Matt Gaetz May Be the Only Man Who’s Too Gross for Newsmax
Finally, there’s a network for men who wore out their welcome at famously woke Fox News.
Just before his incredibly torrid sex trafficking scandal broke, Matt Gaetz told Axios that he was thinking of “taking early retirement” and joining Newsmax. Jumping from the House of Representatives to cable news is a well-worn path trodden by such conservative “luminaries” as national security threat Jason Chaffetz and vampire Trey Gowdy, but this pivot seemed a little sudden, and that’s because it was, or perhaps it was just an obfuscation technique given all the allegations about ecstasy parties and sugar babies and statutory rape that were about to drop and maybe explain why a Newsmax source quickly batted down the rumor, telling The Daily Beast, “Highly doubt it, highly.”
If Gaetz is too creepy for Newsmax, he’s about the only guy who is. CEO Chris Ruddy told the New York Times’ Ben Smith that, “In this day and age, people want something that tends to affirm their views and opinions.” Well, it seems like Newsmax’s view and opinion is that sexual harassment and assault allegations aren’t that big a deal.
In 2017, at least a dozen women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Mark Halperin, who now hosts a weekend show on Newsmax. When Halperin talked about the allegations against Matt Gaetz, the serial sexual harasser said, “everybody’s entitled to a presumption of innocence” and “While there are anonymous allegations in The New York Times and elsewhere, let’s see what the facts actually are. Let’s try to take a breath and give him a chance.” Yes shockingly, the guy with all the sexual harassment allegations thinks we should give the guy with the sex trafficking allegations a chance. It’s like asking an arsonist to assess a fire.
And then there's Greg Kelly, who is sort of the poor man’s Tucker Carlson. Greg is most famous for complaining that Trump’s impeachment was racist against “white folk.” Greg also accused Biden of making up his lifelong stutter as a “phony little campaign gambit for sympathy.”
In 2012, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance looked into rape allegations against Greg, after the NYPD recused itself from looking into the son of its then-boss, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. As New York’s tabloids ripped into the “shady lady” who supposedly sent “‘flirtatious’ text messages” and said she was impregnated by Greg, then a local morning show host for Fox, Vance eventually dropped the case, saying “no criminal charges are appropriate.” Greg himself emphatically denied the allegations.
And then there’s Rob Schmitt, the former Fox & Friends First host turned Newsmax host last seen crying that Derek Chauvin’s conviction for murdering George Floyd was actually a “sacrifice to the mob.” Schmitt was arrested in Miami in 2009 on “alleged battery/domestic violence charges” that were later dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Disgraced Fox News star Bill O’Reilly, who paid $32 million to settle sexual-harassment claims just before signing what turned out to be his final contract for Rupert Murdoch’s Big Lie Machine, is now a frequent guest on Newsmax, though notably he’s not listed as a contributor.
But the late Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer and friend, Alan Dershowitz, is a legal contributor for Newsmax. Dershowitz, who says he made at least one visit to Epstein’s private island but has emphatically denied knowing about or participating in any sexual activities there, wrote an essay for the Spectator last year advising that people should “keep an open mind about Maxwell.” Yeah, I’m not going to give Ghislaine the benefit of the doubt, but thanks.
Of course, not everyone at Newsmax has alleged issues with women. Some of their regulars are pals with Holocaust deniers, like Michelle Malkin, or terrifying Trump sycophants, like Diamond and Silk, or morons, like Sean Spicer.
But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Newsmax has so many deeply problematic white men who have worn out their welcome at famously woke Fox. Are there no other conservative lawyers on the planet? Are Halperin’s hot takes really so good that Ruddy couldn’t replace him with someone who hasn’t left a trail of traumatized women in his wake?
I understand that this cornucopia of sleaze may make Donald Dozens-of-Accusers Trump feel comfortable, but by creating this safe haven for the (allegedly) wicked, Newsmax is saying that these women don’t matter and that he doesn’t believe them.