The website NewsMax, one of the most visited on the Internet, describes itself as “the nation’s leading independent news site focusing on breaking news, politics, finance, personal health, technology and entertainment.” The way NewsMax tells its own history, it succeeded when “Americans concerned about fair and balanced news discovered that Newsmax was the place to go for fair and accurate news.”
Is NewsMax independent, fair, accurate and balanced?
Records assembled by the Federal Election Commission show that on October 16, 2010, NewsMax received a payment of $20,000 from the Senate Conservatives Fund for the list of e-mail addresses NewsMax has assembled and sold over the years. The Senate Conservatives Fund then used those e-mail addresses on behalf of Sharron Angle to send recipients political spam messages promoting Angle’s run for a U.S. Senate seat in Nevada.
On October 17, 2010, NewsMax posted an article describing Sharron Angle in glowing terms:
She’ll be widely embraced by Republicans as a folk hero who rose from obscurity to topple one of the most powerful, and partisan, Democrats in Washington…. She catapulted past two prominent and well-funded opponents in the GOP primary by positioning herself as a conservative die-hard who would not carry water in Washington for party insiders…. “I’m not a career politician. I’m a mother and a grandmother,” she said at the debate. “I was a teacher for 25 years. Senator Reid has been a politician for over 30 years. I live in a middle class neighborhood in Reno, Nevada. Senator Reid lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.”
$20,000 from a group working for Sharron Angle’s election one day. Positive coverage of Sharron Angle from NewsMax the next day. In economic terms, that might be considered balanced. But is it fair? Is it independent?
NewsMax did not acknowledge the receipt of funds from the group working for Sharron Angle’s election when publishing its article.