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Friday, September 24, 2010
Another Fox News Personality Will Help Newsmax Make A Buck
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax sent out an email today to its mailing list touting the presence of Sarah Palin in “a special pre-election webcast series we will be airing exclusively online” starting October 12. According to the email, the webcast, to be called “Make America Great Again,” will be hosted by Michael Reagan and feature Palin as well as “other opinion leaders such as Dick Morris.”

Morris, of course, has been a longtime marquee participant in shilling for Newsmax’s money-making schemes. Like Palin, Morris is a Fox News contributor, making her at least the third Fox News employee to team up with Newsmax; the other is Bill O’Reilly, who did an interview featured in an informercial for yet another financial product (though Fox News denied that it knew O’Reilly would be used in that way). Palin has also previously touted Newsmax as one of the news sources she reads.

It wouldn’t be Newsmax, though, if it wasn’t using people like Palin to try and sell you something.

If you sign up for this webcast, you are directed to a web page (PDF) that gives you the opportunity to upgrade your Palin experience -- for a price, of course. You can continue to pay nothing and receive only “Brief Clips of the Exclusive Interviews With Governor Palin, Dick Morris, Mike Reagan, and the Entire Lineup of Important Guests” and “Limited Access to the ‘Make America Great Again’ Attendee Website.” Or you could pay $9.95 to be a “VIP Member” and receive “Unlimited Access to the Make America Great Again Campaign, PLUS” a copy of Palin’s forthcoming book. You also get trial subscriptions to Newsmax’s magazine and one of its financial reports, which has the usual caveat that you must cancel before the trial period ends to avoid being automatically charged for a year’s subscription to them.

Or you can pay Newsmax an extra $20 not to send you the magazine and newsletter; a $29.95 “Book Membership” gives you “all of the benefits of VIP access as noted above, as well as Sarah Palin’s upcoming new book, but you will NOT receive free trial subscriptions to Newsmax magazine and The Franklin Prosperity Report.” Seeking payment for not doing something is an interesting money-making strategy, and it’s a big clue as to how much the profitability of Newsmax’s promotion depends on people forgetting to cancel their trial subscriptions.

The web page also gives previews of the webcast series, which looks like it will be mostly about attacking Obama, reinforcing right-wing talking points, and encouraging conservatives to vote in November. It also sycophantically calls Morris “the top political strategist and the man Time magazine referred to as ‘the most influential private citizen in America’ ” – which, as we’ve previously noted, it did just before Morris resigned in disgrace from Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.

Newsmax may not be selling financial schemes for once, but it sure has a connection with Fox News that it has no problem exploiting.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EDT
Thursday, September 23, 2010
That Word Does Not Mean What WND Thinks It Means
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Under the headling "Shut down! Question about back taxes stifled," a Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article begins:

The White House shut down questions about the back taxes owed by President Obama's staff members, as well as a question about an investigation of his Department of Justice, by not recognizing for questions a WND reporter at yesterday's daily news briefing.

There were some 60 reporters at the briefing with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who recognized 22 for questions. But some outlets, such as CBS and CNN, were allowed six or seven questions, while others were not recognized.

Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House and the second-most senior reporter on the White House beat, had planned to ask about taxes and investigations.

He was prepared to ask, "The Los Angeles Times reported at the end of 2009, 41 Obama White House aides owed $831,000 in back taxes. What is the White House reaction to this Times report?"

Not taking questions from an obviously biased reporter does not mean a particular line of questioning was "shut down." especially since WND offers no evidence that Gibbs knew Kinsolving would ask that particular question. You can't "shut down" something you didn't open up in the first place.

Does WND's and Kinsolving's belligerance toward Gibbs mean another temper tantrum is forthcoming?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Alleges 'Lies,' Doesn't Name Any
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh promotes a claim by anti-abortion activists in Colorado that election officials there have told "lies" about a "personhood" initiative on the ballot. Unruh repeatedly quotes the anti-abortion activists claiming that the proposed ballot description as "falsehoods and out-and-out lies."

What Unruh curiously didn't report, however, is an example of the alleged "lies" being told, beyond a claim that the bill would mean woman could be "denied health care for miscarriages." (The description being contested is in here.) Unruh also offers no explanation of why this or any other claim are "lies,"nor does he make any apparent effort to contact Colorado officials for a response to the criticism.

