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Monday, July 18, 2016
Newsmax Still Won't Acknowledge Kessler Used to Work There
Topic: Newsmax

Poor Ronald Kessler. Even as Newsmax keeps featuring his latest work on its website, it still won't acknowledge he worked there for six years.

It happened again in a July 12 Newsmax article by Joe Crowe featuring Kessler's claim that "The FBI rarely prosecute officials for mishandling classified information,"effectively a rewrite of Kessler's column at the Washington Times.

Crowe describes Kessler only as "former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter." Presumably that gives Kessler more mainstream-ish cred at Newsmax than describing as a "former Newsmax chief Washington correspondent."

Of course, the bio at the end of his Washington Times column also omits his time at Newsmax, even though it's his most recent full-time position at a news organization.

Poor guy.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Newsmax Columnist Pushes False Claims Against Planned Parenthood
Topic: Newsmax

Is Newsmax getting back into the crazy-right-wing-commentary business?

You may recall Newsmax started toning things down on its website (or, at least, burying the crazy stuff as much as it could) after CEO Christopher Ruddy started making nice with the Clintons and a 2009 commentary by longtime columnist John L. Perry advocated a military coup to resolve America's alleged “Obama problem.”But it seems Newsmax is starting to let right-wingers let their freak flag fly again.

A few weeks back, Obama-hater Pat Boone appeared on Newsmax TV to declare that Obama is a Muslim and celebrates Islamic holy days in the White House. Now, in  June 29 Newsmax column, Michael Shannon lets fly with an unhinged rant against Planned Parenthood that starts with the falsehood that government money to Planned Parenthood is funding abortion:

Taxpayers opposed to having their money used to finance a procedure they considered an abomination and politicians afraid of them were assured “no federal funds sent to Planned Parenthood are used to pay for abortions.”

State and federal tax dollars are supposedly specifically earmarked by conscientious bureaucrats for use in only non-abortion related services, and are in no way allowed to facilitate Planned Parenthood’s industrial–strength disassembly lines.

It’s a complete and total lie that still poisons the abortion debate today.

The government can no more earmark money in a pool any more than you can earmark water in a pool. It’s as impossible as eating an entire chocolate cake and ordering it to avoid landing on your behind.

As Barbara Boland of CNSNews.com points out, almost half of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from federal, state and local government, a total of $540.6 million.

Pretending that enormous sum of money doesn’t free up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn is like telling the judge two of the four beers you drank had no effect while you drove the car into the ditch and shouldn’t count against your blood alcohol level.

Actually, Shannon's the one who's telling a "complete and total lie." the government can and does earmark money for various purposes, and the federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood is specifically earmarked for various services such as cancer and STD screenings and specifically prohibited from being spent on providing abortions.

Slate's Amanda Marcotte explains how, despite Shannon's insistence that  government funding to Planned Parenthood "frees up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn," that doesn't actually happen since medical services are billed and funded individually.

But here's where Shannon gets really crazy:

Planned Parenthood’s combined revenue from tax dollars, profit and private contributions was over $1 billion in 2013. Planned Parenthood claims 327,166 abortions during that year, but the figure is low.

It doesn’t include dispensing 1,590,000 doses of morning after pills that are the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion.

Um, no. As we've explained, morning-after pills mainly work by preventing ovulation, which is not abortion. It may also work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, which is also not abortion according to the medical definition. Since more than half of a woman's fertilized eggs never implant, Shannon would have to declare that all women are "the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion."

Shannon's bio dexderibes him as a "commentator" and "researcher (for the League of American Voters)." The right-wing League of American Voters, headed by Michael Reagan, hasn't updated its website in two years (nor is he listed on the organization's staff list), so maybe he needs to go back there and do some more research on whether he actually has a job.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Newsmax Hides Scandals of Ariz. Sheriff Running For Congress
Topic: Newsmax

John Gizzi devotes a June 21 Newsmax column to a fluffy profile of Republican Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu, who's currently running for Congress. Gizzi touts Babeu's credentials as "a lawman and border hard-liner who has become a national hero to many conservatives." Even the fact that Babeu is gay is no big deal, according to Gizzi:

Babeu, a pro-lifer, former U.S. Army Reserve major, and a stalwart conservative also is gay.

