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Monday, June 17, 2019
Newsmax Gives Dershowitz More Unchallenged Space To Defend Himself
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has defended lawyer Alan Dershowitz in the past over his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. It serves up another defense in an anonymously  written June 8 article is essentially a rewritten, one-sided version of Dershowitz's attempt to remove the lawyers of a woman who has accused him of having sex with her while she was underage:

Harvard Law professor and well-known trial lawyer Alan Dershowitz asked a New York federal court Friday to remove Boies Schiller Flexner LLP from a case in which the firm is representing a woman who claims Dershowitz sexually molested her as a child.

Dershowitz has been accused of being involved in billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex-trafficking ring by an attorney for one of Epstein’s victims. The lawyer who represents the woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, in early March claimed in federal court that testimony from other witnesses will show Dershowitz's involvement in the alleged trafficking of "his close friend Jeffrey Epstein."

[...]

In a recent blog on Newsmax, Dershowitz wrote that for him the experience of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct was actually worse than being falsely accused of murder.

“In my case, two women I never met were put up to falsely accusing me for obvious financial gain,” he wrote. “They both had histories of making up stories about famous people for money, and of committing perjury.”

This was followed by a full version of Dershowitz's statement. No opposing view was permitted, even though there the Miami Herald has stood by its reporting on the Epstein case and pointed out that in a meeting with the Herald, Dershowitz "read select passages from voluminous documents that he said vindicated him. He declined to let the journalists examine the documents or take copies." Not exactly the behavior of someone who's completely innocent -- after all, Dershowitz was Epstein's attorney and helped put together a plea deal that got Epstein just a year in prison for his crimes, meaning he's no peripheral player.

Further, Newsmax never followed up on the fate of Dershowitz's motion: it got quickly thrown out because it broke the judge's rules of requiring a pre-motion conference limiting supporting documentation to 20 pages.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 17, 2019 9:04 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Not That Big on Diversity
Topic: Newsmax

In a June 3 Newsmax column complaining about a court ruling that allows transgender students to use the bathroom that fits their gender identity, Christine Flowers complains that we now have to consider theneeds of people who are different than her:

Now, we’re all about celebrating identity and diversity. Some people are elated that we’ve left behind what they think of as prejudice and intolerance, while others are nostalgic for a past when children were allowed to be children and didn’t have to deal with who they were, who they loved, and what “Drag Queen Story Hour” is all about.

Increasingly, the people who long for a simpler time are called bigots, and their voices are silenced by social ostracism, and sometimes lawsuits.

Well, yes, if you try to frame bigotry as "longing for a simpler time," there's a good chance you'll be called a bigot. She concluded by huffing:

Here’s the reality: Some children are still figuring out their identities, and need to be treated compassionately. But, in my opinion, tending to their needs should not come at the expense of kids who don’t deserve to be called bigots just because they want to go to the bathroom without making a political statement.

Flowers doesn't understand that transgender students would also like to go to be bathroom without making a political statement, and sometimes lawsuits are the only way to accomplish that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
Monday, June 10, 2019
Newsmax's Kessler Keeps Shilling For Trump
Topic: Newsmax

In April, Trump-fluffing author Ronald Kessler wrote for Newsmax a defense of President Trump over Robert Mueller's investigation, insisting (falsely) that Trump really didn't mean it when he said "the Russia thing" prompted him to fire then-FBI director James Comey. Kessler took another crack at it in his May 30 column, raging at Mueller:

With his confusing, contradictory, and ever-changing comments about the results of his investigation of President Trump, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a mockery of the criminal justice system.

In that system, there is no place for concluding that the subject of an investigation is not criminally charged but is not exonerated. To say, “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so” makes as much sense as saying, “The moon could be made of blue cheese, we just don’t know.”

In fact, Mueller very clearly explained that because of the Justice Department's policy against indicting a sitting president, he did not  consider whether the evidence rose to a crime but pointed out that the evidence was not exculpatory.

