Newsmax Columnist Demands Intel Loyalty to Trump Over Country Topic: Newsmax
Fred Fleitz used to run LIGNET, Newsmax's now-defunct "global intelligence and forecasting" service that tried (and failed) to charge $299 a year for analysis from ex-intelligence officials. Now it seems he's reduced to shilling for Donald Trump and throwing his former fellow intelligence types under the bus.
In a Jan. 6 Newsmax column, Fleitz expresses his rage that an intelligence report on Russian meddling in the presidential election was leaked to the media, complaining that this highlights "growing tension between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. intelligence community," and such leaks will "only widen the rift between Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies."
Apparently, Trump isn't at fault for perpetuating the rift.
Fleitz then demands total loyalty to Trump from the intel community, before even the good of the country:
How did the intelligence officials who leaked to NBC expect Mr. Trump to react? Did they give any thought to the damage these leaks would cause to relations between their agencies and the president-elect?
President Trump will need and deserve a U.S. intelligence community that provides him with hard hitting and objective analysis devoid of politics. It’s time for Director of National Intelligence Clapper and other intelligence officials to stop complaining about Donald Trump "disparaging" U.S. intelligence agencies and demand that intelligence officers stop trying to undermine our new president.
I am certain that the vast majority of intelligence officers welcome the opportunity to support Mr. Trump. If the handful of intelligence officers who have been leaking against Trump cannot accept his election and their responsibility to loyally serve the next president, they need to resign immediately.
Did Fleitz demand that the intel community be loyal to President Obama, or did he encourage them to undermine his presidency? We don't know. Perhaps Fleitz can enlighten us.
Fleitz doesn't explain if intel folks should stay loyal to Trump even as evidence mounts of the unseemly close connection between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia?
Newsmax Doesn't Understand Difference Between Weather And Climate Topic: Newsmax
A Dec. 30 Newsmax article on an upcoming cold snap carries the headline "Coldest Snap in US in 15 Years Coming, Climate Change or Not." The article itself, by Clyde Hughes, does not reference climate change.
We'll leave it to Neil deGrasse Tyson to school Newsmax on the difference between weather and climate, and how one can have a cold snap even as the overall climate is warming.
Newsmax's Ruddy Staying Buddy-Buddy With Trump Topic: Newsmax
One of the more minor controversies involved whether author Harry Hurt III was actually escorted off the grounds of a Trump golf club. Newsmax has its own take on it in a Jan. 2 article -- credited only to "Newsmas Wires" -- noting that it was "newsworthy because Hurt was golfing with billionaire David Koch as part of Koch's foursome at West Palm Beach's Trump International Golf Club."
The article then quickly runs to Trump's defense, noting that Hurt had written a book that "published divorce allegations made by Trump's first wife Ivana that while married she had been 'raped' by her husband," adding, "Ivana later recanted the comment, said she never meant to imply a legal definition of rape. She strongly supported her ex-husband in his presidential bid."
That was followed by a section we're pretty sure did not come from any wire service Newsmax subscribes to:
Hurt claimed in his Facebook post "David was appalled" by Trump's actions and implied David was asked to leave as well.
A Koch source tells Newsmax "at no time was DHK asked to leave."
Koch said "something to the effect when Harry Hurt offered to leave on his own, 'We came as a foursome and will leave as a foursome,'" the source said.
Another Koch associate in Palm Beach said the billionaire was not aware of the feud the two had in the past year. He was surprised his longtime friend had accosted Trump on the course and then went public with the episode.
The source added Koch has always personally liked Trump and he "loves" Trump's golf course, which he thinks is one of the best in the country.
The week before, Koch and his wife Julia had met Trump at Mar-a-Lago during a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and Palm Beach heiress Talbott Maxey. Koch congratulated Trump on his election victory and the two had a cordial conversation.
So not only is Newsmax close enough to the right-wing Koch billionaires to get a quick response from a "Koch source" for this story, Christopher Ruddy is hosting parties for Trump.
We've noted that Ruddy has long been a Trump buddy, and that he and then-Newsmax reporter Ronald Kessler played a major role in feeding Trump's presidential ambitions in the runup to the 2012 campaign, which set the stage for his 2016 run. Newsmax and Trump even tried to co-host a GOP presidential debate during the 2012 campaign, which fizzled when only two candidates showed interest in participating. Newsmax is headquarted in West Palm Beach, so the closeness to Trump is geographical as well.
Ruddy's closeness with Trump doesn't bode well for any effort to portray Newsmax as a fair and balanced news organization and not a Trump shill with conflicts of interest.
