Scaife's Pittsburgh Papers Lay Off Workers, Align With Newsmax Topic: Newsmax
Earlier, we highlighted how the Washington Times is adjusting to life without a deep-pocketed right-wing benefactor to cover literally billions of dollars in losses. Now, another right-wing newspaper heretofore protected from the free market is making a similar adjustment.
Trib Total Media, which operates the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and other media holdings of right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife -- who died last year -- announced last week that it was laying off 153 people and will combine its three Pittsburgh-area properties into a single newspaper. It also claims that if two other papers can't be sold, they will be shut down, eliminating another 91 jobs.
As bad as that situation is, it could have been even worse. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (the Tribune-Review's competitor) reports that according to the Scaife estate's inheritance tax report, Scaife loaned the Tribune-Review $147 million, which the estate considers to be uncollectible, which would have the side effect of lowering the value of the estate for tax purposes.
And that's just what's documented by the estate in promissory notes. It's possible that Scaife may have given the paper even more money off the books.
The layoff announcement also contains this interesting tidbit:
We have taken steps over the past several months to build out our digital presence. First, through Mr. Scaife’s estate, our new affiliate, 535 Media, LLC, has acquired 40 percent of the stock of Newsmax Media which is a proven national leader in digital news. We also plan to launch a joint venture with Newsmax, through our affiliate, in early 2016 that will allow us to add to our digital offerings and to expand our national reach.
The Tribune-Review announcement doesn't state how a money-losing organization such as itself could afford to buy 40 percent of Newsmax. The Pittsburgh Business Times makes the connection clearer: That piece of Newsmax is what Scaife owned, and Trib Total Media was bequeathed those shares in Scaife's will.
The Business times also quoted Trib Total Media president and CEO Jennifer Bertetto describing how Newsmax will help its online offerings: one plan is a website that will serve as "a local and national news source targeted to baby boomers that will have a local marketplace aspect and we plan to monetize it through various email marketing concepts that NewsMax has really mastered." Given that Newsmax's "email marketing concepts" tend to center around dubious fianancial schemes and even more dubious health schemes, that may not be the best approach.
Newsmax is affected by Scaife's will in another way: The Post-Gazette writes that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy was awarded $250,000 in the will.
All the cost-cutting demonstrates that Trib Total Media has to try to be a profitable business, even with having $147 million in debt apparently written off. Newsmax, as far as we know, does make money, and the question going forward will be how much the money-making parts of Trib Total Media, like that 40 percent share of Newsmax, will tolerate the money-losing parts.
Newsmax's Ruddy Defends O'Reilly Over Reagan Book, Says Will Should Quit Fox Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy has had enough of the feud between Bill O'Reilly and George Will over O'Reilly's book "Killing Reagan" -- and he taking O'Reilly's side.
In a Nov. 11 column, Ruddy notes that Newsmax has published criticism of O'Reilly's book from historians like Craig Shirley over O'Reilly's suggestion that Ronald Reagan was not fully engaged during the finalyears of his administration, but fawns over Reagan being "a lion, a great visionary who created the greatest economic boom in American history as he brought down the Soviet Empire" and adds, "I would take an 80 percent Reagan over a 100 percent Obama any day."
Ruddy then complains about Will's "seemingly personal jihad against O'Reilly":
Will has gone well beyond offering legitimate criticisms of the book. He has attacked O'Reilly’s integrity as a journalist. O'Reilly stated during their TV exchange last week that Will had agreed to speak with him by phone before he completed his article on the book.
Interestingly, Will accuses O'Reilly of not talking to people involved before publishing his book.
While I have disagreed with O'Reilly on numerous issues through the years, I don't think that there's any evidence he is a person that seeks to mislead people or is an “expert” in such activity, as Will asserts.
O’Reilly is probably one of the most highly-scrutinized media figures of our time. While he sometimes has strong and passionate opinions, he has always been a straight shooter and fair-minded.
Criticism of O'Reilly's book is totally appropriate. But Will’s primary assertion that O'Reilly is “something of an expert on willfully misleading people” and guilty of “extreme recklessness” is simply not substantiated by the contents of O'Reilly's book or his long track record as a media personality.
But O'Reilly has no "integrity as a journalist," and he does have a track record of misleading people. This is, after all, a guy who cited "The Paris Business Review," a publication that doesn't exist, to claim success in a boycott of France, and he has misled about reporting from a combat zone during the Falklands War. Further, O'Reilly's previous book on John F. Kennedy's death contains a false claim about the purported suicide of one of the figures in the case. Ruddy can read more about O'Reilly's actual track record here if he'd like.