Most of the rest of Kessler's column is devoted to rehashing his bogus insistence that the "counterintelligence investigation that specifically targeted Trump after he fired James Comey as FBI director was based on false pretenses," complaining that "by unfairly impugning President Trump, Mueller ended his otherwise sterling career with a travesty while ignoring an abuse of the FBI’s authority the likes of which we have not seen since the Hoover days." A bigger travesty than Kessler starting out as a journalist and ending up a right-wing, pro-Trump shill?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Monday, May 20, 2019
Trump-Fluffer Kessler Goes Into Full Apologist Mode
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler is a Trumpophile from way back, and while he was a full-time writer for Newsmax, he promoted Trump's presidential ambitions as early as 2011. Kessler is still a Trump apologist, as he demonstrates in an April 23 column complaining that the FBI opened an investigation into Trump because he said in an interview that the "this Russia thing" was why he fired FBI Director James Comey. Commence apologist mode:

With those confusing words, it sounded as if Trump was saying he fired Comey because the FBI director was pursuing the Russia investigation and Trump wanted to stop it.

But Trump made it clear to aides afterward that he meant quite the opposite — that he was aware that firing Comey could prolong the Russia investigation. What Trump said in the interview immediately after his comment about “this Russia thing” confirms that and exposes [Andrew] McCabe’s rationale for opening the investigation of Trump as a fraud[.]

Trump went on to say to Holt that he supported a full investigation into Russian interference in the election. He said he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the existing FBI probe of Russian interference in the election — a legitimate investigation that never specifically targeted Trump.

[...]

The media largely ignored Trump’s statement making it clear that he realized that by firing Comey, he was probably prolonging the existing FBI investigation rather than obstructing it. Nor, in all the endless stories about the Russia investigation did the media point out that Trump never actually interfered with the FBI investigation, that he was not a target of an FBI investigation when he fired Comey, and that he did not corruptly cover up, destroy evidence, or make false statements to mislead investigators, all of which happened during Watergate when President Nixon clearly obstructed justice.

But as the Mueller report made clear, "the Russia thing" did clearly play a role in Trump firing Comey. Trump was angry that Comey would not publicly say that Trump was personally not under investigation, and Comey's alleged behavior during the FBI investigation, as stated in Ron Rosenstein's letter providing justification for the firing, was never the main factor.

Kessler, like a good apologist, was still mad that Comey's firing did commence an FBI investigation into Trump, ranting that "Not since Hoover opened FBI investigations into anyone who criticized the government and blackmailed presidents and members of Congress has the FBI so outrageously abused its authority."

(Photo: Ron Kessler and his wife, Pamela, with Trump, from Kessler's 1999 book "The Season," about the Palm Beach social scene.)


Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EDT
Monday, May 13, 2019
Horowitz Repeats Hoary Right-Wing Tropes To Brand Obama As 'Anti-Christian'
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is the publisher of right-wing activist David Horowitz's new book on "the war to destroy Christian America" (not that Newsmax wants to admit that in its heavy promotion of said book). On May 2, Newsmax gave Horowitz a column that comes straight from right-wing fever swamps circa 2012, in which he explains why President Obama was the "most anti-Christian president":

Which American president changed the White House Christmas cards from being about Christmas or faith to cards featuring the family dogs and similar non-Christmas related subjects?

Which president decorated the White House Christmas tree with ornaments that included figures such as Mao Zedong and a drag queen?

Which president excluded pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored healthcare summit?

Which president nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican?

Which president speaking at Georgetown University ordered a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name covered while he was delivering his speech?

Which president made a practice of deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence?

Which president opposed the inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial?

