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Sunday, November 12, 2017
Newsmax's Hirsen Tries to Smear Roy Moore Accuser
Topic: Newsmax

For some reason, Newsmax columnist James Hirsen feels the need to launch nasty attacks on the women who accused Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore of perving on them when they were teenagers.

In a Nov. 10 tweet, Hirsen went on the attack: "Purportedly Moore’s main accuser Leigh Corfman has had three divorces, filed for bankruptcy three times, and has been charged with multiple misdemeanors. Posts on Moore's FB page indicate that Corfman, has claimed several pastors at various churches made sexual advances at her."

Hirsen retweeted other attacks on the accusers and defenses of Moore.

Ironically (or perhaps not so much), Gibson is close to a Hollywood star with a history of questionable behavior toward women, Mel Gibson. As we've documented, Hirsen headed a group that owned a tract of land in Pennsylvania where Gibson's father founded a branch of an ultraconservative Catholic sect, and has promoted Gibson on websites including Newsmax without disclosing his personal ties to the star. And when tapes surfaced revealing Gibson saying hateful and abusive things to an ex-girlfriend, he first ignored the story, then ran to his defense by claiming the tapes were edited. Only then did Hirsen finally disclose at Newsmax that he is a "business associate and friend" of Gibson.

Is this really the way Newsmax wants one of its columnists to behave? Given that it's given Hirsen a pass on his unethical behavior so far, perhaps so.

UPDATE: Hirsen, who claims to be an attorney, offered up this Nov. 13 post on Moore's threat to sue the Washington Post for publishing thet story about his accusers: "False publication that harms reputation is actionable defamation."

But if the claims are false, shouldn't Moore be suing his accusers instead of a newspaper? Further, Moore would have to claim actual malice -- that the Post knew the claims were false and published the story anyway -- for Moore's lawsuit to have any chance of success. Thus far, he has offered no such evidence against either the accusers or the Post.

Maybe Hirsen shouldn't be bragging so much about being a lawyer.

And in his new Newsmax column, Hirsen continued his pro-Moore defense campaign, delcaring the allegations to be "fake news." He manages to avoid repeating his defamatory claims about Corfman -- which are arguably more actionable in court than anything the Post has published about Moore, so good on Hirsen for belatedly figuring that out -- but he repeated other irrelevant information about another accuser, as if being "a sign language interpreter for then-Vice President Joe Biden" has any bearing on the current controversy."

Hirsen proudly claims that "It is predictable and wholly rational for Judge Moore’s backers to doubt the veracity of the Post story," adding: "Alabamians have little faith in the mainstream media, particularly the Post. On the other hand, Judge Moore is known statewide as an individual who after successfully running for office served as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court."

And, now, suspected pedophile. Hirsen won't admit that, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017 3:04 PM EST
Sunday, November 5, 2017
We Called It! Newsmax In The Market for O'Reilly
Topic: Newsmax

We were right.

Nast week, we noted that fluffy Newsmax coverage of disgraced ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly indicted that it was in the market  to obtain O'Reilly's services for its little-watched, little-carried TV channel. Now, with the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group has officially pulled out of the market for O'Reilly after it was revealed he had paid $32 million to settle one case of sexual harassment, Newsmax is officially in.

Politico reported that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has confirmed he's courting O'Reilly, adding that, according to Ruddy, "Newsmax has already established a relationship with O’Reilly, letting him use its podcast studios for several hours each week in New York since his dismissal from Fox News as an informal favor."

Politico notes that the sexual harassment allegations against O'Reilly are an issue, "though they do not appear to be enough to keep Newsmax from pursuing a deal." It also notes that Newsmax "posted an article about one of the former Fox host’s accusers being arrested in 2015 for making a false crime report."

Politico adds that an O'Reilly presence on Newsmax TV could be used as leverage to grow his TV channel and the company in general:

Newsmax is also exploring financing options to grow the network, and it’s potentially looking at going public, according to a person familiar with the network’s thinking. That type of expanded platform could prove enticing to O’Reilly—and adding a high-profile name like his could conceivably juice the company’s valuation.

