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O Larry, Where Art Thou?

Mr. Klayman all but disappears from the ConWeb -- as does any reporting on Bush's order to stop the release of Reagan's presidential papers.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/26/2001

Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, an old NewsMax friend, resurfaced there the other day. A Nov. 21 article details various Judicial Watch-sponsored petitions sent to the Bush administration demanding that Bill and/or Hillary Clinton and certain other officials from the Clinton administration be prosecuted for various things.

Why is this news? Because it's the first mention of Klayman on NewsMax in months.

Klayman used to be a favorite of Christopher Ruddy and the boys, since both had the same anti-Clinton agenda. So much so, in fact, that NewsMax ran Judicial Watch press releases nearly verbatim. That's the kind of exposure and the kind of unquestioning relationship with a (so-called) news organization advocacy groups would kill to have.

But that relationship changed after George W. Bush became president. Judicial Watch decided it wasn't content being a partisan shill and decided to live up to its motto, "Because no one is above the law!" Klayman and Co. realized that Republicans were doing some of the same questionable behavior they had long accused Democrats doing, and they took action. And NewsMax grew increasingly uncomfortable.

In April, Judicial Watch filed suit against Texas congressman Tom DeLay and the National Republican Congressional Committee over the committee's alleged selling of meetings with Bush administration officials in exchange for politicial donations. NewsMax buried it in a story about another Judicial Watch action. In May, NewsMax first ignored a lawsuit threat against the National Senatorial Republican Campaign Committee for doing the same thing, then dilly-dallied on a Judicial Watch lawsuit over a Republican fund-raiser at the residence of Vice President Dick Cheney, finally reporting on it eight days after Judicial Watch released its press released about it and "balancing" it with another Judicial Watch action against Janet Reno. In July, Judicial Watch filed suit against the Bush administration to release documents about the actions of the still-secret task force on energy headed by Vice President Dick Cheney; NewsMax ignored it completely.

If you wanted to read about Klayman's doings on the ConWeb, you had to go elsewhere.WorldNetDaily has given Klayman space for the occasional column -- in which he has been, among other things, critical of the Bush administration's efforts during the current war on terrorism. CNS reported on the Judicial Watch lawsuit on the Cheney task force.

(NewsMax's Nov. 21 story, by the way, more or less follows standard journalistic practice in quoting from the Judicial Watch press release (and even acknowledging that fact) instead of past NewsMax practice of just posting the whole damn thing verbatim. They still manage to get a major fact wrong, however; the story states that 120,000 citizens signed the three Judicial Watch petitions when there is merely a total of 120,000 signatures. It's possible, if not likely, that a single person would sign all three petitions, which means the total number of actual petition-signers is as low as 60,000, the number of people on the largest petition.)

Petition grandstanding aside, the last major action by Judicial Watch occurred in early November, when Klayman announced his intent to oppose President Bush's recent executive order that, in effect, stops the planned release of 68,000 pages of documents from the Reagan administration as provided under a 1978 law.

NewsMax, unsurprisingly, won't touch it. WorldNetDaily ran a story Nov. 8 on Klayman's plans. CNS ran a story Nov. 5 about opposition to the executive order but not mentioning Judicial Watch.

What's even more curious, though, is that the WND and CNS stories are the total extent of coverage of this issue on the ConWeb. None of the many commentators on NewsMax, WorldNetDaily or CNS have opined about Bush's action, pro or con.

They're not the only ones eager to bury this issue. Searches of online repositories of conservative information such as the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, National Review Online, Free Congress Foundation, Accuracy in Media and turned up absolutely no examples of any conservative having anything whatsoever to say about it, pro or con.

Strange, isn't it? If Bush's executive order is such a wonderful, necessary thing, why aren't conservatives rushing to the defense of the president? If the order is not necessary, why aren't conservatives denouncing it to the extent they certainly would have if a Democratic president had done the same thing?

Actually, we know the answer to that last question -- that ol' conservative hypocrisy. Critics have called Bush's executive order an attempt to block release of documents that could be embarrassing to ex-Reagan officials now a part of the current administration. Conservatives don't want to hear about Reagan administration excesses; they're still too fixated on Clinton administration excesses, and you can bet they will howl if such an order is still in place in 2013, when Clinton's papers are set for release under the 1978 law. Klayman's current efforts will be long forgotten by then.

Poor Larry Klayman -- loved only when he attacks the Clintons. When he holds Republicans to the same standards, he's ignored by conservatives and not taken seriously by Democrats. And because of that, the ConWeb that had been so good to him is ready to cut him loose, no longer useful to their purposes -- at least until the next time he targets the Clintons.

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