Newsmax Columnist Thinks 'Fake News' Concern Is Attempt To Censor Right-Wingers Topic: Newsmax
It seems like all of the ConWeb wants to have a say about all that fake-news stuff. Newsmax's James Hirsen has his own spin in a Nov. 21 column, insisting that it's really all about censoring conservatives:
After telling the public for over a year that the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States was not going to materialize, the mainstream media have now turned their collective attention toward something they have characterized as “fake news.”
The phrase, however, is a fake itself, and its deliberate use manipulative in nature. The mainstream media are out to cleanse social media of sites that pose obstacles to a uniform way of thinking; that being a left-leaning ideology.
Hirsen doesn't bother to address the specific issue at hand -- fake "news" websites pitching stories designed to boost Trump that got treated by Facebook as actual news. Instead, he plays the victim:
The mere act of defining “fake news” is fraught with its own problems.
Would The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets that published dubious news stories throughout the lengthy election season be included in the group categorized as purveyors of false news stories? Most would agree that, although warranted in many cases, this would be highly unlikely.
It has become more and more apparent that “fake news” is the latest meme being used by left-leaning media in their all-out effort to eliminate competition from the conservative side of the political spectrum.
Establishment media organizations such as New York Magazine have been disseminating rosters of “fake news” sites. Not surprisingly, the lists are full of legitimate conservative outlets.
Of course, not only has Hirsen's employer has engaged in peddling fake news over the years -- for example, we've documented how Newsmax published numerous falsehoods about President Obama's stimulus plan in 2009 -- Hirsen himself has left a trail of fake news in his wake.
He once falsely claimed that the band U2 held a fund-raiser for conservative Republican Rick Santorum; in fact, Santorum was exploiting an already-existing U2 concert for a fund-raiser. And then there's the years he spentwriting Newsmax articles promoting various Mel Gibson film projects and whitewashing his notorious anti-Semitic tirade while failing to disclose that not only is he a friend of Gibson but heads a foundation that bought a tract of land in Pennsylvania for Gibson's father to found a branch of a dissident ultraconservative Catholic sect.Refusing to disclose a serious conflict of interest is a form of fakery as well.
Hirsen concludes by writing that Facebook chief Mark "Zuckerberg also knows, as do most Americans, that social media should be delivered freely to its members in non-curated feeds where members themselves decide what is worthwhile to view and what is not." And Hirsen certainly knows how dishonest it is to present something as factual "news" when it is nothing more than an partisan attack that is may not be accurate, however newsy it looks.
It seems that Hirsen is trying to play the rigvht-wing game of pretending that there's no difference between major media organizations -- the purported "liberal media" -- and partisan content mills that put getting clicks ahead of telling facts. If Hirsen would stop playing the victim, he's understand that conservative websites that publish facts and clearly label their content have nothing to worry about, and that covers Newsmax and Hirsen.
Leader of Website That Championed Trump's Candidacy Cheers His Victory Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy begins his Nov. 21 column this way:
It is not every day the president-elect of the United States calls me. Last Tuesday, it was Donald Trump on the line. He thanked me for Newsmax's early and fair coverage of his presidential quest.
I congratulated our nation's soon to be 45th president.
Of course. Ruddy's Newsmax has been an integral part of legitimizing the itea of Trump as a presidential candidate. Taht "early and fair" coverage of Trump largely consisted of Trump sycophant Ronald Kessler slobbering all over the guy prior to the 2012 presidential campaign. Newsmax also attempted to team with Trump to host a Republican presidential debate in the 2012 cycle, but it collapsed when most of the candidates bailed out amid rumots that Trump was considering a third-party candidacy.
Ruddy was similarly in slobber mode during this year's election. While he worried about how Trump's campaign might affect the Republican Party's outreach to Latino voters, he also ran to Trump's defense over the latter's vile misogyny revealed in the "Access Hollywood" tape, insisting that Trump "should never have apologized" because the tape was off the record he he shouldn't be held to politican standards for things he said when he wasn't a politician. Ruddy toasted Trump's victory, proclaiming, "For many years I would tell the president-elect that he had already won the 'triple crown' of American life. No other American could say that they were at the pinnacle of the business, entertainment, and political worlds. No one else."
This is echoed in his current column:
I have known the president-elect for almost 20 years. This election victory clearly came as a surprise to him, only sensing victory the last three days of the campaign. We have talked frequently through the years. I have seen him up close and personal as few other journalists have.
This call was different.
He was remarkably relaxed and focused, as if his moment had arrived. Our private conversation lasted about 10 minutes, the details I cannot share here.
Suffice to say, I recently wrote in my blog this new president, as the first truly "citizen president," has a unique opportunity to re-shape the country and the world.