"All of my friends and family knew it, and, although I never went around and advertised it, it was one of the worst-kept secrets in the county when I ran for sheriff," Babeu told Newsmax.

But Gizzi failed to report that Babeu's sexual orientation was, in fact, an issue in 2012.

When Babeu ran for a congressional seat the first time in 2012 (a run Gizzi makes no mention of) when Babeu's former lover went public with allegations that Babeu threatened him with deportation if he disclosed their relationship. (Neither Babeu nor his ex-lover were charged with anything related to the allegations.) It wasn't until that happened that Babeu publicly admitted he was gay, and he quit the race a couple months later (after donations plunged after the scandal went public) to focus on getting re-elected sheriff.

Needless to say, Newsmax quickly rushed Babeu into image rehab following the incident, which surely contributed to Babeu's current congressional run.

Gizzi also doesn't mention the fact that Babeu used to be headmaster of a school in Massachusetts that used extreme and abusive discipline  methods on special-needs students, and that he bragged about using such methods on video.

Gizzi is so in the tank for Babeu that he touts a poll conducted by his campaign that, unsurprisingly, found Babeu well in the lead. Bue he doesn't mention when the poll was conducted, or that it has remarkably similar numbers to a poll from January. Meanwhile, a more recent poll shows Babeu with lower numbers (though still with a solid lead) but nearly half of the electorate undecided.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Pat Boone Spews More Obama-Hate
Topic: Newsmax

Pat Boone appears perfectly content to continue to destroy his pleasant pop-singer legacy with his unhinged hatred for President Obama. From a June 20 Newsmax article:

President Barack Obama is a Muslim and celebrates Islamic holy days in the White House, actor Pat Boone told Newsmax TV.

Boone, a singer, actor, and TV host who appears in the recent film "God's Not Dead 2," told Steve Malzberg Monday night Obama is not the Christian he claims to be.

"He said during [his 2008 presidential] campaign, the sweetest sound in his memory is the Muslim call to prayer," Boone said. "He does make a perfunctory appearance at the presidential prayer breakfast, and he will come to a black funeral after one of these killings like Orlando, but he celebrates Ramadan in the White House.

"He is, I'm afraid, more Muslim than Christian. And he is certainly more protective of anything relating to Islam than he is anything relating to Christianity."

The fact that it's Pat Boone saying this doesn't make this any less crazy or hateful. But Boone is counting on you to think otherwise.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Newsmax TV Squabbles With Dish Network Over Carriage
Topic: Newsmax

The recurring battle between TV channels and the cable and satellite companies that carry them has now hit Newsmax.

A June 6 Newsmax article says that Dish Network has dropped Newsmax TV, and Newsmax is responding by askingviewers to "to call DISH and let them know you want Newsmax TV back!"

The article adds its own version of backstory:

We are disappointed by DISH Network's decision to stop carrying Newsmax TV.

By doing so, DISH has closed down an important and independent news voice.

It is unfortunate DISH would make such a move during this critical election period.

Newsmax is one of the most respected online news sources in the nation, reaching approximately 50 million online viewers monthly, according to comScore.

We have been an important source of news about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and much more.

In less than two years, Newsmax TV has become a popular cable news channel – drawing close to 5 million monthly viewers, up from fewer than 500,000 when we launched.

In the past DISH has been forced to remove channels that charge excessive fees that must be passed on to their customers.

We applaud DISH for standing up for their customers – but it is important to remember that Newsmax TV does not charge DISH!

In fact, we financially benefit them and their customers so there are NO pass-along costs!

