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Monday, December 12, 2011
WND Whitewashes Weapons Trafficking To Portray Culprit As Victim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It looks like WorldNetDaily has found its latest dubious poster child it must whitewash for public consumption.

Jeff Knox devotes his Dec. 8 column to the case of the "heavy-handed" treatment by authorities of Rick Reese, his wife Terri, and their two sons, Ryin and Remington:

Their alleged crime is that, over the course of several months, they sold between 15 and 30 guns to people they "knew, or should have known" were gun traffickers for Mexican drug gangs.

Shortly after they were arrested in Las Cruces, dozens of police vehicles, including four armored personnel carriers and two helicopters, full of armed officers and agents from an alphabet soup of state and local law enforcement agencies, swarmed over the Reese's home and businesses. The entire firearm and ammunition inventory was taken from Rick Reese's store, as well as his entire personal collection of firearms and all cash and valuables from his home safe. Even the 30 to 40 empty gun safes that were on display at the store were seized.

U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales indicated that he is going to seek asset forfeiture of the Reese's home and 25-acre property (including the shooting range on the property that he leased to various law enforcement agencies), all of the cash and valuables seized, their vehicles and a monetary judgment of at least $36,000 of whatever assets might be left.

[...]

Something else to consider is that someone actively engaging in illegal straw purchases of multiple guns is typically sentenced to less than one year in prison and is generally not even prosecuted unless they've made such illegal purchases of at least a dozen guns and at least one of them has shown up at the scene of a serious crime.

With that being the case, why has the Reese family, all of whom have spotless records in their business and their personal lives, been held without bail for over three months and had virtually everything they own seized by government agents?

Rick Reese was planning to retire at the end of the year. His son Ryin was in the process of opening a gun shop of his own in Las Cruces, and Rick was planning to help Ryin get started by letting him liquidate the inventory from Rick's store.

In a dark twist to this already-dark case, Rick, who has been very outspoken and politically active, was planning to challenge the current sheriff for the office of Luna County sheriff next year, and his intention to do so was widely known. There have been some indications that this investigation might have started in the Luna County Sheriff's office. If those rumors prove true, it raises all sorts of questions that need answers.

I don't know the Reeses and really have no idea whether they knowingly broke the law. I do know that they had a reputation for being responsible citizens and that they have insisted that they are innocent and will not plea bargain.

In fact, the Reeses are accused of doing a lot more than sell guns to people they "knew, or should have known" were gun traffickers for Mexican drug gangs. The 30-count indictment against the Reeses cover firearms smuggling and money laundering. Here's how the U.S. Attorney's office explained it:

The indictment generally alleges that, between April 2010 and July 2011, the defendants conspired to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and to illegally export firearms to Mexico. It also charges the defendants with conspiring unlawfully to launder proceeds from the sales of firearms and ammunition illegally exported from the United States to Mexico. The indictment seeks forfeiture of the firearms and ammunition involved in the defendants’ alleged unlawful activities, the proceeds of their alleged unlawful activities, the real property on which New Deal is located, New Deal’s assets and licenses, and a money judgment in the amount of $36,000.
 
According to the indictment, in July and August 2010, Ryin Reese sold 18 firearms to an individual who arranged to smuggle the firearms into Mexico where they were transferred into the hands of Mexican Cartel members. Ryin Reese allegedly assisted a straw purchaser in completing ATF firearms transaction records in which the straw purchaser falsely represented that s/he was the actual purchaser of the firearms. On August 28, 2010, after receiving a notice from law enforcement that a firearm sold by New Deal had been recovered, Terri Reese allegedly told the straw purchaser about the notice and expressed concern that her phones were being monitored by law enforcement.
 
The indictment further alleges that, on six occasions between April 20, 2011 and July 29, 2011, the defendants sold an aggregate of 16 firearms and more than 7,000 rounds of ammunition to a confidential informant and undercover agents with the understanding that the informant and agents intended to illegally smuggle the firearms and ammunition into Mexico. The defendants allegedly removed the ammunition from its original packaging and repackaged the ammunition in black canvas bags to conceal it from law enforcement. The defendants also allegedly assisted the confidential informant and undercover agents in completing ATF firearms transaction records in which the informant and agents falsely represented that they were the actual purchasers of the firearms.
 
According to the indictment, the firearms sold by the defendants included 27 AK-47 type rifles, three AR-15 rifles, two .50 caliber rifles, and two 9 mm pistols, weapons allegedly favored by Mexican Cartels.

Not only did Knox understate the charges against the Reeses, he also understated the number of weapons involved and omitted thte thousands of rounds of ammunition that were also sold.

Knox then tries to further minimize the Reese case by invoking the Fast and Furious controversy, asking "when are those responsible for dumping 2,000+ guns into the criminal market going to be arrested and held accountable for their contributions to 'the violence that has been devastating Mexico?'"

