Host Bill O'Reilly invited Richard Poe -- contributing editor for the right-wing NewsMax Magazine, a monthly publication with a history of publishing baseless conspiracy theories about Democrats -- to the May 18 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor to discuss Poe's investigation of financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros (an investigation that Poe detailed in an article, titled "George Soros' Coup," in the May 2004 issue of NewsMax Magazine). During his O'Reilly Factor appearance, Poe called Soros "somewhat loony" and "a madman."
In discussing Soros with Poe, O'Reilly declared, "If Soros is what you say he is, and I have no reason to doubt it. I mean, what I know about the man pretty much matches up to what you found out, the Democratic Party is taking a lot of money from him." O'Reilly made his opinion of Soros known earlier in the day on his nationally syndicated radio program: On the May 18 broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly called Soros "a real sleazoid." When a caller challenged him for using such a term in what O'Reilly purports to be the "No Spin Zone," O'Reilly repeated the charge and cut off the caller, saying, "[Y]ou're a moron and you're exercising your constitutional right to be one but I'm not going to give you air time."
Soros is one of the largest donors to progressive 527 organizations, having made millions of dollars in contributions to America Coming Together, MoveOn.org, and Campaign for a Progressive Future, among other organizations. O'Reilly closed his May 18 interview with Poe with a commitment to "stay on Soros" and to follow up with Senator John Kerry on the story. O'Reilly stated, "Well, we're going to stay on Soros. And believe me, Mr. Poe, people will know about this guy before the election. And we're going to, you know; see what Senator Kerry thinks about him."
Although O'Reilly said to Poe, "If Soros is what you say he is, and I have no reason to doubt it," a Google.com search shows Poe to be a font of conservative misinformation, as is NewsMax Magazine and NewsMax.com. In addition to his regular contributions to NewsMax.com, Poe was editor of David Horowitz's online FrontPage Magazine, from June 2000 to February 2002. In a May 7, 2004, interview with FrontPage Magazine -- just eleven days before his O'Reilly Factor appearance -- Poe summarized the allegations made against Hillary Clinton in his most recent book, Hillary's Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists (released in April by the conservative WorldNetDaily.com press WND Books).
From Poe's May 7 interview with FrontPage Magazine:
FRONTPAGE: Hillary's Secret War tells us that Hillary personally led a secret police force from her office in the White House. Tell us about your proof and evidence.
POE: The operations of Hillary's secret police have been copiously documented, to the point where the topic can hardly be called controversial any longer.
During the Clinton years, journalists who probed too deeply into Clinton scandals ran terrible risks. Journalists were beaten, wiretapped, framed on criminal charges, fired and blacklisted. They experienced burglaries, IRS audits, smear campaigns and White-House-orchestrated lawsuits.
Some may have paid the ultimate price. In February, 1998, just as the Clinton impeachment was gathering steam, Sandy Hume, the 28-year-old son of Fox News anchorman Brit Hume, suddenly turned up dead of a gunshot to the head. He was covering the U.S. Congress for the magazine The Hill, and was known for his excellent sources among Republican insiders. Sandy Hume supposedly committed suicide, but friends and associates have questioned the official story.
For all the "copiously documented" charges that the Clinton White House used the powers executive branch systematically to harass and intimidate journalists, Poe offered only "friends and associates" who doubt that Sandy Hume committed suicide.
The May 7 interview with FrontPage Magazine continued:
FRONTPAGE: This is actually quite incredible. How did Hillary get away with all of this? Surely Ken Starr would have jumped on any excuse to indict Hillary, no?
POE: Well, as I explain in my book, there are two Ken Starrs. There's the imaginary Ken Starr conjured up by Big Media -- a ruthless, rightwing religious zealot, bent on toppling the Clintons. Then there's the real Ken Starr -- a timid bureaucrat, afraid of his own shadow, who shrank from investigating any of the truly serious Clinton scandals. On the contrary, Starr actively helped to suppress and whitewash evidence of Clinton wrongdoing.
Poe posited that Kenneth W. Starr, who spent four and a half years and more than $47 million as independent counsel investigating President Bill Clinton, was actually covering for Clinton. Poe went on to tout the Internet as the best source for Clinton "scandals," reciting a litany of unproven conspiracies:
POE: Take the Vincent Foster case. In September 1994, Starr appointed Miquel Rodriguez to lead the grand jury investigation into Foster's death. Rodriguez resigned in protest less than four months later, charging that the investigation was rigged. Rodriguez accused Starr's people of pressuring him to announce that Foster committed suicide, despite evidence to the contrary.[...]
