President Barack Obama is remaking the world according to his vision of a less influential America, and one result is chaos abroad that leads to disasters like the apparent shootdown this week of a passenger jet over war-torn Ukraine, conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza told Newsmax TV on Friday.
"This downing of the airplane is a small indication of what happens when American power is subtracted from the world," D'Souza told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
D'Souza said President Obama, in withdrawing from the international stage and conceding management of global affairs to others, is helping to make the movie's point.
"For the past 60 years, we have been living in the American era, in which nothing important can happen in South America, in the Middle East or in Asia without America having a big say-so, if not actually determining the outcome," said D'Souza. "People all over the world — from Somali pirates on the high seas to Iranian mullahs to Russian separatists — have always had to worry, 'If we do this, what will America do?' Except now, under Obama."
According to D'Souza, that suits the president.
"He has an ideology that is opposed to an active American presence in the world," he said.
Having D'Souza spout such nonsense without allowing an opposing view -- no evidence is offered that one was provided -- just makes Newsmax look like the outlet for those who think Fox News is too liberal.
Newsmax Buries Full Truth About IRS' Donor Disclosure Topic: Newsmax
A June 27 Newsmax article by Todd Beamon touts how the IRS was ordered to pay $50,000 in damages to anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage for having "illegally exposed" the group's donor list. Beamon goes on to uncritically quote right-wing activist Tony Perkins claiming that the IRS "deliberately" released the information to a "gay activist."
But Perkins is lying. The investigation into the leak found that the IRS' release of NOM donor information was not deliberate. The release was the inadvertent mistake of a low-level employee, which even NOM chief Maggie Gallagher has conceded.
It's not until the 17th paragraph of his 19-paragraph article that Beamon gets around to mentioning the fact that the IRS release was inadvertent.
Still, Beamon tried to keep the nonexistent conspiracy going, highlighting that the head of the group to which NOM's information was leaked left "to work on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign as national co-chairman."
Newsmax Gears Up To Boost GOP Florida Governor's Re-Election Topic: Newsmax
Back in 2010, Newsmax got heavily involved in the Florida governor's race -- it tried to anoint Bill McCollum as the Republican nominee by trashing his primary opponent Rick Scott, but when Scott defeated him in the primary, Newsmax quickly flip-flopped, supported Scott despite its previous trashing of him, and helped him to victory (complete with $100,000 donation).
The Florida governor's race is coming around again, and Newsmax is firing up the campaign to help Scott win re-election.
A June 8 Newsmax article by Elliot Jager touted how "A campaign commercial by Republican Gov. Rick Scott asserting that former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — a Republican turned independent turned Democrat — allowed college tuition to increase up to 15 percent every year has been determined to be 'mostly true' according to the Miami Herald."
Newsmax doesn't like Crist any more than it didn't used to like Scott. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary in Florida (where Newsmax is headquartered), Newsmax was a huge booster of Newt Gingrich, trying to portray chief rival Mitt Romney as having a "'Charlie Crist' problem."
Newsmax's New Scandal: Obama Chews Gum! Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has apparently found the latest Obama scandal, as detailed in a June 6 article:
Social media users tore into Barack Obama on Friday after the US president was seen chewing gum during solemn ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
People took to Twitter to denounce Obama's "shameful" and "vulgar" chewing, with one user attacking him as a "lout."
Yep, the entire article is all about how random people on Twitter disapprove of Obama chewing gum. It's not until the very last paragraph that it's noted that Obama "has faced an on-off battle to quit smoking and often chews a nicotine-based gum to drive away the craving."
You'd think that piece of information would be more important. But it appears Obama-bashing was the agenda for this article.
Newsmax TV Targets 'Disenfranchised Baby Boomers'? Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax made the big announcement in a May 29 article by Robert O'Leary:
Focused on serving an audience of more than 80 million disenfranchised baby boomers, Newsmax Media Inc.'s Newsmax TV has signed a distribution deal with DirecTV and is accelerating toward a national launch that expects to reach 40 percent of U.S. cable and satellite homes by the end of this year.
Newsmax TV also plans a major OTT platform rollout with penetration estimated in excess of 100 million iOS and Android smart devices.
Wait -- "disenfranchised baby boomers"?
