Newsmax explains decision to take down coup column

The conservative magazine disavows a column that appeared to call for a military overthrow of President Obama


Alex Koppelman
October 1, 2009 2:15AM (UTC)

The conservative magazine Newsmax has sent over a statement explaining why it took down a column published on its Web site that appeared to suggest a military coup against President Obama.

The statement, which appears in full below, tries a couple of dodges to get Newsmax off the hook, and they don't quite succeed.

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For one thing, the statement says that the column's author, John L. Perry, "clearly stated that he was not advocating [a coup] scenario but simply describing one." That's technically true -- Perry did write, "America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it." But in the context of the full column, that appears to be just an attempt to provide some sort of deniability. Later in the piece, Perry strayed towards advocating a coup, writing:

Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don't shrug and say, "We can always worry about that later."

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

The statement also tries to distance Newsmax from Perry, saying, "He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger." That doesn't appear to be true -- his writings for the Web site are clearly in column and not blog form, and he's been contributing them for years. Plus, the author bio at the end of his articles describes him as "a regular columnist for Newsmax.com," and his official biography on the site says he "contributes a regular column to NewsMax.com."

By e-mail, Salon asked a spokeswoman for Newsmax how the description of Perry's relationship with the magazine fit with the information available on its site, and whether Newsmax would continue publishing his work. As of this post, she had not responded.

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The full statement:

In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military. He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.

After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.

Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.

Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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