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Sunday, October 29, 2017
Newsmax Makes A Play for Bill O'Reilly
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax, it seems, would like to be where disgraced ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly takes his talents now that he's a free agent after all the sexual harassment stuff. It's giving him a platform to do his usual O'Reilly thing, as well as rail against the sexual harassment allegations against him.

A Sept. 17 article by David Patten highlighted how "A 2015 arrest by Detroit police of a key accuser of Bill O'Reilly for giving a false report of a crime has raised serious doubts as to her credibility." Patten toutedhow "Newsmax has obtained two documents that cast doubt on Burgess's credibility" and got comments from O'Reilly about it. Three days later, an article by Greg Richter noted that O'Reilly "praised Newsmax for its report this week on his accuser's past arrest on filing a false allegation of a crime."

When news broke of the $32 million O'Reilly paid Fox analyst Lis Wiehl to settle a harassment claim, Richter devoted an article to letting O'Reilly attack the report, which also reproduced the entire statement O'Reilly's lawyer's released.This was followed by a column by Joseph A. Klein attacking former Fox host Megyn Kelly's rebuttal of O'Reilly's denials, asserting that Kelly was showing "apparent willingness to exploit allegations against a former colleague she appeared to have used to advance her career while at Fox News in order to now boost her sagging ratings on a rival network."

Patten wrote in an Oct. 24 article that "O'Reilly told Newsmax on Monday that investigators working for him had uncovered an audio recording of "an anti-Trump attorney" offering an unidentified woman $200,000 to file sexual harassment charges against then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump." And Newsmax devoted an Oct. 28 article to highlighting that "Bill O'Reilly is seeking no less than $5 million against a former New Jersey lawmaker who detailed, on Facebook, an account of his former girlfriend's claims that the former Fox News star allegedly sexually harassed her."

O'Reilly has made apperances on Newsmax TV to make his usual political pronunciations (and, of course, promote his new book), and columns he has written elsewhere, as well as appearances in other media, have been rewritten into Newsmax "news" articles. Newsmax even promoted how O'Reilly's latest "Killing" book "has taken over the No. 1 spot on the New York times best-sellers list, dropping Hillary Clinton's "What Happened" to No. 2."

Newsmax has also published columns defending O'Reilly. In July, for example, Michael Reagan huffed that the "sin" that cost O'Reilly his Fox News job was "being a prominent conservative. The left claims it was because of sexual harassment. But that’s what is strange about the manufactured controversy." Reagan continued to take O'Reilly's side by attacking his victims: "Since they accepted the money, one would have to assume that regardless of what O’Reilly was alleged to have done in the past the women were now satisfied and any wrongs avenged." He went on to rant that "The lesson for prominent conservatives is an attack from the left never blows over."

The peak of O'Reilly promotion at Newsmax, though, is a meaningless poll asking readers if they think O'Reilly should be on TV. It also asks readers what cable or satellite system they use -- meaning that this is a way to gauge reader interest in whether Newsmax should hire O'Reilly as well as seeing how people receive the sparsely watched Newsmax TV, which isn't on many satellite or cable providers. Remember, Newsmax has been battling satellite TV providers over carriage of Newsmax TV.

But O'Reilly isn't the only alleged perpetrator employed by Fox News that Newsmax is defending. A Aug. 14 column by Ronn Torossian (last seen here telling Chevrolet not to put same-sex couples in its ads) lamenting that allegations against Fox host Eric Bolling "has public relations pitfalls for Bolling even if he’s completely innocent. The public is asking questions and making up their minds, in most cases without having any actual facts about the incident or the case."

All of this may be for naught, however -- O'Reilly is reportedly negotiating with right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group for his return to TV. By the way, Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy opposes Sinclair's planned merger with Tribune Broadcasting.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:59 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 29, 2017 8:03 PM EDT

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