One of the more minor controversies involved whether author Harry Hurt III was actually escorted off the grounds of a Trump golf club. Newsmax has its own take on it in a Jan. 2 article -- credited only to "Newsmas Wires" -- noting that it was "newsworthy because Hurt was golfing with billionaire David Koch as part of Koch's foursome at West Palm Beach's Trump International Golf Club."
The article then quickly runs to Trump's defense, noting that Hurt had written a book that "published divorce allegations made by Trump's first wife Ivana that while married she had been 'raped' by her husband," adding, "Ivana later recanted the comment, said she never meant to imply a legal definition of rape. She strongly supported her ex-husband in his presidential bid."
That was followed by a section we're pretty sure did not come from any wire service Newsmax subscribes to:
Hurt claimed in his Facebook post "David was appalled" by Trump's actions and implied David was asked to leave as well.
A Koch source tells Newsmax "at no time was DHK asked to leave."
Koch said "something to the effect when Harry Hurt offered to leave on his own, 'We came as a foursome and will leave as a foursome,'" the source said.
Another Koch associate in Palm Beach said the billionaire was not aware of the feud the two had in the past year. He was surprised his longtime friend had accosted Trump on the course and then went public with the episode.
The source added Koch has always personally liked Trump and he "loves" Trump's golf course, which he thinks is one of the best in the country.
The week before, Koch and his wife Julia had met Trump at Mar-a-Lago during a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and Palm Beach heiress Talbott Maxey. Koch congratulated Trump on his election victory and the two had a cordial conversation.
So not only is Newsmax close enough to the right-wing Koch billionaires to get a quick response from a "Koch source" for this story, Christopher Ruddy is hosting parties for Trump.
We've noted that Ruddy has long been a Trump buddy, and that he and then-Newsmax reporter Ronald Kessler played a major role in feeding Trump's presidential ambitions in the runup to the 2012 campaign, which set the stage for his 2016 run. Newsmax and Trump even tried to co-host a GOP presidential debate during the 2012 campaign, which fizzled when only two candidates showed interest in participating. Newsmax is headquarted in West Palm Beach, so the closeness to Trump is geographical as well.
Ruddy's closeness with Trump doesn't bode well for any effort to portray Newsmax as a fair and balanced news organization and not a Trump shill with conflicts of interest.