These things were all over right-wing circles back in the day -- and most are distorted or outright false. Let's summarize:

  • The Mao image in on Christmas ornament was actually an image of Andy Warhol's mocking portrait of Mao; that an an ornament featuring the drag queen Hedda Lettuce were apparently part of a program in which the Obama White House sent ornaments to community groups across the country to decorate for placement on the tree.
  • Horowitz never explains why it was so horrible for Obama to follow the secular traditions of Christmas and expanding the cards to cover other holidays around the same time instead of pushing a strictly religious interpretation.
  • Theh complaint about "pro-life" groups being excluded from a summit apparently stems from a 2009 complaint by anti-abortion website LifeNews, which seems to ignore that anti-abortion groups are political activists that do not provide health care.
  • Obama didn't actually nominate any of those "pro-abortion" ambassadors to the Vatican; those people were simply on a list of potential nominees that the Vatican said it didn't like. Two other people served as Vatican ambassadors under Obama, about whom neither the Vatican nor right-wingers complained about.
  • We covered the manufactured Georgetown monogram controversy at the time. In summary: Nobody has ever proven that Obama or anyone else "ordered" the religious monogram to be covered up.
  • Obama has left out "the Creator" when paraphrasing the opening of the Declaration but has used the word in other instances.
  • Obama never personally opposed the addition of FDR's D-Day prayer to the World War II memorial; the Bureau of Land Management opposed the addition of a plaque containing the prayer because it was not part of the original design.

Horowitz's old-school ranting continued:

Among Obama’s more serious crimes was his support for the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which gave a green light to that infidel-hating organization to murder thousands of Coptic Christians simply because they were Christian.

Even worse, Obama abandoned America’s military base in Iraq and withdrew America’s troops, creating a vacuum which gave rise to ISIS and the creation of the Islamic state.

The jihadists then set out to murder hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians without a protest from Obama or a serious military effort to stop them.

Actually, Obama was more supportive of the democratic process in Egypt post-Arab Spring, in which Muslim Brotherhood-tied Mohammed Morsi was elected, than to the Brotherhood itself. Does Horowitz really think that Egypt's current rule under a repressive military dictatorship (which overthrew Morsi in a coup) is an improvement?

Also, Obama and the Iraqi government failed to agree to terms to continue operating a military base in Iraq; the Iraq parliament refused to approve a status-of-forces agreement that gave U.S. troops immunity from Iraqi law.

And, of course, no right-wing attack on Obama, however belated, can be complete without a reference to Benghazi:

And it was the direct responsibility of a president who went to the United Nations after the attack in Benghazi to protect the Islamic jihadists responsible for the murder of four Americans — including the American ambassador.

Although he knew the claim was false, Obama blamed their deaths on an obscure filmmaker whose offensive video no one saw. Obama then proclaimed to the world in the strangest words ever uttered by an American president: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet Mohammed.”

The blood on Obama’s hands was more than a betrayal of the Iraqi Christians and the heroes in Benghazi.

It was a betrayal of every American and every Iraqi who gave their lives to keep that country out of the hands of the terrorists.

It was a betrayal of America itself.

Horowitz ripped Obama's statement out of context. Here's the full statement from Obama:

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt — it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women — it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.

The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources — it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support. 

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.

Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims. It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

Horowitz is simply recycling ancient anti-Obama claptrap for one more trot around the right-wing track. If his entire Newsmax-published book is like this, don't bother buying it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
Monday, May 6, 2019
Newsmax Pushes Speculation That Notre Dame Fire Was Intentional
Topic: Newsmax

An April 25 Newsmax TV report by John Bachman -- hidden behind a "Platinum" paywall on the Newsmax website but also posted at its YouTube page -- tries to push the idea that the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral was intentionally set.

Bachman's "cutting-edge" report by first getting the name not quite right -- using the English prounciation of Notre Dame instead of the proper French one -- then touting speculation challenging the "unusual immediate declaration of an accident when almost no investigation had been thoroughly conducted," then conceded that "many of the most radical theories have been debunked." He then took a huge, distracting logical leap, declaring that "one can make a clear case that Christianity is clearly under attack from extremists" and first citing ... the terrorist attcks in Sri Lanka. Bachman offersd no evidence whatsoever that terrorist attacks in non-French locations, or even any of the church vandalism incidents inside France, have any thing to do with what happened at Notre Dame. Still, he insisted that "it's easy to understand why many people are wondering and questioning French authorities as to why they were so quick and how they were able to declare the Notre Dame fire an accident without a full investigation."