Ruddy concluded with one last bit of slobbering: "There is no question President-elect Trump is on a learning curve. But he has handled new and different challenges before. Just look how he well did as a presidential candidate."
Finally! Newsmax Admits Kessler Used To Work There Topic: Newsmax
For months, Newsmax has invited Ronald Kessler back to discuss various election matter, but the segments typicallyomit one crucial fact: Kessler worked for Newsmax from 2006 to 2012 as its chief Washington correspondent.
But, finally, Newsmax has acknowledged Kessler as a former employee. In promoting an Oct. 25 Kessler appearance on Newsmax TV, Todd Beamon concedes that Kessler is "a former chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com." Oddly, in the TV segment itself, host Steve Malzberg doesn't acknowledge this fact.
While Kessler's appearance was ostensibly about Kessler promoting his book on the Secret Service (which came out more than a year ago) in which he claims to quote anonymous agents trashing Hillary Clinton, but neither the article nor the segment mention the fact that Kessler's interest is not purely (if at all) journalistic: Kessler's a Trump supporter who has been boosting his presidential prospects since 2011, while still a Newsmax writer.
Newsmax Puts Pro-Trump Spin On Poll Showing Him Behind Topic: Newsmax
Here's how the Washington Post described its latest poll:
With three weeks until Election Day, Hillary Clinton holds a four-point lead over Donald Trump in the race for the White House, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with the Republican nominee hobbled by persistent perceptions that he is not qualified to be president.
The poll was conducted during one of the most tumultuous periods of Trump’s candidacy, after the release of a video in which he spoke about taking sexual advantage of women and during a time when numerous women have accused him of sexual misconduct.
And here's how Newsmax spun that poll in a unbylined article:
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by just 4 points in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, well within its margin of error and a clear sign that Trump may be regaining his momentum.
Clinton leads Trump, 47 to 43 percent, among likely voters in the poll released early Sunday. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has 5 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein has 2 percent.
And here's now Newsmax promoted that article on its front page: "WashPost Poll: Trump Essentially Tied With Clinton." No, really:
That's some amazing pro-Trump spin on the part of Newsmax. The Post article on the poll states that it has 4-point margin of error, but that's not "well within its margin of error" as the Newsmax article describes -- that's on the fringe of it. And it certainly doesn't equal "essentially tied."
Newsmax Still Won't Admit Kessler Used to Work There Topic: Newsmax
Poor Ronald Kessler. Even when he appears at Newsmax, he can't get his former employer to admit he used to work there.
An Oct. 11 Newsmax article touts Kessler's appearance on Newsmax TV in which he repeats his usual anonymous -- and, therefore, highly suspect -- claims that Hillary Clinton hates the Secret Service agents that guard her, but as has been the pattern, it's not mentioned that Kessler was Newsmax's White House correspondent for six years. Host J.D. Hayworth does call Kessler "our old friend," but does not specifically mention that he was a Newsmax employee. Needless to say, Hayworth makes no effort to challenge Kessler's lack of on-the-record sources to back up his claim.
Hayworth also lets Kessler -- a longtime Trumpophile -- uncritically defend Donald Trump over his vile misogyny, who comes up a novel defense: It's the women's faultfor throwing themsleves at him.
On Donald Trump's sexually aggressive remarks about women revealed in a 2005 hot-mic videotape, Kessler said people are missing the context.
Trump's longtime assistant Norma Foerderer "said these women were constantly after him and were shameless," Kessler claimed.
"If you look at that audio or video you see that he's saying when you're a star you can do anything implying, I think, that he had their consent to do what he felt like doing, I'm not condoning everything on the tape, but it's not much worse than Chris Matthews lusting over Melania [Trump] in a hot-mic moment."
"Basically Donald was like Elvis or like The Beatles constantly pursued by these very aggressive women," he added. "As Norma said, they had no shame and that's, I think, the context of what you saw on that audio."
Hayworth concurred, railing against the "double standard."
Newsmax Pushes Slobbering Profile of Melania Trump Topic: Newsmax
The new issue of Newsmax magazine, just in time for the election, has a slobbering tribute to Donald Trump's wife, penned by discredited right-winger Ed Klein. Heck, they've even declared her "First Lady" even before a single ballot has been cast!
Dubious AAPS Doc Still Pining for (Ineffective) DDT To Stop Zika Topic: Newsmax
Medical misinformer Jane Orient, president of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has hopped from WorldNetDaily, her usual home, to Newsmax, once again lamenting in an Aug. 3 column that we can't use DDT to wipe out mosquitoes and, thus, the Zika virus:
CDC and Florida are applying insecticides, but though they aren’t working very well, it is the height of political incorrectness to suggest trying DDT, which was used in effective vector-control programs up until the early 1970s, when the EPA banned it for overblown or even fabricated environmental concerns. DDT probably saved 500,000,000 human lives without killing anyone. Nor does it kill fish, birds, or cats. We might start with a head-to-head comparison of DDT with what we’re using instead for both effectiveness and hazard.