Actually, Newsmax's audience is quite enfranchised -- according to Newsmax itself. Here's how the media kit for Newsmax magazine describes its demographics:
72% are men
93% are 55 and older
30% have a portfolio valued at $500,000-2,000,000
83% own a single family home
17% are professionals or business owners
57% are college graduates or higher
45% have a total net worth of $500,000+
And here's the demographics for Newsmax.com, according to its media kit:
51% of readers are male.
58% of the Newsmax.com audience is 55 years of age or older.
79% of readers have attended college.
26% of readers are retired.
61% of readers have a household income of $60,000+
47% of readers have a household income of $75,000+
20% more likely to have completed Graduate School and received a degree.
45% more likely to have no children living in the household.
48% more likely to own a Condominium.
Both media kits tout how "Newsmax Media reaches afflfluent and inflfluential readers," particularly "conservative voters, families with high household incomes, vacation travelers, or car buyers."
If that's being "disenfranchised," where can we sign up?
Melanie Batley writes in a May 27 Newsmax article:
President Barack Obama's reluctance to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite widespread popular support for the project, is not only hindering America's energy independence but driving up the price of gas for American consumers.
According to a column in Forbes Magazine by Kathleen Hartnett White and Vance Ginn, experts at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, recent geopolitical instability and disruptions and bottlenecks in the supply of Brent crude oil from the North Sea have driven up costs for American refiners, leading to higher retail prices at the pump.
Batley doesn't mention that the Texas Public Policy Foundation is a right-wing think tank that pays its analysts to come up with opinions like that.
Batley also ignores that other experts hold other opinions on the Keystone pipeline's effect on oil prices.
The Washington Post has noted that not even the company that wants to build the pipeline is claiming that it will lower gas prices. And another Forbes columnist suggests that the pipeline might actually raise gas prices.
But most experts agree that the Keystone pipeline will little to no effect on gas prices in the U.S., since it's unlikely that oil companies will pass on their pipeline-derived savings to consumers.
Cheryl K. Chumley writes in a May 20 Newsmax article:
While the United Nations and the Obama administration assert that climate change is settled science and requires dramatic regulatory oversight, 31,072 U.S. scientists have signed the Petition Project, saying the issue remains decidedly unsettled.
"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition says.
Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?
"The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of 'settled science' and an overwhelming 'consensus' in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong," the petition asserts. "No such consensus or settled science exists."
Over 9,000 of the petition's signatories have a Ph.D. in a scientific field.
We first wrote about this petition in 2008, when the number of signees was also at around 31,000. As we noted then, few of those signees have degrees in fields related to climate science. Further, there have been more than 10.6 million science graduates as defined by Robinson's group since the 1970-71 school year, making the 31,000 on the petition a tiny fraction of that -- 0.3 percent, to be exact -- small enough that one could call it "fringe."
The rest of Chumley's article consists of right-wing talking points by climate change "skeptics."
A May 7 Newsmax article by Cathy Burke touts how "Sen. Ted Cruz unveiled the fourth in his series of reports on what he has called the Obama administration's abuses of power – an issue that has dominated the freshman lawmaker's 16 months in Congress," noting that it "cited 76 instances of the administration's overstepping its constitutional authority, ranging from Obamacare to Benghazi." But Burke simply repeats Cruz's allegations and made no apparent attempt to delve into the veracity of the allegations.
By contrast, the Washington Post Dana Milbank reported that several of Cruz's claims are specious if not outright false:
Consider item No. 2 in the “Other Abuses of Power” section: “Backed release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.” This does sound bad — and strange, given that Obama had publicly said he was “angry” about the release, which was “a bad decision.”
The footnote on Cruz’s allegation points to an article in the Australian newspaper, a curious source. I looked up the article, which stated that “the U.S. wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime.”
Cruz, in a preamble to his accusations, writes piously of “the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.”
The evidence? The first item in the first category (“Governing By Executive Fiat”): ”Disregarded 1996 welfare reform law in granting broad work waivers for work requirements of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”
Such waivers were at the heart of welfare reform, which I covered. Ron Haskins, who drafted the law, told The Post that waivers made the law possible by giving states freedom to experiment.
A few lines down, Cruz alleges that Obama “extended federal marriage benefits by recognizing, under federal law, same-sex marriages . . . even if the couple is living in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.”
Cruz’s footnote for this allegation is to a February news article, which notes that the administration’s “changes were set in motion last year when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to refuse federal benefits to married same-sex couples.” So Obama is being “lawless” by obeying a Supreme Court ruling?
