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A Little Toe-Sucking Among Friends

"Great political mind" Dick Morris signs on with NewsMax.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/21/2002

NewsMax is actually proud of its snaring of extremely ex-Clinton adviser Dick Morris as a columnist for its magazine (you know, the one with the the questionable circulation figures). So much so, in fact, it defended the hiring in a June 15 "Insider Report" to its e-mail subscribers.

"Whatever your opinion of Dick Morris, his is one of the great political minds of our time," an "Insider Report" item states, trying to make NewsMax readers forget about his little scandal of prostitutes and toe-sucking. Such a "great political mind" is Morris, in fact, that he predicted Rick Lazio would defeat Hillary Clinton for New York Senate the day before the election. (Hillary, as we all know, won a double-digit victory.) He also predicted Hillary wouldn't run for Senate at all.

Morris, in fact, has a long history of murky prognostication. In 1998, he predicted the Democrats "will absolutely be obliterated" in the midterm elections, losing 30 House seats and five Senate seats. (Democrats wound up gaining five House seats and holding even in the Senate.) He also predicted that five certain Democratic senators might side with the GOP on calling witnesses during Clinton's impeachment trial; all of them voted to dismiss the trial instead.

Morris is also a major, major suck-up artist. Even as he was resigning his Clinton post in 1996, he insisted Clinton "is a great President and a great man," and had nothing but nice things to say about Hillary in his book "Behind the Oval Office," calling her a "warm, decent, sincere and sensitive, a tireless crusader for children and an excellent wife and mother." Compare these words with his NewsMax press-release statement: "With all of the bias in the media, it is refreshing to work with NewsMax, which goes where other media outlets fear to tread."

Oh, and did we mention that Morris has a new book out that NewsMax, presumably in return for his column-writing, is plugging the hell out of -- to the almost desperate point of giving the thing away to new subscribers of NewsMax magazine? (Note that the blurb touts Morris' "sharp-eyed political savvy.")

The article continues: "A number of readers reminded us of the details of his 1996 sex scandal that made the tabloids. But Morris is a changed man since then. He got help for his sexual addiction and also converted to Christianity. He is now an active member of the Catholic Church. Morris also has expressed remorse for helping Bill Clinton. He now believes that both Bill and Hillary should be investigated and, if found guilty, prosecuted."

Uh, back up a sec. Since when do investigators find people guilty? Judges and juries do that. And didn't Ken Starr, Robert Ray, et al., just conclude an investigation in which they couldn't find anything worth prosecuting beyond lying about sex? "Great political mind" or not, it's clear there are no great legal minds at NewsMax.

NewsMax's deal with Morris also apparently involves treating anything that comes out of Morris' mouth as a pearl of wisdom. Among these "pearls" are a June 18 statement that "I think that George Stephanopoulos' appointment as the anchor for the TV show 'This Week' represents the final enshrinement of the liberal establishment media at ABC." Does that mean former Bush I administration staffer Tony Snow's job as host of "Fox News Sunday" is the "final enshrinemnt" of conservative orthodoxy at Fox News? Morris then goes on to ponder, in his usual erroneous style, "if Terry McAuliffe or Al Gore will become the successor to Peter Jennings."

The "Insider Report" article concludes with the sanctimonious statment: "In a time when no one shows shame or remorse for anything, we find Morris' actions laudable." Morris, however, is not so shamed or remorseful as to refrain from making wild, unsupported allegations, like one he made in January that Bill Clinton bought "what is in effect a vacation house" with money raised for his presidential library. The NewsMax article on the allegation actually details just how specious the claim is: "Morris did not say where the new Clinton home is located or how much it cost."

This statement also assumes anyone at NewsMax knows anything about shame or remorse. Heck, Christopher Ruddy can't even do something as simple as publicly retract an false story, one prime indicator of a sense of shame among those claiming to be leaders of news organizations.

In NewsMax and Ruddy, Morris has found someone who will treat him like the "political guru" he thinks he is and who hates the Clintons as passionately and beyond reason as he does. Ruddy is always on the lookout for some new alleged Clinton salaciousness to peddle, however shaky, and Morris seems more than happy to oblige. One has to wonder if Morris' alleged "sharp-eyed political savvy" is really just about seeing where his bread can be buttered most lucratively these days, and being a Clinton-basher for a Scaife-backed "news" organization is certainly one way to accomplish that.

Dick Morris' work for NewsMax is an indicator of the kind of person Morris is, as well as the kind of company NewsMax is, and shame or remorse have nothing to do with it.

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