It seems the activists are complaining that tyhe state of Colorado won't propagandize for them. Unruh, on the other hand, has no problem pushing propaganda.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 PM EDT
Kessler Twists Rauf 's Words
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 15 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler attacks Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build "a mosque two blocks from ground zero," as a maker of "nonsensical, contradictory and arrogant statements" and among Muslim leaders who "speak out of both sides of their mouths" and "continue to generate suspicion of Muslims in general."

Kessler also mischaracterizes Rauf's words. Citing an interview Rauf did on CNN, Kessler writes:

Asked if he still believes that the U.S. was an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks and that Osama bin Laden was “made in the USA,” Rauf waffled. He said that while his comments were not “compassionate,” the U.S. had cooperated with bin Laden in fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

A widespread Internet rumor, that claim is untrue, not to mention irrelevant. In the end, Rauf never retracted his claim that the U.S. was in part responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Here's what Rauf actually said:

RAUF: I was describing the fact that the United States had actually worked with the Taliban, cooperated with the mujahadeen. The mujahadeen were VIPs in the Reagan White House -- administration, and Osama bin Laden was something the United States cooperated with in fighting the Soviet Union. However, looking back on it now, I realize it was not a very compassionate thing to say, and I regret having used those words.

In fact, it's indisputable that bin Laden fought with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and that the CIA covertly supported the mujahadeen. The question is whether bin Laden himself had any dealings with CIA operatives in Afghanistan. Despite Kessler's dismissal of it as "untrue" and a "widespread Internet rumor," it appears to be an open question. Wikipedia cites claims that bin Laden received training from the CIA in Afghanistan, as well as denials that there were any such contacts.

It seems the question is much more open than Kessler would have you believe. But he's too busy attacking Rauf to tell you that.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Farah: 'Creator' Omission 'Was An Attempt at Deicide by Obama'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Hanging out in St. Maarten has not mellowed Joseph Farah out.

Filing his September 22 WorldNetDaily column from the Caribbean island paradise, where he’s leading like-minded folks on a "Tea Party at Sea" following last weekend’s "Taking America Back" convention, Farah goes into freak-out mode about President Obama’s paraphrasing of the Declaration of Independence’s section about “unalienable rights” without mentioning the part about those rights being “endowed by their Creator”:

This was not an accident.

It was not a slip of the tongue.

It was not an oversight.

It was not an innocent mistake.

This was an attempt at deicide by Obama.

This was an effort to strip from America's national heritage a direct connection with God Almighty.

Even worse, this was Obama's way of stripping from America's consciousness the notion that liberty's underpinnings require direct accountability and responsibility to the Creator, not man-made government.

Our rights do not descend from Obama, much as he might like.

Our rights do not descend from government, much as he might like.

Our rights are not endowed by evolution, much as he might like.

They are endowed by our Creator.

That's a key word that the Obama mentality would like us all to forget.

He clearly doesn't want Americans to be thankful and responsible to their Creator. He would like Americans to be indebted as subjects to him and the power structure he represents. In other words, we would like us to forget the sacrifices of our forefathers over the last 234 years, shirk our pledge to independence and freedom and be like the other nations of the world where the ultimate authority about right and wrong, law and lawlessness, liberty and servitude is defined by an elite class of mortal men.

Obama let it all hang out there with that simple act of omission.

But it wasn't merely an omission.

It was omission by commission.

Don't think for one minute that speech wasn't written in advance with an express purpose.

The purpose was to take America one more step away from God the Creator.

[...]

Obama reached a new height of subversion with his bastardization of these keywords from the Declaration of Independence. That betrayal of the founding document of our country – America's birth certificate, if you will – shows him not only unworthy of the office of the presidency, but unworthy of U.S. citizenship as well.

Farah thus wins the freak-out competition the right-wing media over Obama’s omission. Such outrage, needless to say, ignores all the times Obama got the quote right and less-than-exact renditions of the phrase by conservatives.

Perhaps the next port of call on his Caribbean cruise will find Farah in a less vicious and hateful mood.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Aaron Klein's Thin Skin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It seems Joseph Farah is not the only WorldNetDaily employee who's overly sensitive to criticism.

