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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Kessler and Trump: The Early Years
Topic: Newsmax

We've documented how Newsmax's Ronald Kessler was promoting Donald Trump's presidential ambitions as early as 2006. But Kessler's links to Trump -- and fawningly writing about him -- began long before that.

In 1999, Kessler published a book called "The Season: Inside Palm Beach and America's Richest Society" (the paperback edition punched up the subtitle, changing "Inside Palm Beach" to "The Secret Life of Palm Beach") in which, according to the book jacket, Kessler "brought his charm, insight, and award-winning investigative skills, and came to know Palm Beach, its celebrated and powerful residents, and it exotic social rituals as no outside writer ever has."

Kessler's history of fluffing conservatives gives you a good idea of what's in this book. A review states that Kessler "kneels to billionaires, dowagers, bimbos, 'escorts' and lounge lizards" in the book, adding: "Kneels to them and gives them 'a Lewinsky,' as the saying goes." Kessler's chief beneficiary of that treatment is Donald Trump.

Kessler devotes two chapters of his book to Trump, focusing on his purchase of the Mar-a-Lago estate and his transformation of it into a private club that, unlike other hoity-toity clubs in Palm Beach, admitted blacks and Jews.

Here's how Kessler introduces Trump in a chapter called "The Trumpster," in which he references how he few to Palm Beach with Trump on his private jet:

People descend on the island in yachts, Lear jets, and Rolls-Royces for the season, but few arrive in their own commercial-size jets. For the Trumpster, as he is often called, the season began when he left his black stretch limo on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport a week before Christmas and stepped into his Boeing 727-100. Donald Trump would continue to commute almost every weekend during the season, staying at Mar-a-Lago. Besides Trump, the only other passenters that Friday evening on the flight to Palm Beach were his fifteen-year-old son, Eric, Pam [Kessler's wife], and me. The cost for jet fuel alone for the flight to Florida and the return on Sunday night would be $40,000 -- ten thousand dollars per person.

Smiling as if he had just made a few extra billion, Trump stood in the galley of his 727 and offered us pretzels. In person, Trump is younger, thinner, and blonder than in his photos. He likes to wear his hair long at the neck. His typical facial expression is to set his mouth in a moue, somewhere between a pucker and a pout. It says, "I'm a handsome guy. I'm going to WIN."

Later, Kessler describes how "I sunned myself at the ninety-degree pool" at Mar-a-Lago and sat in on a meeting of his staff members to discuss further plans for the estate.

Of the 16 pages of color photos in Kessler's book, six-plus pages of them are devoted to Trump-related activites, from pictures of the opulent Mar-a-Lago to shots of Kessler and his wife hanging out with Trump and the gang:

Kessler and his wife with Trump.

Kessler (right) with the pilot of Trump's jet.

Kessler and his wife sitting in on Trump's "strategy meetings with lawyers, architects, and staff at Mar-a-Lago.

Kessler and his wife with Trump's butler and another woman "after Donna Summer sang at Mar-a-Lago on New Year's Eve."

Kessler to the left of Trump, Pamela Kessler to the right of Jay Leno.

By contrast, of the non-Trump-related photos, Kessler appears in only two.

In the ackowledgments section, Kessler writes that "My friend and fellow author Edward Klein introduced me to Donald Trump." That, presumably, is the same Edward Klein who penned a hatchet job against Hillary Clinton a few years back, which Newsmax covered up for.

The Salon review noted that the only person who "emerges as a hero" in Kessler's book is Trump. It turned out to be prescient, since Kessler's doing the exact same thing for Trump now.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:02 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 2:54 PM EDT
Monday, May 2, 2011
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It all starts with stopping the lies. That requires eliminating from the political arena the purveyors of lies. The grandest of which is Barack Hussein Obama.

Therefore, after watching this speech, I will now be voting for anyone other than BHO. I never voted for him in the first place. And now America has had a taste of what a real leftist would do to our nation.

So give me Trump, Palin, Pawlenty, Daniels, Huckabee, Romney or Mickey Mouse – anybody but Obama.

-- Craig R. Smith, April 18 WorldNetDaily column

Sometimes it seems that the man who is president of this country has his head – well, not on his shoulders but not connected to his brain.

I know he has a brain because anyone savvy enough to get elected to the highest office of the land with virtually no experience, with an invisible background and no paper trail has to have a brain.

The dilemma for Americans is that it's almost impossible to figure out what's going on in the brain of Barack Obama.

