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... And Then, Silence

NewsMax doesn't want to talk much about its journalistic misdeeds. Plus: The NewsMax IPO is DOA, and guess what foundation is moving next door to NewsMax?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/25/2003

    Mr. Limbacher:

    Given the focus in your Inside Cover section on problems at the New York Times, can your readers also expect NewsMax to publicly address its history of distortion, plagiarism, fabrication and, yes, Maureen Dowd-like doctoring of quotes? An incomplete list can be found here.

    I along with my growing audience (more than half a million page views to date) are very interested to know if NewsMax will apply the standards it imposes on the New York Times to itself.


    Terry Krepel
    editor, ConWebWatch

* * *

    In a message dated 5/29/03 12:55:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

    NewsMax will apply the standards it imposes on the New York Times to itself.

    Actually, the standards at NewsMax are far higher than those employed by the NY Times. For instance, NewsMax has never ever employed a journalist known to be guilty of fabricating information and plagiarizing material from other news outlets.

    The Times, on the other hand, now admits that they did just that by continuing to inflict Jayson Blair's fraudulent reports on their readers long after they knew he was fabricating his stories.

    You can assure your loyal readers that NewsMax will never sink to the paltry standards that currently govern what passes for journalism at the Times.

    And you can quote me on all of the above, as long as you don't deliberately try to distort my meaning the way Maureen Dowd does with her quotes.

    Carl Limbacher/Writer and Editor for's Inside Cover

* * *

    Mr. Limbacher:

    Ah, but NewsMax already has sunk well below the Times' "paltry standards." Those include, as documented at ConWebWatch:

    Those are just off the top of my head; there are more. I don't need to distort anything you have to say when the evidence so clearly contradicts you.

    Feel free, as you always have been, to respond to the specific allegations I have made and explain how they represent the "far higher" standard of journalism at NewsMax.

    Terry Krepel
    editor, ConWebWatch

* * *

It's been close to a month now since my response to Limbacher's reply, and I have not heard anything back. Apparently, he does not want to talk specifics.

* * *

Speaking of silence at NewsMax -- the stock offering NewsMax planned to offer more than a year ago is now officially dead.

In May, NewsMax Media Inc. sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting that its registration to sell stock filed in early 2002 be withdrawn. No reason was given, but the letter notes that "The Company may undertake a subsequent private offering ..."

Why indeed? The current market for IPOs? The embarassment of having such things as how much of the company Richard Mellon Scaife owns and Christopher Ruddy's salary and the extent of the company's losses (more than $11 million) revealed to the public? (Especially when the prospectus revealed that NewsMax had been lying about the circulation numbers for its magazine.) Or the discovery of what ConWebWatch suspected all along -- that kneejerk conservatism and Clinton-bashing is nowhere near enough to sustain a publicly owned company. Or maybe NewsMax is staking its future on overpriced playing cards.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Ruddy for the record blames the dried-up capital markets. But he cites recent alleged traffic increases on the site during the Iraq war as proof that "vindicates what we are doing. ... We do have a product that there is a demand for."

The Post also reports that NewsMax raised $15 million from private investors in the past year and turned a profit in the first quarter. It also led a group that bought the building NewsMax's headquaters is located in for $8.55 million.

"We don't pretend that we are CNN, that we are getting every point," Ruddy said. "We are offering another perspective."

We don't recall anyone mistaking NewsMax for CNN, who at least makes much more of an effort to tell the entire truth to its readers.

* * *

Another tidbit gleaned from the Palm Beach Post: The Scaife Family Foundation last month moved its headquarters from Pittsburgh to West Palm Beach, Fla. -- also the hometown of NewsMax.

The foundation is one of four linked to Richard Mellon Scaife, the Scrooge McDuck of the conservative, anti-Clinton movement of the past decade -- and also the third-largest shareholder in NewsMax.

According to the Post, though, the Scaife Family Foundation no longer has a close link to the other Scaife foundations, which remain headquartered in Pittsburgh. It is controlled by Jennie Scaife, Richard Scaife's daughter, who has lived in Palm Beach for several years. She scoffs at the idea that a point person for her father's agenda: "You gotta laugh ... It's ridiculous. My father has nothing to do with it."

While the foundation has donated to Planned Parenthood, drug treatment programs, colleges and local animal shelters, according to the Post article, it also financially backs measures to restrict immigration and abolish affirmative action as well as some of the usual conservative beneficiaries such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

The Post story also details some of the Scaife foundations' monetary activity, including giving $1.5 million to Judicial Watch during 2000 and $2.5 million to the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has an office in Miami and defended the Republican-backed Florida education voucher plan in court last year.

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