NewsMax falsely claimed it never said that U2 concert was fund-raiser for Santorum


In an October 17 article, the conservative website falsely claimed that it never stated that the rock band U2's October 16 concert in Philadelphia was to be a benefit for the re-election campaign of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). In fact, the original version of NewsMax's article announcing Santorum's presence at the U2 concert -- which has since been deleted from its website -- stated that the concert was "in support of Santorum's re-election."

NewsMax made the false denial in response to an October 14 New York Times article that described the band's move to distance itself from political fund-raisers held at its concerts. The article noted that "a web site,, reported that U2 was 'teaming up' with another senator, Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, for a thousand-dollar-a-seat concert in Philadelphia on Sunday [October 16]," adding that "Santorum's office responded that the story was incorrect: the senator has bought only 66 seats, which supporters can repurchase for the higher price." In its October 17 response, NewsMax stated:

But here's the rub: NewsMax had never claimed that U2 or Bono were holding their concert for Santorum -- though several liberal blogs claimed as much. Apparently, the New York Times has bought into the NewsMax-Santorum-Bono conspiracy theory.

But the original version of NewsMax's October 10 article announcing Santorum's appearance at the concert, headlined "Bono, U2 in Fund-Raiser for Senator Rick Santorum," did make that claim:

Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).

The thousand-dollar-a-seat concert has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington and will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum's re-election, reports NewsMax's James Hirsen.

The article went on to explain why lead singer Bono would have agreed to do this, claiming that "[a]s in the case of Santorum, Bono's religious convictions inform his activities." NewsMax also quoted Sean Wolfington, organizer of Santorum's concert fund-raiser, as saying, "It's truly appropriate for U2, a band with a purpose, to be involved in a fund-raiser with Senator Rick Santorum, a politician with a purpose. Both men are passionate about what they believe and their faith is very important to them."

This version of the article was deleted from NewsMax's website and replaced by a new version, which accurately stated that Santorum "will hold a fund-raising event" at the U2 concert and deleted Wolfington's comparison. As of this writing, NewsMax has not issued a public correction or otherwise informed its readers that the article was altered.

CNN reported NewsMax's initial false claim about Santorum and U2 on the October 11 edition of The Situation Room, then retracted it 20 minutes later, as Media Matters for America noted.

Posted In
2006 Elections
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