The Truth About NewsMax
...is that it doesn't care about the truth. It will deceive and lie to its readers to shill Ed Klein's Hillary-bashing book.
By Terry Krepel
We know that longstanding Clinton hatred is one thing driving NewsMax's promotion of Edward Klein's attack book on Hillary Clinton, "The Truth About Hillary." The other thing is noted in a June 27 NewsMax article: "'Truth' has also been the biggest selling book in the history of NewsMax's online store."
Between venting of animus and pursuit of cold, hard cash, NewsMax isn't about to let little things like facts get in the way. And NewsMax has lied about the Clintons before.
Limbacher is so immersed in Clinton conspiracy-mongering that he refuses to consider the rather obvious possibility that the book sucks. Indeed, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough -- a reliable conservative not known for kowtowing to "the Hillary camp" -- described on June 27 his reasons for canceling Klein's appearance on his show, "Scarborough Country": "After learning the stories were inflammatory, the sources were weak, and the book's relevance was less than zero, I canceled the booking." Scarborough's account appears nowhere on NewsMax.
Also, Klein himself has canceled at least one appearance. The Regional News Network, shown in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, notes that Klein canceled a scheduled interview there. As a host said on the air, Klein is "keeping his appearances where softballs are the only questions that he's going to hear."
Limbacher also listed media appearances by Klein to date with one conspicuous omission. There's no mention of Klein's June 24 appearance on Air America Radio's "Al Franken Show," undoubtedly because Franken and guest Joe Conason nailed Klein to the wall, questioning his copious use of anonymous sources and making him admit to a number of errors in the book. Presumably, Klein didn't want a repeat episode on RNN, so he appears now to be limiting his media exposure to friendly (read: conservative) outlets.
Meanwhile, Klein friend John LeBoutillier is doing some deceitful gymnastics in his June 27 column to chastise conservatives for not promoting Klein's book but not actually naming them.
LeBoutillier writes: "Another GOP strategist, said he 'wanted to take a shower' after reading the book. He obviously did not read a page of it because, if anything, the book repeats much of what has previously been published elsewhere. ... Still another strategist attacked Klein and said his book could create a 'sympathetic backlash' for Hillary. What nonsense!"
Interestingly, while LeBoutillier's NewsMax column doesn't name names, the version of the column on his blog does. Perhaps that's because the purveyor of "nonsense" for suggesting that Klein's book could create a "sympathetic backlash" for Hillary is none other than Dick Morris, longtime NewsMax buddy.
LeBoutillier appears to be playing fast and loose with his other quotes. He attributes the "take a shower" remark to Republican consultant Craig Shirley, but the only reference ConWebWatch could find to Shirley's comments on the book was a June 22 BBC article in which he said: "This stuff is disgusting. It makes your skin crawl."
The guy who did say it (and made it quite clear that he did read the book) was New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, in a June 22 column: "This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word."
Another mystery man, described in LeBoutillier's NewsMax column as "one conservative at the normally sane New York Post," is identified in the blog version as Podhoretz. He drew criticism because he “incorrectly stated that Ed Klein wrote that 'Hillary is a lesbian.’" (In the blog version, LeBoutillier claims that Podhoretz "lied about the book.") LeBoutillier adds: "Precisely the opposite is the case: Ed Klein has repeatedly said and written, 'I do not know' her sexual preference."
But the statement "Hillary is a lesbian" does not appear in Podhoretz's column; the closest is his observation that "what really floats [Klein's] boat" is the "notion that Sen. Clinton is secretly a lesbian."
NewsMax even goes for serious word-parsing in a June 28 article by Phil Brennan, which accuses Maura Moynihan, daughter of former New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whose seat Clinton won election to after his retirement, of "smearing" Klein by claiming that Klein didn't interview her mother -- whom Klein quotes as not liking Hillary -- for the book:
Klein never interviewed Elizabeth Moynihan?
Brennan, however, is so fixated on attacking Maura Moynihan that he fails to address a documented error in Klein's book regarding the Moynihans, which appeared in the first pre-publication excerpt NewsMax printed. Klein claimed that, when introducing Clinton at her candidacy announcement for his Senate seat, Sen. Moynihan never said Clinton's name; in fact, he said it three times.
Brennan also fails to reconcile the fact that NewsMax took a different approach when a similar situation occurred last fall regarding Kitty Kelley's book on the Bushes. One source for Kelley's gossipy tidbits, the ex-wife of Neil Bush, recanted statements attributed to her. NewsMax didn't attack her at all, like it attacked Moynihan, but instead attacked the author.
"The big bombshell promised by Kitty Kelley in her scorching anti-Bush book, 'The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,' has prematurely imploded, with a key witness behind the book's central charge now denying Kelley's version of her account," NewsMax wrote in an September 2004 article.
Another September 2004 article denounced Kelley as a "poison pen celebrity biographer." Yet another one called the book "Kitty crock" and suggested that it will be helpful in the 2004 presidential "just as friends of the Dems are searching for sleaze." An October 2004 article called Kelley's book a "rumormongering ... screed" filled with "outrageous and unsubstantiated claims."
We would ask Brennan (or anyone else at NewsMax) what the difference is between Kelley's book and Klein's book, which is also filled with "outrageous and unsubstantiated claims." But we know the answer: Kelley's book didn't dish about the Clintons, and NewsMax isn't trying to make some scratch selling the thing.
NewsMax is immodestly taking credit for the book's success. A June 29 article claims:
But the book's success despite the media blackout is probably due to NewsMax.com's intense coverage of Klein's book and the censorship effort against it. The New York Times, the Associated Press and liberal groups close to the Clinton [sic] have credited NewsMax’s key role in the book's notoriety and its sales success.
The article is a nice encapsulation of NewsMax's approach on this story. It doesn't mention that notorious Clinton-hater Richard Mellon Scaife's money is behind NewsMax (which ConWebWatch readers already knew, and which NewsMax finally acknowledged to its readers for the first time in reprinting those Times and AP articles that cited NewsMax); it perpetuates the veneer of respectability on Klein by claiming that he "carries impressive liberal media credentials"; and, of course, yet again fails to tell readers that the book is more rife with errors than the Kitty Kelley book it denounced just a few short months ago.
(Update: LeBoutillier was equally immodest -- and deceptive -- in a June 30 column, insisting that Klein is "a completely honorable man and a credible journalist" and NewsMax is "the only news organization to give 'The Truth About Hillary' an honest shot. NewsMax has been supportive -- and fair -- about the book." Well, yeah, if your idea of honesty and fairness is lying to and deceiving your readers, as well as smearing those who don't agree with you then being squeamish about calling them out by name.)
After all, salesmanship is easy if you lie to your customers and conceal the poor quality of what you're selling.