ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

NewsMax's Hillary Hobgoblins

NewsMax has no intention of extending its kid-glove coverage of Jeanine Pirro to Hillary Clinton; otherwise, it would have to treat Clinton's "old news" the same way it's treating Pirro's.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/17/2005

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, as the saying goes. Consistency not a problem NewsMax has, though it still lives up to the small-mind part.

If its early coverage of Jeanine Pirro's candidacy for Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat, NewsMax is going to be wildly inconsistent -- refusing to apply the same reporting rules to Pirro that it does to Clinton.

The first indication of that was in a Aug. 9 article declaring that "Mrs. Clinton's media spinners" were "recycling the old news that Pirro's hubby, Albert, was convicted of tax fraud and had fathered an out-of-wedlock child." NewsMax's logical inconsistencies (in this case, anyway) begin right here -- it had never reported on Albert Pirro's felonious, fornicating past until that article. It was most certainly not "old news" to its readers.

Now, Albert Pirro's peccadilloes happened five years ago. So it would be logical to assume that anything more than five years old is "old news" and therefore not worthy of NewsMax coverage, right?

Uh, no. The article proceeds to rehash President Clinton's impeachment, which happened longer ago than Pirro's misbehavior:

On December 19, 1998, Mr. Clinton became the first elected president in U.S. history to be impeached. [Impeached President Andrew Johnson wasn't elected - a fact that matters in a process that otherwise involves the House "overturning the will of the people."]

And since the Clinton co-presidency was sold as a "buy one, get one free" deal - the taint of impeachment tarnishes Hillary as well.

Each time the press insists on re-airing Mr. Pirro's dirty laundry, Jeanine Pirro's campaign should waste no time in treating the public to a little impeachment history lesson.

See a pattern forming? It's yet another example of NewsMax's Clinton Exception, in which the Clintons are treated differently than anyone else who committed the same alleged transgressions.

An Aug. 11 article by Jim Meyers continued the inconsistency as he complained that "New York's notoriously liberal press launched a full-scale assault on [Pirro] -- and her husband." He even dragged poor Edward Klein -- author of that factually challenged Hillary-bashing book -- into it. Klein predicted "story after story about the alleged mob connections of Pirro's husband" -- whoa! NewsMax didn't tell us about this, at least until this article -- as well as that "the [New York] Times and the other media outlets will display a convenient amnesia about the ‘other man' in the race – Bill Clinton – and his impeachment, disbarment and public shame."

But by NewsMax's own standards as applied to Pirro, the impeachment is "old news." Why is Klein bringing it up?

Meyers also dragged in 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and her husband, John Zaccaro, who "was being investigated for real estate improprieties," making the unsubstantiated claim that "[a]t the time, the major media put a lid on allegations about Ferraro's husband, claiming a professional woman should not be judged by her husband's actions." Yet a Nexis database search turns up news articles on Zaccaro's problems such as an Aug. 22, 1984, Washington Post article on a conservative legal group's demand that the House Ethics Committee investigate its claim that because of Zaccaro's alleged improprieties, Ferraro (a congresswoman at the time) violated House disclosure rules. (Any Nexis count of 1984 stories on Ferraro and Zaccaro, by the way, would be artificially low and not reflective of reality because so few news outlets' Nexis archives date back to 1984.)

Meyers also performed another service for Pirro: He buried an incident during Pirro's official campaign announcement in which she was silent for 32 seconds as she fumbled for a missing page from her written speech. Meyers portrayed it as a "minor gaffe" that the rest of the non-Pirro-fluffing media made a "bid deal" of. Can you imagine NewsMax treating such a faux pas with similar brevity if a Clinton had performed it? Didn't think so.

Such a already prodigious record of inconsistency suggests that another Pirro mini-scandal will not be reported by NewsMax if it can at all avoid it: how lucrative it is to be Pirro's bodyguard-slash-driver. Turns out he made more than $129,000 last year, and so far this year he has made $87,000 in overtime alone, on top of his annual $101,000 salary. It's all taxpayer money, by the way, paid out even as Pirro laid off prosecutors in her DA's office due to budget cuts.

Yet, even this record of inconsistency wasn't enough for NewsMax. An Aug. 13 article complained that while "the press has bombarded its readers with coverage of her husband's tax fraud conviction and out-of-wedlock child," an exhaustive Nexis search found that "In all of last year - while the press has been rife with speculation that the former first lady intends to seek the White House - a LexisNexis search for stories on Mr. Clinton's "impeachment" that also mentioned the "sexual assault" allegations that surfaced at the time came up empty."

Well, Mr. "Carl Limbacher and Staff," that's because it's "old news" -- by your own definition as you have applied it to Pirro.

Yet the article goes on to repeat alleged "scandals" that, like impeachment, fall under NewsMax's "old news" standard. Plus, most of them -- from "Viagra for sex offenders" to an allegation that "an American-flag-carrying honor guard of Albany police was spit upon at her May 2000 Senate nominating convention" -- don't involve anything Hillary Clinton actually did.

The article concludes by asserting: "The challenge for Jeanine Pirro: Recognize that the mainstream media intend to conduct themselves as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Clinton campaign -- and call them on it."

The challenge for NewsMax, meanwhile, is to admit to its readers that it's a wholly owned subsidiary of Pirro's campaign -- and rid itself of that biased hobgoblin. (It's either that or blowing up the place, as was tried with some other hobgoblins.)

Ah, hell, who are we kidding? NewsMax thinks that the 50-year-gone Ku Klux Klan association of Sen. Robert Byrd is current news. Why would it bother to behave honestly and responsibly?

Send this page to:
Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-05 Terry Krepel