He promises and then reneges. He flips and then flops. He exaggerates and then ignores. He says one thing, but his actions speak of other intents.

It takes a lot of that kind of subterfuge to lead people to raise serious questions about a leader, especially in this country. We don't always have presidents we like or support wholeheartedly but because of our system of government, because of our Constitution, we expect our president to level with us on important issues.

Not all do, but without question Barack Obama takes the cake for being a walking, talking enigma.

Unfortunately for him and us, that's led many people to ask a penetrating question: "Whose side is he on?" Unfortunately, because of much of what he's done and not done, it appears to many Americans that he really doesn't have the wellbeing and security of this country at heart.

-- Barbara Simpson, April 18 WorldNetDaily column

At a time when many Americans can barely afford Burger King and a movie, Obama boasts of spending a billion dollars on his re-election campaign. Questioned at a recent appearance about the spiraling fuel costs, Obama said, "Get used to it" – and with an insouciant grin and chortle, he told another person at the event, who complained about the effect high fuel prices were having on his family, to "get a more fuel-efficient car."

The Obamas behave as if they were sharecroppers living in a trailer and hit the Powerball, but instead of getting new tires for their trailer and a new pickup truck, they moved to Washington. And instead of making possum pie, with goats and chickens in the front yard, they're spending and living large at taxpayer expense – opulent vacations, gala balls, resplendent dinners and exclusive command performances at the White House, grand date nights, golf, basketball, more golf, exclusive resorts and still more golf.

Expensive, ill-fitting and ill-chosen wigs and fashions hardly befit the first lady of the United States.

--  Mychal Massie, April 19 WorldNetDaily column

No wonder Obama aims to raise at least $1 billion to finance his campaign. You can just hear media outlets across the country salivating at the prospect of all those advertising dollars, to say nothing of those who will be beneficiaries of campaign largesse.

Not bad for a little kid from – oh, somewhere – who just managed to get to the finest schools, make high level social connections, leapfrog from street activist to national politician and end up in the White House with all the power that entails.

Not bad for a guy who never held a job in his life and now finds himself consorting with kings and sheiks, politicians and international activists, dictators and tyrants.

-- Barbara Simpson, April 25 WorldNetDaily column

I am not a xenophobe. I have married foreigners, represented them legally as an international lawyer and I speak four languages – some people think even English. All of my beloved grandparents emigrated from other countries. But the actions of Obama, which further an Islamic revolution, coupled with the possibility that he was foreign born in Kenya to an anti-American communist and Muslim father, seem to square with his designs and actions. It lends credence to our constitutional edict that the American president be born here, to American parents. Put simply, Obama's traitorous actions may very well stem from his identifying with his foreign rather than his alleged American roots.

-- Larry Klayman, April 30 WorldNetDaily column

This president has to stop or be stopped before he crushes the middle class he claims to be protecting. Watching our dollar fall in value like a lead weight while Bernanke fuels a rally in the stock market exploding yearly Wall Street bonuses doesn't feel like protection to me. If it is, then we need to have unprotected relations with our government going forward. Protect us not, Mr. O.


If Mr. Obama continues in his pursuit of a socialist utopia where he and the bureaucrats run the country, he will surely be a one-term president – regardless of how much the "watchdog media" excuses or covers for his recklessness.

One term is just fine with me, and I don't think I'm alone. America has awakened to the ineptitude and folly of this president. As I said a few weeks ago, America is now fully engaged. Americans' attitudes for 2012 is like mine.

Anybody but Obama!

The only question left unanswered is how much damage can he do between now and January 2013. I suppose time will tell.

-- Craig R. Smith, May 2 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
Classy: WND's Massie Wants Obama to Get The Bin Laden Treatment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Feel the hate from WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie's Twitter account, where he wrote, "i hope it dsnt take 10 yrs 2 get bho 4 his attacks on US constitution."

Can't Massie hold back his hatred of Obama for just one day? Apparently not.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EDT
Oops! Chuck Norris Declares Islamic Extremists Are 'Well-Pleased' With Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chuck Norris picked the wrong day to rant that President Obama is a Muslim sympathizer.

In his May 2 WorldNetDaily column, the plagiarism-prone columnist asserted that "There is no greater proponent of the partnership of America and Islam (and therefore Shariah) than President Obama himself. I'm not saying he is a Muslim but a Muslim advocate and apologist." He added, "I'm certain that many Islamic extremists are well-pleased with the progress they are making in America."