A review of Aaron Klein's Obama smear book "The Manchurian President" at the left-wing website In These Times put Klein and WND into such a paroxysm of rage thatWND has devoted not one but two articles to attacking it.

The first article attacks In These Times as a "socialist journal whose editorial board includes Weatherman terrorist group founders William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn" and heavily mines David Horowitz's Discover the Networks database to go after "extremist activist" Marilyn Katz, who is quoted in the review as debunking Klein's portrayal of Obama as "as some kind of robotic guy run by a nest of vipers."

The second article, published a day later, targets the review's author, Chip Berlet, as "an extremist who has long been associated with socialism, Marxism and the founders of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization" who also has "a long history of equating conservatives with fascists." It goes on to insist that the book "is the result of years of investigative reporting by Klein and Elliott" and "contains dozens of meticulously documented but previously unreported scandals about Obama and other White House officials, including top czars and senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod."

Curiously, neither of these articles offers a link to Berlet's review so WND readers can see it for themselves. That's a behavior we're all too familiar with; when we were permitted to respond to Joseph Farah's attack on us, WND stripped all links to ConWebWatch from the response it posted.

Meanwhile, WND, Klein, and co-author Brenda J. Elliott have studiously ignored the detailed analyses we wrote of the book -- presumably because we're right, and we can't be easily demonized (though Farah has tried).


Posted by Terry K. at 2:31 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
New Article: CNS' Anti-Immigration Bias
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com repeatedly describes comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty" -- even as it concedes it's a term used only by critics of reform. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Obama-Hate, Birtherism Rampant At WND's Convention
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Media Matters' Zachary Pleat attended last weekend's WorldNetDaily-sponsored Taking America Back conference, and he lived to tell the tale of the rampant birtherism and bigotry exhibited therein. He also brought back audio of the conference speakers. Since WND has not seen fit to post any footage of its convention speakers, here are some choice cuts:

Jerome Corsi: "That [Obama's] not a Muslim and that he was born in the United States are both lies"

Corsi links same-sex marriage to "pedophilia," "polygamy," "bestiality," and marrying "cantaloupes"

Corsi: "If Barack Obama is not Islamic, then let him renounce Islam along with renouncing Lucifer"

Corsi: Obama "has stolen the identity of a natural born citizen" and is "using someone else's Social Security number"

Floyd Brown claims Obama "hates Christianity" and "is a Muslim"

Floyd Brown: After taking Congress "the next, most important step for them is to impeach Barack Hussein Obama"

Joseph Farah asks, "Has anyone at WorldNetDaily ever asserted" that Obama "is foreign-born?" (Yes, they have.)

Farah suggests gay marriage ruling will lead to "sexual anarchy"


Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 PM EDT
NewsReal Upset It Can't Tell Lies With Impunity
Topic: Horowitz

In a Sept. 22 NewsReal post, unapologetic gay-basher Kathy Shaidle purports to detail "George Soros’ 8 Most Despicable Acts." Her rant, however, has been interrupted by the facts, and NewsReal isn't happy about it.

As part of the first "despicable act" Soros purportedly did, Shaidle quoted from a column by Ezra Levant claiming that Soros "collaborated with the Nazis." That is a libelous distortion of what Soros actually did as a 14-year-old during World War II, which was pose as the godson of a Hungarian official who oversaw the confiscation of property from Hungarian Jews. The Canadian newspaper that first published Levant's column has retracted it because it "contained false statements about George Soros and his conduct as a young teenager in Nazi-occupied Hungary."

Shaidle claimed that Levant relied in part "upon research conducted by David Horowitz," but doesn't mentiont that Horowitz got it wrong too.

Soros, understandably, wanted to correct the record, which resulted in a fit of all-caps typing by NewsReal. The headline of Shaidle's post now parenthetically adds that it was "UPDATED AFTER THREAT BY SOROS’ LAWYERS", and the space where the Levant excerpt was located now states:

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS EXCERPT FROM LEVANT'S COLUMN HAS BEEN REMOVED AFTER KATHY SHAIDLE RECEIVED CORRESPONDENCE FROM SOROS' LAWYERS. NO WORD YET ON IF SOROS' LAWYERS HAVE CONTACTED MEDIA MATTERS FOR REPRINTING THE EXCERPT TOO AT THEIR WEBSITE HERE.