Nevertheless, Ruddy concludes his column with how he would handle Will:
I run my own network. It's called Newsmax TV and we encourage a healthy dialogue among anchors, commentators and guests. Disagreements make for great television. But what George Will said crossed the line.
If George Will was a paid commentator on my network and made such claims about our lead news host, I would have promptly gotten Will on the phone.
Here's how the brief conversation would have gone: "George, you are a respected columnist and I respect your opinions. You have every right to criticize Bill and his book. He knows you do and he had the cojones to put you on his own show to hear them out. But you did something more than that.
"You went after him personally and said he's a liar, and that he's made a career of misleading the public. You have used other outlets to attack him. If you feel so strongly about our lead news host, shouldn't you just do the honorable thing and resign from the network?"
After that I would expect Will would do the decent thing and resign from a network where he collects a nice paycheck, in part, thanks to the very host he is crusading against. If he didn’t quit, I would terminate his contract, killing George Will.
End of story.
Interestingly, Ruddy doesn't say he would investigate the veracity of the claims before reflexively defending his host and firing Will.
Newsmax Wants To Remind Right-Wingers It Still Kinda Hates The Clintons After All Topic: Newsmax
It seems that Newsmax wants to regain some of its right-wing Clinton-hating cred.
Newsmax publisher Christopher Ruddy has becomebuddies with Bill Clinton and his foundation, which has caused some backlash in certain right-wing circles where Clinton-hating is an unshakable tenet and who remember that Ruddy founded Newsmax in no small part as an outlet for anti-Clinton forces during his presidency.
Newsmax has apparently decided it wants some of that Clinton-hating mojo back. Its latest loss-leader book offer (for which you surrender your credit card number to receive a few "free" months of Newsmax's magazine, which you have to cancel before the end of the free period to avoid being charged for a full year's subscription) is Ed Klein's new Hillary-bashing book "Unlikeable." The promotion for it includes this fanciful text:
Hillary’s house of cards is crashing around her.
First she screamed at Obama in the Oval Office, “Call off your f---ing dogs!”
Now Ed Klein is blowing the whistle on other stunning details of her shady political dealings and bitter feud with Barack Obama in a new book that just hit the streets.
Unlikeable: The Problem With Hillary hammers the final nails into the coffin of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s flagging presidential aspirations.
Highly regarded journalist and political analyst Ed Klein has thoroughly documented HRC’s decades-long trail of lies, deception, and conniving.
She even dropped an f-bomb on the president of the United States!
Hillary simply won’t be able to talk her way out of this one.
Especially considering the airtight sourcing and impeccable fact-checking Ed Klein has employed in what some are calling the must-read political book of the year.
You can claim your copy for FREE from the limited quantity Newsmax magazine has secured exclusively for our preferred readers.
In fact, the truth about on Klein is very much the opposite of what Newsmax claims. Far from being a "highly regarded journalist" who uses "airtight sourcing and impeccable fact-checking," Klein is considered a joke by actual journalists who point out his heavy use of anonymous and untraceable sources, factual errors and distortions, and lazy "cut and paste" writing.
There's no reason to believe this isn't also the case with Klein's new book, but don't expect Newsmax to tell you that.
Newsmax is also running an odd little poll of the opt-in kind (and, thus, scientifically meaningless)which it claims it will offer to "major outlets" at some undetermined point in the future. Here are the first two questions:
1) In your opinion, did Hillary Clinton violate the law by storing State Department and classified emails on her personal server?
2) Did Hillary violate the law by deleting all emails from her personal server?
But the determination of what is or is not legal isn't a poll or popularity contest, it's based on what's written in the law -- which means the poll is even more meaningless than usual.
Newsmax also doesn't mention that fact-checkers havedetermined that while Clinton's use of a private server is questionable, it's a legal area that's murky at best and it is unlikely she will ever be found to have violated the letter of any law regarding its use.
Newsmax's 'Top 100 Health Blogs' Includes Quacks Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's new list of "Newsmax Health's Top 100 Health Blogs" includes most of the usual suspect. Plus, as you'd surmise with the task of coming up with enough entries to fill the list and Newsmax's own dubious health advice, a couple of quacks.