Meanwhile, there's still evidence of the O'Reilly connection on Newsmax's website. The other day, as the above screenshot shows, a Newsmax story featuring O'Reilly opining on President Trump's tax plan was paired the front page with an ad by O'Reilly to get readers to subscribe to his own website.

If O'Reilly does end up at Newsmax, this is how it will happen.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 AM EDT
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Newsmax Makes A Play for Bill O'Reilly
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax, it seems, would like to be where disgraced ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly takes his talents now that he's a free agent after all the sexual harassment stuff. It's giving him a platform to do his usual O'Reilly thing, as well as rail against the sexual harassment allegations against him.

A Sept. 17 article by David Patten highlighted how "A 2015 arrest by Detroit police of a key accuser of Bill O'Reilly for giving a false report of a crime has raised serious doubts as to her credibility." Patten toutedhow "Newsmax has obtained two documents that cast doubt on Burgess's credibility" and got comments from O'Reilly about it. Three days later, an article by Greg Richter noted that O'Reilly "praised Newsmax for its report this week on his accuser's past arrest on filing a false allegation of a crime."

When news broke of the $32 million O'Reilly paid Fox analyst Lis Wiehl to settle a harassment claim, Richter devoted an article to letting O'Reilly attack the report, which also reproduced the entire statement O'Reilly's lawyer's released.This was followed by a column by Joseph A. Klein attacking former Fox host Megyn Kelly's rebuttal of O'Reilly's denials, asserting that Kelly was showing "apparent willingness to exploit allegations against a former colleague she appeared to have used to advance her career while at Fox News in order to now boost her sagging ratings on a rival network."

Patten wrote in an Oct. 24 article that "O'Reilly told Newsmax on Monday that investigators working for him had uncovered an audio recording of "an anti-Trump attorney" offering an unidentified woman $200,000 to file sexual harassment charges against then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump." And Newsmax devoted an Oct. 28 article to highlighting that "Bill O'Reilly is seeking no less than $5 million against a former New Jersey lawmaker who detailed, on Facebook, an account of his former girlfriend's claims that the former Fox News star allegedly sexually harassed her."

O'Reilly has made apperances on Newsmax TV to make his usual political pronunciations (and, of course, promote his new book), and columns he has written elsewhere, as well as appearances in other media, have been rewritten into Newsmax "news" articles. Newsmax even promoted how O'Reilly's latest "Killing" book "has taken over the No. 1 spot on the New York times best-sellers list, dropping Hillary Clinton's "What Happened" to No. 2."

Newsmax has also published columns defending O'Reilly. In July, for example, Michael Reagan huffed that the "sin" that cost O'Reilly his Fox News job was "being a prominent conservative. The left claims it was because of sexual harassment. But that’s what is strange about the manufactured controversy." Reagan continued to take O'Reilly's side by attacking his victims: "Since they accepted the money, one would have to assume that regardless of what O’Reilly was alleged to have done in the past the women were now satisfied and any wrongs avenged." He went on to rant that "The lesson for prominent conservatives is an attack from the left never blows over."

The peak of O'Reilly promotion at Newsmax, though, is a meaningless poll asking readers if they think O'Reilly should be on TV. It also asks readers what cable or satellite system they use -- meaning that this is a way to gauge reader interest in whether Newsmax should hire O'Reilly as well as seeing how people receive the sparsely watched Newsmax TV, which isn't on many satellite or cable providers. Remember, Newsmax has been battling satellite TV providers over carriage of Newsmax TV.

But O'Reilly isn't the only alleged perpetrator employed by Fox News that Newsmax is defending. A Aug. 14 column by Ronn Torossian (last seen here telling Chevrolet not to put same-sex couples in its ads) lamenting that allegations against Fox host Eric Bolling "has public relations pitfalls for Bolling even if he’s completely innocent. The public is asking questions and making up their minds, in most cases without having any actual facts about the incident or the case."

