Hitting the Hateful Books
Even rival NewsMax is plugging Michael Savage's WND-published tome. And who wrote Katherine Harris' book, anyway?
By Terry Krepel
NewsMax and WorldNetDaily are rivals. Neither site links to the other's stories (they both will link or post CNSNews.com stories, though CNS rarely acknowledges either of them), and will not even mention each other's names if they can at all avoid it. WND has even taken a couple shots at NewsMax.
But as in other businesses, when there's money to be made or a mutual cause to be shilled, rivals can be come friends, or at least tolerate the other's proximity. Which brings us to Michael Savage.
Savage is one of the more incendiary of the conservative talk-show hosts whose appeal is more toward the lockstep dittohead Clinton-bashing of NewsMax than the somewhat more civil, occasionally libertarian tendencies of WND. But WND is publishing Savage's new book, "The Savage Nation."
WND, of course, has been plugging the book in its usual blur-the-lines-between-editorial-and-advertising style; one WND e-mail touts --to give you an idea of what to expect from Savage -- that one thing Savage addresses in the book is how to "keep whacko liberals from turning our churches into clinics that abort babies - and then sell their body parts." (Has this been a problem?) And in a Jan. 19 story touting the book's appearance on the New York Times bestseller list, WND leader Joseph Farah practically hyperventilates: 'To say that this book is a publishing sensation is an understatement. There's no telling where this book will go. It's hitting a chord."
In the face of such an onslaught by its rival, what oh what is NewsMax to do?
Well, what NewsMax's Christpher Ruddy does is suck it up and plug the book. "If you are thrilled by a man with the courage to say what millions of conservative Americans have been thinking but are afraid to say out loud, don't wait a second to get your copy of 'The Savage Nation,'" he gushes in a Jan. 7 column. He also notes that Savage believes that liberals are in favor of such things as "arresting, banning or rewriting the authentic Bible as a hate book." and "mandatory suicide for sick seniors." And that he shows "rare insight and courage" for saying such things.
There appears to be limit to Ruddy's boosterism, though -- you can't actually buy the book from NewsMax. The book-buying links there are to Amazon.com, not to the NewsMax store. In the link, there's an embedded reference to something called "Nelson Direct," an apparent reference to Thomas Nelson Publishers, WND's partner in its book venture; it looks like a way to save a little face by not actually linking to WND. An animated banner in the ad section, though, is the same as the one on the WND site.
Dang. A guy who "wages war against the 'group of psychopaths' known as PETA, the ACLU and the liberal media" (as the promo copy at the WND store reads) sounds about as reasonable and trustworthy as the rest of NewsMax (which is to say, not very), and Ruddy could have at least screwed up the courage to cut a wholesale deal with Farah. Still, you gotta hand it to the guy for providing his rival a little publicity -- hard to tell if it's free or not because the line between editorial and advertising is blurrier at NewsMax than it is at WND, but the banner and the special Amazon link suggests NewsMax is getting paid for its efforts -- if not because it's in the service of promoting one of right-wing radio's more frightening, polarizing figures.
Meanwhile, we'll leave it to blogger Scoobie Davis to ponder why such a bile-filled book is being printed under the aegis of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a company better known for printing less hateful things like Bibles.
Speaking of books published by WorldNetDaily: Who wrote Katherine Harris' book, anyway?
According to Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino, she doesn't seem to have had much to do with writing "Center of the Storm." In a Dec. 11 column pretty much obliterating the book ("You get the feeling that her biggest contribution was prepping for the dust jacket photo. ... Harris' book is a grand pour from an empty vessel ..."), he shares some information on who really wrote the thing. The man's name is George Grant, and he doesn't even get his name on the cover; his only mention is in the acknowledgements at the end of the book.
Who is George Grant? He runs something called the King's Meadow Study Center, the stated purpose of which is to "assist the modern church to promote a practical cultural expression of the Christian worldview." (He endorses WND as "the first and best source for news from a conservative perspective. Make this site your internet homepage.") He has written, co-written or edited a few dozen books with interesting titles such as "The Dittohead’s Little Instruction Book," "Immaculate Deception: The Shifting Agenda of Planned Parenthood" and "Hillarious: The Wacky Wit, Wisdom, and Wonderment of Hillary Rodham-Clinton." (Are all conservatives required by law to write at least one Clinton-bashing book? We haven't seen this one, but its appearance among those other titles leaves little doubt about its purpose.) He also takes credit for writing "Center of the Storm" along "with Katherine Harris."
Among his writings on the King's Meadow web site is your basic conservative denunciation of the sexiness of Abercrombie & Fitch ("Now, if the doyens of cool at Abercrombie and Fitch have their way, [your teenage daughter will] also be learning all the joys of group sex, homoeroticism, exhibitionism, pornography, and gang rape from them ...") in which he doesn't even spell "Benetton" correctly.
And even then, Cerabino writes, Grant didn't write that much of Harris' book either. The bulk of "Center of the Storm," he writes, is "allegedly Harris' 12 principles of leadership" as illustrated by "the great struggles of real leaders. George Washington. Winston Churchill. Sojourner Truth...." Turns out those little leadership essays were written by Grant's students; Cerabino notes that "nine students are credited with helping Grant."
Sheesh. No wonder WND had a buy-one-get-one-free deal on "Center of the Storm" during the month of December.