Located prominently at No. 6 is "Mercola.com — Alternative medicine news from Joseph Mercola, D.O." If that name sounds familiar, it should -- WorldNetDaily promoted Mercola's fearmongering about the HPV vaccine. According to Quackwatch, Mercola is a seller of health supplements who opposes immunization, fluoridation of water, and mammography; claims that amalgam fillings are toxic; and makes many unsubstantiated claims in recommending dietary supplements.
Coming in at No. 34 is Newsmax's own favorite doctor, Russell Blaylock. We've documented how Blaylock -- who has partnerd with Newsmax on a health newsletter -- fearmongers against vaccines and claims NutraSweet and MSG cause brain damage.
Newsmax's mixing of quacks into its list casts a dubious shadow over the rest of the list, even if most of them are offering sound medical advice (which they appear to be doing).
Logrolling In Our Time: Trump and Newsmax Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is already all in on Donald Trump's presidential bid -- has been since 2011, actually. Now there's a new form of logrolling going on between the two: Newsmax's Trump-loving audience votes Trump the winner in post-debate polls -- the opt-in polls are not scientific -- Newsmax gives the results to Trump, Trump cites that poll in public, and Newsmax touts Trump's citing of Newsmax.
This first happened after the Aug. 6 GOP debate, when Trump touted the Newsmax poll claiming Trump won, and Newsmax touted how "Trump pointed to the Newsmax poll while blasting RedState leader Erick Erickson for revoking an invitation for Trump to speak at the conservative group's gathering in Atlanta.
It happened again after the Sept. 16 debate, as Greg Richter is more than happy to inform you in a Sept. 17 Newsmax article:
Presidential front-runner Donald Trump drew cheers on Thursday from a New Hampshire town hall audience when he touted his dominance in the post-debate online polls.
Among them was the Newsmax poll, in which Trump took 46 percent. Carly Fiorina was a distant second at 20 percent.
"Time magazine, they did votes as to who won the debate last night," Trump noted. "114,000 votes as of 6 p.m. Trump 56. Carly Fiorina, 19, Rubio 7, Ben Carson 4. The rest not doing too good." Special: New Probiotic Fat Burner Takes GNC by Storm The Drudge Report poll found Trump favored by 66 percent. Latest News Update
"Second Fiorina much less, like much," he said. "And then Rubio, then Cruz. I'm not going to mention the next name because I don't like him very much."
"Then Newsmax, way up ahead, Newsmax. You like Newsmax? The great Chris Ruddy. I like it, too. Donald Trump, first place by a lot."
The fact that both Newsmax polls are still open for voting (here and here) testifies to the utter meaninglessness of the results.
Newsmax Serves Up Another Trump-Fluffing Promotion Topic: Newsmax
A while back, we caught the Trump-fluffers at Newsmax offering a Donald Trump book as one of the loss-leader promos in its ongoing efforts to sell a Newsmax-published newsletter. Now it's serving up another Trump trinket: a hat with Trump's campaign slogan on it, a common-looking trucker cap Newsmax insists has a "$25 value." Here's the hard sell-slash-Trump campaign commercial (bolding is theirs):
The cap that Donald Trump has been wearing at campaign stops — blazing out his "Make America Great Again," slogan — has become a sensation.
In fact, sales of the Trump cap are off the charts.
Now you can get your very own “Make America Great Again” cap (a $25 value) FREE with this offer, just pay shipping & handling.
The “Make America Great Again” cap is being worn by Americans who stand with Trump in securing America’s border with Mexico – and cleaning up Washington.
Ronald Reagan first used the slogan “Make America Great Again” — which buoyed the hopes of a nation after four disastrous years of Jimmy Carter.
Now, after eight years of Obama’s failed presidency, Americans are finding renewed hope with Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”
Wear this cap with pride — show your friends at the golf course, gym, beach — anywhere outdoors you stand for a strong America. And drive your liberal friends nuts too!
This cap retails for as much as $25 — but you can get it with our FREE Offer today!
Of course, you get "free" issues of Newsmax's magazine, which are "free" only if you remember to cancel after the last "free" one arrives -- otherwise, Newsmax will automatically charge you $39.95 for a full year's subscription.
It must be hard for Newsmax to pretend its news coverage is fair when it's trying to make money from its longtimeassociation with one of them.
Newsmax Is Still Giving A Forum to Anti-Vaxxers Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has longbeen a promoter of the anti-vaccine movement. And despite the fact that anti-vaxxers have been discredited, that promotion will continue.
