David Frum

01.07.13

The Right-Wing Money Model

Lefty (NB: I use the description as a term of endearment) writers such as Salon's Alex Pareene seem to have taken a grudging liking to Dick Armey after his FreedomWorks fallout. Armey, now reduced to a pauper's lifestyle after leaving the movement conservatism stalwart, has taken to speaking out against groups and individuals who seek to profit from their political activities.

No major right-wing media figures ever speak out against the widespread practice of constantly bilking credulous old people. Newsmax, a company whose email list is regularly given over to blatant get-rich-quick scheme hucksters, publishes basically every major and minor conservative columnist (and Lanny Davis). Newsmax pays to syndicate their columns, and their stature lends the site credibility. None of them ever complain. No one on the right criticizes the Newsmax business model. It seems to be semi-common knowledge that major conservative media figures sell their endorsements. No one says it’s deceptive. No one says Dick Morris should stop marketing his various ventures on Fox, all the time.

This complete contempt for the audience is unique to the right-wing press — if the Huffington Post made its money selling snake oil, liberals would complain. The recent trickle of complaints about the major nonprofit money-making groups, like FreedomWorks and CrossroadsUSA, has come solely because those groups failed to win the election. If Romney, or even a couple of Senate candidates, had won, no one would mind that the two groups enriched their boards of directors on the backs of tens of thousands of small donors. Right-wing reaction to Armey’s admission to Media Matters has thus far been outrage … that Armey talked to Media Matters.

I'll just say this: A savvier me would have invested in gold and prepper stocks five years ago. A fortune's on the table when people are unjustifiably scared and told their only option is to buy gold and prepare for doomsday.