Given WND's checkered history in hiding the unpleasant facts about its favorite victims, it's probably not wise to add to that sorry pile. But Knox seems determined to do that anyway.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EST
NewsBusters Tries to Keep 'Death Panels' Myth Alive
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer does his best in a Dec. 9 NewsBusters post to attack outgoing Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Donald Berwick, asserting that, as "a big fan or the UK's National Health Service," he is "he is on record as a big fan of rationing and the functional equivalent of death panels." Blumer quotes the highly biased anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews in support of his claim.

In fact, as Berwick has pointed out, health care rationing is already occuring under the current system, and we don't recall Blumer complaining about that. Berwick has said, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly."

Further, "death panels" don't exist, as less biased sources have documented.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 AM EST
Even WND Thinks Bashing Muppets As Left-Wingers Is Stupid
Topic: Media Research Center

You know you've done something crazy when WorldNetDaily declares it's too crazy for them.

A Dec. 8 WND article by Bob Unruh features right-wing movie critic Ted Baehr running to the defense of the Muppets from allegations promoted by the Media Research Center's Dan Gainor, along with Fox News' Eric Bolling, that these fuzzy puppets have a secret left-wing agenda:

"Why is Eric Bolling of 'Follow The Money' going on Fox News accusing poor little Kermit of going red?" Baehr writes in a joint commentary with Sarah Jane Murray about the issue raised by Bolling.

[...]

"Fox's main point is that the 'Muppets' malign capitalism by featuring an oil tycoon villain, Tex, who wants to drill beneath Muppet Studio in order to increase his own fortune. Fox's critics take this plot point completely out of context. In fact, it leaves us wondering if they watched the movie at all," he said.

"Featuring Tex as the villain does not amount to communism. In the Book of Kings, Naboth refuses to sell his vineyard to King Ahab. The king's wife, Jezebel, writes a letter in the king's name instructing his followers to proclaim a fast, seat Naboth at a banqueting table, and then take him outside and stone him. Shortly after his death, Ahab appropriates the vineyard. Both Ahab and Jezebel are rebuked by God for their actions," he wrote. "Does this mean that being a king is evil? Absolutely not. God rebukes Ahab and Jezebel for their treachery and for the choices they make … The message is reaffirmed once again when Christ casts the unethical businessmen of his day out of His temple."

Baehr and Murray continued, "A lack of ethics and goodwill is precisely the problem with Tex Richman. He wants to steal Muppet Studio away from the rightful owners and stoops to sabotage in order to get what he wants. The problem is not that Tex is rich; the problem is that he's deceitful, arrogant, and evil. There is a difference between being a successful businessman in a free market and being morally bankrupt."

They note that Marx, in his 'Communist Manifesto,' opposed individualism, the state, religion and property. But the movie has the Muppets working inside Hollywood's system to organize a telethon. It also gives a nod to religion and offers an abundance of examples of what clearly is not communism, Baehr and Murray write.

"By the end of the movie, even Tex's assistants question his ethical practices. At one point, the big bear wonders if they're perhaps working for 'the bad guy.' And, of course, the whole movie is full of delightful commentary, much of it capitalist in underpinning. At one point, Fozzie exclaims 'Wow, that was such an expensive looking explosion. I can't believe we had that in the budget.' Did we mention that Gonzo has made his fortune as a CEO in the executive toilet industry?" they write.

"'The Muppets' is full of great family values. Friendship, love, hard work, family, individuality – these are just some of the moral principles celebrated by the movie. In an age in which the media exerts more influence on our children than family, church, and school combined, these are great messages to be promoted by mainstream Hollywood. It is important that families speak out at the box office and support great storytelling full of great traditional values," they write.

"At the end of the day, any suggestion that this year's 'Muppets Movie,' pushes a liberal or communist agenda is just plain 'Waka Waka Waka.' Thanks, Eric, for the laugh."

Unruh goes on to note WND movie critic Drew Zahn also rejecting the commie connection:

He added regarding the controversy, "While being alert to the subtle messages of Hollywood is important for parents, I think Dr. Baehr has it right on this one. Yes, the bad guy is named 'Richman,' but is the film inherently hostile to the wealthy? No. Is it the main theme? No. There are plenty of made-for-kids movies out there that would just tickle the class warfare crowd. 'The Muppets' isn't necessarily one of them."

Both Baehr and Zahn, by the way, are not shy about bringing the crazy. Baehr thinks "Avatar" is so far-left that Al Gore wrote the script, and Zahn doesn't like the Disney movie "Tangled" because it teaches children to think for themselves.

So congratulations, Dan Gainor, for accomplishing the nearly impossible -- you've just done something too crazy for WorldNetDaily.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EST
Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011 12:04 AM EST
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Newsmax Still Fluffing Trump As It Hides Precarious State of Debate
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is doing its best to hide from its readers the fragile state of its Donald Trump-hosted Republican presidential debate. Trump himself has said that the debate may not go forward because only two candidates have said they will take part, but Newsmax is continuing its blackout on that news.