Actually, that's not quite the full truth. As TVPredictions.com reports, DirecTV continues to carry Newsmax TV, as well as "several small cable and telco TV providers." Plus, it's available streaming online, so the channel hasn't been "closed down" at all.

Further, TV Predictions notes, the real issue seems to be about money. Newsmax pays both Dish and DirecTV to carry Newsmax TV, and "Newsmax has yet to issue a comment on the dispute, but it would appear that Dish is either asking the channel for more money, or Newsmax is seeking carriage now without having to pay any fee."

There may also be the issue of channel placement, given Newsmax's digression into the subject in its article:

When DISH launched Newsmax TV, we were placed among a suite of shopping channels, unrelated to our news content.

Due to this unfair and inappropriate placement, DISH has made it difficult for their subscribers to find Newsmax TV.

Newsmax TV continues to be available on DirecTV 349, Verizon FiOS115, and more than 40 cable systems around the nation — all of which put Newsmax TV in their news channel lineups.

It might help if Newsmax publicly explained exactly why Dish dropped Newsmax and under what terms it would return.

Also of note, Newsmax illustrated its article with this picture:

The fellow on the left is Dick Morris, who just signed on as a political correspondent with the National Enquirer. (Apparently, all the post-2012 image rehab Newsmax did for Morris, following a slew of aggressively wrong predictions about the 2012 election, has gone for naught ... or has it?) The Washingtonian hilariously noted how Morris claimed he was impressed with the Enquirer's "willingness to tell the truth" ... "But when asked what that 'truth' is, Morris said he wanted out of the interview and ended the call."

You'd think having a top Newsmax analyst also be associated with a dubious tabloid would not exactly make Dish Network terribly eager to keep the channel. Perhaps Newsmax should explain that one too.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Newsmax's Gizzi: Brazil Needs A Repression-Loving Dictator
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax Washington correspondent John Gizzi, apparently responding to the current turmoil in Brazil, tweeted: "Brazil needs Emilio Medici, president from 1969-74 whose reign was called 'years of lead & torture' again."

Well, that may be because that's exactly what it was.

History student Colin Snyder details how Medici was installed as president by a military junta, and while economic growth occurred under his regime, it was better known for repression and torture:

With the economic and athletic success, many Brazilians were blissfully unaware of just how brutal repression had become. Future-president Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who in the early-1970s had just begun his career as a metalworker, later commented that, if there had been a popular and direct election in 1970, Médici would have won in a landslide. He also enjoyed close relations with the United States, drawing on his time spent there as a military attache. In 1971, he made an official state visit to the Nixon White House, where the two men discussed possible ways to overthrow democratically-elected Chilean president Salvador Allende. And to build up support, Médici relied on propaganda in new ways, spending millions of cruzeiros on advertising campaigns designed to drum up patriotic support for the regime through slogans such as “Brazil: Love it or leave it” (“Brasil, Ame-o ou deixe-o“). He finished his mandate in March 1974,  leaving office just as Brazil’s economy started to show subtle signs of weakness that would come to plague the country throughout the rest of the decade and into the 1980s and 1990s. As he left office, he enjoyed a massive amount of popularity, seen as the man who finally “stabilized” Brazil, even while many of the economic policies that had created the “miracle” preceded his administration.

While he was popular while serving as president, his popularity quickly faded away. The growing economic turmoil of the 1970s, which proved increasingly difficult to curb, led more and more people to question the policies of his administration. In the 1980s, the Catholic vicariate of São Paulo and Protestant ministers managed to secretly obtain thousands of classified documents that detailed the use of torture in Brazil during Médici’s government; the documents, ultimately compiled and published as Brasil: Nunca Mais (“Brazil: Never Again,” translated into English as Torture in Brazil) shocked millions of Brazilians who had been unaware of (or had chosen to ignore) the extensive use of torture in the 1970s. Though at the time people referred to the Médici years as the “economic miracle,” these years ultimately became known as the “Years of Lead,” due to the regime’s heavy repression.

