Clinton Cash: The Untold Story Of How Bill And Hillary Help Make Rupert Murdoch Rich

Tuesday saw the official release of Peter Schweizer’s latest foray into sloppy and dishonest pseudo-journalism, Clinton Cash. Even before the book hit the shelves it was widely debunked by more reputable analysts who found numerous errors, unsupported speculations, and outright inventions. Even Schweizer himself was forced to acknowledge that some of his allegations were untrue and that none of them could be proven.

The clear purpose of the book is to smear likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Despite Schweizer’s feeble attempts to characterize his book as an impartial examination of Clinton’s finances, he has been a long-time Republican operative including stints as a speechwriter for George W. Bush and advisor to Sarah Palin. In addition, he is closely affiliated with ultra-conservatives like the Koch brothers and Breitbart News. However, there is another highly motivated player in this well-coordinated attack campaign that is getting less attention.

Clinton Cash

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, commands a vast empire of media businesses that share a determined leaning toward activist, far-right politics. So it is not surprising that a committed conservative like Schweizer would integrate himself into the Murdoch machine. As a result, the opportunities for propaganda and profit become plentiful.

Schweizer’s book was published by HarperCollins, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. So making the book a bestseller puts cash directly into Murdoch’s wallet. To that end, Murdoch has exploited his own Fox News which has gone into overdrive promoting the book. Schweizer has become an almost daily fixture on the network, and when he isn’t there himself, the network hands those promotional duties to their anchors and guests. All told, Fox News has donated the equivalent of more than $107 million to the marketing of the book, according to an analysis by Media Matters.

And speaking Fox News, the network produced and aired its own hour-long special (The Tangled Clinton Web) that served as an unabashed infomercial for the book. And rather than assigning a political personality like Sean Hannity to the brazenly partisan project, it was hosted by Fox’s chief news anchor, Bret Baier. The program was repeated several times. So while running PR for the book, Fox News is also chasing ratings and advertising dollars from the book’s rollout.

In addition, Murdoch’s print news operations joined in the Clinton Cashing in fest. The Wall Street Journal ran a feature editorial parroting the unsubstantiated claims in the Schweizer book and labeling the work of the Clinton’s foundation as “dishonest graft.” The New York Post devoted its cover to hawking the book and mocking the Clintons as money-hungry opportunists. A charge that reeks of irony coming from the realm of Rupert Murdoch.

Since when did free-enterprise loving right-wingers become so hostile to people achieving success through hard work and entrepreneurial ability? This ideological flip-flop was so pronounced that veteran Clinton-basher, Christopher Ruddy, CEO of the uber-rightist Newsmax, wrote an editorial denouncing Schweizer’s book and Fox’s role in selling it. The article was titled In Defense of the Clinton Foundation,” and went to great lengths to criticize both the shoddy reporting in the book and the blatant exploitation of Murdoch’s own tangled web.

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There is no doubt that Schweizer’s book is intended to damage Hillary Clinton’s White House aspirations. It was planned and executed by people with long-standing animosity for both the Clintons and Democratic politics. But the evidence that it is also a profit-making vehicle for Rupert Murdoch is unavoidable. And that is the true meaning of the title. Murdoch is orchestrating this whole fraudulent scheme because he wants to be rolling in Clinton Cash.

The Donald Trump/NewsMax Debate: What No One Is Talking About

Donald Trump

Ever since it was announced that Donald Trump would be moderating a debate between the Republican presidential primary candidates, the focus of the press and pundits was centered on the absurdity of a clown like Trump being taken seriously in that role. After all, he is charlatan who pretends to be a successful businessman, but in reality he is fraud who has presided over four bankrupt enterprises and rescued his floundering career by becoming a TV game show host.

GOP luminaries from George Will to Karl Rove to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, have all dismissed Trump a distraction, a joke, or worse. And consistent with his pugilistic personality, Trump fired back with a barrage of petulant insults. More importantly, the candidates themselves have shunned Trump and his Narcissistic endeavor. Huntsman, Paul, Romney, Perry, and Bachmann are all officially out. When Bachmann gave notice on Fox News she complained to Gretchen Carlson that…

“…[Trump] was also on television saying that he was leaning toward one candidate. Even if he was leaning towards me it suggests the idea of bias and I just don’t know if that’s necessarily the right format.”

And just to illustrate how clueless the characters on Fox News are, Carlson responded to Bachmann saying…

“That’s interesting, because I had not thought about the latter part of what you just said as being possibly a conflict of interest if he actually is leaning towards one candidate.”

Yes, Gretchen, that is interesting (I mean the part about you having thoughts). And while Huntsman and Paul spoke candidly about their reasons for sitting out the debate, Romney, Bachmann, and Perry all polished their snub by lavishing the Donald with flagrant flattery and shameless adulation. Nevertheless, it has become glaringly apparent that Trump holds no sway with either the public or the political players. The roster for the much ballyhooed debate (mostly ballyhooed by Trump himself) is now set with only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum participating. That should make for some compelling TV drama. However, it is unlikely to result in the fulfillment of his prediction that “We will get, probably, the highest ratings of any debate.” Such grandiose hyperbole can only come from the ego of Trump.

But lost in the sublime comic relief of all of this Trumpling is any substantive review of his partner in this debasement of debate. NewsMax is a popular conservative magazine and web site. Popular among the curmudgeon crowd of over-65 conspiracy nuts, that is. Its editor, Chris Ruddy, is the author of a book that advanced the scurrilous lie that Bill Clinton’s aide, Vince Foster, did not commit suicide as all available evidence proved, but was – murdered! When Ruddy could not get his employer, Rupert Murdoch of the New York Post, to go along with this fable, Ruddy struck out on his own with the help of another right-wing media baron: Richard Mellon Scaife. It ought to be a warning sign if Murdoch is uncomfortable with your lunatic ravings.

Scaife is a stalwart anti-communist who seems to believe that anyone to the left of Barry Goldwater is a Trotskyite. His largesse extends to a who’s who of rightist foundations like the American Enterprise Institute, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, and the Heritage Foundation. He is similarly generous to organizations that oppose public education, unions, and global warming science. But he is best known for bankrolling the investigations of sex scandals and drug-running plots that he was convinced Clinton was engaged in back in Arkansas.

So in addition to the embarrassment of being associated with Donald Trump, the two remaining participants in his debate must also account for their connection to NewsMax and Scaife. This is about more than just Trump’s ego and Birtherism. It also extends to extremist delusions about murdered White House staffers and drug traffickers. Even worse, NewsMax once published an article that was a thinly veiled call for a military coup against the Obama administration. Or as it is referred to legal circles – treason.

Santorum doesn’t have much to worry about because he isn’t going anywhere anyway. But Gingrich is the current GOP frontrunner (and the likely beneficiary/victim of a Trump endorsement), and he should be asked to comment on the appropriateness of aligning himself with these controversial figures. Sadly, it may be too much to expect the media to hold Gingrich’s feet to the fire when they haven’t even bothered to report that there is a fire. While it may be tempting to fill the airwaves with the Tales of Trump, that is only half the story. NewsMax and Scaife are as much a part of this ludicrous debate as Trump and deserve a little attention as well.

[Update] Trump spoke with Don Imus on the Fox Business Network this morning and delivered some deeply depressing news. Imus asked Trump if the debate would be going forward with only Gingrich and Santorum participating. Trump said, “I don’t know. I have to look into it.” Aside from being an enormous insult to Gingrich and Santorum, canceling the debate would eliminate one of the most eagerly anticipated comedy events of the holiday season. Come on, Donald…stick with it.