Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy stays firmly in Romney-fluffing mode in his Oct. 30 column, which is dedicated to how noble Mitt Romney is for devoting himself to public service instead of making serious money in the financial sector:
Mitt Romney passed up well over a billion dollars to do public service.
It’s an amazing statement, but it’s true.
If you watched the media, you would think Romney is a greedy elitist. However, the three recent presidential debates showed the Republican presidential candidate to be a man passionately concerned about the future of America, and determined to do something about it.
But the true level of Romney’s passion about this country are in the numbers — his personal financial numbers, that is.
A recent Forbes magazine article by Nathan Vardi headlined, “Mitt Romney: The Most Expensive Political Career in American History.”
As Vardi observes, “Lots of people pay a high price for getting into politics, but no one has likely given up more, at least financially, than Mitt Romney.”
Just how much?
Well, Forbes estimates Romney would be worth around $2 billion if he had stayed at Bain Capital rather than run for office.
Ruddy then touts how well Bain did under Romney:
In fact, during Romney’s tenure heading Bain, it boasted an astounding 173 percent annual internal rate of return on the firms it bought and sold through the end of 1999, when he left the firm.
All of which goes to show that not only is would-be president Mitt Romney an experienced businessman, he’s a very good one as well.
Are we sure that Romney-fluffer extraordinaire Ronald Kessler didn't ghost-write this?
Newsmax's Ponte: Wild Weather Is 'Normal' Topic: Newsmax
Lowell Ponte offers up a, shall we say, novel explanation of Hurricane SAndy in his Oct. 29 Newsmax column:
In our new book "The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back," economic expert Craig R. Smith and I devote an entire chapter to evidence that recent devastating weather has happened because America's climate is returning to "normal."
Normal meant that pioneers on the Oregon Trail in the 1850s described Nebraska as America's "Inland Desert" and saw it as a land of buffalo grass and cactus, not cornstalks.
As Ken Burns will show in his PBS documentary "The Dust Bowl" in mid-November, government encouraged farmers to settle and plow the Great Plains, semi-arid lands where drought comes often and the land could easily become an "American Sahara" without irrigation.
The continuing drought that ravaged crops last summer was by some measures the worst since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
The Dust Bowl was actually four different droughts packed into a few years, scientists now know, and the continuing drought that began last summer has been more severe than any one of those four Dust Bowl droughts.
Most of us grew up during the 20th Century, which enjoyed the balmiest, friendliest weather of the past 1,000 years. Now, however, our weather and climate appear to be reverting to their more erratic normal, with wilder extremes of hot and cold, wet and dry.
Ponte does not offer any evidence to back up his claim, nor does offer himself to be any sort of expert on climatology. And that's not surprising, considering that he goes on to suggest that the drought of earlier this year was because America had lost favor with God:
"When drought and other weather disasters struck ancient China," Craig Smith and I write in The Great Debasement, "some people took this as evidence that their Emperor had lost divine favor, that he had 'lost the Mandate of Heaven' and should be replaced to restore harmony between heaven and earth, between humankind and nature, and to bring back divine blessing to the land."
"The Bible likewise comprehends a link between virtue and the blessing of good weather," we wrote, quoting two Biblical passages as examples.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last July told reporters who were asking him about the drought that "I get on my knees every day, and I'm saying an extra prayer right now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it."
President Obama's own secretary of Agriculture apparently believes that God influences our weather, and that human behavior can affect this.
Our modern scientific culture teaches that devastating weather can be caused by human transgression — by the sin of polluting the environment.
Modern sophisticates would scoff at all ancient beliefs that strange and destructive weather events may be omens that our leaders have lost the mandate of Heaven and should be replaced.
In other words, Ponte is not the guy you want doing your weather report.
Your Ronald Kessler Romney-Fluffing Update Topic: Newsmax
As expected, Newsmax's Ronald Kessler has been reliably shilling for Mitt Romney all month, but he takes it to a new, journalistically dishonest level in an Oct. 29 article.