The unnamed editor appears not to understand the difference between uncritically repeating a lie, which Shaidle did, and repeating a lie as part of correcting it, which is what Media Matters did.

Shaidle's post now begins with another editor's note:

Editor’s Note: This post has been revised since it was first published. Because its author, Kathy Shaidle, is Canadian she is not protected by the same first amendment and libel laws that Americans are. Thus despite the fact that the information she presented has floated around the American blogosphere for years and was published in David Horowitz and Richard Poe’s The Shadow Party, because of where she lives Soros’ goons were able to target her with legal threats. That is the nature of the totalitarian personality we’re dealing with here.

Really? It's "totalitarian" for someone to respond to lies being told about them and to try and correct the record?

It seems Shaidle and NewsReal are upset that they aren't allowed to tell lies with impunity about people they don't like. The right to be above the law that they seem to be asserting is much more "totalitarian" than Soros' actions.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EDT
WND Pushes Bogus 'Death Panels' Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It’s been a long-established fact that there are no “death panels” in the health care reform law. But that doesn’t keep conservatives from continuing to claim there are.

The latest to push this bogus claim is Andrew Longman, who began his September 21 WorldNetDaily column by referencing his own previous (false) “death panels” claim – which he insisted was true –asserting that “we are sick of listening to smug leftists dismiss [Sarah] Palin as ‘wrong’ or ‘falsely’ asserting that there are death panels in Obamacare.” Longman then moved on to his new false claim, which involves cherry-picking a section of the bill regarding counseling services available to those under the “CLASS Independence Benefit Plan."

First, Longman demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension by declaring a provision that says eligible beneficiaries under the CLASS program “shall receive ... benefits” including “advocacy” and “assistance” counseling means those beneficiaries are “required under Obamacare” to receive that counseling. In fact, it’s clear that this section of the bill mandates that this counseling be made available, not that the counseling itself is mandatory. Nevertheless, Longman continues:

So if Sebulius [sic] wanted you to be counseled about Dr. Kevorkian services, or counseled on Smurfs in Ancient Russia, she just tells your counselor to make you sit through that. But while giving arbitrary and mandatory "counseling" powers to the secretary of HHS is weird and sinister, it's a minor item compared to Page 723.

The government mandates an "advice and assistance counselor," who shall provide to CLASS recipients, among other things:
(5) available assistance with decision making concerning medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment and the right to formulate advance directives or other written instructions recognized under state law, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, in the case that an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions; and
(6) such other services as the Secretary, by regulation, may require.

So, for the weakest in society, Obamacare pressurizes them to jump off a cliff.

But Longman overlooks an important part of this section. Here’s how the section outlining these benefits begins (emphasis added):

(e) ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE COUNSELING.--An agreement entered into under subsection (a)(2)(A)(iii) shall require the entity to assign, as requested by an eligible beneficiary that is covered by such agreement, an advice and assistance counselor who shall provide an eligible beneficiary with information regarding--

 

In other words, the section clearly states that such counseling is made available at the request of the beneficiary -- not mandatory.

After getting repeatedly shot down, you’d think right-wingers would give up on pushing this bogus claim. But given the zombie lie that “death panels” has become, that, sadly, appears unlikely.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EDT
WND Spins Tea Party Convention's Demise
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick on the demise of the Judson Phillips-organized National Tea Party Convention planned for Las Vegas in October gives free rein to spin the heck out of the demise while omitting crucial information and disclosures.

Fitzpatrick notes that "there were insufficient ticket sales to continue plans for the event" but allows Phillips -- the only person Fitzpatrick apparently talked to and the only person quoted -- to blame it on the "Obama economy."

One must go elsewhere for information on the full story behind the demise. Fitzpatrick doesn't see fit to report, as Talking Points Memo did in beating WND to the story by several hours, that  there was opposition to the convention among tea party groups in Nevada, and one even planned to boycott and publicly protest the convention over concerns with the legitimacy of Phillps' organziation, Tea Party Nation.

Fitzpatrick also failed to report that the convention had originally been scheduled for July, and then postponed until October, even though WND reported the schedule change at the time.