An Aug. 4 Newsmax Health article by Sylvia Booth Hubbard touts Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s conspiratorial claim that "money is the reason Congress is delaying hearings on accusations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hid a link between the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism," because the pharmceutial industry's lobbying dollars "buys a lot of influence." Hubbard continues:
Republican Florida Rep. Bill Posey has called on his colleagues to investigate charges that the CDC covered up data that showing a strong link between autism and the MMR vaccine.
Rep. Posey referred to last summer's admission by Dr. William Thompson, a senior epidemiologist at the CDC, that he helped the CDC hide data that showed giving a child the vaccine before the age of 36 months increased the risk of autism by 69 percent, and giving it to an African-American child increased the risk of autism by 240 percent. So far, Congress has refused to hold hearings.
"The CDC scheduled meetings to try to destroy the documents that demonstrated children were getting autism from the vaccine by literally dumping them in a trashcan," Kennedy charged."Congress only seems to act when a congress person has been affected directly by vaccine injury."
In fact, there is no such conspiracy (which Newsmax doesn't even get correct -- the claim was that there was a 340 percent increased risk of autism among African-American boys). As ScienceBlogs details about the purportedly suppressed data promoted by Thompson and fellow anti-vaxxer Brian Hooker:
[T]here’s no biologically plausible reason why there would be an effect observed in African-Americans but no other race and, more specifically than that, in African-American males. In the discussion, Hooker does a bunch of handwaving about lower vitamin D levels and the like in African American boys, but there really isn’t a biologically plausible mechanism to account for his observation, suggesting that it’s probably spurious. Finally, even if Destefano et al is thrown out, it’s just one study. There are multiple other studies, many much larger than this one, that failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism.
Even if Hooker is “right,” he has just undermined the MMR-autism hypothesis and proven Wakefield wrong, with the possible (and unlikely) exception of a single group, African American males. Given the dubiousness of his analysis and background, he hasn’t even demonstrated it for them, either, particularly given the copious other studies that have failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism. What he has done, apparently, is found grist for a perfect conspiracy theory to demonize the CDC, play the race card in a truly despicable fashion, and cast fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the CDC vaccination program, knowing that most of the white antivaccine activists who support hate the CDC so much that they won’t notice that even Hooker’s reanalysis doesn’t support their belief that vaccines caused the autism in their children.
Hubbard makes sure to note that "Kennedy says he isn't anti-vaccine," but the fact that he's promoting a discredited anti-vaccine conspiracy theory suggests otherwise.
Newsmax Attacks Fox Anchor on Trump's Behalf, Finds Haters To Back It Up Topic: Newsmax
Already heavily in the tank for Donald Trump, Newsmax does the billionaire's bidding once again with a smear piece on Trump's new bete noire, Fox News' Megyn Kelly.
Reading like something sent straight from Trump oppo research, an Aug. 9 article by Greg Richter recounts a 2010 interview Kelly did in which she was "rollicking with Howard Stern, discussing her breasts and her husband's penis size and engaging in some graphic sex talk." This, Richter posits, makes Kelly a hypocrite for being "turned off by Donald Trump’s sexist remarks."
Richter then digs up, of all people, Walid Shoebat to pile on Kelly for talking to Stern, highlighting a blog post in which Shoebat and his son Theodore highlight the Stern interview and declare that "Meghan [sic] Kelly is a wretch and a vulgar low life."
Walid Shoebat, as we know, has made a career out of claiming to be a reformed Palestinian terrorist-turned-far-right Christian, though evidence of any actual terrorist acts committed by Shoebat is scant at best. WorldNetDaily has allowed Shoebat to peddle dubious and false anti-Muslim claims.
Theodore Shoebat, meanwhile, is a rabid homophobe who advocates executing gays as well as anyone who issues "opinions expressed in favor for homosexuality."
This is who Newsmax thinks is a good character reference for Trump and a credible critic of Kelly. That's how far in the tank Newsmax is for Trump.
Newsmax In Full Trump Promotion Mode Topic: Newsmax
As one might expect given their history together, Newsmax is doing what it can to boost Donald Trump's presidential bid. Here are three of the most obsequious ways it's doing so.
1) The book promo. Newsmax loves giving away books to gin up subscriptions to its magazine, and this time it's using Trump's 2010 book "Time To Get Tough" as its loss leader. The promo copy is positively fawning:
Donald Trump officially put his name in the ring for the 2016 elections, and he touched down like a tornado with his presidential announcement at the Trump Tower in New York.
