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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Flip-Flop Is Complete: Newsmax Endorses Rick Scott
Topic: Newsmax

Remember Newsmax's trashing of Rick Scott in the Florida gubernatorial Republican primary in order to benefit its preferred candidate, Bill McCollum? Never mind.

Newsmax has pulled a complete about-face, gotten back to toeing the Republican line, and endorsed Scott. In an Oct. 19 editorial, Newsmax stated that the "Republican voters spoke — and they chose businessman Scott," asserting that "the outcome of this governor's election will have a direct impact on the 2012 presidential race. For the Republicans to defeat President Obama, it is crucial for the GOP to hold on to the Florida governorship in 2010."

That's not the most enthusiastic endorsement we've seen, making it all too clear that it's all about getting a Republican -- any Republican -- elected and not out of principle.

Newsmax notes that Scott is " former CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain," but the reference ends there. What did Newsmax say about Scott's tenure there when it endorsed McCollum?

On the campaign trail, Scott has refused to answer in-depth questions about his role at Columbia/HCA, the hospital chain he founded and where he served as CEO until the 1990s.

After an FBI investigation, Scott’s company pleaded guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government in the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history, and paid a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties, and damages.

Scott says he never knew about the fraud, nor was he ever personally charged. But he was forced out of the company after nabbing a $310 million golden parachute.

As Fox News commentator Dick Morris says, only two things about Scott can be concluded: Either he was incompetent and knew nothing of the massive fraud under way at his own company, or he was indeed complicit in the crime. Either way, he should be disqualified from being governor of the state of Florida.

But the Scott saga gets worse.

The healthcare company that Scott co-founded after leaving Columbia/HCA, Solantic — a chain of emergency clinics located in Florida — has been embroiled in 10 legal actions in the past decade, two of them involving Scott personally. One includes a lawsuit from a doctor who says Solantic fraudulently misused his medical license.

Newsmax wants people to forget all about that now. Indeed, the Scott endorsement is careful to mention none of that, instead focusing on the alleged transgressions of Scott's Democratic opponent, Alex Sink.

Newsmax telegraphed that it was sending Scott's unsavory past down the memory hole in its initial attack on Sink. With the editorial, Newsmax's revisionism is in full swing.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT

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