Unethical Website Of The Month: HealthNews NJ.com

One of the most patently dishonest campaign tactics is for a candidate to put up a fake website purporting to report “news” that is really there to attack his or her political opponent. Who would do such a thing? Well, one good bet would be a U.S. Senator who already narrowly escaped conviction on bribery charges because his providing political favors to a “friend” who showered him with gifts could be proven to result from a quid pro quo arrangement.

Sure enough, the new website HealthNewsNJ.com, with the exception of a tiny-print disclosure at the bottom of its home page does all it can to convince readers that it is an independent news site.  In reality, it is a campaign-run hit site put up by the campaign of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to attack his opponent, Bob Hugin, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Celgene. A typical post on the website, which runs below a byline crediting it to “HealthNewsNJ Staff,” is titled: “How greedy drug company CEO Bob Hugin gouged cancer patients and enabled Donald Trump.” On Facebook, the site’s page calls itself  a “news and media website.”  Neither it nor the HealthNewsNJ  Twitter account mentions a tie to Menendez or his campaign.

Putting up a fake website like this is signature significance. Menendez is willing to deceive the public. He’s a liar, by definition. He cannot be trusted.

Luckily for him, he’s running in New Jersey, so it probably won’t matter.

13 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet, Unethical Websites

13 responses to “Unethical Website Of The Month: HealthNews NJ.com

  1. So, historically, news was always advocacy. The early 1800s is proof of that.

    It was only until the so-called “golden age” of reporting, which seems, decreasingly to be the age of reporting between the late 1910s to the early 1960s, to be a “non-partisan” era of reporting.

    Yet, it seems, given the World Context of 2 world wars that, in the American mindset were overwhelmingly unifying efforts for our culture might mitigate the attitude that American journalism ever approached “objectivity”.

    I posit it that it NEVER has and that big-State worldviews benefited from the 50 year honeymoon with America that the “News” experienced, when America thought that the “news” could be relied upon.

    News is NOT, never was, and never will be objective. Therefore whatever legal constructs exist that protect the monopoly on reporting that the Left benefits from should be sought out and destroyed even if that means the proliferation of hoax news.

    • (especially since the Leftist media which benefits from the faux legitimacy it’s inherited is increasingly hoax and/or fake news anyway in its own pursuit of a particular worldview)

  2. Isaac

    Is there anyone left who believes the rhetoric that the Democratic Party wants to help “working people?” Their policy is to literally take money out of paychecks and give it to people who don’t work. Half of the time they can barely disguise their contempt for “working people.”

  3. sandsgrandmother

    I am dishearted on many cases presented to Congress, Senate and House. There must be something so corrupt that they each are in fear themselves to prosecute those before them in fear of their own dishonesty being brought to the open. The Justice Dept. chose to allow him to walk the last time.

    Interesting enough these cases are brought about, about the time of elections of either a new president or voting for senators and etc. and nothing accomplished other than spending a lot of the taxpayers’ monies.

    There is something wrong with our laws that allow one part of citizens have to comply with one set of laws and those in government another set of laws.

  4. Chris Marschner_

    Referencing yesterdays post. Two words on that headline would make me treat this site as fake news, “greedy” and “gouged” . The references to Trump are benign by themselves but when combined with the other they were designed to foment outrage.

    Hyerbolic adjectives in headlines is the the first tip off that there is no reason to believe the story.

    • Other Bill

      Good point, Chris. We all need BS detectors set on “high” when reading anything. And that’s always been the case. It’s not something new. I’ve always thought developing a BS detector was what education was all about.

      • Chris Marschner_

        Thanx OB. A headline should merely summarize in a few words the content and not suggest bias.
        A legit story could have a headline such as Pharmaceutical CEO charged with xxx. Factual and provable. The headline used is merely opinion and conjecture thus it is biased and not journalism.

  5. Chris Marschner_

    Jack,
    As I was pondering the ethical issues of websites or “news” sites it dawned on me that no one has discussed the ethics of consumers who routinely use these sites as proof for their respective positions.

    I often get pointer to these sites from various people. As much as I distrust CNN or WAPO and AP such that their stories are not colored by a pervasive bias I will trust them more than most “news” sites run by unknowns.

  6. Sue Dunim

    Putting up a fake website like this is signature significance.

    Concur.
    There are many examples too.

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