The well-known entrepreneur and American success story is brazenly taking a stab at real change for our country, with a solid plan to do away with the “losers” who run what was once the most powerful nation in the world.
His announcement speech exposed the flaws of the nation’s leaders and recalled strong elements from his best-selling book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again.”
“Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again” is a pointed reflection on America today. It’s a face-the-facts profile of the damage the Obama administration has done and the concrete solutions needed to stop our decline.
As per usual, the book comes with a three-month "free" subscription to Newsmax magazine and a financial newsletter, which must be canceled before recipients are charged $39.95 for a year's subscription to the magazine and $49.95 for the newsletter.
2) Trump campaign-esque PR. The July 25 Newsmax article is listed as being written by Jim Meyers, but it may have just as well come directly from the Trump campaign's media shop:
Donald Trump has consistently been outpolling all announced Republican presidential candidates despite a barrage of lies in the media about the business mogul.
Here's a look at some of the more prominent untruths the media have reported about Trump:
Meyers has to really finesse the facts to go after some of these "untruths," like this:
The Washington Post reported that Trump said "McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese." But Trump immediately modified his statement by saying, four times, that McCain is a war hero, including: "He is a war hero" and "he is a war hero because he was captured."
But doesn't the fact that Trump "immediately modified" his statement on McCain mean that Trump actually did say McCain wasn't a war hero? You'd think so, but Trump -- er, Meyers feels differently.
3) Kessler's Trump-fluffing. Ronald Kessler -- a Trump-fluffer who did all he could to set the billionaire up for a presidential run in 2012 when he was still a Newsmax employee -- comes back to do some serious sucking-up to the guy in a July 27 article:
The "real Donald Trump" is not the brash, outspoken presidential candidate we're seeing but instead is a sound businessman with smart ideas, says a best-selling author.
During an appearance on Newsmax TV's "Newsmax Prime," Ronald Kessler tells host J.D. Hayworth that if Trump makes it to the general election, he'll know what to do.
"I interviewed his longtime assistant and vice president Norma Foerderer, who went back to when he didn't even have an office," says Kessler, who has written 20 nonfiction books about the Secret Service, CIA, and the FBI."
In a 2006 Kessler article titled "The Real Donald Trump," she revealed, “Donald can be totally outrageous, but outrageous in a wonderful way that gets him coverage. That persona sells his licensed products and his condominiums. You know Donald’s never been shy, and justifiably so, in talking about how wonderful his buildings or his golf clubs are.”
The private Donald Trump, on the other hand, is “the dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man,” Foerderer said. That caring side inspires loyalty and is one of his secrets to success.
Kessler is so obsequious to Trump the guy might as well be paying him, if he isn't already.
4) Defending the indefensible. The Trump-fluffing has gotten so bad, Newsmax on Aug. 3 gave its Trump stories its own sycophantic section title, "Donald Trump Stays Strong":
Note the last story in that list, the only one that approaches being negative. It's about Trump aide Sam Nunberg, who had to be fired after offensive writings, including about Al Sharpton's daughter, surfaced. But the story itself, by Courtney Coren, desperately tries to spin things, quoting her boss trying to sweep the controversy under the rug by saying wonderful things about Nunberg:
Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy said that "Sam has played a terrific role in connecting the Trump campaign with the major media and grassroots organizations that have been key to Trump's success. I hope the investigation of this matter shows it is much to do about nothing."
That's the sound of a guy who is putting trying to stay in Trump's good graces above providing fair and balanced journalism.
Pictures You Never Thought You'd See Topic: Newsmax
Sure, Christopher Ruddy is trying to present Newsmax as something of a mainstream operation, and his rapproachement with the Clintons was a tad unlikely, but how do you explain this, from Ruddy's Twitter account?
Yes, that's Ruddy at the premiere of the film "Southpaw" posing with (apparently bankrupt) rapper 50 Cent. That may be even more unlikely than buddying up to the Clintons.
Trump's Candidacy Gets A Newsmax TV Special Topic: Newsmax
The mutual lovefest between Newsmax and Donald Trump goes way back -- it was the lead cheerleader for a Trump presidential candidacy in 2011, and the two attempted to host a Republican presidential debate together. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has no problem with this, saying at one point, "Trump realizes the great potential of Newsmax and has been using it very adroitly. We're well aware he's using it, happy he's using it."
