Thursday, March 19, 2009

Subscribe to Newsmax, Unless you want your family to DIE

Announcer: "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that every American home should have an emergency radio."

"Homeland Security has advised all Americans that every home needs an emergency radio, in the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, electric power outages, and even terrorist attacks." cares so much for the safety of your family, the good people there want every American family to get this radio from their website for FREE, except of course for $5.95 Shipping and Handling. You also get four issues of Newsmax free. Then you get a renewal notice. Then you get charged $50 to have this fish wrap dumped into your mailbox for another eight months.

Then, my guess is, you get another renewal notice and another big charge on your credit card.

But even if the offer is completely on the level, it doesn't excuse the fact that Newsmax is using fear to sell their magazine: the message is "Look, the world is a very scary place. At any moment, your family could find itself in serious, serious trouble. If you don't have a crank-powered radio, you could DIE. Here's how to get one of these radios."

Even in the world of advertising, some things should be off-limits. I'm jaded enough to realize that we are never going to see an end to classic rock songs being used to sell hamburgers and cars, babies being used to sell tires, and sex being used to sell everything. But using the threat of another terrorist attack to sell magazines?? Come on.

Maybe my opinion of this commercial is colored somewhat by my opinion of Newsmax. Aren't familiar with the magazine? This blurb from the website should tell you all you need to know:

Each month in Newsmax magazine you'll read hard-hitting investigative reports and special commentaries from Ben Stein, Dick Morris, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, John Stossel, Bill O'Reilly, David Limbaugh, James Hirsen, Thomas Sowell, Michael Reagan, Ronald Kessler, Christopher Ruddy, and many others.

Fox News commentator Dick Morris calls Newsmax "a must read" for every informed American. Nationally syndicated radio host Michael Reagan, son of the late President Reagan, says: "I guarantee that you'll love Newsmax magazine."

Am I surprised that a right-wing website would use fear of another 9/11 to sell magazines? About as surprised as I was to see the sun set in the West this evening.


  1. Right on, though I suspect that you have the order reversed -- it's $50 renewal charge, and then you get the renewal notice. If you get one at all. The actual notice might come with the preview -- unless you specifically say "no" at the start of the preview, they'll assume you mean yes at the end. The obvious presumption on their part is that you'll forget to say no once the time passes. And once they do charge you, good luck getting it back.

    Another one that occurred to me is the "buy gold from us" ads that promise that they will always buy your gold back from you, no questions asked. Yeah -- at the GOING RATE. If it drops in value and you want to sell, they'll buy it at the new lower price, not what you paid for it. You take the loss, they sit on the gold they bought back and wait for gold to appreciate again. And of course, if gold holds steady or increases in value, well you're not going to sell yours. That guarantee may be the most hollow I've ever heard.

  2. Forget the renewal issue. Let's talk about the announcer:

    "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that every American home should have an emergency radio."

    I mean... is that true? If it's NOT, why is the AD still around? Shouldn't it be banned by some sort of commission? How does that work in the States?

    On the other hand, if the announcer is TRUE, don't you think U.S. Department of Homeland Security is playing with american families' fears?

    Greetings from Italy (we have our problems too...) :-)

  3. The radio they send is junk. The short wave bands are just noise. The AM and FM bands barely function. The flashlight works. The unit is made in China and is virtually worthless