make sure it looks like a cohesive house.”

There is no rest for the weary, and this is shaping up to be an exciting summer for Mercury Ink. The second installment of Chris Stewart’s Wrath and Righteousness series is due out next month. This 10 book series is unique in that a new e-book will be released every six weeks over the course of the next year.

Also hitting shelves next month is The Communist, which chronicles the life of Frank Marshall Davis – mentor to a young Barack Obama. “It’s a good history lesson of the Communist Party in the United States,” Balfe said.

In August, the highly anticipated sequel to Richard Paul Evan’s New York Times bestselling book Michael Vey is due out: Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen. It already has Balfe’s seal of approval. “I just read it, and it is very good!"

As for Glenn’s next book – Balfe gave us the inside scoop. “Glenn’s next book, knock on wood, is going to be the sequel to (Glenn’s #1 New York Times bestselling political thriller) The Overton Window  (actual title TBD). We hope to have that out in time for Christmas.”

It's clear there is a lot coming up for the guy who began his career as an accounting major, but he is enjoying every sleepless second of it. "Yeah, it bears no resemblance to the original job I was hired to do," Balfe said smiling. "Although, there are probably not many people around here that have the same job." And that is most certainly true.

Soros is trying to elect MORE TEXAS RINOs. Here's how YOU can stop him.

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Texas is under threat of a George Soros-backed takeover.

Soros-funded RINO judges have been elected in some of the highest courts in Texas. These judges implemented restrictions that have blocked nearly a thousand cases of voter fraud from being investigated or prosecuted from across the state. These new restrictions are similar to ones in place in states like George, Arizona, and Wisconsin, leaving Texas more susceptible to election corruption than ever. If Texas falls to corruption, America will lose its largest bastion of conservative electoral power in the nation. Without Texas, Republicans WILL NOT be able to win national elections and liberal corruption will go unchecked across the country.

Fortunately, there is a way to stop this: YOU.

If you live in Texas you have a chance to stand up against corruption and to fight back! Starting Tuesday, February 20th, early voting for the primaries begins, where three of these judges are up for election. Go out and vote. If the right people are voted in, there's a good chance the restrictions will be lifted and election fraud can once again be prosecuted.

But remember, you can't just go in and vote for anyone who has an "R" next to their name. Sorors knows that a registered Democrat would never stand a chance in Texas, so his lackeys register as Republicans and ride the little "R" right into office. So who do you vote for?

Fortunately, Glenn had Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on his show today and Ken gave us his list of judges that he vouches for. His list is as follows:

  • Gina Parker
  • Lee Finley
  • David Schenck
The Primary Election runs from February 20th to March 5th. This is your chance to get out there and make a difference. It might be the most important election you ever participate in. If you need to know where your nearest polling location is, or any other information regarding the election, you can go to votetexas.gov to find out more.
It's time to stand up.

Hypocrisy EXPOSED: The 'Amazon Files' and what WE are doing about it

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Who is really banning books?

For years now, Conservatives have been taking flak from the left for supposed "book bans." The left likes to compare these "bans" to Nazi book burnings, accusing the right of sweeping authoritarian decrees designed to suppress information. In reality, this is a movement largely motivated by parents, who want to remove inappropriate books from children's libraries.

But if you want to discuss authoritarian book bans, look no further than the White House. As Glenn recently covered, the Biden administration has been pressuring the world's largest bookseller, Amazon, into suppressing books they disagree with.

On February 5th, 2024, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a slew of subpoenaed documents that exposed pressure placed on Amazon by the Biden Administration. The documents, which Jordan dubbed "The Amazon Files" after Elon Musk's "The Twitter Files," revealed an email conversation between Andrew Slavitt, a former White House senior adviser, and Amazon employees. In these emails, Slavitt complained that the top search results for books on "vaccines" were "concerning" and then requested that Amazon intervene. Amazon initially refused, not out of some altruistic concern for the free exchange of information. They thought any action taken would be "too visible" and would further exasperate the “Harry/Sally narrative,” referring to the outrage that followed Amazon's removal of Ryan T. Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally.

Despite this initial refusal, Amazon agreed to meet with the White House a few days later. The number one item on their agenda was removing books from the website. An Amazon employee even admitted that the reason they even took this meeting was due to the pressure being placed on them by the Biden Administration.

