Newsmax using fear to boost attendance at "summit" featuring O'Reilly


In the run-up to right-wing website Newsmax's June 17 Economic Crisis Summit -- featuring Bill O'Reilly - CEO and Editor in Chief Christopher Ruddy used fear of inflation and skyrocketing gas prices to entice people to attend the event. Previous Newsmax "summit[s]" have similarly stoked fears to drive sales of Newsmax's financial-services products.

"Summit" will feature Bill O'Reilly

Newsmax highlights Fox News affiliation of "Premier Guest" O'Reilly. A June 3 email sent to Newsmax's mailing list urged readers to sign up to view its June 17 "Economic Crisis Summit," a webcast which promises "Powerful Solutions for Uncertain Times." The email identified O'Reilly as the summit's "Premier Guest" and stated that the summit's "esteemed panel" will be "led by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris." The email further noted that O'Reilly "has been warning Americans of the dangerous economic policies being pushed by Obama and Congress."

Ruddy sold the summit by spreading fears about "inflation," "hidden dangers" to savings accounts, and being "robbed" of Social Security

Ruddy: "darkest hours may still lie ahead" due to "two inevitabilities" of "inflation and higher taxes." In a June 8 email to the Newsmax list, Ruddy stated that "Citizens have stood up and dusted themselves off and are beginning to recoup what they've lost" during the financial crisis, but "the darkest hours may still lie ahead" because "Two wars, countless bailouts, and overzealous social programs have sent our economy once again to the brink of collapse." Ruddy claimed that the "two inevitabilities" of "inflation and higher taxes" "are going to strike each of us - very soon." Ruddy stated that this was "exactly why I've convened this Economic Crisis Summit," in which "Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris will cut through the mainstream media's spin to give you the truth about inflation and higher taxes" and "legendary investor" Jim Rogers will discuss "which investments may be the soundest bet for your future."

Ruddy seeks to target his fearmongering. In a June 11 email to the Newsmax list, Ruddy asked, "What is Your No. 1 Financial Concern?" and stated that he would "post your e-mails" to He further asked:

Are you worried about:

1.) The $13 trillion deficit?

2.) The prospects of devastating inflation?

3.) Whether you'll become a victim of over-taxation?

4.) The fragility of our dollar?

5.) How to find investments that will not only protect your wealth but allow it to prosper?

6.) A combination of many of the above issues or maybe something we haven't mentioned yet?

Ruddy: "Americans are kept in the dark about the real inflation figures," "are citizens being robbed of 50% of their social security checks?" In a June 12 email advertising the summit, Ruddy warned that "Americans are kept in the dark about the real inflation figures," and announced that he posted a "critical" video on the summit website that asked questions like: "Are citizens being robbed of 50% of their social security checks?" and " Is Bernanke about to cause Hyperinflation and will it wipe out the savings and Income of the middle class." He also stated that the video warns of how "commodities like precious metals and food will be so expensive that you won't be able to afford anything." Ruddy noted that he doesn't "agree with all the points in" the video, but says "it's important you see it and make up your own mind."

Ruddy: "Is Saving ... Safe?" In a June 13 email advertising the summit, Ruddy announced that he had posted an article by Dennis May that discussed the "hidden dangers of relying on savings accounts."

Ruddy promises to "address your concerns" and "offer solutions" to "protect your wealth." In a June 17 email, Ruddy said that in the webcast, "We will discuss the massive deficit. We will address your concerns about inflation and higher taxes. And most importantly, we will offer solutions you can take immediately to protect your wealth and prosper in these difficult times for our nation."

Previous "summit[s]" similarly stoked fears to sell financial products.

As Media Matters for America has documented, Newsmax has repeatedly used anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked fear of hyperinflation to drive sales of the financial-services products it offers. Newsmax's promotions enticed participants to spend $1,295 or more on investment schemes that promise a "Potential Reward" of thousands in return. The investment schemes centered on stock tips from Newsmax's "chief financial adviser," or advice on entering foreign currency trading markets.

Bill O'Reilly, Christopher Ruddy
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