The New York Times reported that "According to the Brazilian Amnesty Committee, 170 opponents were killed and many were tortured in army and police cells" under Medici's rule, adding: "For many Brazilians, the principal memory of the Medici years was the pervasive fear of being caught up without documents and vanishing during a police sweep."

Y'know, maybe Medici isn't the kind of guy Brazil needs after all. 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EDT
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Newsmax Maintains Silence on Kessler Being A Former Employee
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how Ronald Kessler's recent appearances on Newsmax TV omit the fact that Kessler was Newsmax's chief Washington correspondent from 2006 to 2012. That streak is continuing.

In an April 15 Newsmax TV interview, in which Clinton-hater Kessler insists that Hillary Clinton will be indicted over her mail server, host Steve Malzberg does not mention that Kessler used to work at Newsmax. And the accompanying article describes Kessler as a "veteran journalist" and "a former Washington Post reporter and author of "The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents," published by Crown Forum" -- but not as a former Newsmax correspondent.

There's also another level of nondisclosure going on here. Crown Forum, the imprint that published Kessler's book, began life as Prima Forum, a joint venture with ...  Newsmax.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 AM EDT
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Newsmax Columnist Forgets That Waterboarding Doesn't Work
Topic: Newsmax

Fred Fleitz writes in an April 12 Newsmax column headlined "Here's What CIA's Brennan Forgets About Waterboarding":

CIA Director John Brennan is in the news lately because of comments he made over the weekend that he will not permit CIA officers under the next president to use "waterboarding," a controversial enhanced interrogation technique that has been successfully used to extract information about potential terrorist attacks from al-Qaida members.

Brennan's comments came in response to statements by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that they may use waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods against terrorist suspects to protect the American people and the U.S. homeland.

Actually, waterboarding was not "successful" against al-Qaida members. A Senate report found that the waterboarding used against three al-Qaida captives in the wake of 9/11 yielded no useful intelligence and lots of fabricated information. One captive, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in one month, and the Senate report disputes CIA claims that he was a senior al-Qaida official and that he provided actionable information as a result of the waterboarding.

But never mind the facts: Fleitz goes on to sneer that Brennan is "partisan tool of the Obama administration" and his comments that he would not permit waterboarding again "are an obvious attempt to keep his job if Hillary Clinton wins in November."

Fleitz used to be managing editor for LIGNET, a "global intelligence and forecasting" service operated by Newsmax that appears to have gone defunct; the group's website is currently inaccesible.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Newsmax Still Doesn't Want To Admit That Kessler Used To Work There
Topic: Newsmax

The last time Ronald Kessler appeared on Newsmax TV, nobody seemed to want to admit that Kessler served as Newsmax's Washington correspondent for six years. That's holding up for another recent appearance.

On his March 28 show, Newsmax TV host Ed Berliner introduced Kessler as a "New York Times bestselling author, veteran American journalist who has written extensively about security from the perspective of the CIA, Secret Service and FBI" -- but not as a former Newsmax correspondent. The accompanying Newsmax article promoting Kessler's appeaerance also omits Kessler's former employment there.

If Kessler is on good enough terms with Newsmax to appear on its TV shows, why isn't he good enough for Newsmax to admit he used to work there?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 PM EDT
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Kessler Comes Back to Newsmax to Fluff Trump
Topic: Newsmax

When he worked for Newsmax, Ronald Kessler was a huge Trump-fluffer and feeder of Donald Trump's presidential ambitions, to the point that he's possibly the person most responsible for establishing Trump as a plausible presidential candidate.

Not only is Kessler still heavily in the Trump-fluffing business, he has come back to Newsmax to do it.

A March 2 Newsmax article by Greg Richter highlights a appearance by Kessler on Newsmax TV, in whichhe explains that "Republican front-runner Donald Trump is very different in private than his public persona on television that has been seen so far in his presidential campaign" and that "Trump will transition away from that persona if he wins the nomination."