What was the result of this meeting? Amazon caved. They began to implement ways of limiting the outreach of books that challenged the mainstream vaccine narrative and other books the White House might not like.

The White House was caught red-handed pressuring the world's largest bookseller to restrict the sale of books they consider in opposition to their narrative, and they have the gall to accuse conservatives of information suppression. This is just ONE of many actions committed by the Biden Administration that are more characteristic of a dictator than a president.

What can you do about it? Fortunately, you are not dependent on Amazon and its corrupted algorithm to help you find books. Every week right here on GlennBeck.com, we highlight books that Glenn is reading or talking about in our "Glenn's Bookshelf" series. Here you can find a wide selection of books free from Amazon's filters. Be sure to sign up for Glenn's newsletter to find out about new additions to "Glenn's Bookshelf" every week.

10 times Biden has acted like a DICTATOR

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The left-wing media's most recent tirade is accusing Trump of being a dictator. But, as Glenn said, "Everything they're accusing us of, they're doing."

Since day one, the Biden administration has overstepped the bounds placed on the executive branch set by the Constitution. In Glenn's most recent TV Special, he examined ten times Biden acted like a dictator, NOT a president. Here are 10 of Biden's Dictator Moves, and click HERE to get ALL of the research that went into this week's Glenn TV special:

5 ways to protect your First Amendment rights. Number 4 will surprise you.

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Every day it seems Glenn covers another story revealing how people across the world at all levels of power DESPISE the fact that YOU have rights, and they are actively trying to curtail them. Recently, there has been a string of attacks against the rights outlined in the First Amendment: the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition.

As a refresher, the First Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This is powerful stuff, there is a good reason the Founding Fathers made it the FIRST Amendment. It's also the reason why power-hungry elites are attacking it. These attacks are designed to control the way you think, speak, and believe, vote, what you read, and who holds your representatives responsible. The First Amendment is our strongest weapon against tyrants, and they know it.

So what can you do about it? Hope that some wig in Washinton will eventually do something? We know how well that works. The best thing to do is to stay active, engage in the issues you care about, and exercise your rights.

So where to start? Here are a few things YOU can do to protect your First Amendment rights:

Religion

The best way to flex your Freedom of Religion is to—you guessed it—practice your faith. Become an active member in your place of worship, go to scripture studies, invite your friends to that late afternoon event, and walk the life. This can impact the way you spend money as well. Shop the businesses and brands that share your values, and don't shop at the ones that scorn them. Keeping the community alive and healthy is the best way to ensure that generations to come will be able to experience the freedom you enjoy.

Speech

Much like religion, the best way to protect your freedom of speech is... to speak. Engage your friends and family in polite, civil conversation. Stand up for what you believe in, and make your case to your peers. Just remember to keep it friendly. No one ever won an argument by shouting down their opponent. The civil exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of our republic, and a dialogue where the participants are well-informed, considerate, compassionate, and open-minded can have permanent impacts on all involved.

Press

Freedom of the Press seems a little tricky at first. Unless you work for the media, what are you supposed to do? Quit your job and go work for the local newspaper? The good news is that exercising this right is not nearly that difficult. In fact, you are currently doing it. The best thing you can do is to read from outlets that produce informative content. Want to know what Glenn consumes to stay informed every day? Sign up for Glenn's Morning Brief newsletter to get all the stories Glenn gets sent to his desk every day sent straight to your inbox.

Assembly

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Freedom of assembly is one of the more impactful yet underutilized freedoms in the First Amendment. Peaceably assembling and protesting with like-minded individuals can hugely influence politicians and policies while simultaneously creating community and fellowship between attendees. It's understandable why more people don't turn out. We're all busy people with busy schedules, and flying out to D.C. for the weekend seems like a daunting task to many. Thankfully, you don't have to go out all the way to D.C. to make a difference. Gather some like-minded people in your town and bring awareness to issues that impact your community. Big change starts locally, and exercising your freedom to assemble can be the catalyst to lasting impact.

Petition

If you've been a long-time listener of Glenn, then you will have heard a few of his calls to action where he asks his audience to contact their representatives about a particular piece of policy. There is a good reason Glenn keeps on doing those: they work. Whether it's your local mayor or your senator, a call and an email go a long way. If you really want to make a change, convince your friends and family to reach out as well.