Cruz alleges that the administration “ordered Boeing to fire 1,000 employees in South Carolina and shut down a new factory because it was non-union.” In fact, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint — and any order would have been up to a judge, as the law requires. In the end, Boeing and the union struck a deal, and the complaint was dropped.
Cruz must have found some of his allegations too good to check — such as the charge that Obama “spent $205,075 in ‘stimulus’ funds to relocate a shrub that sells for $16.” Actually, the removal of the plant (which had been believed to be extinct in the wild) was part of a massive road project run by California, not the federal government. Like thousands of other projects, it got stimulus dollars — less than 10 percent of its total funding.
That's what a real journalist would do. What's Burke's excuse?
NEW ARTICLE: The Dick Morris Rehabilitation Project Topic: Newsmax
After the right-wing pundit flamed out spectacularly with his chronically wrong predictions on Fox News, Morris continues to have a home at Newsmax, where he remains as wrong as ever. Read more >>
Newsmax Lets Dick Morris Make A Prediction Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Dick Morris rehabilitation campaign continues apace by giving him an April 30 column in which he explains how Rick Perry can make a presidential run in 2016:
Acceptable to Latinos based on his Texas record. Draws strong Tea Party support without being defined by it. A Southerner, he is clearly ready to play on the national stage. A big state governor whose record on jobs has only gotten better. He can’t be dismissed.
Will his debate brainlock disqualify him? Not if he doesn’t repeat it. Clinton recovered from a disastrous 1988 Convention speech. He’s probably had enough time to recover from his dismissal of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" in his book.
But Rick Perry has to develop a truly national perspective to win. He can’t forever be repeating "in the state of Texas" before each line. He needs to know more about issues other than energy. In 2012, he showed the same lack of depth and laziness in issue preparation as Sarah Palin did in 2008, but he wasn’t caught as easily because he’s a man.
Republicans don’t like to take chances. They want their candidates to have served their apprenticeship as losers. The Republican voters are agoraphobic, fearful of new situations and people. It takes them a while to get used to new candidates and those who have run once and learned their lessons have great appeal. So keep your eye on Perry.
Given Morris' track record on predictions, we can probably assume that Perry now has no chance whatsoever to become president.
Newsmax Promotes Gay Republican's Claim of Attacks From Left Topic: Newsmax
California congressional candidate Carl DeMaio has been making the rounds of the conservative media -- helped greatly by Fox News -- complaining that he's being attacked by Democrats. Newsmax joins the parade with an April 30 article by Bill Hoffmann:
Carl DeMaio, an openly gay candidate for California's 52nd Congressional District, says liberals have been trashing him simply because he's a Republican.
"I don't wear my orientation on my sleeve, it's who I am. But it doesn't define the thorough breadth of what I am in terms of a leader for San Diego," DeMaio told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
But, DeMaio added, a number of left-leaning groups who claim to want to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates have worked against him strictly because of his GOP affiliation.
Um, isn't that what's supposed to happen -- that DeMaio's political identity is placed before his sexual orientation? He can't exactly claim discrimination because the complete opposite is happening.
DeMaio is also quoted as saying, "These progressive activists are willing to put aside what they claim to want to achieve for LGBT Americans in the name of partisan politics." But isn't what most LGBT Americans want is for their sexual orientation not to be an issue? Isn't that precisely how liberals are treating DeMaio?
Indeed, DeMaio has backed off social issues, in part to attract more conservative supporters. And Hoffmann fails to mention that the conservative National Organization for Marriage has gone after DeMaio for "holding the hand of his gay lover."
So, to sum up: Liberals oppose DeMaio because of his policies; social conservatives oppose DeMaio because he's gay. That's pretty much the way it's expected to be, isn't it?
Andrea Billups uses an April 24 Newsmax article to provide an uncritical portrait of filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch and his latest project purportedly "capturing how U.S. authorities mistreat dissenters." Billups paints Lynch as a concerned citizen who "fears his country is in trouble and that is what motivates him to continue his investigative work."
There's no mention, however, of the extreme anti-immigrant views that drive much of Lynch's work. Media Matters notes:
Lynch's anti-immigrant films They Come to America I & II were, according to the Center for New Community, "so poorly made and offensive that not a single production company or film distributor in the U.S. or Canada would release it." The films were heavily promoted by the Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. Lynch has also repeatedly smeared immigrants as criminals, saying some immigrants are coming to America "to cut your throat."