Kessler was on to promote an article he wrote for the Daily Mail in which he gives a fawning depiction of how Trump runs his Mar-a-Lago private club, asserting that he "the same management techniques that have made him so successful as a businessman: hiring the best and the brightest, holding department heads accountable, firing employees when necessary and insisting on quality and cost cutting." (The above photo of Kessler and his wife hanging with Trump is from that article.)

Curiously, neither Richter nor the Newsmax TV segment mentioned that Kessler is a former Newsmax employee, which he was for a good six years.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 PM EST
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Christopher Ruddy's Jeb Fail
Topic: Newsmax

Jeb Bush is out of the presidential race now, though Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy shilled hard for him of late, writing two columns in the past few weeks to boost him.

Ruddy wrote on Feb. 5:

There’s a reason Florida is one of the most desired places to live: it’s Jeb Bush.

There is a reason that Florida is a strong, Republican-controlled state: Jeb Bush.

There is even a reason Marco Rubio is running for president today: Yep, Jeb again.

As New Hampshire voters come down to the wire, I think Republican voters there and across the country need to take a serious, second look at Jeb.

While I think we have a remarkable field — from a brilliant businessman like Donald Trump, a conservative champion like Carly Fiorina, a charismatic Rubio, and respected governors like Chris Christie and John Kasich, Jeb may fit the bill of what Americans want this November.

[...]

With all of the noise in the current campaign, it’s vitally important we conservatives look for a leader with a strong track record, a real leader.

Surely the American people will look for these qualities come November — and Jeb has them in spades. 

Ruddy went to bat for Jeb again on Feb. 17, doing his best to spin Bush's electoral problems:

Bush has had his share of stumbles, but he has shown resiliency for several reasons.

First, he has had a powerful conservative record as governor in Florida. No candidate in the race comes close to Jeb’s record on taxes, spending, pro-life, pro-gun, state’s rights and other issues conservatives are about. It’s indisputable.

Second, he has a national organization ready to fund and sustain him though a primary with either Trump or Cruz, and later through a fierce general election campaign against Hillary.

Third, while appearing rusty in early debates, Bush has risen to the occasion, having given a strong performance in Charleston.

[...]

So far, Jeb Bush has outperformed. The pundits said he would be an asterisk in New Hampshire. But he came in a solid fourth place, ahead of Rubio.

If he comes in second or third in South Carolina, he will be positioned as the leading establishment candidate through Super Tuesday.

After that, he will have an even stronger hand in primary states ahead like Florida, California, New York, Illinois, to name a few.

And, if day one of a Jeb Bush presidency happens, the country will be in very good hands.

Remember, Ruddy is a player in Florida Republican politics, where Bush is from and where Newsmax is headquartered. He's tried to play kingmaker for various Republican candidates there, and at one point was a possible candidate for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson.

Of course, in between thouse two columns on Bush, Ruddy wrote one praising Donald Trump, gushing, "Donald Trump is a born winner."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 PM EST
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Ex-Newsmax Reporter Kessler Is Still A Trump Sycophant
Topic: Newsmax

We documented how Ronald Kessler, then with Newsmax, was an enthustiastic promoter of Donald Trump's presidential ambitions during the 2012 presidential campaign -- while failing to disclose he was a good friend (or at least a sycophantic hanger-on) of Trump, having slobbered all over the guy in a 1999 book he wrote on Palm Beach's social scene.

Now Trump is actually running for president, and Kessler remains a loyal sycophant.

The headline of a piece Kessler wrote for the gossipy British tabloid the Daily Mail -- "Truffle and ricotta ravioli, surf & turf, Trump's own bubbly and Secret Service agents struggling to open bejeweled clutch purses to search for weapons: My New Year's Eve dinner (and other good times) with Donald Trump" -- is as overstuffed as the article itself, dripping with praise for Trump as he lovingly documents the "black-tie New Year's Eve party, which my wife Pamela Kessler and I attended at Mar-a-Lago, his club and Florida home in Palm Beach":

First came hors d'oeuvres and champagne on the terrace overlooking the pool, always heated to 78 degrees, like the second pool right on the ocean.