In it, he lets Romney adviser Bay Buchanan blather on and on about how well Romney is purportedly doing:
Republican intensity supporting Mitt Romney is now equal to Ronald Reagan’s during his first campaign, Bay Buchanan, a senior adviser to Romney and Reagan’s Treasury secretary, tells Newsmax.
“The intensity level is remarkable,” says Buchanan, who was also the treasurer of Reagan’s presidential primary campaigns in 1976 and 1980 and national treasurer of Reagan’s general election presidential campaigns in 1980 and in 1984.
“It’s not only showing up in the polls, but if you go out in the states as I have, in Florida and in Wisconsin, the excitement level is something that I haven't seen since Reagan,” she says.
At a rally in Colorado, “The forum sat 10,000 people and 10,000 people packed in there and they had to turn people away,” Buchanan says. “In Leesburg, Va., there were 8,000 people in the line to get in, and it was a mile long down into the main part of town.”
Buchanan says Romney’s campaign has become a movement.
Kessler makes no effort to verify anything Buchanan says, nor does he quote anyone else.
Of course, Buchanan is serving up nothing but pure, unadulterated campaign spin, and Kessler is all too eager to regurgitate it in the service of his favorite candidate.
Kessler is not the only journalist treating "Romney fauxmentum" spin as news, but his commitment to the cause is noteworthy. Remember, Kessler has a pedigree as a real reporter for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Richard Viguerie Does A Revisionist History of Evangelical Movement Topic: Newsmax
Richard Viguerie writes in his Oct. 26 Newsmax column:
As one surveys today’s political scene, it is impossible not to compare the effect of Obama’s gratuitous attack on freedom of conscience at Catholic institutions — through the Obamacare abortion coverage mandate — with Jimmy Carter’s attack on evangelical Christian schools during the late 1970s.
When Carter’s IRS administrator issued an order stating that any religious school founded after the 1952 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court school integration ruling was presumed to be created to circumvent the ruling, and integration, the response from religious educators of all faiths was swift opposition — but it set off what amounted to an atomic bomb in the middle of the hitherto apolitical evangelical community.
Jimmy Carter’s unprovoked attack on evangelicals brought millions of new conservative Christian voters into the Republican Party. It helped propel Ronald Reagan to victory in two national elections, led to the near-destruction of the Democrats as a national party in the Bible Belt and made Carter a one-term president.
Viguerie is misleading here, and not just because he has gotten the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision wrong (it was in 1954.) That tells us the rest of what he has written is bogus as well.
As it turns out, it is. Randall Balmer -- a professor of religion at Barnard College, Columbia University and contributing editor to Christianity Today -- points out that the supposed Carter administration action against "religious educators" Viguerieis, in fact, actions taken against Bob Jones University, which definitely was racist in that it banned interracial. Further, the IRS action against Bob Jones U. actually predated Carter's presidency. From Balmer's book "Thy Kingdom Come," discussing a presentation by right-wing activist Paul Weyrich:
Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). Let's remember, he said animatedly, that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.
Bob Jones University was one target of a broader attempt by the federal government to enforce the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, had sought to penalize schools for failure to abide by antisegregation provisions. A court case in 1972, Green v. Connally, produced a ruling that any institution that practiced segregation was not, by definition, a charitable institution and, therefore, no longer qualified for tax-exempt standing.
The IRS sought to revoke the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University in 1975 because the school's regulations forbade interracial dating; African Americans, in fact, had been denied admission altogether until 1971, and it took another four years before unmarried African Americans were allowed to enroll. The university filed suit to retain its tax-exempt status, although that suit would not reach the Supreme Court until 1983 (at which time, the Reagan administration argued in favor of Bob Jones University).
