Self-Congratulatory Lies Topic: Newsmax
In an overly self-congratulatory Aug. 15 column, NewsMax editor Christopher Ruddy tells two lies, one big and one small.
The small one: In a little dig at WorldNetDaily and its regular pleas for cash even though it's ostensibly a for-profit company, Ruddy claims that "Already NewsMax.com is the leading online news site with a conservative perspective. And we have accomplished this in a short time, without asking for donations, while building a profitable media enterprise."
That's not quite true. In an abortive 2001 attempt to establish a TV presence via informercials, NewsMax went the public-TV route of giving trinkets in return for donations, as ConWebWatch has noted. It created something called the Off-the-Record Club, in which donors -- er, members received "a special audio tape briefing from a top expert, insider or VIP – giving you an insider's perspective you won't get from the major media" in exchange for $25 a month to "help NewsMax to buy national TV air time to expand our reach." NewsMax also sought donations to buy airtime the weekend before the November 2004 election to air the anti-John Kerry film "Stolen Honor" on TV stations across the country (NewsMax has refused to disclose how much this airtime cost, which may be in violation of election law since airing "Stolen Honor" was clearly a partisan election activity).
The big lie: Ruddy claims NewsMax has done "comprehensive coverage of the new book on Sen. Hillary Clinton by author Edward Klein, 'The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President.'"
"The Counter Clinton Library is alive and well and about to launch a major new direct mail campaign this September to 400,000 prospective donors," former Congressman John Leboutillier tells NewsMax.
The erroneous report was based on an interview with one of the group's partners, who announced he was "giving up" on the project.
But Leboutillier says other project organizers outvoted him and still plan to proceed full speed ahead.
What's interesting: It took LeBoutillier four days to get LeBoutillier's reaction (thus fulfilling our prediction that you wouldn't see much on it at NewsMax until a positive spin could be put on it); and though NewsMax publishes LeBoutillier's weekly column, the article couldn't get his name quite right (the "B" was not capitalized).
Perjury, or Not? Topic: Media Research Center
Here's one thing we noted in looking over the MRC's new blog, NewsBusters.
Vinny Fiore, in making a NewsMax-like defense of Jeanine Pirro in an Aug. 10 post, misleadingly describes what President Clinton did in his Whitewater investigation-related testimony: "It is common knowledge that what Clinton did was commit perjury before a Grand Jury." Well, no. Perjury has a specific legal definition, and to be a perjurer, one must have been convicted of perjury. Lying under oath is not, legally, the same thing as perjury. As Fiore himself later writes, Clinton was found in civil contempt of court, not perjury.
Looks like the ConWeb has its marching orders. Even as Fiore complains about New York Times "hit pieces against Pirro," look for even more hit pieces against the Clintons by people like Fiore.
Record-High Obsession Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's obsession with the fact that today's skyrocketing gas prices aren't historical records when adjusted for inflation surfaces yet again in CyberAlerts on Aug. 12 and Aug. 15.
As ConWebWatch has noted, the MRC has expressed no similar outrage over the fact that conservatives regularly describe the 1993 tax increased passed under President Clinton as the largest in history, when in fact a tax increase passed under President Reagan is the largest (adjusted for inflation, of course).
CNS Two-Fer Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Randy Hall goes for two in an Aug. 15 article.
First, he portrays any opposition to John Roberts' Supreme Court nomination as meaningless, quoting political analyst Larry Sabato as calling liberal groups' attempts to "undermine Roberts" as "a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Second, Hall quotes two people attacking NARAL Pro Choice America's anti-Roberts ad as "a dishonest attack" and the somewhat redundant "factually flawed and without basis in fact," but she doesn't describe what was allegedly dishonest about the ad. She does, however, link to her Aug. 9 CNS article on the ad on the words "dishonest attack" -- which, as ConWebBlog previously noted, actually bolsters the case the ad's basic point (that Roberts filed a brief that supported the case of violent anti-abortion extremists) has at least some basis in fact.
UPDATE: Correction: Randy Hall wrote this article, not Susan Jones.
Who's Jered Ede Misquoting These Days? Topic: CNSNews.com
Lo, how the misquoter has fallen.
CNSNews.com correspondent Jered Ede, an instant legend of ConWeb bias for misquoting Paul Begala, has apparently been moved to reporting duties that reduce the chance of that happening again -- or, at least, where he will be limited to misquoting conservatives in order to make them look good.
Among Ede's recent CNS stories include an Aug. 9 item promoting the Media Research Center's new blog (the MRC operates CNS) and an Aug. 12 puff piece touting how "Coalition and Iraqi forces have been dealing blows to terrorism in Iraq since June, according to statistics from the Pentagon."
Given Ede's record, keeping him far away from real news appears to be a good choice.
Dark Days Topic: WorldNetDaily
Letting his pro-extremist bias show again, WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein declared in an Aug. 13 news article that the Gaza disengagement is, for Jews, "the darkest day of their history." (The story's headline puts "darkest day" in quotes, but the only person making the assertion in the article is Klein himself.)