Fitzpatrick even omits mention of a couple corportate conflicts of interest: WND editor Joseph Farah was scheduled to speak at the original convention and his bio appeared on the convention's website before it was scrubbed (here it is in Google cache). Also, Phillips has become something of a WND columnist (albeit a factually challenged one) -- he even has a column on today's WND commentary page.

You may recall that WND provided wall-to-wall fawning coverage of Phillips' first Tea Party Nation convention in February, which Farah just happened to speak at.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:21 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
WND, MRC Embrace Silly Obama Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

There's no story too silly for some on the right to turn into an attack on President Obama.

From a Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily article:

President Obama removed the reference to the "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence when he quoted a portion at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.

Obama said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

But the the actual quotation is:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

WND even goes on to cite "outrage" over the omission at some obscure right-wing blog.

This was an attack too stupid not to spread, and spread it did. The MRC Culture & Media Institute's Alana Goodman was suitably indignant, touting how "Conservative bloggers wondered whether the misstatement by President Obama was a mere slip of the tongue or evidence of his true feelings about the origin of unalienable rights."Goodman went onto decry the "silence from the mainstream media, which had so quickly jumped on any verbal errors that President Bush made during his terms in office."

Needless to say, this line of attack is bogus, which Goodman and WND would have known if they had bothered to do even a minimal amount of research. Media Matters points out that Obama has used the entire phrase numerous times, and that inaccurately quoting the Declaration of Independence is common, even among conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EDT
NewsBusters Offended by Moderation
Topic: NewsBusters

The Heatherization of Joe Scarborough at NewsBusters continues with Sept. 20 post by Matt Hadro, in which he expresses a bit of horror that Scarborough is embracing -- gasp! -- moderation:

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" has recently delivered some strange messages of bipartisanship and moderation to its viewers. These included lecturing would-be Koran-burner Florida pastor Terry Jones on loving one's neighbor before cutting him off without opportunity to answer, and showcasing a "Bipartisan Health Challenge" – a group of politicians and journalists walking three kilometers around the National Mall to promote fitness and bipartisanship.

[...]

Later, Scarborough continued to make an active push for a certain type of candidate. "Now we're going to continue like we've done for three years – to encourage viewers and guests to resist the pull of those people on the far Right and the "Professional Left" who seek division."

To be fair, Scarborough has expressed his approval in the past for conservative stars Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and he is a self-described old-style conservative. He may not have been advocating centrist candidates as much as conservatives and liberals who promise to reach across the aisle.

Even so, Scarborough and company's message seems fuzzy as to who and what exactly they're endorsing – and why they were taking time to endorse them in the first place.

Only the right-wing ideologues at NewsBusters and the MRC would find bipartisanship and moderation to be a "strange" idea.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 PM EDT
Newsmax Claims Credit for Insulting Obama Into Going to Church
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 20 article by Jim Meyers, Newsmax takes credit for President Obama's appearance at a church on Sunday. How? Because Mike Huckabee insulted him into doing it.

In a Sept. 17 video posted by Newsmax, Huckabee ranted that "I don’t mind him reaching out to Muslims as long as he’s reaching out to them in the same way that he’s reaching out to Christians or people who are Jewish. But what I’ve seen is that he has chastised the Jewish people for wanting to have neighborhoods for their children to grow up in. He’s certainly not been overwhelmingly kind to Christians who have a real conscience issue with things like abortion."

Embracing the corellation-equals-causation fallacy, Meyers writes:

On Friday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in an exclusive Newsmax interview that President Obama could deal with doubts about his faith by “leading the example of attending worship.”

The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate also slammed President Obama, saying he has been treating Muslims better than Jews and Christians. [See story and video: Huckabee: Obama Treats Muslims Better Than Jew, Christians.]

Huckabee's complaint apparently shook up the White House over the weekend.

On Sunday, Obama attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, just the third time he has worshipped in public since he took office.

Politico.com columnist Ben Smith noted the connection, suggesting that the Newsmax story motivated Obama's sudden interest in church.

Smith quoted from Huckabee’s Newsmax interview and provided a link to a website that excerpted a key portion of the interview.

Newsmax, however, is in competition with others claiming credit for Obama going to church, like Glenn Beck.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Matters has seen the new Brent Bozell-starring Media Research Center video for its "Tell the Truth" campaign, and found that it ... doesn't. (We're shocked!)

Here are the details.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 AM EDT

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