For his part, Weyrich saw the evangelical discontent over the Bob Jones case as the opening he was looking for to start a new conservative movement using evangelicals as foot soldiers. Although both the Green decision of 1972 and the IRS action against Bob Jones University in 1975 predated Jimmy Carter's presidency, Weyrich succeeded in blaming Carter for efforts to revoke the taxexempt status of segregated Christian schools. He recruited James Dobson and Jerry Falwell to the cause, the latter of whom complained, "In some states it's easier to open a massage parlor than to open a Christian school."
Viguerie doesn't explain why he apparently thinks it's permissible for Christian schools to discriminate on the basis of race -- which is what the implication of his touting of the founding of the evangelical movement ultimately means.
Newsmax Fearmongering About Economy to Boost Romney Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Moneynews website has also been following the corporate line of working to get Mitt Romney elected.
An Oct. 23 article touted a claim by Robert Wiedemer that "Stocks could take a plunge if President Barack Obama is re-elected on Nov. 6; however, they could surge if GOP challenger Mitt Romney takes the White House."
You might recall that a couple years back, Newsmax built one of its money-making schemes around Wiedemer's book "Aftershock."
Moneynews is also fearmongering about the economy. An Oct. 26 article states that "A combination of rising taxes and cuts to government spending coupled with continued murkiness out of Europe could send the U.S. economy into a recession in the first quarter of next year, said Laurence Fink, CEO of asset management giant BlackRock.
Newsmax Promotes Dinesh D'Souza Film, Ignores His Sex Scandal Topic: Newsmax
The loss leader of the month at Newsmax is Dinesh D'Souza's discredited anti-Obama film "2016: Obama's America," based on D'Souza's discredited book about how President Obama is an anti-colonial Marxist, or something.
Newsmax's promotion for it -- which involves its usual scheme of selling the DVD for $4.95 (plus shipping and handling) while throwing in a few "free" issues of Newsmax's magazine that you must cancel before you're automatically charged for a full year's subscription price of $39.95, which Newsmax benevolently describes as "convenient automatic renewal" -- includes this hyperbolic introduction:
Do you really know Barack Obama?
He's been president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world.
Yet a blockbuster new movie — 2016: Obama's America — proves that we don't know the real Obama.
This movie has broken records at box offices nationwide despite a major media blackout.
2016: Obama's America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of Obama to reveal whether one man's surprising past will redefine and change America over the next four years.
What Newsmax won't tell you: how D'Souza's personal and professional life is currently in shambles because of a sex scandal.
A couple weeks back, the evangelical magazine World reported that D'Souza showed up at a recent speaking engagement with a woman he described as his financee -- which people there took as a little strange since he's still married to (albeit separated from) his first wife.
As one can imagine, D'Souza's behavior is a bit disconcerting (if not exactly surprising) from someone who simultaneously has been complaining that Obama is “attacking the traditional values agenda.” Oh, and did we mention that D'Souza's new woman got married (to someone else) just last December?
It also got the attention of the folks at King's College in New York, an evangelical school where D'Souza is president. He had already faced criticism for promoting his own anti-Obama work, including his film, while ignoring the needs of the college. That situation resolved itself on Oct. 18 when D'Souza resigned as college president.
Yet Newsmax has not reported any of this to its readers -- we found no story about any aspect of the scandal on Newsmax's website. It did, however, find the time to report on the dismissal of a lawsuit against D'Souce by one of the film's producers over profits being made from the film.
Why doesn't Newsmax consider this news? It's a nice, juicy sex scandal, but Newsmax apparently doesn't want it to interfere with its (and D'Souza's) Obama-hating.
Newsmax Does Post-Debate Romney-Fluffing Topic: Newsmax
Right on cue, Newsmax's David Patten -- a loyal right-wing apparatchik -- quickly moved after the Oct. 22 presidential debate into full Romney-fluffing mode with an article headlined "Pundits Proclaim: Romney Passes ‘Commander-in-Chief Test’." Patten began in a cheerleading fashion:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have exchanged a tactical defeat for a strategic victory in Monday’s foreign policy debate, losing on points to the president by most accounts but scoring a solid performance that left major pundits declaring he had passed “the commander in chief test” in resounding fashion.