Cocktail shrimp, stone crab claws, cold lobster, oysters on the half shell, sushi, and caviar dished onto blini were among the offerings.

After that, the guests swanned over to the ballroom for dinner and dancing. No one would be hungry for dinner, which included truffle and ricotta ravioli and filet mignon and scallops. The bubbly: from Trump's own Charlottesville, Virginia vineyard.

If Donald had wanted to invite them, he could have attracted some of the biggest celebrities in the country to the bash. But the guests were club members and old friends.

Donald's family, including nine-year-old Barron, sat with him watching the rocking event band, Party on the Moon. 

Kessler went on tell how "Like a proud maitre d', Donald went around greeting guests and posing for photos with his stunning wife Melania," repeat unsubstantiated allegations about Hillary Clinton's relationship with the Secret Service, quotes Trump emplpoyees about how awesome he is, then took a potshot at President Obama before fawning over Trump one more time:

In his book 'Dreams From My Father', Barack Obama admitted that as a community organizer, he got some asbestos removed from some pipes in one Chicago housing project but accomplished little else.

In contrast, Trump has amassed a fortune of $10 billion and employs 34,500 people. He didn't do that by being an idiot, a nut, or a bigot, some of the kinder terms that have been used to describe him.

Trump is running for president because he believes deeply in America. He symbolized that when he engaged in a protracted dispute with the town of Palm Beach over the American flag he erected on the front lawn of Mar-a-Lago on South Ocean Boulevard. 

That's the kind of writing that ensures Kessler and his wife keep getting invited to Mar-a-Lago. Appropriate, since Kessler gave up being a serious reporter years ago.

(Photo: Ronald and Pamela Kessler with Trump, from the Daily Mail article.)


Posted by Terry K. at 5:49 PM EST
Monday, December 14, 2015
Newsmax Advertiser Now Using Hawking, CNN To Sell Dubious Supplement Pills
Topic: Newsmax

Remember a week or so ago when we highlighted a Newsmax ad for "brain pills" that featured an obviously fake endorsement by Marco Rubio on an obviously fake news website? Well, our shady advertisers are back with a different fake endorser on a different fake website -- and Newsmax still doesn't seem to care.

This time out, the ad blurb on the Newsmax "feed network" reads, "Stephen Hawking Says This Smart Pill Is Proven to Double IQ." This time, readers are taken to a page that doesn't even really try to look like an actual CNN website page -- the URL readers "cmn.com--news.info" -- leading with this fake endorsement from Stephen Hawking:

The product's name this time is Geniux, which is probably the same thing as the "Accelerin" promoted in the Rubio ad. The page even ropes in CNN's Anderson Cooper for his own fake endorsement:

The ad repeats a fake endorsement from Denzel Washington, but also adds Bill Gates and Elon Musk. At the bottom of the page is a bunch of fake comments designed to look vague like a Disqus thread.

The actual product pageis even more vague than the Accelerin page about what, exactly, is in its little brain pills. There's a link at the bottom of the page that states "Click here to find evidence of a test, analysis, research or study describing the benefits, performance or efficacy of product ingredients based on the expertise of relevant professionals." But when you click on the link, it returns a listing of what it calls the "components of the nutraceutical formula found in The Geniux Brain Supplement," and that "one or more of the components in The Geniux Brain Supplement formula were present" in the referenced studies. It references bee pollen extract and tyrosine, neither of which are exactly known for their energy and memory-enhancing properties. And the two tyrosine-related studies examined their effects on phenylketonuria, an inherited disorder.