Notre Dame fire conspiracy theories are expected from the likes of conspiracy-happy WorldNetDaily, but with the Media Research Center and now Newsmax leaning into it, there must be some right-wing narrative being built.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Newsmax's Kerik Defends Saudi Arabia in Bezos Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

Bernard Kerik has become a reliable right-wing ranter for Newsmax, while hoping that people forget he's a convicted felon (whom Newsmax spent some time doing a little image rehab). Now he's rushing to defend Saudi Arabia regarding its alleged role in a scandal involving Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos.

Kerik began his April 18 column by declaring, "I’m normally not interested in tabloid gossip, or someone’s personal affairs, but the recent scandal involving Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive and the National Enquirer, reeks of another political attack on President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia by the establishment media." He then declared that "Having lived and worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and as someone that was critical of the Kingdom after the killing of [Jamal] Khashoggi, I feel I’m fairly insightful and objective on the Bezos matter." Kerik then claimed:

This is why I find the mind-blowing international espionage conspiracy involving the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia, and the National Enquirer, laid out by Bezos’ long-time private investigator, Gavin de Becker, preposterous and a bit comical.

According to de Becker, the “Saudi government has been intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of (Jamal) Khashoggi’s murder.”

He said, “Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information.”

Who exactly are these experts?

Consider that numerous reports indicate that digital forensic analysis turned up “no evidence of a hack” and that theory was quickly discounted.

Meanwhile, the Trump-Saudi-Enquirer narrative set off a media firestorm making Bezos the victim of an international conspiracy.

Kerik is apparently referring to a Daily Beast article from January that quoted "three people familiar with the probe" in which the "no evidence of a hack" claim was made (not by "numerous reports," as Kerik claims). Since then, de Becker wrote in a March Daily Beast column that "the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone" -- which does not necessarily involve hacking.

De Becker also pointed out, where Kerik did not, that the National Enqurier's proposed blackmail contract with Bezos demanded that de Becker agree with the statement that the Enquirer had not relied on "any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their news-gathering process," even though the possibility of hacking had never been discussed publicly. De Becker also found it curious that the Enquirer -- which normally protects the sources of its salacious information -- quickly made public its claim that Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez, with whom Bezos was having an affair, was the source of the compromising photos and texts it was trying to blackmail Bezos over. Further, de Becker noted, the Saudi surveillance effort that led to the death of Khashoggi included hacking.

Kerik then complained: 

Why, then, is Bezos pushing this baseless Saudi theory?

One reason is he may want to turn the public focus away from embarrassing marital issues and put the spotlight on the Saudis, who The Washington Post has sought to paint as the ultimate bad guy. (No matter that the Saudis have been America’s longtime allies since World War II.)

Given that Bezos himself wrote an article revealing those "embarrassing marital issues" and the blackmail attempt involving them, it seems clear that Bezos is beyond embarrassment on the issue.

Kerik then tried to frame the Bezos controversy as a possible "hoax":

So herein lies the problem for de Becker and Bezos, and what makes this case so complex for prosecutors reviewing the matter in the Southern District of New York.

If it is established that Bezos’s people conspired to create a Trump-Saudi-Enquirer hoax, it could be quite problematic if the prosecutors believe they were misled and provided a false narrative.

For their part, The Enquirer and its top brass have been raked over the coals for what Bezos characterized as blackmail and extortion. The SDNY will have plenty of questions about that too.

But before the public or the Southern District buys into claims of a Saudi connection, Bezos team must “put up or shut up” — provide hard evidence that proves their allegations and justifies a federal inquiry.