All of this may be for naught, however -- O'Reilly is reportedly negotiating with right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group for his return to TV. By the way, Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy opposes Sinclair's planned merger with Tribune Broadcasting.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:59 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 29, 2017 8:03 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Newsmax Columnist: Won't Somebody Think of the Poor Rich Widow Who Has to Sell Her Picassos!
Topic: Newsmax

Ira Stoll tries for a bit of pathos in his Oct. 2 Newsmax column:

The most illuminating recent article about the tax reform debate didn’t appear on the front page of any newspaper. It wasn’t in the business section, or on the editorial page.

It was an interview that appeared on an inside page of The New York Times arts section with Ellen Stern.

Stern isn’t an academic economist or a politician or a tax policy expert at some Washington, D.C. think tank. She’s a widow. Her husband, Jerome, died in March.

Beginning on Nov. 14 and continuing through March 2018 in nine separate events, Sotheby’s is scheduled to auction off the collection of art Jerome and Ellen Stern assembled over 30 years.

The Times reporter on the story, Robin Pogrebin, covers arts, not the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee or the Treasury Department. She sensitively captured the emotions involved, "Losing her husband, Jerome, in March was devastating for Ellen Stern. And preparing to part with much of their extensive art collection this fall is its own kind of grief."

Ellen Stern described having to sell the art as "like you’re stripped naked."

So why would Stern part with the paintings and sculptures that she told the Times she loved almost like children?

The Times posed the question directly, "Why are you selling it?" Stern answered equally directly, "Because of taxes."

Of all the many cruelties of our current tax system, one of most cruel is that it takes grieving widows and forces them to part with possessions accumulated over a lifetime.

Well, no. A multimillionaire woman who's parting with artwork but still has a sizable estate is nowhere near the same thing as a typical widow. Stoll seems to admit he's not generating much sympathy even as he downplays how rich she is, but he gamely presses on:

You may say that in a country of poverty-stricken hurricane victims and high-school dropout opioid addicts, Ellen Stern having to sell her Picassos in order to pay the tax bill on her 10 bedroom, 10 bathroom Westhampton estate doesn’t exactly rank high on the list of outrages. It isn’t a problem that affects a lot of people. Up to $5 million a person in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars is exempt from federal taxes, though some states, including New York, levy their own estate taxes. The people it does affect are asset-rich.

But the more you think about it, the more you realize that essentially all taxes — not just the estate tax — are just some kind of variation of the IRS forcing Ellen Stern to sell her art.

[...]

How much wasteful or counterproductive spending in Washington could be cut if before each time some politician approved a spending measure, he or she had to consider whether funding it was really worth making some widow sell a beloved artwork, or forcing similar painful trade-offs on millions of middle-class American families? Call it the Ellen Stern test.

Nope, Ira, you're still losing us. That 16-acre estate in the Hamptons, where the Sterns kept their art in its own large, private gallery, is on the market for $23 million, and she apparently plans to keep her Upper West Side apartment, which we can safely assume is also valued in the millions. One single piece out of the art collection -- a sculpture not by Picasso -- is expected to sell for $6 million to $8 million, and the collection as a whole is valued at $20 million and is so big it will take 10 separate auctions to dispose of. The Sterns have so much money, they gave a six-figure sum to a New York art museum to have bathrooms named after them.

Stern is not desperate, however much she complains she's selling the art to pay taxes and however much Stoll tries to suggest otherwise -- she's an elderly woman who's downsizing an expansive estate after the death of her wealthy venture-capitalist husband (Stoll never mentions his occupation). Her plight is not that of the "ordinary, middle-income taxpayers" to which Stoll tries to liken her since, as he implicitly admits, Stern's estate is far beyond the $5 million minimum to trigger the estate tax.

Consider Stoll's column a failure of misdirected sympathy.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 10:34 AM EDT
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Newsmax Has A Serial Stalker As A Columnist
Topic: Newsmax

For much of this year, Newsmax has been publishing columns by conservative writer Rachel Marsden. Her bio does a fine job of polishing her credentials, including a claim that she "served as director of a key think tank during the lead-up to the Iraq war." Actually, it appears, she was simply director of development -- a title that typically has to do with fundraising and member recruitiment rather than involvement in policy -- for the now-defunct Free Congress Foundation.