Orient doesn't seem to want to acknowledge that 1) DDT did, in fact, disrupt the ecosystem for fish and birds that eat fish, and 2) most mosquitoes are immune to DDT due to past overuse and bringing it back would do nothing.
Orient also complains about one particular commercial mosquito repellent:
The CDC-recommended strategy, with do-it-yourself prevention, is a step above nothing: Don’t have a baby (and here’s a condom), wear long sleeves and pants, and apply a mosquito repellent such as DEET.
It has taken an unprecedented action of warning about travel to an area in Florida, but what about those traveling from high-risk areas in the Caribbean and Central and South America?
Personally I have not found DEET under socks and long pants to be effective at keeping those ankle-biters from enjoying a meal. Maybe it wasn’t strong enough.
In fact, research has shown that DEET is a highly effective mosquito repellent. But then, Orient doesn't seem to be much interested in research.
Dick Morris’ new book "Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary" has soared to the very top of the Amazon.com bestseller list Thursday – making it the most purchased book in the country – trailing only an unreleased Harry Potter book.
That makes Morris' book the #1 non-fiction book in the nation.
"Armageddon" had already been #1 on several Amazon categories, but the Amazon top ranking confirms Wednesday's report that the book had debuted at No. 4 on the August 7 New York Times nonfiction list.
One important thing Richter doesn't mention: Morris' book is published by Humanix Books -- which, as we've previously documented, is a division of Newsmax Media. Which makes Richter's story an in-house advertisement, not a "news" article.
Needless to say, Newsmax is doing another one of its loss-leader giveaways to promote Morris' book, giving it away with a discounted subscription to Newsmax's magazine. The promo laughably claims that "Dick Morris is admired for his probing, insightful, hard-hitting, and clear commentary." That requires readers to ignore Morris' spectacularly wrong predictions in the 2012 presidential election, which forced Newsmax to do some heavy career rehab for him.
The promo also states that "Time magazine has dubbed him 'the most influential private citizen in America,'" without mentioning that Time did so 20 years ago or that it came just before he was forced to resign in disgrace from Bill Clinton's re-election campaign for dalliances with a call girl.
The fail starts early in Robert V. Carl's July 29 Newsmax article on the upcoming remake of "Ben-Hur":
The first time "Ben-Hur" hit the big screen, the Cold War was raging and the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. The film's themes of faith, social upheaval, and redemption resonated powerfully with the audiences of the day, who jammed into theaters to watch it.
No, the 1959 film was not "the first time 'Ben-Hur' hit the big screen." It was first filmed in 1907 (but just the chariot race), and it got a more elaborate silent production in 1925.
But facts aren't the point of Carl's article -- spin is. Much of his article is devoted to how "Distributors Paramount and MGM have been screening the movie for influential Christian leaders" to avoid the plight of "recent big-budget biblical films that took so much liberty with the source material that they failed to attract the faith-based audience they sought."
But the real purpose of Carl's article is unspoken: to respond to the negative buzz surrounding the film.
The Hollywood Reporter states that "Early tracking suggests Ben-Hur will open in the $14 million to $15 million range over the Aug. 19-21 weekend, a sobering start for the faith-centric ancient epic, which reportedly cost just under $100 million to produce," adding that the film's projected opening date has slid from February. And even the conservative PJ Media notes that "the director, Timur Bekmambetov, is known for what are more or less flops: Wanted (2008) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)."
It's an interesting bit of Hollywood spinning reminiscent of another Newsmax writer, James Hirsen, who consistently championed the increasingly erratic and vile Mel Gibson without disclosing his insider relationship with the actor or his heading a foundation that worked to advance the ultraconservative Catholic faith of Gibson's father.
Newsmax Highlights Negative News About Company It's Feuding With Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is currently embroiled in a dispute with Dish Network for the past couple months over the terms under which Dish carries Newsmax TV, which has meant that Dish has pulled the channel off its system for now.
That seems like the proper light in which to view Newsmax highlighting a July 22 Bloomberg article -- under the headline "Dish Network Loses Record-Setting 281,000 Subscribers" -- noting that Dish Network "lost a record number of TV subscribers in the second quarter as programming blackouts and price increases drove customers to seek cheaper online alternatives."
Newsmax failed to add a note to the article that it's in a dispute with Dish, which would seem to be a relevant disclosure.
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 stillwon'tacknowledge 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.