Kerik offered no evidence that a "hoax" is in play, and surely he knows that no detailed evidence will be made public until the SDNY makes a decision on prosecuting the case.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Newsmax Touts Trump's Not-Yet-Existent Donation to Notre Dame
Topic: Newsmax

John Gizzi proclaims in an April 17 Newsmax article:

President Donald Trump is soon expected to make a personal contribution to the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Two White House sources told Newsmax on Wednesday afternoon the president "was seriously considering" sending his own money to repair the storied Cathedral that sustained a major fire two days ago.

The same sources said the president had a long conversation Wednesday morning with Pope Francis and assured him there would be American assistance in its rebuilding. So far, French citizens have pledged what in U.S. currency would be more than $750,000 to refurbish the famed cathedral.

Since becoming President in 2017, Trump has declined the President's annual salary of $400,000 and donated it to various charities, including government entities.

The headline on Gizzi's article reads "Trump Will Make Personal Donation to Notre Dame" -- which is inaccurate because at no point does Gizzi claim that the donation will actually happen. While he claims Trump "is soon expected" to make a donation, his anonymous sources said only Trump "was seriously considering" it.

Gizzi, meanwhile, didn't tell his readers about Trump's highly dubious record on charitable giving. The Washington Post reported in 2016 that of a list of 4,844 alleged charitable donations by Trump provided to the media during the 2016 presidential campaign, precisely none of them involved Trump's own money -- they were made by Trump's charitable foundation to which Trump himself donated relatively littie of his own money, many of them were free rounds of golf at Trump-owned courses, and the largest "donations" were land conservation easements.

Gizzi's story reads like a "beat sweetener" -- a flattering story written with the goal of getting a methphorical foot in the door for future access to the Trump White House.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:52 PM EDT
Monday, April 8, 2019
Newsmax's Hirsen Cheers On The Myth Behind The 'Unplanned' Movie
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen spent his March 25 Newsmax column gushing over the then-upcoming movie "Unplanned," cheering on the story it tells:

The movie boldly tells the true story of Abby Johnson, one of the youngest individuals in the country to ever have served as a Planned Parenthood clinic director.

After working at an abortion clinic for eight years and winning an “Employee of the Year” award, Abby had the enormously disturbing yet incredibly enlightening experience of having to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. What she witnessed was absolutely horrendous: a tiny baby inside the womb, who was in the struggle of his or her life, having to suffer through the gruesomeness of dismemberment.

Following the experience, Abby summoned up the courage necessary to leave her financially lucrative position and extensive employment stint. She walked away from the nation’s largest abortion provider and set out to launch a ministry that would help other former Planned Parenthood employees to transition out of abortion related work.

Except that's not the "true story" at all. As we documented, Planned Parenthood has stated that there were no ultrasound-guided abortions on the day that Johnson claims, Johnson did not assist on any abortion that day, and the only abortion patient that day who comes closest to the person described in Johnson's story was too early in her pregnancy to require the use of ultrasound. (Johnson stands by her version of the story and suggested Planned Parenthood doctored records to make her look bad.)

The rest of Hirsen's column is straight PR for the movie as well, parroting the producers' complaints that the film got an R rating for graphic scenes and complaining that "a teenage girl can obtain an actual abortion without her parent’s permission, but the same teenage girl is not allowed admission into a theater, minus the supervision of an adult, to view a film that includes a scene that merely depicts the real life procedure." Sticking to the script, Hirsen doesn't dare ask why the producers couldn't simply make cuts to the scene to achieve a PG rating.

Hirsen concluded his column with an over-the-top endorsement: "In honor of all the babies who have had to endure the procedure that Abby witnessed and worse, let’s all go see 'Unplanned,' and perhaps we can escort some teens and other youth who are secondary victims in this whole abortion tragedy."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Newsmax Hides That It Published Horowitz Book It's Promoting
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is heavily promoting the new book by right-winger David Horowitz:

  • A March 17 article by Jason Devaney touted how Horowitz's book accuses " the 'anti-religious, anti-American left' of conducting an ongoing effort to erase God from American society dating back six decades."
  • A March 18 article by Bill Hoffmann gushed: "A New York Times bestselling author is warning that Christians are in real danger of persecution — in America. And this warning comes from a surprising source, a prominent secular Jew."
  • A March 23 article by Devaney promoted a Horowitz interview, in which he "compared Democrats to Satan ... saying they have the same "arrogance" as the serpent did in the Garden of Eden.
  • A March 30 article by Hoffmann further gushed: "Glenn Beck is praising David Horowitz’s new book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christianity in America. David was just on Glenn’s national radio show this week, and the top-rated host told his audience that “this is a very critical book” and warned Americans of the growing attacks on Christians.