Of course, all of the "pundits" Patten quotes -- Judith Miller, David Gergen and Doug Schoen -- are conservative-leaning. Patten misleadingly describes Schoen as a "Democratic pollster" despite the fact that he's making his living these days in part by bashing President Obama.
Newsmax Hides Romney Links of Obama-Bashing Writer Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 19 Newsmax article highlights a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Douglas Feith and Seth Cropsey claiming that "The controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of last month’s killing of four Americans in Libya points to the president’s failure to address Islamist extremism."
We know that Newsmax is in pre-election pro-Romney mode, but can'tthey do at least a little journalistic disclosure? We should perhaps give them a little slack, though, since the Journal didn't disclose it either.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Wayne Allyn Root Edition Topic: Newsmax
Christians will turn out in record numbers this year. Obama has offended Christians again and again. Last election 20 million evangelical Christians did not vote. They will turn out in record numbers in 2012 to defeat the most anti-Christian president in U.S. history.
How motivated are Christians? Did you see the long lines around the country to support Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago? I predict you’ll see those same lines on Election Day.
It's time to stand up to a man destroying our values, killing jobs, fatally damaging our economy, and abandoning Israel. Christians have had enough of turning the other cheek.
Voter rolls have been purged in 2012 of felons and illegals in many states — particularly Florida and Ohio. Turnout of Democrats will be nothing like 2008.
Which brings up another important question. What kind of political party relies on felons and illegals to win elections? The Democratic Party of Barack Obama.
The “enthusiasm factor” for Romney is huge. Conservatives are focused, intense, motivated, and enthusiastic. Democrats turned out for Obama in record numbers in 2009. Today they are demoralized. A big edge goes to Romney on Election Day as conservatives, white voters, middle-class voters, and independents turn out in record numbers for Romney.
I know several people who voted for Obama in 2008, but say never again. Does anyone know a McCain voter who will vote for Obama in 2012? There are none.
Finally, history proves that a majority of undecided voters break for the challenger. Romney will take most of the undecided voters on election day — just like Reagan did versus Jimmy Carter in 1980. Romney’s fantastic debate performance gave them confidence to choose the challenger.
This is Carter/Reagan all over again. The same horrible economy. The same economically ignorant fool in the White House bringing misery to Americans. The same economic collapse under the weight of socialist, pro-union, soak the rich, demonize the business owners, policies.
I predict the same result on Election Day. Mitt Romney in a landslide. Just remember where you heard it first.
And If I'm wrong: God help the United States of America.
Kessler Repeats Unsubstantiated Attack on Biden Topic: Newsmax
The flip side to Ronald Kessler's Romney-fluffing is attacks on Mitt Romney's enemies, chief among them President Obama and Vice Presdient Joe Biden.
Kessler devotes his Oct. 15 Newsmax column to the latter, declaring that "Biden’s arrogance during the debate also provides a window on his character."Kessler then rehashes an attack on Biden he first peddled in June:
Since becoming vice president, Biden has come down with a malady known by insiders as White House-itis. As described in my book, “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” it befalls presidents, vice presidents, and White House aides who are not well grounded to begin with and let the intoxicating power of the White House go to their head.
As noted in my story, "Biden Spends $1 Million Annually for Weekend Trips," every Friday the vice president takes a helicopter designated as Marine Two from the vice president’s residence in northwest Washington to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He then hops on Air Force Two to fly back to his home in Delaware. At the end of the weekend, he returns on Air Force Two, usually a Boeing C-32.
On Saturdays in warm weather, Biden regularly returns to Andrews on the airplane to play golf at the base with President Obama. After the game, he flies back to Delaware. On Sunday evening, he returns on the plane to Washington — all at taxpayer expense.