POE: Virtually every Clinton scandal of any note was either broken on the Internet, or kept alive on the Internet long after Big Media had suppressed it. The list is endless: there's the Clintons' involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal; the Vincent Foster cover-up; the suspicious death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown; the Clintons' ties to drug lords and global crime syndicates; the TWA 800 coverup; the Oklahoma City bombing coverup; Chinagate; Russiagate; the Clinton body count. You name it.
Poe apparently subscribes to the bizarre conspiracy theory that deputy Clinton White House counsel Vince Foster was murdered, even though nearly a decade's worth of official government investigations -- as well as the tireless efforts of right-wing journalists, led by Christopher Ruddy (NewsMax Media Inc.'s founder, president, and CEO, as well as editor of NewsMax.com) -- have failed to substantiate this charge. (Starr formally declared in 1997 that Foster's 1993 death was a suicide.) And Poe alleges more:
FRONTPAGE: Have you experienced any persecution or harassment personally? Any threats or warnings? Do you have concerns for your and your family's safety?
Poe: Well, I doubt that I'm important enough to merit Hillary's personal attention. The Shadow Team has bigger fish to fry. For instance, I imagine they've got their hands pretty full, right now, trying to frame Rush Limbaugh on drug charges.
So, according to Poe, in addition to having run a secret police force out of the White House and having covered up the circumstances of Foster's death, Senator Hillary Clinton is also secretly controlling the actions of the West Palm Beach state attorney pursuing Limbaugh on drug charges.
Wild allegations against the Clintons are familiar territory for NewsMax.com. In 1998, NewsMax.com published an article claiming that then-President Bill Clinton had a "secret son" with a Little Rock prostitute. Other NewsMax.com articles have included:
- "Arkansas' Murderous Ways," which alleged that a so-called "Dixie Mafia" had produced Bill Clinton
- "Clinton-Connected Bribes, Break-ins, Beatings, Death Threats"
- "Ron Brown's Death: 'Blunt Force' ... or Bullet?"
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), NewsMax Media Inc., which includes a website, magazine, and publishing house, is heavily funded by conservative financier Richard Mellon Scaife and by Ruddy.
Scaife, the third-largest shareholder in NewsMax Media Inc., has been called the "Funding Father of the Right" by a Washington Post article on May 2, 1999: "The Washington Post found that "Scaife and his family's charitable entities have given at least $340 million to conservative causes and institutions -- about $620 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation ... by concentrating his giving on a specific ideological objective for nearly 40 years, and making most of his grants with no strings attached, Scaife's philanthropy has had a disproportionate impact on the rise of the right, perhaps the biggest story in American politics in the last quarter of the 20th century."
Prior to founding NewsMax Media in 1998, Ruddy was an investigative reporter for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, but Ruddy said he was fired because the Post "refused to support further [Vince] Foster projects," as ABC News reporter Chris Bury reported on Nightline on July 18, 1995. According to The Washington Post on May 2, 1999, Richard Mellon Scaife "personally hired" Ruddy "to write about Foster's death for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the daily newspaper Scaife has owned since 1969. Ruddy's stories about Foster's death -- most of them challenging the suicide theory, without offering an alternative explanation -- began to appear in January 1995."
While Poe was editor, FrontPage Magazine published an article he authored on September 20, 2001 -- less than two weeks after the 9/11 attacks -- in which he wrote, "What happened last week in New York and Washington is but a logical escalation of the 'progressive crime wave' [FrontPage Magazine editor-in-chief David] Horowitz documents. ... With the World Trade Center reduced to a smoking graveyard, it remains to be seen whether Americans have finally had their fill of the 'progressive crime wave.'" Under Poe's leadership, FrontPage Magazine also published an article blaming "political correctness" for facilitating the September 11 terrorist attacks; another article, written by Poe, that compared the "New Yorkers [who unsuccessfully] voted to send Hillary [Clinton] packing" from the Senate to "those Germans who voted against Hitler in the 1932 election"; a December 20, 2001, column by Ann Coulter that urged, "We've got to attack France" and another column on January 31, 2002, in which Coulter argued that Geneva Convention rules should not apply to Guantánamo detainees, noting, "[T]his Geneva Convention thing isn't really working out for us."
For more on FrontPage Magazine editor-in-chief David Horowitz, see Media Matters for America's May 4 report on Horowitz.