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Profiles in Hypocrisy

The ConWeb looks goofy about Rep. McKinney, Catholics, Whitewater -- and themselves.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/8/2002

The latest from the front lines of hypocrisy on the ConWeb.

The hypocrite: NewsMax and

What they did: They've gone all medieval on Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney for suggesting that the Bush administration may have had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. NewsMax is calling her loony, while CNS wrote a one-sided article April 16 accusing McKinney of accepting money from members of "groups that support terrorist organizations" such as the American Muslim Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Why they're hypocrites (this time, anyway): NewsMax wasn't calling McKinney loony back in October 2000 -- in fact, was pretty darn respectful of her. Of course, she was suiting NewsMax's biased anti-Gore election coverage with her accusation that Gore had a low "Negro tolerance level." And as Democratic Underground points out (by searching the same way CNS did), nowhere in CNS' story on McKinney will you find that conservative California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher received twice as much money from the American Muslim Council than McKinney did, and that CAIR donated more money to former congressman and current Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham than to McKinney.

* * *

The hypocrite: Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily

What he did: An April 16 column is Farah's testimony before the Senate Press Gallery standing committee, from which WND is trying to get a permanent press pass. We'll ignore Farah's statement that "some, because of their own biases, choose to stereotypeWorldNetDaily inaccurately as a 'conservative' or 'libertarian' newssite" and focus on another one: "WorldNetDaily has no relationship with (Richard Mellon) Scaife, though he does reportedly invest in a competing newssite..."

Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): Farah seems to be referring to NewsMax, and it would be no surprise to discover that Scaife has sunk some change into former employee Christopher Ruddy's venture. NewsMax remains tight-lipped about where its money comes from. But here he is dishing dirt on competitors while he refuses to name the investors in WorldNetDaily. Remember the work it took for extract from Farah a general breakdown of who owns WND and where the Western Journalism Center fits in? (We're also ignoring Farah's statement that the "Western Journalism Center (which Farah co-founded) does not advocate anything except good journalism" when pretty much the only thing it's on record as doing is using Scaife foundation money to give cash awards to conservative journalists and help Ruddy in his pursuit of the alleged murderers of Vince Foster.)

* * *

The hypocrite: Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily

What he did: In an April 19 column, he criticizes the idea that George Stephanopulos may become the host of ABC's "This Week" by commenting that the public knows "that the last thing this country needs is more dishonest people in journalism."

Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): Sperry's idea of "honest journalism": A March 20 story in which some anonymous person purporting to be "a former White House veterinarian" claims the Clintons didn't treat their pets very well.

* * *

The hypocrite: NewsMax. Again.

What they did: An April 12 story claiming that "liberal writers" are using the priest-sex scandals to gang up on the Catholic Church.

Why they're hypocrites (this time, anyway): A recent issue of Insight magazine offers a detailed look "at the personal stories and allegations of sexual exploitation at the hands of just one priest ... a veteran clergyman accused of molesting both little boys and young girls over many years." Where's the hypocrisy? Insight, not a liberal publication -- NewsMax, WND and CNS are all listed among its favorite websites -- is published by News World Communications, owner of the decidedly not-liberal Washington Times and the UPI wire service.

* * *

The hypocrite: NewsMax (one more time).

What they did: A May 5 story takes Susan McDougal to task for driving a $51,000 Mercedes when she allegedly "still owes the government hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Whitewater-related civil judgment. The story continues taking her to task even after revealing that the car belongs to her lawyer, Mark Geragos.

Why they're hypocrites (this time, anyway): The hypocrisy of highly selective editing. NewsMax ignores a lot of things that appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story its article is taken from:

  • The McDougal car story was originally reported in January, which demonstrates what a crack reporting staff NewsMax has.
  • McDougal is disputing the money the government says she owes because of her pardon by President Clinton.
  • And NewsMax conveniently overlooks the fact -- the lead of the Democrat-Gazette story, to be precise -- that David Hale has paid a mere $2,125 of the more than $2 million he was ordered to pay as a part of his Whitewater-related convictions.

That little oversight happened because NewsMax CEO Christopher Ruddy has decided that Hale is "truly an American hero" for his testimony against the Clintons in the Whitewater affair. Ruddy also led a campaign to get Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to grant Hale clemency so he would have to serve a 21-day prison term for lying to state insurance regulators (which Huckabee did grant), a charge Ruddy calls "petty."

Gee, a little double standard there, Mr. Ruddy? Apparently, lying is bad only when a Clinton does it. And failing to live up to one's legal obligations is just fine as long as one takes a few potshots at a Clinton along the way.

It's worth noting here that Hale, according to Gene Lyons' and Joe Conason's "The Hunting of the President," not only lied during sentencing hearing on his Whitewater-related charges (defrauding the Small Business Administration of a couple million dollars), but appeared to lie in his testimony during the trial of Jim McDougal. That's in addition to getting a little legal help from current Solicitor General Ted Olson.

This is the kind of person Christopher Ruddy considers to be an "American hero." Scary, huh?

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