Newsmax has been touting Trump's presidential ambitions again for this election cycle, and Ruddy hung out at Trump's house to watch the Super Bowl. So with Trump actually declaring a presidential run, it's no surprise to see Newsmax give a little extra love. As a June 16 Newsmax article by Todd Beamon explains, Trump's announcement is getting its own special on Newsmax TV:
Newsmax TV will feature a special presentation on Donald Trump's 2016 Republican presidential announcement Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT.
This special edition of "Newsmax Prime" will feature host J.D. Hayworth and analysis by former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey.
In a rousing, no-nonsense speech at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York earlier Tuesday, the billionaire developer and businessman declared: "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
"I will bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places," Trump said.
Correct us if we're wrong, but we don't recall Newsmax TV giving the "special presentation" treatment to any other Republican presidential candidate.
Newsmax-Promoted Investment Analyst Sanctioned By SEC Topic: Newsmax
In early June, self-proclaimed investment guru Todd Schoenberger was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for spending $130,000 he was given by investors to put in a hedge fund on personal uses instead, as well as other allegations of fraud. He was ordered to pay $69,000 in reimbursement and "prejudgment interest," and he is forbidden from "associating with any broker, dealer, or investment adviser and from serving as an officer or director of a public company."
Media Matters has already noted that Schoenberger made numerous appearances on various cable business networks. But Newsmax has regularly promoted him as well.
A search of Newsmax archives shows 21 references to Schoenberger between January 2011 and November 2014, usually making dubious predictions.
For instance, in an April 2012 article, Schoenberger predicted that stocks would fall 35 percent by the end of the year, despite the fact that had risen 11 percent so far that year. A July 2012 article quoted Schoenberger doubling down by predicting that stocks would fall 40 percent by the end of the year. That didn't happen, of course; by May 2013, Schoenberger had changed his tune and was advising people to buy stocks in a market that, as Newsmax stated, "has already made big gains for 2013."
Schoenberger asserted in a September 2012 article that only "suckers" were buying Facebook stock, claiming its fundamentals weren't strong and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is "wearing the hoodies" and "not doing anything." In fact, despite Schoenberger's claim that Facebook stock "is not a bottom right now" at around $18 a share, that was its bottom, and the stock is surrently more than $80 a share.
Missing from Newsmax's Schoenberger archive, however, is any mention of his SEC sanctioning.
Newsmax's Ruddy Shoots Down Anti-Clinton Attack Book Topic: Newsmax
The new anti-Clinton book by conservative writer Peter Schweizer has been easy to dismiss for its bias and shaky claims -- so much so, in fact, that the ConWeb is not united in promoting it.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy -- who, over the years, has evolved from being a Clinton-hater to a Clinton supporter (though the Clinton hate has never disappeared from his website) -- devoted an April 27 column to defending the Clinton Foundation from the accusations in Schweizer's book, citing his evolution on Clinton as one reason he should be trusted on the issue:
In the 1990s I was described by both James Carville and George Stephanopoulos as the Clinton White House’s No. 1 press enemy. But after Bill Clinton left the White House, I came to admire him and his post-presidential work.
I was drawn to him largely for the very same reason he and his wife are being criticized today: the Clinton Foundation. Over time, I was impressed enough with its work that I even became a donor.
This may be difficult for many of the Clinton critics to stomach, considering the miasma of allegations now being made about them, largely due to a new book entitled "Clinton Cash" (HarperCollins) by Peter Schweizer.
A Fox News special that aired this past Friday detailed many of the allegations from the still-unreleased book. Fox said the book showed the "tangled" and "blurred" relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons' private or political activities.
After watching the Fox program, it became clear to me the only thing "tangled" and "blurred" are the numerous unsubstantiated, unconnected, and baseless allegations being made about them.
Ruddy goes on to note the corporate synergy going on between Fox News and the publisher of Schweizer's book:
I think the imperative for journalists is more appropriate: Follow the money. So let’s do that.
The sister companies of News Corp and 21st Century Fox own HarperCollins, which published Peter Schweizer’s book; they own The Wall Street Journal, which first raised the issue of the foreign donations; they own the New York Post, which broke the details about the Schweizer book; and they own Fox News, which gave the story oxygen and legs.
With so much media mojo from one company, there is no doubt they will be doing some pretty good "cashing in" from the many millions of dollars their new best-seller will generate.
