Newsmax: Kerik a victimized "American Hero"

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

For months, Newsmax has been running a campaign to rehabilitate the reputation of Bernard Kerik, the former New York police chief and would-be Homeland Security secretary currently under indictment on numerous corruption charges -- indeed, Newsmax loves Kerik so much it made him a columnist. That campaign moved to an absurd level with an article in the September edition of its magazine, hyperbolically headlined "Bernie Kerik: The Trial of an American Hero." Newsmax thought so much of this piece that a PDF of it was created and posted on the Newsmax website. But writers Dave Eberhart and Jim Meyers hide facts in order to portray Kerik is the victim of "overzealous federal prosecutors."

Eberhart and Meyers allow Kerik's attorney to criticize "government tactics in this case, especially the recent third indictment in a new jurisdiction, Washington, D.C." But they fail to accurately explain why those charges were filed in the first place, repeating a claim in an earlier article by Eberhart that the dismissal of certain charges in the New York-based indictment against Kerik "apparently irked the prosecutors, who decided on May 26 to open up the new indictment against Kerik in D.C., including charging him with crimes [Judge Stephen] Robinson had dismissed."

In fact, those charges were dropped specifically so they could be filed in D.C. The judge essentially told prosecutors to do exactly what they did -- as Newsmax itself reported at the time.

Eberhart and Meyers also obfuscate about what exactly Kerik is charged with doing, selectively citing charges that they feel can be easily rebutted. There's no mention, for example, of what The Washington Post described as a $250,000 loan allegedly granted to him on an interest-free basis by an Israeli businessman that Kerik allegely failed to disclose on federal tax returns and when he was nominated by President Bush to be Homeland Security secretary in 2004. There's also no mention of Kerik's alleged failure to report $500,000 in income to the IRS or falsely claiming tens of thousands of dollars in tax deductions.

Eberhart and Meyers reference an inquiry into "whether he aided a New Jersey construction firm in gaining city permits in return for a lowball price on the home work" on Kerik's house without mentioning that, as the Post also reported, the construction firm in question was under investigation by four government agencies for ties to organized crime at the time it did the work for Kerik.

The writers also falsely suggest that one of the charges Kerik faces involves wiretapped phone conversations with then-Westchester County District Attorney (and current TV judge) Jeanine Pirro, who "asked him to conduct surveillance on her husband, whom she suspected of marital infidelity. According to published sources, the tapes indicate Kerik had tried to talk Pirro out of the surveillance." But since Kerik apparently did nothing wrong, he was apparently never charged in that particular incident; the recordings came to light as part of the corruption probe of Kerik.

(Just as Newsmax enthusiastically touted Kerik's DHS nomination at the time, it promoted Pirro's abortive Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2005, declaring any and all unsavory claims against her -- and there were many, largely centering around her two-timing, out-of-wedlock-siring, tax-cheat hubby -- to be "old news" even though most people weren't aware of them.)

Eberhart and Meyers are much more interested in burnishing Kerik's credentials. For instance, they note that "Kerik worked for the Interior Ministry in Baghdad training police recruits," but not that, as the Post reported, the stint "has been widely judged a failure" because Kerik abruptly quit after two months -- or, as Sen. John McCain put it: "Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months, and one day left, just up and left."

The writers cranked up the melodramatic aspect of Kerik's purported victimhood:

Today, Bernard Kerik is fighting for his innocence with a criminal guillotine hanging over his head. Cut off from most of his business and media access, his income has withered.


Despite depleting his entire personal wealth, Kerik is going into the final rounds a wounded, but not beaten, man.

In other words, Eberhart and Meyers aren't doing reporting -- they're writing a hagiography.

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