Her bio also states that she is a "former Fox News co-host and contributor," but doesn't mention she was escorted out of the building in the process of becoming a former co-host.

So she's overstating her credentials. But there's one thing she's definitely keeping quiet about: being something of a seral stalker.

The Jester's Court blog has the full rundown (as does Salon); it involves falsely accusing a swim coach of rape and harassment as a college student (turns out she was stalking him), an actual criminal conviction on harassment charges, and a brief affair with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales that ended with her making public their sexually oriented chats. The anonymous Jester's Court writer also tells of a stalker-y attempt by Marsden to seduce him in an apparent attempt to expose his identity.

Having Marsden as a columnist -- even if she is syndicated by an otherwise reputable company -- does not help Newsmax's current campaign of respectability.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:36 AM EDT
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Newsmax's Hirsen Falsely Claims Graham-Cassidy Doesn't Affect Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's James Hirsen rants against Jimmy Kimmel in his Sept. 25 column:

Kimmel's son had already had to battle congenital heart disease in his infant life. The Democrats apparently saw the opportunity to exploit Kimmel's family difficulties, using the hardship as a means to attack the Republican proposed legislation by feeding lies to the late-night host. Particularly underhanded was the reframing of the efforts by the GOP to repeal and replace Obamacare as a plan that would fail to protect people with pre-existing conditions such as the one Kimmel's son experienced.

[...]

Lost in the media coverage has been the truth that people with pre-existing conditions would not be denied coverage under the GOP’s proposed legislation. However, it appears as though Kimmel was fed purposely misleading information from Schumer and dutifully repeated the lines for his audience.

Kimmel was not lying. In fact, the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill would permit states to not cover pre-existing conditions, making coverage prohibitively expensive or even nonexistent.

Hirsen also complains that "the co-writer of Kimmel’s healthcare remarks was none other than U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.," and that the two had been "coordinating behind the scenes to put a wrench in the Republican undertaking of repealing the failing healthcare system known as Obamacare."

We remember when Hirsen vociferously defended Mel Gibson after his anti-Semitic rantings came to light and enthusiastically promoted his  film "The Passion of the Christ" at Newsmax without disclosing his personal and business connections to Gibson -- including that he ran a foundation on behalf of Gibson's father -- so any complaints about Kimmel's fact-finding arrangement ring hollow.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Newsmax Columnist Regurgitates Right-Wing Talking Points on Regnery-NYT Spat
Topic: Newsmax

Mark Tapson dutifully does the work right-wing publisher Regnery was hoping to see in devoting a Sept. 13 Newsmax column (also published at the right-leaning website Acculturated) to Regnery's hollow attack on the New YOrk Times bestseller list:

A Times spokesman insisted that the “political views of authors have no bearing on our rankings, and the notion that we would manipulate the lists to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous.”

Ludicrous? The Times says its list is based on “surveys” of “a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board in order to provide Times readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time.”

Confidential context? Best assessment? Broadly popular? This sounds suspiciously unscientific and non-transparent, and does not address the evidence of the sales figures themselves. The once highly-regarded “newspaper of record” is notoriously leftist and D’Souza is a lightning rod for Progressive animosity, so the idea that there might be some manipulation of the list is not only not ludicrous, it’s likely.

In response, Marji Ross, president of D’Souza’s conservative publisher Regnery, said in a letter to colleagues, “Increasingly, it appears that The Times has gathered book sale data in a manner which prioritizes liberal themed books over conservative books and authors.”

As we've pointed out, the underlying issue ignored by Tapson, as well as by most of the ConWeb, is bulk sales -- Regnery depends on bulk sales to conservative book clubs (it owns one or two of them) and political organizations to juice sales, and the Times apparently doesn't count them.

Tapson goes on to rant about how the right must wage a "culture insurgency" against the left. He doesn't realize that a good start to doing that would be not to reflexively regurgitate right-wing talking points.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:08 PM EDT
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Newsmax Helps Gorka Overcompensate
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how Accuracy in Media likes to help former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka overcompensate by insisting on calling him "Dr. Sebastian Gorka," despite the fact that he's not a medical doctor (giving only medical doctors the "Dr." honorific is standard journalistic style) and his academic credentials (his doctorate is from a Hungarian school) have been question.

