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The Cry of Censorship: WAAAAAAAH!!

NewsMax howls when George Will gets edited, but refuses to tell the truth about No Gun Ri.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 1/21/2001

Who else but NewsMax could squeeze three stories out of one line being edited out of a conservative columnist's writing?

On Jan. 11, NewsMax became offended that the Los Angeles Times edited what it called "a reference to well-founded allegations that President Clinton committed rape" out George Will's column of that day, in which Will called Clinton "not the worst president the republic has had, but he is the worst person ever to have been president." (Insert your own commentary here about how this squares with conservatives' oft-stated opposition to the "politics of personal destruction.")

The next day, NewsMax crowed that it got the Times to issue a correction, thereby "acknowledging its deliberate attempt to suppress Will's Rapegate reference."

In most circumstances, that would have been the end of it. But NewsMax managed to find a new angle on Jan. 17 which demonstrates in a nutshell the NewsMax approach to journalism.

The article proudly leads with the fact that Bill O'Reilly mentioned the incident on his Fox News Channel show. (Rule No. 1: Suck up to Fox News.) A little gratuitous media-bashing is thrown in, calling the Times' act "censorship" and adding: "Unlike the Times, polls show that most Americans agree with Will's interpretation of the facts." (Rule No. 2: Present "facts" without corroborating evidence.) Not until the second-to-last paragraph does the reader discover the one truly interesting tidbit of information in this story: Among other newspapers removing the rape reference from Will's article was "the usually reliable New York Post." (Rule No. 3: Bury negative information about conservatives.) The article concludes with the statement: "A spokesman at the Post told WABC Talk Radio's Steve Malzberg that the rapegate deletion was due solely to limitations of space." (Rule No. 4: When caught doing the same thing "liberals" do, conservatives get the benefit of the doubt.)

While all this was going on, NewsMax was practicing what could be called censorship of another story, the accusations that American troops shot and killed civilian refugees during the Korean War at a place called No Gun Ri.

A Jan. 12 UPI story on NewsMax notes that President Clinton offered regret for the No Gun Ri incident, but the story never admits what the U.S. military already has: that the incident did indeed occur.

The article states that the incident was "long denied by the United States" and that "for decades the United States denied that U.S. troops were even in the area at the time of the killings." Yet the day before this article appeared, the Associated Press, which broke this story, reported that Korean and U.S. investigators concluded that the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment killed an unconfirmed number of refugees at No Gun Ri in July 1950. The UPI article says nothing about this.

Why? It's likely UPI's shoddy writing. With Arnaud de Borchgrave, former editor of the conservative Washington Times, at the helm and the conservative Unification Church, owner of the Washington Times, holding the purse strings, UPI has an interest in casting aspersions on anyone who criticizes the military, even if it's true. And they're probably not happy about repoting on a competitor's scoop, either.

It's virtually impossible to double-check if NewsMax editing anything out of the story; anyone would be hard pressed to name a UPI client other than NewsMax. (de Borchgrave sits on NewsMax's board of directors.)

NewsMax also has an interest in not telling the truth about No Gun Ri: it contradicts its own reporting. A May 12, 2000, story based on accounts in U.S. News & World Report and the magazine Stars and Stripes, alleges that the No Gun Ri story is "so riddled with gaping holes ... that its credibility is practically nil." NewsMax also calls the No Gun Ri story "a natural for today’s yuppified anti-military media."

It also happens to be true. Accusing someone of "censorship" while practicing one's own is among the lowest forms of journalism.

And it's making a liar of Christopher Ruddy, who promised that "if I believed we had stated something false, misleading or inaccurate, I would immediately retract the story and make any corrections." Given that NewsMax has never alerted its readers to any retraction or correction it has made, a person can't help but wonder how many other lies Ruddy and NewsMax would like people to believe.

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