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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Newsmax Mum on PAC's Role in NY Special Election
Topic: Newsmax

A March 31 Newsmax article by David Patten on the special congressional election in New York made an attempt to explain away how Republican Jim Tedisco's 18-point lead over "Democratic upstart" Scott Murphy disappeared in a month's time: the economy, the popularity of President Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand (whose vacant seat Tedisco and Murphy are vying for after Gillibrand was named to fill Hillary clinton's Senate seat), "the surrogate war" and "negative campaigning."

One factor that Patten didn't name: the National Republican Trust PAC.

As the Washington Independent reported, the PAC has spent more than $190,000 in ads on behalf of Tedisco that attacked Murphy, ads that have been criticized as being too negative, so much so that they were turning off voters:

According to the Siena Poll released on March 12, Murphy has closed a double-digit gap and is now just four points behind Republican candidate Jim Tedisco. Only 12 percent of voters said the ads they saw for Tedisco made them more likely to support the Republican, to 28 percent who said they became less likely to support him.

Why won't Newsmax talk about the National Republican Trust PAC's role in the Tedisco-Murphy race? Perhaps because the PAC has a relationship with Newsmax columnist Dick Morris, or because its executive director, Scott Wheeler, also writes a Newsmax column -- a recent Wheeler column touting Tedisco failed to disclose his PAC's role in bankrolling hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro-Tedisco ads.

Or perhaps because the PAC is a Newsmax advertiser. For instance, the PAC used Newsmax's mailing list to send out at least three emails since March 19 supporting Tedisco and attacking Murphy (one of which was signed by Dick Morris).

After the polls closed, Patten's article was rewritten to reflect election results (without notifying readers that the article was altered, of course), and all references to the lead Tedisco blew were deleted, save for a reference in the final paragraph that the race "only a few weeks ago appeared to be a virtual lock for the GOP." No reference to the National Republican Trust PAC was added.

UPDATE:  Politico reports that the National Republican Trust PAC spent $819,000 trying to get Tedisco elected.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 2:06 PM EDT

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