Now Newsmax is helping Gorka overcompensate as well.

During an appearance by Gorka on the Aug. 31 edition of Newsmax TV's "The Joe Pags Show," host Joe Paglliarulo repeatedly privileges Gorka with the "Dr." moniker. This is mostly repeated on the Sept. 4 edition of Newsmax TV's "America Talks Live," in which host Miranda Khan similarly gives Gorka the "Dr." moniker, though on-screen text more correctly identifies him as "Sebastian Gorka, PhD."

Newsmax also referred to "Dr." Gorka in articles on April 4 and Aug. 31 -- interestingly, both are about the right-wing Jewish group Zionist Organization of America running to Gorka's defense.

Newsmax also continues to privilege anti-abortion activist Alveda King with the "Dr." honorific, but this case is even more egregious because King's doctorate is honorary, not earned.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EDT
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Newsmax Columnist Complains About Lack of Respect for President, Forgets Who His Employer Is
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen complains in his Aug. 21 Newsmax column: "One of the unfortunate byproducts of the irrational treatment of President Donald J. Trump by the politically entrenched establishment class, predisposed mainstream media, and Hollywood radical left is a precipitous decline in the respect customarily surrounding the presidency." Hirsen was referencing how some recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors were refusing to show up to accept the award if President Trump was to show up.

Hirsen, however, seems to have forgotten who publishes his column.

Newsmax has never shown much respect for President Obama. Then-reporter Ronald Kessler repeatedly attacked him during the 2008 presidential campaign, as did other Newsmax writers. After the election, Newsmax had trouble accepting the results, with one Newsmax columnist likening him to Hitler and another calling for a military coup to resolve the "Obama problem" -- among the many ways Newsmax disrespected Obama just in his first year in office, which also included embracing birtherism.

Indeed, to this day some Newsmax writers are still suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Seems like Hirsen should have started in his own house before attacking others over lack of respect for the president.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 PM EDT
Friday, August 18, 2017
Newsmax Complains About Media Covering David Duke, Forgets It Publishes Ed Klein
Topic: Newsmax

John Gizzi complains in an Aug. 12 Newsmax article:

Twenty-eight years after he won his only elective office as a Louisiana state representative, following a dozen losing bids for offices ranging from president to governor, David Duke is — almost incredibly — still sought out by the national media.

As reporters from across the nation and abroad covered the white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday, Duke, onetime Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was showcased extensively by the press.

In one widely-shown TV clip, Duke declared: [T]hat’s why we voted for Donald Trump ... because he said he's going to take our country back, and that's what we gotta do"

Trump supporters will inevitably argue that the liberal media is trotting Duke out simply to link a storied white supremacist and the president. But his string of successive losses at the polls and recent embarrassing antics have so demolished Duke's credibility that one wonders why any journalist would take him seriously.

We would remind Gizzi that his employer loves to publish Ed Klein mostly for his anti-Obama and anti-Clinton attacks, which rarely if ever have on-the-record sourcing -- a major journalistic blunder. That matters because the anonymous sources he loves to cite have been wrong on a regular basis, and his attack books simply can't be trusted.

Klein clearly has no credibility. Instead of complaining about how others work, shouldn't Gizzi be wondering why his employer takes Klein seriously?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 PM EDT
Friday, July 14, 2017
Newsmax's Ruddy Spins Hard to Deflect Trump Scandals
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy is a friend of Donald Trump's, and he's been riding Trump's coattails to build up his own prominence -- heck, he's even written a pro-Trump op-ed for the New York Times.

His own website, however, is where Ruddy spins the hardest for his friend. In his June 23 column, for instance, Ruddy tosses out a list of distracting pro-Trump bullet points such as "To repeat, no one has provided any evidence the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton" and "Trump won the election fairly and squarely" and "Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which was his prerogative." Ruddy ironically added that "The president is right to be worried about an investigation that was created with no evidence of a crime" -- apparently forgetting making accusations against President Clinton without evidence of a crime is how he built Newsmax 20 years ago.