So, again, Newsmax is using its former syndicated news feed to promote a supplement of questionable value using fake celebrity endorsement. Are there no standards at Newsmax?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:23 PM EST
Friday, December 4, 2015
Newsmax Advertiser Uses Marco Rubio To Sell Dubious Supplement Pills
Topic: Newsmax

Last month, in the wake of questions about Ben Carson's involvement with the shady nutritional supplement maker Mannatech, the Washington Post's David Weigel reported on how conservatives are a key constituency for supplement makers. He notes that Newsmax is a major purveyor of such supplements and "features links to miraculous-sounding products next to original reporting." He then quotes Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy saying, “When I saw Mannatech being discussed at the debate, I looked up the company and said, ‘Reach out to them, they should be advertising this product on Newsmax.’ ”

That would explain the extremely low caliber of supplement firms that advertise on Newsmax.

Newsmax's "Top Stories" sidebar is a "feed network" that is also syndicated to numerous other websites with the promise of revenue-sharing. It used to contain headlines from Newsmax articles, but now is almost exclusively advertising for various and dubious products.

The other day, amid the other cheesy come-ons, we caught this headline on it: "Marco Rubio Shocks Country and Media With Latest Campaign News."

Like the sucker Newsmax believes us to be, we clicked on it. Which took us to this incredibly fake-looking "news" page under the fake-looking domain name "com--news.co" (we swear we saw an earlier version of this made to look like an equally fake-looking Fox News page).

As an apparent artifact to that fake Fox News page, the "news" article claims that "Marco Rubio shocks Bill O'Reilly by revealing his secret to working longer and more productive hours." IT goes on to serve up this terribly written "news" copy:

As a senator, Rubio is a big fan of reading books, the news, and doing puzzles but according to O'Reilly, he also credits his success to an IQ boosting, brain pill that helped him with memory, cognition and recall. This is the real magic says Rubio, referring to Accelerin Rubio wouldn't comment but when billionaire pal Warren Buffett said, "I had to tell Marco about (product name) I mean, this is something that I've used for years, it is in fact kind of a secret because you know, it's not heavily advertised but that's what's great about it, Accelerin puts all their money into finding the most organic, pure all natural ingredients and that it, it all goes into the formula, so you kind of have to be "in the know" to get your hands on it, but I tell everyone I meet my "secret" so I guess it's not really a secret anymore. 

So Accelerin is the product being shilled here. It's presented as a  and claims to be "the inspiration for the movie ‘Limitless'" and a "safe alternataive" to Adderall.

The article goes on to claim endorsements by Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Dr. Oz, and includes a sidebar with fake covers of National Geographic and Time magazines, the latter accompanied by a fake endorsement from Tiger Woods, saying things like "I feel like I have opened up extra space in my brain."

(Oddly, those fake magazine covers reference a completely different product, "Brain Storm Elite," which may or may not be the same thing as Accelerin.)

It also claims "MIT scientist Peter Molnar" said, "We tested Accelerin Vs. Adderall with 1000 subjects, over a 10 day period and the results were shocking... Accelerin - out performed Adderall and we concluded that it was 600% more effective and subjects doubled their IQ while taking Accelerin." There is a Peter Molnar who's a scientist, but he's an geological scientist who likely wouldn't be conducting research on nutritional supplements, and he left MIT in 2001.

The web page also asserts that Accelerin is "clinically proven" to:

  • Sky-rocket Concentration by 32%
  • Improve Creative Thinking
  • Boost Energy
  • Enhance Memory Recall
  • Increase IQ Scores by 47% 

The website concludes with an obviously bogus "verified real" comments section:

What is in Accelerin? We have no idea; the actual sales page for it linked in the fake "news" page claims it has "100% Pure Phosphatidylserine Complex," whatever that is. It also admits (in small type at the bottom of the page) that "The statements made on our websites have not been evaluated by the FDA."