What none of these articles mention: Horowitz's book is published by Newsmax -- specifically, Humanix Books, Newsmax's book division. That explains why Hoffmann took the time to boldface every instance of the book title in his Beck article.

This undisclosed conflict of interest hurts Newsmax's efforts to be taken seriously as a news organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EDT
Monday, March 25, 2019
Newsmax's Gizzi Joins ConWeb Lovefest for Hungarian Right-Winger
Topic: Newsmax

CNSNews.com and WorldNetDaily are not the only ConWeb outlets enamored by Viktor Orban's right-wing authoritarian government in Hungary. Newsmax's John Gizzi joins the parade with a March 15 article gushing over the country's "robust — and revolutionary — pro-family agenda" with a softball interview with Katalin Novak, Orban's minister of familiy and youth. How gushy? The picture accompanying Gizzi's article is of him interviewing Novak in an opulent-looking room.

Gizzi uncritically repeated "uplifting statistics" about Hungary's policies, which center around giving tax breaks to Hungarian natives to have children: "since 2010, the number of marriages is up 43 percent, divorces have decreased 20 percent, and the number of abortions has decreased 25 percent." Hungary has a very high divorce rate, and it's not actually clear that Orban's policies are having any effect on that.

Gizzi also played down the anti-immigration stance Orban has pushed and which lies at the heart of the "pro-family" policy. He noted Swedish official Annika Strandhall's criticism of the policy as "reek[ing] of the 1930s" but let Novak spin it by claiming "it’s not about what she’s saying but protecting our position" when, in fact, Orban has explicitly stated that Hungary is doing this instead of permitting immigration. (Even the white nationalist website VDARE has touted Orban's policy).

Last November, Gizzi did a similar softball piece on Republican Rep. Steve King that downplayed his white nationalist sympathies.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:49 PM EDT
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Pollster Thinks Criticism of America Is Anti-American
Topic: Newsmax

Conservative pollsters John and Jim McLaughlin spend their March 4 Newsmax column framing any criticism of America as anti-American.

They summarize a poll they conducted for "our client United in Purpose for their 'You've Been Lied to!' campaign" -- but they don't describe the organization any further. As it turns out, United in Purposeis a data-mining organization with the goal of increasing turnout of evangelical Christian voters, but is best known for inadvertently making public information on millions of voters through failure to secure it. Its leader, Bill Dallas, spent time in prison for embezzlement. The United in Purpose website is curiously barren, having only a home page and contact page.

The McLaughlins wrote: "In our most recent national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted between February 6 and 10, when we asked, 'Do you agree or disagree that America is the source of most of the world’s ills: political, economic and environmental?' 46 percent of all voters agreed and only 46 percent disagreed. It was a shocking result." They asserted that this was an "anti-American message."

The McLaughlins then declared that "Agreement that America is the source of most of the world’s ills is clearly a political message tied to party and ideology," with of course Democrats and liberals most like to hold that belief.

The pair demonstrated their bias further in another poll question asking who was to blame for "rising anti-Americanism," by including the choices of "media elites" and "Hollywood entertainment elites" -- derogatory right-wing terms for things they don't like. They would never describe, say, Fox News as "elites." They conclude with more biased posturing:

It is a political message that is driven by ideology and political beliefs and it is growing among younger voters. It’s clearly a message for the left to drive younger voters to their philosophy.

