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

The ConWebWatch Primer

Who's behind the conservative news sites that ConWebWatch watches?

Media Research Center | WorldNetDaily
Newsmax | Accuracy in Media

Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center

L. Brent Bozell III calls himself "one of the most outspoken and effective national leaders in the conservative movement today."

Bozell is founder and chairman of the board of the Media Research Center, "the largest media watchdog organization in America." The MRC was founded in 1987. His books include "And That's the Way It Isn't: A Reference Guide to Media Bias"; "Pattern of Deception: The Media's Role in the Clinton Presidency"; "How to Identify, Expose and Correct Liberal Media Bias"; "Out of Focus: Network Television and the American Economy"; and "Weapons of Mass Deception." Bozell is also founder and chairman of the Parents Television Council, "the only Hollywood-based organization dedicated to restoring responsibility to the entertainment industry." Bozell is a nephew of conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. and the son of L. Brent Bozell Jr., who co-wrote "The Conscience of a Conservative" with Barry Goldwater.

In 1998, Bozell launched the Conservative Communications Center (C3) and its online news division, Conservative News Service, now Cybercast News Service (see below). The mission of C3 is "to provide the conservative movement with the marketing and public relations tools necessary to proactively deliver its message into the 21st century." In 1995, Bozell founded the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group that aims to "bring America's demand for positive, family-oriented television programming to the entertainment industry." The MRC also operates the Business & Media Institute (formerly the Free Market Project), which claims to "audit the media's coverage of the free enterprise system," to "bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media." In August 2005, the MRC started the NewsBusters weblog. In 2006, the MRC founded the Culture and Media Institute, which aims "to preserve and help restore America’s culture, character, traditional values, and morals against the assault of the liberal media elite, and to promote fair portrayal of social conservatives and religious believers in the media."

Bozell also serves as executive director of the Conservative Victory Committee, an "independent multi-candidate political action committee" whose goal is to help elect conservative candidates to office. He has also served as national finance chairman for the Pat Buchanan's 1992 presidential campaign and finance director and president of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. He also writes a syndicated column, which is reproduced on the MRC web site.

Bozell is also a member of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group described as a congregation of "the Right's Washington operatives and politicians, its financiers, and its hard-core religious arm."

The Media Research Center, headquartered in Alexandria, Va., bills itself as "a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and education foundation"; donations are tax-deductible. The MRC is a steady recipient of donations from conservative-oriented foundations. In 1996, its operating budget was just under $4 million; in 2000, the MRC reported income of $15 million. It employs approximately 60 people. -- originally Conservative News Service; the name was changed to Cybercast News Service in 2000 -- was launched by the Media Research Center on June 16, 1998, "as a news source for individuals, news organizations and broadcasters who put a higher premium on balance than spin and seek news that’s ignored or under-reported as a result of media bias by omission."

Its first executive editor was Scott Hogenson, who for the previous six years worked in the Republican National Committee's press office. Hogenson took a leave of absence during the 2004 presidential election to work again for the RNC; after briefly returning to CNS after the election, he left for good in 2005 to become deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. His replacement as executive editor, David Thibault, also had RNC ties; he was a senior producer for GOP-TV's "Rising Tide," a televised weekly news magazine broadcast by the RNC. Thibault died in July 2007. Other CNS staffers have similar conservative credentials.

Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily

Farah worked for a number of daily newspapers prior to the creation of WorldNetDaily. In 1990, Farah became editor of the now-defunct Sacramento (Calif.) Union, owned for several years by Richard Mellon Scaife, though he did not start work there after Scaife sold the paper to two Sacramento real estate developers, Daniel Benvenuti Jr. and David Kassis. They along with Farah were accused of taking the paper in an even more conservative direction than it had been under Scaife and skewing stories to reflect conservative ideas. Farah resigned as editor 15 months later; under his editorship, the paper's circulation declined nearly 30 percent, from 72,000 to 52,000. (The Sacramento Union closed in 1994; it was revived in 2004 as a web site and magazine.) Farah has also served as executive news editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner (now defunct) and served as editor-in-chief of a group of California dailies and weeklies.

Farah is the co-author, with former U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, of "This Land is Our Land," and in 1994 he collaborated with Rush Limbaugh on his book "See, I Told You So." In 2003, he wrote the book "Taking America Back"; in 2007, he wrote "Stop the Presses! The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution."

Farah co-founded the Western Journalism Center with James H. Smith, former publisher of the Sacramento Union (and former CEO and publisher of the revived Sacramento Union operation). The center provided Christopher Ruddy with "additional expense money, funding for Freedom of Information Act requests, legal support and publicity" during his investigation of the death of Vince Foster while working as a reporter for the New York Post and the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. This included buying full-page ads in major newspapers reproducing Ruddy's work and co-producing a video about the Foster investigation with Ruddy. The center accepted $330,000 in donations from Scaife-connected foundations in 1994-95. The center has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service over a tax audit it alleges was politically motivated. Farah is, like Bozell, also a member of the secretive Council for National Policy.