That's something you won't read in the rest of the conservative media -- they're too busy trying to destroy the Clintons after 20 years that it still doesn't occur to them to be credulous about what they're promoting.
Newsmax deserves a little credit for evolving into a conservative outlet that is at least somewhat interested in fairly presenting views it might not disagree with. You won't see that at WorldNetDaily or CNS.
Newsmax's Hirsen Laments Bad Reviews For New 'Paul Blart' Film Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen uses his April 20 Newsmax column to ask where the love is for the new Kevin James film "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," declaring that the film's opening-weekend success "is particularly impressive when examined in light of the excessively brutal reviews that the mainstream film critic community has heaped upon it."
Well, not really. A film sequel generally has a good chance to do well in its opening weekend no matter its quality or reviews from critics. Hirsen works in Hollywood, so he ought to know that.
Hirsen went on to complain that no movie-review websites "paid attention to a positive review that appeared on Ted Baer's [sic] Movie Guide site, in which the film is characterized as 'the funniest family movie in many years.'" Hirsen doesn't explain why anyone should pay attention to right-winger Baehr, who thinks the "Harry Potter" books and films "teach rebellion against authority" because "Witchcraft means rebellion against God's authority in the Bible."
Hirsen pumps up James' supposed family-friendly bona fides, pointing out that he "is married, has four children, and is a committed Catholic believer," as well as "part of an expanding group of professionals in Hollywood who are committed to the goal of creating family friendly fare for the general viewing audience."
Hirsen also ought to know that box-office take is not directly proportional to a film's quality, yet he concludes his column by suggesting it is: "A quick look at the box-office results makes it clear that James has come through for his fans in a big way, and hopefully this portends that more wholesome Hollywood product is in store for the public."
Given that Hirsen promoted Mel Gibson and his film "The Passion of the Christ" -- and defended Gibson after unsavory rants went public -- for years without discolsing the close personal relationship with the actor makes us wonder if there's something between him and James he's not mentioning.
Newsmax Promoting Rubio, Giving Him Campaign Advice Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is not only boosting Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, CEO Christopher Ruddy is trying to tell him how to run it.
On the promotion side, Newsmax is currently offering a copy of Rubio's "engaging autobiography," in which he "shares his gripping life story," for a loss-leader price of $2.95, plus the usual trial subscription to Newsmax magazine that one must opt out of in order to avoid being charged $39.95 for entire year. The promo adds: "Marco Rubio's story is America's story. His story gives hope. His story is one every American who cares about this country should read."
Meanwhile, Ruddy wants Rubio to adjust his campaign messenging. In an April 17 column, Ruddy complained about Rubio's rhetoric calling himself the future while implying that Jeb Bush is the past:
While I agree Marco Rubio is the future of the GOP and a breath of fresh air on the national scene today, he is not answering the real cry of conservative and independent voters.
Today, Americans — especially Republicans — are not interested in a generational change of leadership in Washington.
Americans are desperate, not for change as Rubio suggests, but for solutions.
This time they want to elect a problem-solver — someone who is experienced and has a track record of getting the job done. And Americans would prefer to have someone from outside Washington to clean house.
On the Republican side, we have several strong candidates who fulfill that requirement. They are experienced; they are outsiders; they are problem-solvers; and they get things done.
The first person who fits the bill is Jeb Bush.
I think Marco Rubio made a strategic error by focusing on the "future" and emphasizing his candidacy as a generational change. He should have focused more on his solutions for what he ails the nation, his own new frontier.
Still, he is a much more complex candidate than that alone, and will, no doubt, contribute to the upcoming debate. At the age of 43, he is also positioning himself well for the future. But for the moment, the country needs a Mr. Fix It, with a proven record of doing just that.
Newsmax was proud enough of Ruddy's advice that it published an article the next day citing how conservative talking head Lawrence Kudlow agrees with Ruddy.
Even if Ruddy is claiming to support Jeb Bush for 2016 -- Ruddy, like Rubio and Bush, is based in Florida -- he has been a cheerleader for Rubio in the past. Ruddy wrote glowingly about Rubio's outreach to Hispanics in 2012, and Newsmax donated $1,500 to Rubio's 2010 Senate campaign.
Ruddy is a player in Florida politics -- he's tried to playkingmaker for various Republican candidates there, and at one point was a possible candidate for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson. He would almost certainly like to have a hand in picking the next Republican presidential candidate, especially since two major contenders are from Florida.That may be what's driving Newsmax's editorial and business decisions these days.