Newsmax's Ruddy -- A Trump Buddy -- Is Concerned About Anti-Trump Media Coverage Topic: Newsmax
A Dec. 19 Newsmax article summarizes its boss' appearance on CNN:
The news media was biased in its coverage of Donald Trump and that partiality had a bigger impact on the election than any "fake news," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told Brian Stelter Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources."
"You guys had a responsibility to give fair and balanced news," Ruddy said in his one-on-one segment with host Stelter.
"Instead the mainstream press focused on Trump's use of Twitter and the release of an audio recording on 'Access Hollywood.' The voters in Ohio and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, they were worried about jobs and trade.
"Donald Trump, to his credit, was in those states talking about those issues. You guys missed the story."
Ruddy said the media continues to be critical of Trump, focusing on stories like fake news and Russian hacking.
"I don’t think they’re necessarily giving him a complete fair shake," he said.
In that segment, however, Ruddy doesn't really discuss his own "responsibility to give fair and balanced news," as if conservative news outlets are exempt from responsible journalism. He said only that Newsmax will grow its online and video operations during the Trump presidency and that Newsmax "is going to be tough on Trump when we think he's going off the rails on policy issues," but he made it clear that his news operation will be "supportive" of him overall. IN other words. he's demanding more balance from his competition than from his own operation.
Ruddy also didn't explicitly disclose how close he and Trump are, or that Newsmax played a major role in legitimizing the idea of Trump as presidential timber. Ineeed, the day after his CNN appearance, he tweeted: "Just finished Newsmax Christmas @ 230 Fifth, Pres. Trump called my cell at party wishing 'Merry Xmas' - @realDonaldTrump is not happy w CNN!"
Ruddy then repeated how a study (he incorrectly claimed it was from the Pew Center; it was actually done by the Freedom Forum) from the 1990s reported that "89 percent of the people voted for Bill Clinton -- of the press corps in Washington voted for Bill Clinton." We documented way back in 2000 how skewed that study was; most study respondents weren't from national news outlets but from small regional papers whose Washington bureau reporters, some of whom are just one person, focus their coverage mostly on local issues and have no influence on the national political agenda.
Newsmax Opposes Time Warner-AT&T Merger Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax will oppose the proposed merger of Time Warner and AT&T. It broke that news in the strangest way -- not by reporting it directly but by quoting Fox Business quoting Newsmax's Christophery Ruddy talking about it. From a Dec. 7 Newsmax article by Greg Richter:
The proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner would be bad for competition and would "promote liberal CNN," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.
Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reported on his network Wednesday that Ruddy is opposed to the deal and is willing to join with a growing group of conservative and liberal critics who oppose the plan.
Michael Reagan, son of the late president and a conservative commentator, wrote an op-ed Wednesday opposing the $85 billion deal as Senate judiciary hearings were set to begin.
The deal would mean that AT&T, as the acquiring company in the proposal, would control around 25 percent of all cable and satellite traffic across the United States (AT&T also owns DirecTV).
At the same time, AT&T would own several powerful content channels like CNN and HBO.
That combination will give the new merged AT&T powerful leverage over the market and competitions, something Ruddy and other critics are worried about.
"Conservative media outlet Newsmax plans to oppose this," Gasparino reported. "Newsmax's CEO Chris Ruddy … he's planning to use all the leverage he has, from his network, his website, and possibly his lobbying effort.
"He says that this deal will stifle competition and promote liberal CNN."
Richter (and Gasparino) also made sure to include Ruddy's connections to President-elect Donald Trump:
Gasparino noted that President-elect Donald Trump is opposed to the deal, and said Ruddy "has close ties with Trump. He was at Mar-a-Lago during Thanksgiving. He was asked by Donald Trump who he should pick for secretary of state
"This guy has Trump's ear, so he is going use that ear to try to kill this deal."
As befits a media mogul trying to stop a deal regarding one of his alleged competitors and with the president-elect's ear, Newsmax has been cranking out op-eds and articles attacking the deal:
But there's also a Dec. 12 Newsmax article that lists "several issues on which Democrats and Trump agree," one of which is "Preventing the merger of AT&T and Time Warner."
That means Ruddy and Newsmax are once again putting its conservative credentials in danger (as if being a buddy of Bill Clinton wasn't enough).
UPDATE: But then, this appears to be a play to get better and increased carriage of Newsmax TV. Earlier this year, Newsmax was embroiled in a dispute with Dish Network over placement of the channel there (which mainly came down to Newsmax wanting to stop paying Dish Network to air it). Newsmax promoted negative news about Dish Network during the dispute.
AT&T-owned DirecTV also dropped Newsmax TV in August -- which somehow didn't get mention in the above articles opposing the merger -- presumably because of a similar dispute over paying for carriage. It has since published negative news about DirecTV too.
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.