So, we have an ad for a questionable product using wild, unproven (and unprovable) claims and almost certainly made-up celebrity and politician endorsements. (If the makes of Accelerin have proof to back up any of this, they are free to share it with us and the world.) It may sell some pills, but this and other shady supplement sellers that also peddle their pills on Newsmax -- which apparently has no advertiser standards it's interested in enforcing -- sure doesn't make Newsmax look like a credible place to get information from.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 4, 2015 3:24 PM EST
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Newsmax Is In Business With An Anti-Global Warming 'Scam Artist'
Topic: Newsmax

A recent promotion at Newsmax highlights what purports to be "A Breaking Report From Newsmax Media," with this scintillatingly written leadoff:

Imagine, for a moment, sitting at a prestigious steakhouse in Palm Beach, Florida, a hot spot for some of the wealthiest and most famous — Donald Trump, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, Rush Limbaugh, and hundreds more.

And, imagine dining with a handful of men you’ve only read about. Some of them are worth millions, others published best-selling books, and some have held prominent positions at the White House.

In essence, you’re sitting at a five-person table of VIPs.

Tom Luongo has worked extensively with the University of Florida on making crop yields more productive for third world countries, creating an intermetallic coating for gun barrels that dropped maintenance requirements on firearms by half, and assisting in the development of cures for diseases.
You’re about to take a bite of your New York strip when one of the men, a top U.S. intelligence agent, slams a 164-page document in the middle of the table.

This document, you soon find out, contains damning evidence that a network of politicians, corporations, and scientists have conspired together to promote the fear of “global warming” . . .

Despite evidence clearly stating no such “global warming” exists.

The motive: $22 billion per year.

That’s $22 billion of taxpayers’ money . . . to stop the “global warming” epidemic.

This overwrought prose, presented as being told by somebody named Tom Luongo, is all about the story of John Casey, described as "a former White House space program adviser, consultant to NASA headquarters, and space shuttle engineer. He is now one of America’s most successful climate change researchers and climate prediction experts." What follows are a bunch of discredited claims typically peddled by global warming deniers, such as "global warming reversed its rise in 1998."

The piece even touts how "a petition was signed by more than 31,000 scientists that states 'there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate'" -- a claim we've pointed out is more than a little dishonest.

There are numerous other false and misleading claims made in the promotion, many of which are debunked here.

But who is John Casey? He first surfaced several years ago spouting his denier claims as leader and sole employee of something called the Space and Science Research Center (whose website is currently defunct with the domain apparently for sale). Casey has no training in climate science and his never published a peer-reviewed paper in the field, which would seem to run counter to the Newsmax promotion's claim that he's "one of America’s most successful climate change researchers and climate prediction experts." Even a fellow global warming skeptic suspects him to be a "scam artist trying to get his hands in your pockets."

Well, now he's found a way -- by hooking up with Newsmax.

The whole point of this dishonest exercise is to sell you something -- in this case, a package of something called "The Cold Truth Initiative," which includes a book by Casey called "Dark Winter." Turns out the book is published by Humanix Books, which is the publishing division of Newsmax.

In a WorldNetDaily-esque move, there's also a film version of "Dark Winter." If you look at the spine of the cover image supplied in the pruple-prose promotion, it states that the film is a production of "Newsmax TV Original Films."

Since this is Newsmax, there's also the obligatory "four-month subscription to the award-winning Newsmax magazine" (which you must cancel prior to the subscription period ending to avoid being automatically charged for an entire year's subscription) and a three-month subscription to the "Resolute Wealth Letter" (same opt-out deal), which turns out to be written by Luongo and published by Newsmax, who calls Luongo "our gold expert."

Newsmax and Casey have been working together for a while. A November 2014 "news" article by Clayton Reid, for example, falsely touts Casey as a "climatologist" and promotes the "provocative" book "Dark Winter" while unethically failing to disclose that it was published by a Newsmax operation.

So Newsmax is on record teaming up with a thoroughly discredited "climate change researcher" for the apparent sole purpose of selling more Newsmax stuff. Given Newsmax's history of scammy dealings, we're not really surprised.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EST

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