Of course, that first bullet point became inoperative when is was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian operative who promised evidence to defeat Hillary Clinton. Thus, we have Ruddy's July 10 column, in which he insists the operative the campaign met with was just an "eccentric Russian lawyer" and that "There is nothing illegal or improper in a campaign talking to a foreign national about their election opponent." Ruddy then added: "I know Donald Trump. He would never collude with the Russians."

And Ruddy was off and spinning again, blaming Paul Ryan for serving up a "damaged bill of goods" in the form of the first House health care reform bill and that "Trump has been trying to fix Ryan's mess." The sycophancy then starts to turn a little embarassing:

There are dozens and dozens of examples where the President set the vision, picked smart and savvy people, and saw the mission accomplished.

In August, Newsmax Magazine will have a blockbuster cover story about the President’s efforts to radically clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs, keeping a campaign promise to do so.

[...]

In business Trump set a strong vision for his companies and his brand. He picked strong people to implement the vision. He constantly checked on results. If things didn’t work out, he made adjustments and sometimes fired people.

Using the same approach as president, Trump has done an amazing job in a short time.

The administration has fallen short in three areas: communications, personnel staffing and allowing Congress, particularly Speaker Ryan, to set the legislative agenda. All three areas are interconnected and will  undermine the President’s future plans if not corrected.

But the President has shown an adroitness in addressing problems and overcoming obstacles.

It's also important to remember almost all new administrations have issues. Remember the first two years of the Clinton administration?

So much you hear about the President is media spin and  myth, such as claims the president doesn't listen or he can't take criticism.

In my experience, he does and he can, then he acts and big things happen.

Written like a man who knows which side his bread is buttered on these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EDT
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Persistent Obama Derangement Syndrome, Newsmax Edition
Topic: Newsmax

And Michelle Obama decided to bully school kids. She thought forcing teenagers to subsist on the same fare enjoyed by Eastern mystics would cure America's obesity problem.

[...]

In the future kids wouldn't be hungry due to incompetent parents. They would be hungry as a result of Michelle's One-Size-Fits-All menu mandate.

Thank God Michelle didn't choose clothing for her legacy. Kids attending government schools would look like Red Guards.

Michelle might be able to keep the menus running on time in the White House where she has the Secret Service to back her up, but in Deplorable America teenagers are much more obstinate.

[...]

The University of Vermont conducted a study of her menu in action and found food waste increased by 56 percent. Michelle even managed to turn formerly law-abiding children into salt pushers as flavor advocates sold take-out packets to an eager client base.

Michelle even managed to make biscuits taste bad, but what would you expect from a woman that demands diners eat grits without butter or brown sugar?

This is why if you passed by any school gullible enough to adopt her school lunch program you could see Michelle's legacy being tossed from school cafeteria trash cans into the dumpster.

[...]

Michelle's real legacy is utter contempt for the average American. Personally, I can get along without the hectoring presence of the First Drill Sergeant. I know what I'm buying in the grocery store without consulting the USDA hotline.

If Michelle's cuisine control causes local school boards to question the role of the feds in education, then she will have left a legacy I can actually support.

-- Michael Shannon, May 26 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Kessler's Pro-Trump Semantic Fail
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax gave Trump sycophant Ronald Kessler (whom it once again failed to identify as a former Newsmax employee) a platform on Newsmax TV to complain about the "dishonest" media coverage of President Trump, using a bizarre sematic argument to claim a Washington Post story was a "hoax":

"Last week, The Washington Post also ran a story saying . . . the FBI has determined that an aide close to Donald Trump is a person of interest in the Russian investigation. Anybody knows anything about the FBI knows they don't use that term at all in any investigation – certainly not counterintelligence, except for violent crime and kidnaping. It simply doesn't exist. They do not use that term.

"Apparently nobody at The Washington Post knows enough about the FBI to recognize that which obviously means that that story is a hoax. Someone made up the story. That is the Post."

The same day that Newsmax published the writeup on Kessler, it also published an article stating that "President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser, is under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Russia probe." The next day, the Post reported that according to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Kushner tried to open up a secret communication backchannel between Russian officials and the Trump transition team.