WorldNetDaily started in May 1997 as a project of the Western Journalism Center. WorldNetDaily describes itself as "a fiercely independent newssite committed to hard-hitting investigative reporting of government waste, fraud and abuse.", Inc., headquartered in Cave Junction, Ore., but incorporated in Delaware, was spun off in 1999 as a for-profit subsidiary of the non-profit Western Journalism Center with the backing of $4.5 million from investors. Farah and the Western Journalism Center own a majority of WND, according to Farah; the rest of the stock is owned by about 75 private investors. As of late 2001, WorldNetDaily employed 25 people. Farah has said that about 80 percent of WND's revenue comes from the sale of books and videos through the site.

In 2002, WND created a book publishing division in partnership with Thomas Nelson Publishers, a prominent Christian publisher; authors include Katherine Harris and Michael Savage. That partnership ended in late 2004, and Nelson was replaced by Cumberland House Publishing. WND replaced partners again in early 2007, to conservative publisher World Ahead Publishing. WND acquired World Ahead in January 2008. The company claimed in 2001 that it expected to turn a profit in 2002. WND has approximately 20 employees.

WND also operates the subscription-only "intelligence resource" website G2 Bulletin.

Christopher Ruddy and NewsMax

Christopher Ruddy came to prominence through his reporting work on the death of Vince Foster and other alleged Clinton administration scandals for the New York Post and the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In 1997, Mr. Ruddy authored the book "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster." Also in 1997, Ruddy and Pat Matrisciana, producer of the anti-Clinton videotape "The Clinton Chronicles," worked together on a videotape titled "The 60 Minutes Deception," a counterattack on the TV show and its correspondent Mike Wallace for debunking Ruddy's views on Foster's death. Accuracy in Media help to pay for the video's production costs. Matrisciana and Ruddy held a joint bank account that at one point contained roughly $3 million, according to Joe Conason and Gene Lyons in their book "The Hunting of the President." Not long after the "60 Minutes" video was released, Ruddy started a newsletter called Vortex, later followed by the creation of NewsMax. Vortex later grew into NewsMax magazine.

NewsMax, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., but incorporated in Nevada, operates under the parent company NewsMax Media Inc. The business model of NewsMax is based on "an integrated approach between online and offline publishing and direct sales." NewsMax's corporate shell was formerly known as Sequoia Digital Corp. NewsMax calls itself a "major news portal," as well as "one of America’s leading sources of balanced news coverage." It claims its print magazine has a paid readership of 240,000, but it told the Securities and Exchange Commission in a prospectus for a proposed public stock offering filed in March 2002 that the paid circulation was 59,395. (A November 2005 article reported that audited circulation was 102,695.) Ruddy said at the end of 2000 total investment in the company was "less than $10 million," and the company became profitable in November 2000, though the SEC filing details that NewsMax has lost nearly $11 million from its founding in 1998 through the end of 2001 and had yet to turn a profit. NewsMax withdrew the proposed IPO in 2003. Ruddy is the largest shareholder of NewsMax Media; Richard Mellon Scaife is the third-largest shareholder.

NewsMax Media, which Ruddy called "a mix between an online content site and a direct marketer," which has approximately 50 employees, raised $15 million from unnamed private investors in 2003; that same year, it expected to reach $8 million in sales revenue and was part of a group that purchased the West Palm Beach building where its headquarters are located for $8.55 million. in 2002, NewsMax forged a book-publishing joint venture agreement with the Prima Forum (now Crown Forum) imprint of Random House.

NewsMax also operates a financial news website,, and a companion subscription-only financial newsletter, the Financial Intelligence Report.

Ruddy, according to his NewsMax biography, is a media fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from St. John's University in New York and a master's degree in public policy from the London School of Economics.

Accuracy in Media

Reed Irvine founded Accuracy in Media in 1969; Irvine said in his 1984 book "Media Mischief and Misdeeds" that it was prompted by "disgust with the media -- particularly television for pouring gasoline on the flamse of riots in our cities and turmoil on our campuses." It was among the first groups to focus on attacking the "liberal media." In 1975, AIM began purchasing stock in major media companies, which allowed Irvine to attend their annual meetings and make AIM's views known. In 1985, Irvine founded Accuracy in Academia to apply the AIM approach to education.

Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid

In the 1990s, AIM was among the major promoters of conspiracy theories involving the Clinton administration, particularly regarding the death of Vincent Foster. A January 1999 AIM article, for example, fawned over an interview given by Richard Mellon Scaife -- a major funder of AIM -- calling him "candid, accessible, enigmatic — even surprising." It uncritically repeated Scaife's claim that "he knows Foster didn’t die the way the official investigations said and that this is the Rosetta Stone to the Clinton administration," as well as pushed the debunked Clinton body count, stating that Scaife "believes there is a connection between the Clinton administration and the death of Ron Brown, and refers to the list of 60 or more people, including eight of Clinton’s former bodyguards, who have died mysteriously."

Reed Irvine suffered a stroke in 2003 and died in November 2004. His son, Don Irvine, succeeded him as AIM chairman.

In recent years, the momst prominent public voice of AIM has been Cliff Kincaid, editor of the "AIM Report." Kincaid first came to prominence working for the right-wing Citizens United under notorious smearmonger Floyd Brown. Kincaid also operates an organizaton, America's Survival, designed to attack global governance organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. Kincaid frequently rails against the U.N. and world governance, as well as communism and homosexuality, in his AIM columns.

Last update: 4/26/2008

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 2000-08 Terry Krepel