The Boeing C-32 is a specially configured Boeing 757-200 commercial jet. The cost of flying the plane is $22,000 an hour, so each half-hour trip to or from Delaware costs about $10,000. Each golf game costs taxpayers $20,000. At that rate, the annual cost to taxpayers of Biden’s weekend trips is well over $1 million. That does not include so-called deadhead flights when the plane often flies back to Washington empty and then returns empty to pick up Biden.
In addition, the Secret Service rents more than 20 condominiums in the Wilmington area for agents who must accompany Biden when he returns to his home state. Rather than try to find hotel space, the Secret Service decided to rent the condos in part because, even when he knows his schedule in advance, Biden rarely tells agents until the last minute when he will be returning to Wilmington beyond his weekend trips. As a result, agents cannot plan their own lives.
A Secret Service agent says that since Air Force Two parks at Andrews, Obama is obviously aware that Biden is running up a huge government tab for each game of golf they play.
But Kessler, both here and in his original June article, fails to back up his claims, and he relies on an unverifiable anonymous Secret Service agent to make his attacks.
Kessler has more than proven himself to be a pro-Romney hack. Why trust his attacks on Obama and Biden?
In the 11-minute video of the interview attached to the article, Kessler tosses softball after softball to Romney, heavy on "somebody did this, what's your reaction" type of questions that prompts Romney to spout his usual talking points. These are hardly the kind of challenging questions one expects from someone who purports to be a journalist, though is exactly the kind of question one expects of a Romney sycophant.
Sample question from Kessler:
Ann Romney mentioned to me that when you are at Bain Capital,, you almost never brought work home because you were devoted to your family, you wanted to spend time with your kids. Looking back, I wish I had been that way as a father. That's pretty remarkable, and I wonder how that translates into a desire to strengthen families, what you would do in that regard.
It's unclear when the interview was conducted (it appears to have been on Oct. 12 because Romney referenced the vice presidential debate "last night"), but at one point Kessler said to Romney that "wholesale gasoline prices went up again today." But gas prices have been trending down for the past month.
Newsmax Rewrites Pro-Ryan Debate Article, For Some Reason Topic: Newsmax
As befits its current Romney-shilling mode, Newsmax was eager to portray Paul Ryan as the winner of his debate with Joe Biden. Shortly after the debate, Newsmax went with this rah-rah story by Martin Gould, under the headline "Grinning Biden Fails to Throw Ryan Off Course":
A grinning Joe Biden became the overwhelming image of Thursday’s vice presidential debate as he made a conscious effort to undermine virtually every point his rival Paul Ryan made.
“Malarky,” “bunch of stuff,” “loose talk,” “not true,” “let me translate that” “not mathematically possible,” “this is amazing,” he said of various points Ryan made during the 90-minute debate.
But Ryan refused to be bowed by the older man’s attempts to talk down to him and belittle his points, hitting Biden with a torrent of detailed figures.
Newsmax promoted this article with a large top-of-the-front-page graphic:
Strangely, though, this article no longer exists on the Newsmax website. The link where the article originally resided now contains what appears to be a heavily rewritten version of the story credited to "Newsmax Wires," which claims that Biden's "grinning, laughing and disrespectful performance was panned by commentators and pollsters." The article's original lead now appears several paragraphs down.
The original article was reposted at TeaParty.org, if you want to see the first rah-rah draft.
Why did Newsmax go through all the effort to rewrite the article and not simply post a different one? It's not like Gould's original is more embarrassing than, say, Ronald Kessler's creepy fawning over Ann Romney. Seems like a lot of work for not very much payoff.
Then again, we're not partisan shills, so what do we know?
Newsmax Spins for Romney on Abortion Remarks Topic: Newsmax
After Mitt Romney declared in an interview that “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," right-wing activists have been in spin mode trying to reconcile that statement with their support of him. And Newsmax -- now in full pro-Romney, anti-Obama mode -- is only too happy to be part of the spin machine.