Persona of interest? Under scrutiny? Semantics aside, a distinction without a difference. The Post is correct, and Kessler is wrong.

Kessler is rather odioiusly putting his loyalty to Trump before the facts -- a terrible, discrediting situation for someone who portrays himself as a fair and balanced journalist.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Newsmax's Hirsen Blames Venezuela Crisis On ... Hollywood?
Topic: Newsmax

The headline of James Hirsen's April 24 Newsmax column reads, "Hollywood Inflames Crisis in Venezuela." Huh?

Hirsen rehashes the key right-wing trope about the situation in Venezuela these days -- namely, that it's a direct result of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, being socialists. In fact, it has more to do with authoritarian behavior by Chavez and Maduro combined with mismanagement of both the country's oil industry and its economy as a whole.

And somehow "Hollywood" is responsible for that? Hirsen sort of backs off the headline's blanket indictment, instead targeting just a few people he doesn't like:

This is a country that is now being devoured by chaos. Looking back, though, liberal celebrities such as Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, and Naomi Campbell supported Chavez while he ransacked the country, and/or they oftentimes lent their influence to assist his chosen replacement Maduro.

Some of the Hollywood glitterati actually traveled to Venezuela multiple times to aid Chavez’s socialist oppression. Penn acted as a surrogate for Chavez during the dictator’s campaigns. Moore praised the despot for redistributing oil company profits. And Campbell gave kudos to Chavez, even referring to him as a "rebel angel."

[...]

The Hollywood left continued its support for handpicked socialist successor Maduro, who doubled down on Chavez’s failing policies. Penn explicitly endorsed the new dictator Maduro, and Foxx appeared at a staged media event for Chavez’s replacement.

The Chavez-Maduro fans in Hollywood have been unusually quiet as news from Venezuela becomes increasingly grim.

It is time for the far-left in Hollywood to speak out against an ideology built on the greed and egos of power hungry elites, one fueled by the envy and resentment manipulatively induced in the poor and disenfranchised.

Notice that Hirsen uses "liberals," the "left" and the "far-left" interchangeably. Words mean things, but Hirsen doesn't seem to think so. Who, exactly, does Hirsen want to speak out?

It's also worth noting that Hirsen's sudden concern about "the greed and egos of power hungry elites" seem to have went AWOL when Donald Trump was running for president. Hirsen has repeatedly defended Trump in his column.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Newsmax's Hirsen Runs to Devin Nunes' Defense
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen is ostenibly Newsmax's "media analyst," but he's also a pretty tight Trump toady. And he's upset when others are portrayed as such.

In his March 27 column, Hirsen complains about how Democrats are allegedly trying to "systematically disparaging, discrediting, and sometimes seeking to destroy, in a political sense" Republican Rep. Devin Nunes for his highly politicized handing on the House investigation of allegedly links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Hirsen parrots the right-wing spin that "officials in the Obama administration had wrongfully revealed and disseminated the identities of U.S. citizens" but doesn't actually prove it.

Hirsen then runs to Nunes' defense of perhaps the most indefensible thing Nunes has done, briefing President Trump on the investigation before even members of his own committee:

The critique of Nunes by the Democrats and their mainstream media allies focuses on the following:

1. Nuness disclosure having been made without first notifying committee Democrats.

2. Nuness having briefed the White House on the newly exposed evidence.

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman apologized to Democratic committee members for the apparent break with protocol of not notifying Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee (and his fellow committee members) before going public.

Nunes did not, however, apologize for providing the newly revealed evidence to the White House, nor was he obliged to do so.

Nunes said that the "unmasking" of names of individuals in the reports was a development "significant" enough to warrant his briefing the president as soon as possible.

The chairman told Fox News that he believed he had a "duty and obligation" to inform President Trump.

The headline on Hirsen's column, by the way, is "Nunes Briefed Trump Out of a Sense of Duty Only." Hirsen does not know that; he only knows what Nunes has claimed about it.

You'd think a media analyst would be smart enough not to solely take someone's word for something.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EDT

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