The vast majority of voters feel that anti-Americanism is on the rise, and they mostly blame partisan politicians and media entertainment elites for the rise of anti-Americanism. So while we agree Anti-Americanism is on the rise, as Americans, we can see it is clearly from germinating from the left within.

As if the McLaughlins aren't themselves trying to push an ideological message masquerading as purportedly neutral polling.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:28 PM EDT
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Lionizes Late Navy Admiral, Ignores His Right-Wing Conspracy-Mongering
Topic: Newsmax

We missed that retired Navy Adm. James Lyons died in December. But Newsmax columnist Joseph Schmitz served up a gushing tribute in a Feb. 16 piece:

"We the People" need now more than ever a few more "Swamp Foxes" like the late great Admiral James Aloysius "Ace" Lyons: a 21st Century Francis Marion.

Francis Marion served during the American Revolutionary War. According to The Society of the Cincinnati, "the nation's oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army," past presidents general of which include George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Marion fought "during the defense of Charleston in 1776 and rose to the rank of colonel in the Second South Carolina Regiment. After the fall of Charleston in 1780, Marion was appointed brigadier general of State Troops and launched an effective campaign of harassment against British detachments around the state. His cunning and success in eluding capture in the coastal lowlands earned him the grudging admiration of his opponents and an enduring place in South Carolina lore as the 'Swamp Fox'."

As a modern-day Swamp Fox, Admiral Ace Lyons continued to serve after his retirement from naval service in 1987 by taking on the same swamp that President Donald Trump was elected in 2016 to drain — the administrative state run amuck.

[...]

The ongoing abuses of power by inhabitants of the current "swamp" in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t happen any more if more American patriots would follow the lead of the late great Admiral Ace Lyons, an extraordinarily courageous modern-day Swamp Fox.

May God rest the soul of Admiral James Aloysius "Ace" Lyons, a role model for any patriotic American willing to take on the administrative state run amuck, in or out of uniform.

Schmitz is not going to tell his readers what Lyons was best known for in his later years: pushing conspiracy theories. We caught a few of them: his membership on Accuracy in Media's "Citizens Commission on Benghazi" kangaroo court, his embrace of conspiracy theories about Benghazi, his speaking at Larry Klayman's anti-Obama rally.

And Schmitz is certainly not going to mention one of Lyons' final acts: a March 2018 column published in the Washington Times falsely claiming that Seth Rich's brother helped him download Democratic National Committee emails that were then given to WikiLeaks. That got the Washington Times sued by Rich's family, resulting in a settlement that included retracting Lyons' column.

We're not sure that allegedly meritorious military service balances out causing someone to get sued because of your own malicious screw-up. But Schmitz isn't going to talk about that at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 PM EST
Monday, February 18, 2019
Newsmax's Hirsen Pretends Extortion Isn't Extortion
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen, who claims to be a lawyer, did a lawyerly job doing a little pro bono work for the National Enquirer in his Feb. 11 Newsmax column in attempting to insist that the apparent extortion attempt the Enquirer's parent, American Media Inc., is using against Amazon chief and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos really isn't extortion at all.

AMI threatened to publish compromising photos of Bezos if, as Hirsen tells it, "he did not publicly state that the tabloid’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political concerns." But even as Hirsen admits, "David Pecker is the CEO of AMI, and he is known to be an associate and friend of President Donald Trump," and that Bezos "cited ways that the president and Pecker had cooperated in the past." It would seem, then, that AMI is demanding that Bezos state something that appears to be a lie.

He even concedes that the story "illustrates the hunger on the part of many in the mainstream press for anything that can be weaponized against the president and used to ratchet down his poll numbers" -- inadvertently acknowleging that it's legitimate for Bezos to breing up the Trump angle.

Hirsen insists that a "superficial read" is leading to claims of extortion. But, he adds, this is merely a business negotiation:

In analyzing this email, it is important to focus on the context within which both parties are seeking to settle a dispute.