Why doesn't Norris ask Osama bin Laden about how pleased he is? Oh, wait, he can't.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 2, 2011 11:24 AM EDT
Ellis Washington Again Lies About Supposed School Failures
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington writes in his April 30 WorldNetDaily column that "Obama's secretary of education, Arne Duncan, recently said that up to 80 percent of all public schools will fail within a year."

As we detailed the last time Washington asserted this, the supporting link hesupplies doesn't claim that; rather, it states that Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the number of schools that will be classified as "failing" under the No Child Left Behind law will rocket from 37 to 82 per cent in 2011, which indicates a problem with NCLB.

The rest of Washington's column is his usual disjointed anti-communist ranting, in which he states that "Since about 1937 when FDR's 'New Deal' programs were ruled constitutional, America has gradually devolved into a socialist nation which if Obama gets re-elected in 2012 will push our nation totally into communism."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
Newsmax's Hirsen Sneers At Actors As Immigration Advisers
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen writes in an April 29 Newsmax article:

President Obama is turning to Hollywood for the best possible advice on all things immigration. And he's contacting all the pros: Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, and Rosario Dawson. Obama's slipping grip on the key Hispanic voting community may be a reason why.

The White House had previously announced that Obama would meet with “influential Hispanics from across the country to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system.” The discussion was intended to focus on creating “a constructive national conversation on this important issue” and ultimately “work to build a bipartisan consensus in Congress.”

The brain trust that met with Obama and his aides in the White House Roosevelt Room included the following renowned immigration “experts”: Longoria of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” fame, “Ugly Betty” show star Ferrera, “Sin City” movie actress Dawson and Emilio Estefan, the producer-musician husband of singer Gloria Estefan.

But as Media Matters notes, Longoria, Ferrera and Dawson have all been involved in immigration issues, from acting roles to actual activism; Dawson is the co-founder of the Hispanic activist group Voto Latino.

Nevertheless, Hirsen sneered that "To his credit Obama has met with officials who are close to the issue," including "politicians, religious clerics, law enforcement officials and business, labor, and civil rights figures." Hirsen added that Obama's "continued relationship with Hollywood celebrities" is "critical to the president’s securing of a second term."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Your WND Plagiarism Roundup
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has the occasional issue of stealing the work of others without credit -- when CEO Joseph Farah does it, it's bound to trickle down. Let's take a look at some WND-related plagiarism scandals that are bubbling up.

Last week, Wonkette discovered that Chuck Norris -- whose column was launched by WND and is now in syndication -- copied parts of his April 25 column word-for-word from other sources without giving them credit. Wonkette later learned that Norris plagiarizes on a surprisingly regular basis.

Now, Wonkette has deduced that Norris doesn't even actually write his columns, plagiarized or otherwise; his pastor, Todd DuBord, does. If that name sounds familiar, it's because WND has promoted his claims that religion (specificallly, Christianity) is being whitewashed out of historical sites like the Supreme Court and Jamestown, and not-so-historical sites like the Capitol visitor's center. WND has also touted how DuBord has tallied the supposed "ongoing trend" of President Obama  not directly quoting references to God in the Declaration of Independence.

Interestingly, that's not the only allegation of plagiarism that's floating around WND. The Barackryphal blog has documented how Brad O'Leary, in his factually challenged, WND-published Obama attack book "The Audacity of Deceit," lifted several paragraphs of a WND article by Aaron Klein almost word-for-word without attribution.

There's even some plagiarism going on the birther front. Barackryphal catches some irregularities in the affidavit of Kweli Shuhubia, a translator enlisted by Obama-hating Anabaptist minister Ron McRae in his notorious phone call to Obama's grandmother in Kenya. WND's Jerome Corsi has touted the affidavits by McRae and Shuhubia as evidence that the grandmother said Obama was born in Kenya. Not only is Shuhubia a psuedonym and his affidavit un-notarized, part of it appears to be cribbed from McRae's own affidavit. 

With the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate, McRae and "Shuhubia" are completely discredited. With such close association to documented plagiarizers, WND is too.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:04 PM EDT
CNS Uses Royal Wedding To Attack Gay Marriage

For the second time this week, has done a bizarre bit of co-opting the news to push its right-wing agenda.

An April 29 CNS article by Penny Starr on the royal wedding focuses how the bishop addressed the couple and wedding guests by stating that "marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves." Starr then referenced "a 9-page statement on the church’s position on marriage that includes a reference to the union as between a man and a woman" and a 2008 invesigation into "the 'marriage' of two homosexual priests in one of London’s oldest churches."