An Oct. 10 article by Patrick Hobin and John Bachman let Newsmax reputation rehabilitation project subject Ralph Reed spin as hard as he could, insisting the issue was just "an issue of semantics":
Mitt Romney’s comments that abortion legislation would play no part in his White House agenda is consistent with his previously-stated positions, Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Newsmax.TV.
In the past Romney has said he would support a reversal of Roe vs. Wade, but Reed said he does not see his most recent comment, made in an interview with the Des Moines Register, as a deviation.
“He made it abundantly clear in the Des Moines Register interview that he would on day one, by executive order, reinstate the Mexico City policy which was originally instituted by Ronald Reagan and carried out by both Bush presidents that prohibits taxpayer funds from being used to promote or perform abortions overseas through the United Nations and other international agencies,” Reed said.
“Further, Mitt has made it abundantly clear that he favors repealing Obamacare, which we believe rations healthcare to the elderly and is therefore not pro-life and which also, through various means, promotes abortion,” he said.
Reed said the other issue that would affect abortion would be the make-up of the Supreme Court, where Romney has said he will appoint “strict constructionists."
"That was just an issue of semantics," sai Reed. "They asked him what his legislative agenda is. A judicial appointment is not legislation."
Another Oct. 10 article by Paul Scicchitano and Kathleen Walter featured Mike Huckabee insisting that right-wingers are "comfortable that he really is going to be a pro-life president."
Newsmax portrays itself as a reasonable, semi-balanced news organization, but it completely abandons that balance every time there's an election featuring a candidate it likes. It played that game in a Florida governor's race, it played it again earlier this year when it decided to push Newt Gingrich's candidacy, and it's doing that now.
Newsmax Career Rehabilitation Watch Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has long been trying to rehabilitate the reputation of Ralph Reed, who has been tarnished by his association with scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff and got stomped in a 2006 Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor -- even bizarrely letting him denounce political corruption.
Newsmax is still at it with an Oct. 3 article and video by Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter allowing Reed to opine on what Mitt Romney had to do in last night's presidential debate. Meyers and Walter, needless to say, make no mention of Reed's connection to Abramoff or his political failure.
Guess this means we'll be hearing from fellow rehabilitation project VitoFossella pretty soon...
Newsmax's Ronald Kessler follows in the footsteps of NewsBusters in bashing the media for fact-checking.
Like NewsBusters, Kessler uses his Oct. 1 column to attack the Washington Post for a fact-checking item on President Obama and daily security briefings:
A stunning example of how journalists cover up for this president appeared last week in Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker column in the Washington Post. Kessler — no relation — gave three pinocchios to an ad from American Crossroads pointing out that President Obama has skipped half of his intelligence briefings.
Kessler did not dispute that that was a fact. Indeed, Kessler wrote, during 2011 and the first half of 2012, Obama’s attendance record fell to just over 38 percent. But Kessler went on to offer excuses: Obama could not “skip” a briefing if he had not scheduled one. He reads the President’s Daily Brief. He meets with his national security advisers and asks questions. And some other former presidents also did not attend the briefings.
In a conclusion that is entirely beside the point, Kessler wrote, “Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA.”
But since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what president who cares about the security of the country would risk blowing off the briefings? As noted in my story, "Former CIA Director: Intelligence Briefings Are Valuable," President Bush almost never missed one.
Kessler conveniently omits Kessler's statement that President Reagan attended very few briefings.
The Washington Post pointing out the fact that a lack of in-person briefings doesn't mean the president is not being apprised of national security concerns is presented by kessler as an example of "how journalists cover up for this president."
But Kessler is hardly an impartial judge of journalism. He repeats the right-wing falsehood that Obama "claim[ed] that roads, bridges, and teachers rather than businessmen are responsible for the success of their own companies."