Guess Klein never heard of a little thing called the Holocaust.
Even as Klein cites events such as "the outbreak of pogroms against Jews during the First Crusade, the expulsion of Jews from Spain and later from England, and the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Germany," they are all apparently trivial matters compared to disengagement.
Why, again, is WND using this man as a "reporter"?
The online gamer zine Gamer Revolution notes that Thompson has taken offense to an AIM buddy icon posted on a sister site depicting a gruesome death for Thompson (well, as much as you can depict one in a buddy icon). Even though it was removed from the site per a cease-and-desist letter from Thompson, that wasn't enough. Thompson is demanding the arrest of the zine's president because the removal of the icon "constitutes an admission of guilt."
The zine concludes that Thompson is "a litigious, headline-hungry lunatic who routinely exhibits a startling lack of common sense." Sounds about right.
More ConWeb Magazine News Topic: Newsmax
We keep forgetting to post this, but last month, NewsMax made a point of noting that "In recent months NewsMax Magazine has hit more than 100,000 paid subscribers - this means that more than 400,000 Americans read NewsMax Magazine each month!"
It's hard to say meaningful NewsMax's 4-readers-per-copy claim is, since no evidence is offered to support it. But let's take a trip back in time for NewsMax's history of fudging circulation figures.
As ConWebWatch has noted, NewsMax has publicly claimed in the past that the magazine has "a paid monthly readership of more than 300,000 readers," while noting at the same time in its filing for its abortive IPO that the magazine's circulation was, in fact, "approximately 59,395."
Given the similar lack of evidence to support the circulation claim and NewsMax history of lying about it, there probably isn't much reason to believe that claim, either.
'The Best News Magazine in the World' Topic: WorldNetDaily
We missed this when we were detailing the logrolling WorldNetDaily is doing for David Kupelian's book (or maybe it wasn't there before), but the logrolling article promotes a "Special Offer" for those who buy Kupelian's book from WND:
When you order "The Marketing of Evil" from WorldNetDaily's online store, you can also receive – FREE – three issues of David Kupelian's elite monthly Whistleblower magazine, which many have called the best news magazine in the world.
No evidence is offered that anyone, let alone "many," thinks that Whistleblower is "the best news magazine in the world."
We skimmed through the book tonight at the bookstore, and yes, it has a version of his "media matrix" essay. And no, there's no mention of the matrix WND weaves.
NewsMax Pimps Bogus Poll Topic: Newsmax
In an Aug. 11 article, NewsMax turns to the last resort of publicity -- the meaningless, opt-in online poll -- to tout Jeanine Pirro.
While NewsMax concedes that the poll is "unscientific," it claims that "it continues a trend that began this week." No, it doesn't; the fact that the poll is unscientific means that it is not a true reflection of anything beyond the opinions of those to chose to vote in the poll.
Updates Topic: The ConWeb
-- NewsMax punts, runs only an AP article on the demise of its beloved Counter Clinton Library. Did NewsMax Media or Christopher Ruddy donate to it? Time to hunt down those donation records, since it was a 501(c)3 group that had to report donations to the IRS.
-- NewsMax also continues lying about Jamie Gorelick, ignoring history of "wall."
-- More whitewashing of Jeanine Pirro's 32-second gap, this time for CNSNews.com's Rich Galen: "I don't blame Ms. Pirro for that gaff [sic]. I blame the staff and the environment which we have created around public officials."
New Article: Where the Killer Is A Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why does WorldNetDaily have as its Jerusalem reporter someone who is so cozy with a militant Jewish movement that he whitewashes and obscures its history of violence and extremism? An in-depth look at WND's Aaron Klein that began in ConWebBlog. Read more.
The He-Man Clinton-Haters Club Packs It In Topic: Newsmax
The Associated Press reports that the Counter Clinton Library, championed by the likes of NewsMax and John LeBoutillier as "the headquarters of the Stop Hillary Now campaign," has folded:
"I'm giving up," said Houston businessman Richard Erickson, who established nonprofit Counterlibe Inc. last year to fund construction of a Counter Clinton Library in Little Rock and another in Washington.
He said the Counter Clinton Library's Web site would be shut down soon. In addition to railing against the former president and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the site touts what may have been the failed organization's biggest moment - a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in which a fake news reporter makes fun of the group's very mission.
In a separate e-mail sent Wednesday, Erickson informed [former congressman Bob] Barr that he couldn't raise enough money to continue.
"Nearly every dime raised has gone to professional fundraisers and lawyers," Erickson wrote to Barr. "I cannot continue, in good conscience, to ask well-meaning people to donate to what they believe is a good cause, when the money will most likely be consumed in administrative and legal expenses."
Does this mean Scaife wouldn't bail 'em out?
Don't expect a NewsMax article on this until LeBoutiller figures out how to give it a positive spin.