We've previously noted how CNS used the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate to push its anti-abortion agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 AM EDT
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Is Newsmax Trying To Push Huckabee Out Of Presidential Race?
Topic: Newsmax

As its Trump-fluffing has demonstrated, Newsmax seems to be playing favorites in who it wants to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Apparently not a Newsmax favorite: Mike Huckabee.

An April 28 article by Jim Meyers touted a Rasmussen poll finding that "Donald Trump leads all other potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates" and Huckabee came in third This was accompanied later in the day by another article by Meyers highlighting "assertions by political experts that Huckabee won’t run" and featuring an interview with pollster Scott Rasmussen, who conducted the above-referenced poll, saying, "My expectation is that there is going to emerge somebody who we’re not even talking about who will be a serious contender, and that person could very well benefit from Mike Huckabee dropping out."

The article's headline: "Rasmussen: Huckabee Dropping Out Will Help Dark Horse Emerge." While Meyers began his article by stating that "Mike Huckabee’s camp has sought to refute a new report that the former Arkansas governor won’t seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination," that didn't make into the headline.

We don't know what happened behind the scenes between Newsmax and Huckabee, but we can't imagine that Huckabee was happy with Newsmax's presentation of the supposed state of his presidential ambitions. We do know, however, that the next day, Meyers penned a Newsmax article carrying the headline "Huckabee Strongly Denies Reports He's Decided Not to Run," based on "an exclusive email to Newsmax and pollster Scott Rasmussen" from Huckabee and citing Meyers' earlier story.

This story comes off a lot like damage control after Huckabee caught them being a little too biased to a fellow Republican. Oops.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 PM EDT
WND's Klein Has Another Tweet-Induced Hissy Fit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If WorldNetDaily is thin-skinned by building an attack on an organization around a tweet it didn't like, what does it say that it did the same thing two days later?

We've previously documented a couple days ago how a Tweeted quip by the liberal blog Think Progress sent WND's Aaron Klein into such paroxysms of rage that he penned an entire screed smearing Think Progress as a "George Soros-funded advocacy blog that is a project of a radical left think tank with deep ties to the Obama administration." Think Progress has since tweeted advertisers on Donald Trump's TV show about Trump's "malicious attacks on our president," and that gave Klein all the excuse he needed to get all huffy again.

In an April 28 article, Klein again denounces Think Progress and its parent, the Center for American Progress, as a "liberal activist group funded by philanthropist George Soros." In case you didn't get the message, Klein uses the word "Soros" nine times in his article.

Again, remember: This is all about a couple of tweets. Talk about touchy.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EDT
Friday, April 29, 2011
NewsBusters Falsely Claims Fox News Didn't Promote Birther Claims
Topic: NewsBusters

Writing in an April 28 NewsBusters post about an examination of birther coverage on cable news, Lachlan Markay writes that "Of course even Fox News did its part to debunk the birther nonsense," adding, "The channel's hosts of course played no part in the conspiracy theory."

Media Matters points out that, in reality, numerous Fox News and Fox Business hosts pushed the heck out of that "birther nonsense."

And as Media Matters also notes, the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism's examination of birther coverage that Markay takes refuge in examines only prime-time evening shows on the cable networks, not daytime shows where Fox in particular pushed birther claims. Further, in the vast majority of Fox News items on the birther issue, false claims were not challenged or corrected.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EDT
WND Moves The Birther Goalposts To ... Adoption!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate, WorldNetDaily knew what it had to do: Invent ways to cast doubt upon it. And that's exactly what it's trying to do.

An April 28 article by Jerome Corsi expands on his earlier hypersensitive nitpicking to suggest that the certificate is not "legitimate," and another Corsi article nitpicks previous statements by Hawaii officials. But the main way WND is seeking to muddy the waters (today, anyway) is obsessing over the issue of adoption.

An April 28 article by Bob Unruh treats wth great significance a statement by Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, that  Obama was "adopted" by his mother's second husband, Lolo Soetoro. If Obama was formally adopted, Unruh writes, "the mother and father can be changed on an original long-form birth certificate during the adoption process."

WND editor Joseph Farah takes that supposed ambiguity and runs with it:

We can hypothesize, of course, since no member of the media has bothered to ask the question. Let's guess that the adoption took place in Indonesia and Hawaii authorities were never notified. Does that change the reality of the adoption itself? Of course not. But it does invalidate the document we all saw this week for the first time. It is not an accurate reflection of the most basic facts needed to determine Obama's eligibility for the presidency. That document should list Indonesian citizen Lolo Soetoro as his father – not Kenyan Obama.

