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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 18: Reflections In a Jaundiced NewsMax Eye

Even a story about a Catholic bishop is unscathed by Newsmax's insistence on viewing everything by where the Clintons fit in.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/15/2002

The ability of NewsMax to not only view world events only through the prism of where the Clintons fit into it but to rig that vision so that the Clintons always look bad -- and isn't it just incredibly coincidental that they always look bad? -- never ceases to amaze.

This time, in a stretch of Olympic proportions, it's the Catholic clergy sex scandals that get run through NewsMax's Clinton vision-o-meter. An April 8 story compares a woman's allegations of sexual assault against Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony with -- you guessed it -- Juanita Broaddrick's accusations of rape against Bill Clinton. Needless to say, Clinton is not made to look good.

NewsMax's main contention is that the woman who made the accusation s against Mahony has a history of mental illness and expressed a need for cash, while Broaddrick was a woman "with a track record of success in business, no need for cash and no hint whatsoever of mental instability."

Not surprisingly, in boosting Broaddrick's story, NewsMax fails to tell the complete truth about Broaddrick. For that, we turn to that old reliable, "The Hunting of the President" by Gene Lyons and Joe Conason, pages 60-64.

Let's compare and contrast, shall we?

NewsMax: Broaddrick "told five friends about the crime contemporaneously, all of whom vouch for her credibility."

Hunting: " ... (T)he only witnesses to whom she had told contemporaneous versions of the ... story turned out to be her husband David and her old friends Norma Rogers and Jean Darden." (That would be three.) Darden and Rogers are sisters who managed the nursing home Broaddrick and her husband owned; they hold a serious grudge against Clinton because as Arkansas governor, he commuted the death sentence of the man who murdered their father. Broaddrick has said she sympathizes with the sisters' strong feelings.

NewsMax: Broaddrick "had to go from one media organization to another just to get her story reported."

Hunting: "Seven years, two presidential elections, a sworn affidavit, and a civil deposition denying the allegation would all come to pass before Juanita Broaddrick changed her mind, accepted a grant of immunity from Kenneth Starr, and spoke out in early 1999 on NBC News." Additionally, David Brock (back when he was in conservative hit man mode) tried to track down the allegations without success, which were being promoted by two anti-Clinton partisans in Arkansas, Sheffield Nelson and Philip Yoakum. And Broaddrick refused to talk to a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1992 who was trying to follow up Nelson's and Yoakum's allegations.

NewsMax: Shortly after the alleged attack, Broaddrick "seemed badly shaken and asked to be driven home."

Hunting: Broaddrick called a local newspaper to request coverage of a 1990 visit by then-Gov. Clinton to the nursing home she owned.

So far, we've found more questionable facts in a single NewsMax article than anyone has found in "The Hunting of the President." How about that?

Then again, we are talking about NewsMax here, which recently declared Clinton "pronounced by government prosecutors guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison." The boys at NewsMax must have slept through the part of criminal law class in college (or any given lawyer-oriented TV show) in which it is revealed that prosecutors don't convict anyone, judges and juries do, and for anyone to get convicted of anything, a formal charge must be filed in a court of law, not a report.

Not only does NewsMax have a shaky grasp on the facts, it is also ignorant of how the American criminal justice system works.

My diagnosis: As long as NewsMax is searching for an alleged rape victim without a financial motive or history of mental illness, why not check out Selene Walters?

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