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October Surprises and True Intentions

Is NewsMax endorsing Democratic vote suppression? We report, you decide. Plus: The ConWeb promotes -- and pays for -- last-minute anti-Kerry TV broadcasts but refuses to reveal where the money's coming from.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/30/2004
Updated 10/31/2004

For weeks, NewsMax has been hyping alleged "Democrat vote fraud," no matter how specious the allegation, while ignoring similar examples of Republican vote fraud, as ConWebWatch has previously documented.

Click on the above image to see a full-size screen grab of the story with the "stop massive Democrat vote" line.

But an Oct. 29 story seems to have made NewsMax's true intentions clear. The lead of the story, headlined "Another Court Abets Vote Fraud in Crucial Ohio" and credited like all "Inside Cover" stories to "Carl Limbacher and Staff": "A federal appeals court today supported a Clintonista judge's refusal to stop massive Democrat vote in Ohio, the state that could hold the key to the presidential election." (Italics ours.)

Not "stop massive Democrat vote fraud." Just "stop massive Democrat vote," which suggests that the mere act of a registered Democrat casting a vote is an act of "fraud."

Sure, it could be an editing error, but the story has been posted at NewsMax unaltered for more than 24 hours as of this writing. That suggests either NewsMax means what it wrote or has very incompetent copy editors (or both). Either way, it's more than a little unbecoming -- wait, let's not beat around the bush; it's offensive -- for a news organization to support vote suppression.

But just in case NewsMax copy editors are suddenly roused to duty, click here to see a screen grab of the story with the offending line.

* * *

As ConWebWatch has previously noted, the Media Research Center has declared that the revelation that hundreds of tons of high explosive have gone missing from munitions facility in Iraq, apparently because U.S. troops lacked the manpower to secure it, a "late hit" and a "dirty trick" because it reflects negatively on President Bush. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the ConWeb's final round of October-surprise attacks on John Kerry are also "late hits" and "dirty tricks."

So, what's happening on that front?

In addition to the above smear of Democrats, NewsMax has also been touting the discredited film "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Won't Heal" (you know, the one Sinclair Broadcast Group tried to broadcast before the stockholders caught wind of it and was forced to show something a little more balanced). NewsMax sent out a strange e-mail to its readers on Friday:

Dear NewsMax Readers:

Despite obnoxious attempts by the Kerry campaign to stop the airing of Carlton Sherwood's documentary, "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal," we are pleased to announce that it will begin airing this weekend on many stations across the country.

NewsMax will be airing the program as part of its news programming, offering the American people the accounts of  American heroes - our former POWs - and how John Kerry's activities hurt them, their families, and the country.

The efforts to censor this documentary may rank as one of the most shocking episodes of this historic presidential campaign.

Because of the Gestapo tactics that have been employed to shut down broadcasters, stations and theaters that have sought to air "Stolen Honor," NewsMax will not be releasing the air times of the program.

We can assure our readers that this program will air many times and be broadcast into millions of homes.

NewsMax is committed to the public's right to know on matters of public policy.

We again thank the many NewsMax readers who have helped sponsor our programming. If you have not yet joined us, you can by Going Here and getting a copy of "Stolen Honor."

Thank you.


Aside from the bizarre logical flaw of putting a program on the air but refusing to tell anyone when it will appear, thereby defeating the purpose of the entire enterprise (Update: NewsMax has broken its silence; the film appears to be running it mostly on PAX affiliates), there are a couple other things wrong here.

First, NewsMax has no "news programming" to speak of. It has no broadcast operation, at least none it has promoted on its web site. It attempted a news-type TV show back in 2001 by purchasing Saturday-morning airtime on CNBC, but nothing else has been said about TV programming by NewsMax since that project came and went.

Second, NewsMax is lending its name and corporate resources to a partisan political enterprise, with not only airing the program but by soliciting funds to buy the airtime. The only reason for the existence of "Stolen Honor," despite disingenuous claims to the contrary, is to smear John Kerry with distortions and lies, which makes a partisan political tract though the film's producer and NewsMax Media are ostensibly for-profit companies. Declaring the film "news programming" is the same charade Sinclair tried to pull. Not that NewsMax and "news" have ever been all that synonymous, of course.

Since it is behaving like a partisan political organization, NewsMax has a duty (if not an obligation under federal election law) to publicly disclose where the money to air "Stolen Honor" is coming from, how much it has raised through its solicitations, and how much purchasing all this airtime has cost it.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, is shilling a 30-minute video by the discredited Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (formerly Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which merged with the folks behind "Stolen Honor"), selling online viewings of it as well as promoting the show's broadcasts. Unlike NewsMax, it provides a list of the stations showing the video, mostly little-watched PAX affiliates.

But like NewsMax's activities, there's something shady going on here, too. The broadcasts were allegedly paid for by something called, described as "a non-profit political organization." But this organization's web site is miniscule, and absolutely no information is offered about officials or donors (not even an e-mail address to contact them), and nothing about it can be found at the Center for Responsive Politics', which details information about political organizations.

That's apparently because has been slapped together quite recently; the web site name was registered on Oct. 22, and the contact is a Boca Raton, Fla., man named Jason Walbridge.

That appears to the limit of publicly available information about this shadowy organization. Don't expect WorldNetDaily, which is so eagerly promoting it, or the organization itself to be more forthcoming -- at least, not before the election.

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