So here we have a man sitting in the White House who has two fathers – neither of which is able to confer U.S. citizenship on their son.

That's right -- after years of concern over who Obama's real father is, Farah is upset that Obama's real father is actually listed on his birth certificate.

Since it's clear that no evidence will sate the conspiratorial, hatred-driven urges of Farah and WND, why take them seriously?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT
MRC Pushes False Equivalence Between Birthers, Truthers
Topic: Media Research Center

An April 26 MRC TimesWatch item by Clay Waters complains that the New York Times has been much harder on anti-Obama birthers than it has on 9/11 truthers, despite the truther stuff being "a far more pernicious anti-Republican conspiracy theory believed by many Democrats." In support of that claim, Waters only a 2006 poll in which "more than half" of Democrats -- well, 50.8% percent -- said it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that "people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East."

In fact, trutherism was never as "pernicious" on the left as birtherism currently is on the right. As the American Prospect's Jamelle Bouie notes:

At no point were Democrats demanding trutherism from Democratic congressional candidates, much less presidential candidates. Despite the widespread presence of truther beliefs among Democrats, friendly state lawmakers never passed truther-influenced legislation, and trutherism remained on the far fringe of liberal discourse.

By contrast (and this is an important contrast), birtherism is all but an established issue priority within the Republican coalition; GOP presidential candidates will be judged on their adherence to birther conspiracies, and the eventual nominee will have to placate birthers for success. In other words, even with the (formerly?) widespread presence of truther beliefs among Democrats, it's still hard to make a direct comparison between trutherism and birtherism.

The Prospect's Adam Serwer adds than no prominent Republican has come out as forcefully against birtherism than Bill Clinton did in 2007 against truthers.

Waters does concede that the birther claims are "discredited," but the MRC has made virtually no effort to do any meaningful pushback against them.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 AM EDT
AIM Brings Back Blogger Whose Post It Had to Retract -- Again
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Remember Allie Duzett? She's the one-time Accuracy in Media intern who wrote a blog post libelously calling Obama administration offical Kevin Jennings a "pedophile," forcing AIM to delete the post and issue a retraction and quasi-apology.

You'd think that exposing it to litigation would be a disincentive for AIM to continue its association with Duzett, but AIM brought her back for a few more posts last September, and she even made her way to the Heritage Foundation as a blogger for a while.

Well, guess who has resurfaced at AIM? Duzett contributed an April 28 blog post titled "Media Bias in Strategic Word Choice." Of course, Duzett does have some experience on that front; her stragetic word choice in smearing Jennings as a "pedophile" was certainly biased (not to mention libelous).

The day before, Duzett wrote another blog post criticizing Tavis Smiley for claiming that Donald Trump was engaging in race-baiting. She responded that "media consumers should know that Smiley’s coverage at PBS comes from an anti-tea party bent that finds racism in those who support small government and disagree with President Obama’s agenda." And Duzett's coverage at AIM comes from an anti-gay bent that finds pedophilia in those who oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 AM EDT
Thursday, April 28, 2011
WND Harangues Think Progress Over Tweet It Didn't Like
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Just how thin-skinned are Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily about criticism? Something as insubstantial as a Twitter post will bring down WND's wrath.

That's the case with an April 26 WND article by Aaron Klein. Responding to a tweet by the liberal blog Think Progress that WND's upcoming cruise to Alaska is the "worst vacation ever," Klein delivered one of his patented guilt-by-association harangues, denouncing Think Progress as a "George Soros-funded advocacy blog that is a project of a radical left think tank with deep ties to the Obama administration."

Also damning evidence against Think Progress: It supposedly "routinely reprints pieces by the Soros-funded Media Matters for America." Klein offers no evidence for this.

Fully half of the Klein's article was copied-and-pasted bullet points from  a report issued by Think Progress' parent, the "radical left think tank" Center for American Progress, containing "Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change." That's just padding; apparently, Klein's outrage wasn't enough to fill out the article.

WND picked an odd occasion to do some disclosure here, adding an editor's note that "Aaron Klein is one of the featured speakers on the 2011 WND cruise to Alaska." Meanwhile, WND routinely hides its conflicts of interest on much more substantive matters.

Remember, this is all over a tweet. Sheesh.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT

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