The Trump Stenographers At Newsmax: (Third) Indictment Edition
Newsmax turned itself into the Trump Defense Network as Donald Trump faced yet another indictment, with dozens of defend-and-attack pieces and columnist eager to portray him as a victim.
By Terry Krepel
As the indictments pile up against Donald Trump, Newsmax is continuing to serve as the Trump Defense Network.
When new charges were added to Trump's (second) indictment over classified documents, Newsmax first responded with a July 28 wire article, followed by an article touting former Trump adviser Stephen Miller declaring that the added charges are "'further proof' of the Department of Justice's efforts to keep him from returning to the White House." There was also a wire article on Trump denying the charges.
Then came the usual promoting of folks defending Trump and attacking the special counsel who brought the case, Jack Smith:
Because Trump held a rally a couple days later -- which, of course, Newsmax aired live -- Newsmax made sure to promote that too with several articles:
Newsmax did slip in a bit of bad news for Trump, though -- a July 29 article by Eric Mack noted that "A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has granted CNN's motion to dismiss a $475 million defamation case brought by the former president."
But a third indictment was looming. It did a little foreshadowing and complaining early on Aug. 1:
When the indictment dropped later that day, an article by Eric Mack stated that "Special counsel Jack Smith's Washington, D.C., grand jury has delivered a four-count, 45-page indictment against former President Donald Trump and listed six unnamed co-conspirators," adding that "A detailed Trump campaign statement was posted to Truth Social," which Mack reprinted. That was followed by a more detailed wire article on the indictment. After that, Newsmax once again fully activated its Trump defense mode yet again:
Newsmax did sneak in a couple articles that attempted to tell the other side of the story:
On Aug. 2, Newsmax cranked up the Trump-fluffing (and justice-bashing) even more:
Newsmax did publish a few more articles telling the other side, but they were again far outnumbered by its defenses of Trump:
Newsmax also published an Aug. 2 article it took from All Israel News highlighting a statement by Trump's campaign complaining that the indictment "is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the former Soviet Union, and other authoritarian, dictatorial regimes" -- though the article also featured the Anti-Defamation League criticizing the comparison.
In the third day of coverage on Aug. 3, the pattern continued:
There was also the usual smattering of articles that offered a veneer of telling the other side of the story:
On Aug. 4, it was more of the same:
Again, these defend-and-attack articles far outnumber the articles that tell the other side:
That makes at least 52 articles in the four days after the third indictment was announced.
Columnists play defense
Newsmax columnists continued to defend Trump even after the third rounds of indictments continued, with a heavy dose of Biden whataboutism and a dash of conspiracy theorizing. Larry Bell complained in an Aug. 7 column:
A special hypocritical irony of the Biden Department of Justice's relentless attacks on Joe’s foremost opponent and threat, Donald Trump, are the latest indictment(s) which accuse him of exactly what the legacy media has been doing all along namely, subverting trustworthy presidential elections.
Ben Stein ranted the same day:
Knowledge is power. and sometimes the lack of knowledge is a different kind of power.
Scott Powell huffed in an Aug. 9 column:
Yes, this a legal battle.
Jefferson Weaver attacked the indictments as well in his Aug. 11 column:
Given the widespread media attention lavished on these cases, some observers might believe that these indictments were truly brilliant examples of legal scholarship that could be displayed in museums to be enjoyed by future generations.
The only examples Weaver cited of "preeminent legal scholars," however, were longtime Trump defenders Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley.
Bell returned with an Aug. 18 column that started by painting Trump as a nice guy who is being victimized:
Having met Donald Trump on a couple of social occasions several years ago and found him to be very gracious and likable, plus gratefully agreeing with virtually all of his presidential domestic and global policies, I have nevertheless kept an open mind regarding my final 2024 GOP primary pick until now.
Bell then repeated false talking points about President Biden:
Undeterred, Trump’s enemies impeached him for asking incoming Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to look into former VP Biden’s suspicious ties to the corrupt business practices of Burisma, an energy company that was paying son Hunter $1 million a year as a board member.
In fact, Biden encouraged Ukraine to fire Shokin because he was not investigating corruption. Bell served up more misinformation:
Then came impeachment No. 2, in which Trump again was acquitted, and then a months-long Democrat kangaroo court hearings, that accused Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Those hearings included only two Republicans, both of which were adamantly anti-Trump, allowed no meaningful cross examination and entirely omitted his statement: "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."
Another falsehood -- Pelosi could not have "refused" an offer of National Guard troops before the Capitol riot because she does not control it and there is no evidence Trump ever made such an offer. Bell concluded by whining:
Now, in a desperate attempt to get that elusive Trump mug shot to plaster on the front page of every global newspaper, another felony Trump indictment under mob RICO charges for attempting to interfere with Georgia’s 2020 election vote counts. This is in a state where Stacey Abrams challenged her “stolen election” for governor based upon “discriminatory” requirements that voters verify their true identities.
Bell didn't explain why he thinks criminal matters should be handled by popular vote.