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Sunday, August 6, 2006
NewsMax Dissembles About Itself
Topic: Newsmax

An Aug. 4 NewsMax article simultaneously trumpets the fact that a July 31 New Yorker article by Hendrik Hertzberg listed NewsMax as among "influential" websites and aments that a separate New Yorker article by Hendrik Hertzberg claims that NewsMax deliberately uses the erroneous term "Democrat Party" to describe the Democratic Party.

NewsMax's response to that charge is quite disingenuous. It doesn't specifically deny Hertzberg's claim that it "blue-pencils Associated Press dispatches to de-'ic' references to the Party of F.D.R. and J.F.K.," but it claims that "on occasion and rarely, copy editors may have used the colloquial 'Democrat.' "

In fact, not only does NewsMax use the term "Democrat Party" more than rarely -- the term appears in approximately 245 NewsMax articles, according to its search engine -- it has indeed changed "Democratic" to "Democrat" in wire articles. For instance:

  • An Oct. 20, 2003, AP article on NewsMax uses "The Democrat and Republican parties" and "The Democrat party's database" where the original AP article (a version of which is available via Nexis) used "Democratic."
  • A July 8, 2004, AP article on NewsMax states: "Elaborate plans are already in the works to protect the Republican and Democrat party conventions in New York and Boston" where the original AP article used "Democratic."
  • A Dec. 22, 2004, AP article on NewsMax uses "Democrat party officials" and "Democrat stronghold" where the original used "Democratic," but let stand unchanged a reference to "the state Democratic Party."
  • A Nov. 6, 2002, UPI article on NewsMax states "In three of these cases, Republican incumbents dispatched Democrat incumbents," "the Democrat House leadership," and "Democrat party operatives" where the original article used "Democratic." (We've previously noted NewsMax's rewriting of UPI articles to make them slanted, something the AP presumably doesn't let them get away with.)

Perhaps instead of being disingenuous, NewsMax could explain to its readers why it felt the need to make that change. 

While NewsMax no longer appears to be actively changing AP articles to reflect its bias, the writers it publishes regularly use the term; a July 26 column by Phil Brennan, for example, uses the terms "Democrat candidate," "the Democrat party," "[i]n spite of Democrat claims," and "Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi." 

Somebody's not using that word colloquially.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 PM EDT

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