During one Fox News interview, Lynch implied that non-English speaking participants in the rally were undocumented: "I asked them straight out--are you undocumented? They didn't even understand what I was saying, so there's your answer I guess." Lynch did acknowledge that he did not "get to ask all 10,000 of them" that question.
In another Fox News interview, Lynch ranted that if immigration reform passes, "it's the end of America as you know it and I know it."
But instead of telling the truth about Lynch, Billups peddles fluffy statements like "Lynch wants to continue to tackle hard stories like the immigration problem and Obamacare that he asserts have taxed the country."
Newsmax A Little Too Eager To Forgive AFP For Inappropriate Image Topic: Newsmax
In an April 23 Newsmax article, Sandy Fitzgerald seems unusually eager to forgive Americans for Propsperity for using an inappropriate image in an attack ad:
Americans for Prosperity has quickly apologized for a television advertisement for the upcoming Colorado Senate race that mistakenly used a grim photo of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall standing with President Barack Obama after the Aurora cinema shooting.
The television spot cast blame on the incumbent senator for being closely allied with Obama and Obamacare, blaming him for the cancellation of nearly 335,000 health insurance policies in Colorado, reports The Los Angeles Times.
However, the photograph was one that was taken two days after the July 2012 mass killing at a movie theater while Udall and Obama were visiting victims and their families. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was also there visiting, was cropped out of the photo used in the ad.
Victims' families complained about the use of the photo, saying it was an "utter disgrace," and to "insinuate the somber expressions were for anything other than their compassionate response to our heartbreak is beyond unconscionable."
The conservative group, upon hearing of the families' concerns, quickly apologized to the families and replaced the photograph with a different one of Udall and Obama.
Actually, AFP wasn't quite as contrite as Fitzgerald would have you believe. The Denver Post quoted Dustin Zvonek, state director for AFP Colorado, as still in attack mode, "Fortunately, we can and will change the image. ... Sen. Udall can't change his record that led to over 335,000 Coloradans receiving letters indicating that their health care policy had been canceled."
Newsmax's Dershowitz Still Pushing For Pollard's Release Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has published another column by Alan Dershowitz calling for the U.S. to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, including this argument:
Sixth, the recent declassification of a 1987 CIA damage assessment concerning Pollard confirms, in the words of Weinberger’s Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, that “Pollard did not divulge the most sensitive U.S. national security programs” and “provided intelligence only on the Soviet Union’s activities in the Middle East.”
The document also reveals that, whereas the sentencing judge overturned the plea agreement because Pollard had spoken to the media in supposed violation of the agreement’s terms, the interview had in fact been authorized by the government.
As we've documented, Pollard did a lot more than what Dershowitz claims. And the partially released damage assessment to which Dershowitz refers reveals that too, according to the National Security Archive:
The documents provided information on PLO headquarters in Tunisia; specific capabilities of Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; Iraqi and Syrian chemical warfare productions capabilities (including detailed satellite imagery); Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; naval forces, port facilities, and lines of communication of various Middle Eastern and North African countries; the MiG-29 fighter; and Pakistan's nuclear program. Also included was a U.S. assessment of Israeli military capabilities.4
Pollard's disclosures were alarming to U.S. officials for several reasons, some of which were noted in their official declarations (Document 7a, Document 10) – some of which were direct responses (Document 9) to claims and analysis made by Pollard in his sentencing memorandums (Document 6, Document 8b). One, despite the fact that both the U.S. and Israeli considered each other legitimate intelligence targets, was Israel's willingness to run a human penetration operation directed at the U.S. government. Another, was the damage to the intelligence sharing arrangement with Israel – since its acquisition of material from Pollard weakened the U.S. position vis-a-vis intelligence exchanges with Israel. In addition, there was no guarantee that such documents, revealing both sources and methods as well as assessments, would not find their way to the Soviet Union via a Soviet penetration of the Israeli intelligence or defense community – as had happened with a number of other allies. Further, since Israel was a target of U.S. intelligence collection – particularly technical collection - operations, the documents could be used by Israeli counterintelligence and security organizations to help Israel neutralize or degrade U.S. collection operations.
Dershowitz is not going to mention this. Will anyone else at Newsmax?