Newsmax sent out an email today to its mailing list touting the presence of Sarah Palin in “a special pre-election webcast series we will be airing exclusively online” starting October 12. According to the email, the webcast, to be called “Make America Great Again,” will be hosted by Michael Reagan and feature Palin as well as “other opinion leaders such as Dick Morris.”
Morris, of course, has been a longtime marquee participant in shilling for Newsmax’s money-making schemes. Like Palin, Morris is a Fox News contributor, making her at least the third Fox News employee to team up with Newsmax; the other is Bill O’Reilly, who did an interview featured in an informercial for yet another financial product (though Fox News denied that it knew O’Reilly would be used in that way). Palin has also previously touted Newsmax as one of the news sources she reads.
It wouldn’t be Newsmax, though, if it wasn’t using people like Palin to try and sell you something.
If you sign up for this webcast, you are directed to a web page (PDF) that gives you the opportunity to upgrade your Palin experience -- for a price, of course. You can continue to pay nothing and receive only “Brief Clips of the Exclusive Interviews With Governor Palin, Dick Morris, Mike Reagan, and the Entire Lineup of Important Guests” and “Limited Access to the ‘Make America Great Again’ Attendee Website.” Or you could pay $9.95 to be a “VIP Member” and receive “Unlimited Access to the Make America Great Again Campaign, PLUS” a copy of Palin’s forthcoming book. You also get trial subscriptions to Newsmax’s magazine and one of its financial reports, which has the usual caveat that you must cancel before the trial period ends to avoid being automatically charged for a year’s subscription to them.
Or you can pay Newsmax an extra $20 not to send you the magazine and newsletter; a $29.95 “Book Membership” gives you “all of the benefits of VIP access as noted above, as well as Sarah Palin’s upcoming new book, but you will NOT receive free trial subscriptions to Newsmax magazine and The Franklin Prosperity Report.” Seeking payment for not doing something is an interesting money-making strategy, and it’s a big clue as to how much the profitability of Newsmax’s promotion depends on people forgetting to cancel their trial subscriptions.
The web page also gives previews of the webcast series, which looks like it will be mostly about attacking Obama, reinforcing right-wing talking points, and encouraging conservatives to vote in November. It also sycophantically calls Morris “the top political strategist and the man Time magazine referred to as ‘the most influential private citizen in America’ ” – which, as we’ve previously noted, it did just before Morris resigned in disgrace from Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.
Newsmax may not be selling financial schemes for once, but it sure has a connection with Fox News that it has no problem exploiting.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)