In settlement negotiations, it is common practice for the parties to propose that each side will release the other from any potential claims. This is what was communicated through its legal counsel in the subject e-mail by AMI, along with a proposal that Bezos would agree to tell the public that AMI's coverage of Bezos was not politically motivated.

In return, AMI would agree not to publish the texts and photographs.

Outside of the settlement discussion context, criminal extortion would exist in a case such as this if money was demanded as payment for not making public an embarrassing secret. However, in this instance the key difference revolves around the settlement backdrop.

Why would the two sides be negotiating a settlement? It is clear that Bezos has been raising potential civil legal claims against AMI, while AMI has suggested that Bezos’s Washington Post planned to publish a false news story about AMI.

These cross assertions are arguably the basis for both parties to be pursuing a settlement of their respective claims. A settlement agreement would mutually release the claims of both parties.

[...]

Prosecutors would have an uphill battle in attempting to use these facts as a basis for a criminal extortion case. Additionally, the First Amendment creates further problems for the prosecution, since Bezos is a very well known influential public figure and a power player in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

Hirsen is incorrect in claiming that it's only extortion if money is involved. As Slate detailed, the federal extortion statute prohibits communication "containing any threat to injure the … reputation of the addressee" in order to extort "money or other thing of value." The statement of exoneration AMI is demanding from Bezos is clearly a thing of value, and the compromising photos it's threatening to print if it doesn't get that statement are clearly intended to injure Bezos' reputation.

(Hirsen curious doesn't mention that other prominent people have also been on the receiving end of AMI's sleazy tactics.)

Further, Hirsen does not supply any evidence that this was an actual "negotiation." If Bezos' telling is correct, AMI made demands of Bezos, and when he "didn’t react to the generalized threat with enough fear," it raised the ante by bringing up the compromising photos.

If this was really a First Amendment issue based solely on Bezos' newsworthiness as a "very well known influential public figure and a power player in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood," AMI would not need to negotiate with Bezos --  it would simply publish the photos. Every other legitimate news organization would do that.

Hirsen's column reads more like an audition as an attorney for AMI than a serious look at the legal issues involved here.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:31 PM EST
Monday, February 4, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Joins Snowflakes Triggered By Challenges to Toxic Masculinity
Topic: Newsmax

The message I see in this ad is that men need to stop being men and that men’s default position is bestial. I think that’s outrageous.

I am not surprised that ad executives have fallen prey to the "men are bad" narrative, which is the extreme and ridiculous response to the equally extreme and ridiculous “women are victims” narrative that has become conventional wisdom in the wake of the sexual abuse accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Madison Avenue has about as much of a social conscience as Wall Street.

Unfortunately, the executives at Gillette aren’t the only ones who think that men are a problem.

This month, the American Psychological Association (APA) released its first-ever guidelines designed to help psychologists work with men and boys to address the so-called epidemic of “toxic masculinity.” According to the APA’s research, "traditional masculinity - marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression - is, on the whole, harmful.”

I believe this hostility toward men is dangerous, but I also know that it’s nothing new. As the second and third wave feminists gained momentum over the last 50 or so years, they bolstered a narrative that has become accepted wisdom: Men, the patriarchy, and masculinity in general have been the source of women’s suffering. Women are taught to blame men for everything bad that has ever happened to them. The #MeToo movement is just the next generation of this.

The new guidelines put a negative spin on characteristics that have traditionally belonged to the male of the species.

[...]

The people who support the APA’s new guidelines and praise Gillette’s message are pretending to care about the welfare of boys and men, but I don’t believe that’s true. I believe they are mistakenly trying to protect women from a patriarchy that they deem to be harmful.

Masculinity is not toxic. It’s normal, it’s human, and it’s good. We need to remember that, despite what Madison Avenue or #MeToo wants us to believe.

-- Christine Flowers, Jan. 22 Newsmax column

(Flowers joins writers at WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center who were similarly triggered by the Gillette ad and the APA guidelines.)


Posted by Terry K. at 6:09 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2019 8:07 PM EST

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