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NewsMax Corrects Itself!

It only involves two minor errors, but hey, it's a start. Now, about all those other screw-ups...

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/2/2001

It's heavily buried, but it's there: NewsMax actually issued a correction. Two of 'em, if you can believe it.

It can be found in a March 28 Wes Vernon story that starts out by trashing John McCain for his campaign finance reform efforts (all of the anti-McCain quotes are anonymous) then meanders to Clinton-bashing by Ohio congressman Jim Traficant. Tacked on at the very end is the following (link added):


1. In our piece Wednesday on medical privacy, the correct name of the AAPS medical group is Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

2. The HHS panel that scrutinized the medical privacy issue is a long-standing entity, created decades ago.

This, to ConWebWatch's knowledge, is the first explicit admission by NewsMax that it an article on its site contains an error, coming months after editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy pledged that "if I believed we had stated something false, misleading or inaccurate, I would immediately retract the story and make any corrections."

It's certainly not that NewsMax hasn't made mistakes:

  • The same day he made the above pledge, Ruddy asserted as fact the false rumors that the Clintons were selling their house in Chappaqua, N.Y. In the very same article he accuses the Clintons of improprieties in the Whitewater land deal that the subsequent investigation cleared them of.
  • NewsMax columnists Dan Frisa and Barry Farber have incorrectly asserted that that the TV networks' call of Florida for Al Gore occured much earlier than it did, allowing them to falsely claim that Republican voters in the Florida panhandle were discouraged from voting.
  • A May 2000 NewsMax story states that reports that American troops shot and killed civilian refugees during the Korean War at a place called No Gun Ri is "so riddled with gaping holes ... that its credibility is practically nil." A military inquiry concluded that the No Gun Ri incident did indeed occur, but NewsMax never ran a story about it.

There's another screw-up worth noting. On March 5, NewsMax reprinted an item from the American Spectator web site that Sen. Hillary Clinton nearly knocked over Sen. Strom Thurmond following President Bush's state of the union address. The problem? Thurmond didn't attend the speech. As the Palmetto Journal (a site about political news in South Carolina, Thurmond's home state) notes, "the American Spectator columnist who initially reported the story backed off his story a bit and said that Thurmond may not have been seen at the speech, but he was in the room where media interviews were conducted following it."

But no one's sure of that, either. The Palmetto Journal also quotes John Monk, a reporter for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., as saying:

"I was at Bush's speech last week, both in the U.S. House chamber (in the press gallery) during the speech and outside in Statuary Hall for an hour afterwards. Strom was not there. No one I talked with saw Strom that night. I was on the lookout for him because that's why I went to Washington-- to do a story on him. Also, his office said he was not there, which I reported in my Sunday articles on Strom. ...

"As my articles reported, Strom is not in the best of health these days. He needs two people to help him walk. Anyone seeing the trio of Strom being helped by two aides would not forget it; the sight is very noticeable. The notion that Strom was somehow stashed outside House chambers and out of sight of everyone through the night seems, shall we say, far-fetched."

So NewsMax gets caught in another apparent lie. But since it's about a Clinton, don't look for a correction. As long as it makes the Clintons look bad, the truth doesn't matter.

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