Wednesday, June 15, 2005

NewsMax

Doug -
When I read your post from NewsMax on the Blog (6/13, 8:05 PM), I was surprised at the slanted "reporting" (sic) and the distortions in the story. I decided to check what "NewsMax" is - who owns it, and what is their agenda. That is not difficult to do. One of the top returns that one gets by simply Googling "NewsMax" is entitled "NewsMax by the Numbers", concerning NewsMax's upcoming IPO and the facts about ownership that are revealed in the prospectus that is required to accompany the IPO. One URL for a report on the prospectus is http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/stories/2002/nmstock.html. The following is quoted from this URL:

"According to the prospectus, [Richard Mellon] Scaife owns about 7.2 percent of NewsMax Media, expected to drop to 5.8 percent after the IPO. That's not exactly surprising, given that CEO Christopher Ruddy used to work for Scaife at his newspaper near Pittsburgh. Scaife's official stake -- and you have to wonder, given Scaife's reputation as the moneybag behind a lot of hardline conservatives, if he didn't kick in even more than his official share of the company indicates -- makes him NewsMax's third largest shareholder. At the top is Ruddy, with 32.6 percent (27.1 percent after the IPO), followed by Michael Ruff (with 25 percent, or 20.3 percent after the IPO), described in the prospectus as a former real estate developer in Dallas and current president of Icarus Investments, a venture capital firm. There are a total of 190 stockholders of record.

All totaled, Ruddy and the company's directors -- who also include Arnaud de Borchgrave, late of the Washington Times; former Navy admiral Thomas Moorer; and Lord William Rees-Moog, a former editor and current columnist for the Times of London -- control about 64 percent of NewsMax Media through stock ownership and stock options, which would drop to 53.5 percent after the IPO. Interestingly, Scaife is not listed as a company director, but his stock is counted with the rest of the other named directors."

I think you are generally scrupulous about keeping obviously biased "news" sources off of the Blog, or at least identifying them as opinion pieces when appropriate. In this case, no such caveat is evident. I think the Blog readers really need to know where the NewsMax commentary is coming from ideologically, whether one agrees with the sources or not, and I request that you post the foregoing and attribute it to me.

Thanks,
Woody

Comments:
I think there is little doubt that News Max has it's own conservative spin. Aside from a few unwarrented comments I didn't find the News Max piece all that bad. The real scary thing as I see it is the total lack of journalism done on this story. The AP appears to have made a few phone calls. All the rest of the news reports have either copied or rephrased the AP stories or put together stories from the web. As near as I can tell no journalist of any ilk has actually gone to Los Alamos and talked to anyone. Journalism in this country seems to be defunct.

Am I wrong, has anyone been interviewed?
 
Wow, Woody. So should Doug check out the political and financial affiliations of every source posted on this blog, or just those that you personally suspect to be "hardline conservative"?

I'm not defending News Max, but anyone who spends five minutes at NewsMax.com can figure out that the information presented is conservative, and of an editorial nature.

That you would spend any time and energy in digging into their financial connections seems a bit odd.

It also seems that you are asserting that because the site is somehow funded by conservatives, particularly ones who have actually made some money (like it's some ookey-spookey shadow conspiracy), that anything they have to say is illegitimate, simply because you (in your infinite, and of course, purely altruistic wisdom) disagree with it.

Is it a surprise to you that it may be "biased"? Anyone can find "bias" in something with which they disagree.

Who cares? The key (in my opinion) is to get as much information from as many sources as possible, then make one's own informed decisions.

One could find "liberal bias" at numerous other information sources if one looked hard enough, but that doesn't seem to concern you.

I believe that the Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque have been just as harsh and quick to judge on issues at LANL. They are well-known liberal publications also.

Are you intimidated by a conservative voice?

When you sling paint with a broad brush, you run the risk of getting a lot of it on yourself, Woody.
 
Anonymous 06:29:49 AM

Credit where it's due: Apparently from the article, someone from the craptacular NewsMax spoke to the public affairs office.

justme: Biased is biased, but bad is just bad. I honestly can't think of a liberal rag that's as lousy as NewsMax. Maybe the Onion....
 
Nope the "Onion" is good. Hilarious, in fact, and clever.
 
Richard Mellon Scaife.
Not humorous, like the Onion.
Kinda like Rupert Murdoch.
This is not "conservative." It's so far to the Right that it's not even "fair and balanced."
 
From the previous postings about "NewsMax":

This "article" perpetuates all the fraudulent lies of the right-wing Congress and the fair-and-balanced Fox news media about the "culture" at Los Alamos. Garbage, all of it. The Republican Party must someday take full responsibility for the mess it's made of a once-proud scientific laboratory. Will the Republican voters in Northern New Mexico still doggedly vote Republican after the RIF?
 
To 8:38, good point and question, but wasn't it answered already in the last elections?
 
Right, Woody, but what "news" organization is not biased these days? Should Doug also warn folks when links point to the SF New Mexican, the LA Times, or WaPo? All these sources have well-known biases: neither Doug nor anyone else should have to point out such.

People are typically smart enough to figure out such for themselves, without being warned of the political ideology of the source,
 
Anon 07:16:26 PM

I was joking re: The Onion. It obviously parodys bad newspapers rather than being one.
 
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