Newsmax has long promoted Donald Trump's presidential ambitions, trying to present him as a credible candidate. Now it's trying to do the same for a Republican congressman.
A July 17 Newsmax article by John Gizzi claimed: "In a recent political development that could only be called surprising, Newsmax has learned that U.S. Rep. Peter King, past chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is being encouraged by friends in and outside the Empire State to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016." Gizzi cites only unidentified "friends" of King to back up the claim.
That started Newsmax's echo chamber in motion:
- A July 18 article by Bill Hoffmann featuring King confirming his presidential ambitions to Newsmax radio host Steve Malzberg.
- Another Hoffmann article quoted former Rep. Vito Fossella endorsing a possible King candidacy. Hoffmann also quotes Fossella opining on the current political campaigns of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer: "Everybody is entitled to a second chance. So they can throw their hat in the ring. Let the voters decide." Hoffmann did concede that Fossella "faced his own scandal in office when it was revealed he had a secret love child," but didn't mention that Newsmax has been trying to rehabilitate him ever since.
- A July 19 article by Todd Beamon featured Newsmax columnist Matt Towery chatting up a possible King campaign.
Newsmax caps this speculation with a July 20 meta-article on how "A storm of media interest erupted after Newsmax broke the story on Wednesday that Rep. Peter King was seriously considering a White House run in 2016."
None of these articles, however, touch on one potential stumbling block for a King presidential campaign: his longtime support for the terrorists of the Irish Republican Army. The New York Times reports:
“We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry,” Mr. King told a pro-I.R.A. rally on Long Island, where he was serving as Nassau County comptroller, in 1982. Three years later he declared, “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it.”
As Mr. King, a Republican, rose as a Long Island politician in the 1980s, benefiting from strong Irish-American support, the I.R.A. was carrying out a bloody campaign of bombing and sniping, targeting the British Army, Protestant paramilitaries and sometimes pubs and other civilian gathering spots. His statements, along with his close ties to key figures in the military and political wings of the I.R.A., drew the attention of British and American authorities.
He said he does not regret his past pro-I.R.A. statements. The Irish group, he said, was “a legitimate force” battling British repression — analogous to the African National Congress in South Africa or the Zionist Irgun paramilitary in British-ruled Palestine. “It was a dirty war on both sides,” he said of I.R.A. resistance to British rule.
Newsmax has a notable history of disappearing inconvenient information about candidates it supports, even when it used that very same information to attack the candidate before switching to support.