Jeff Rense describes his website, Rense.com, as the “worlds #1 alternative news service” and a “source for reality and honest journalism.” Topics covered include conspiracies, collapse of Western civilization, erosion of civil liberties, world politics, health & environmental issues, UFOs & alien life and paranormal phenomenon. The site has a strong alarmist and defeatist slant.
The website is run as a for-profit venture, with the main page containing dozens of banner ads. Curiously, there is also a “Rense Kitty” page, where donations are solicited to “Help Save Your Freedom Of Speech.” Large commercial ventures like Rense.com typically don’t ask for donations, as website revenue would be more than adequate to cover running costs.
Rense.com is a news aggregation website, linking to news stories and opinion-editorial (op-ed) pieces from a variety of sources. Despite the “alternative news” description, many news stories are linked from mainstream sources such as Reuters; British newspapers The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph & The Daily Mail; and established American sources including The Washington Post, CNN and CBS. Op-ed pieces are linked from a wider variety of both mainstream and independent websites as well as blogs.
Rense.com has been accused of being anti-Jewish; of promoting Holocaust denial or “revisionism”; and of advancing views that are racist, white-Supremacist, sexist and homophobic.
Such accusations are swept aside by Rense in a long-winded disclaimer which states in part: “The posting of stories… and links… does not… necessarily express or suggest… support of any of such posted material.”
The disclaimer further states: “We present multiple facts, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information… We are not going to censor the news and information here… Read, consider, and make your own informed decisions.”
At first glance, this all sounds very open-minded and balanced, but do the articles on Rense.com present ALL sides of an issue so that people can make “informed decisions” based on complete information? Or are certain facts, opinions and viewpoints ignored or minimized? Are opinion-editorial pieces presented as such, or are they passed off as factual news? Is misleading and false information stated as fact, and do articles contain “lies by omission”? Are sources for articles shown, so that any agenda or bias is clear? Have the Rense.com columnists been honest and truthful about who they are, and about any credentials they may have?
A closer look will help clarify these issues.
Next: Truth or “puffery”?
 Disclaimer and Fair Use. Retrieved 14 April 2012.