Newsmax did, however, find the space for more Trump-fluffing. An unbylined Dec. 10 article fawningly described a signing Trump did for his new book in Florida:

Entrepreneur Donald Trump was busy signing copies of his new book "Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again" in Lake Park, Fla. on Saturday. The Lake Park event comes on the heels of Friday's book-signing at Manhattan's landmark Trump Towers where lines stretched a city block.

Enthusiastic readers lined up to hold court with Trump seated at a table in the warehouse-style book store where he autographed his latest tome in bold felt-pen strokes. See the video at the end of this story.

One shopper said she was, like Trump, a native New Yorker who “shares his principles.”

Those principles are shouted out in Trump’s book in no uncertain terms, and as another shopper noted, “Everyone should pay attention to what he says.”

Not only did the article not mention the endangered status of the Newsmax-Trump debate, it didn't mention the debate at all. Instead, we were told that Trump's book "spells out an agenda for making America number one again" and were provided video of the book signing in a warehouse store.

A Dec. 11 article, meanwhile, rehashed a British newspaper article on Trump, in which he claimed that "millions of Americans listen to me and respect me." This article actually hedges a bit on the debate, stating that Trump "also is slated to moderate The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa." That's a less-than-definitive assertion. 

UPDATE: Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has a new column in which he asserts that Newt Gingrich has "always been a conservative." Coincidentially, Gingrich is one of the two candidates who said he would take part in the debate. Remember, Newsmax disappeared a Ronald Kessler column praising Mitt Romney, who is not participating.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 19, 2011 9:35 PM EST
WND: Obama "Wants To Import Homosexuals"
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On Dec. 6, President Obama issued a memorandum stating that he was "directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons," an initiative that includes combating criminalization of LGBT status by foreign governments and enhancing efforts to protect LGBT asylum seekers.

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh, who is apparently its correspondent from Bizarro World, offered this, um, unique interpretation of the memo in a Dec. 7 article headlined "Obama offers plan for U.S. to be global LGBT sex cop: Wants to import homosexuals with special asylum privileges":

The Obama administration has announced it intends to make the United States the global sex cop, with plans to try to intervene in the workings of other nations where homosexuality is not promoted as well as plans to create special provisions for homosexuals and those with other lifestyle choices to gain special admittance to the U.S.

[...]

Specifically, his plan is to try to intervene in other nation's internal operations where the homosexual lifestyle choice is at risk. That would happen through U.S. government's agencies that would "strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct."

Further, special access to the United States needs to be provided to any "LGBT" person, Obama explains.

Contrary to Unruh's claim that "any 'LGBT' person" will get "special access to the United States," according to the memorandum, it specifically states that "LGBT refugees and asylum seekers have equal access to protection and assistance, particularly in countries of first asylum."

Unruh's suggestion that trying to get other countries to not persecute LGBT people is the same as "promoting" homosexuality and serving as the "global sex cop" is another Bizarro World interpretation. He also resorts to false anti-gay talking points in referring to homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice" and portraying the Obama administration's efforts as "interven[ing] in other nation's internal operations where the homosexual lifestyle choice is at risk" and "enhancements ... for those who support the alternative sexual lifestyle choices."

In his article, Unruh quotes Peter LaBarbera, leader of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group. (LaBarbera: "Who knew when Reagan was talking about being a shining city on the hill the city would turn out to be Sodom?") Unruh also quotes anti-gay activists Matt Barber ("How dare we, the U.S., export our decline in morality to other nations?"), and Randy Thomasson ("Homosexuality has never shown evidence that it is inherited, or has a genetic or biological origin"). Unruh quotes no activist speaking in favor of the initiative.

Interestingly, though, two of these activists are on record as claiming to be appalled that other countries advocate putting gays to death.

LaBarbera has insisted that his organization "is clearly on record opposing draconian penalties for homosexuality like those imposed by jihadist Islamic radicals." (However, he asked regarding Uganda's proposed anti-gay law that would permit the death penalty for homosexuality, "what is it that qualifies the United States of America to lecture the Ugandans about homosexuality?")

Barber, in a WND column, came to the defense of fellow anti-gay activist Scott Lively for his links to the proposed Ugandan law, claiming he "has been falsely maligned by leftist groups and media-types like Rachel Maddow, for supposedly supporting the death penalty for homosexual behavior -- a patently false charge."

If LaBarbera and Barber think it's abhorrent to put people to death for being gay, why would they also find it abhorrent that the United States is to encouraging other countries to get rid of such laws and provide asylum for LGBT people who are threatened by those penalties? They can't have it both ways.

Nevertheless, Unruh seems to have established an anti-gay talking point. William J. Murray writes in a Dec. 9 WND column: "In effect President Obama ordered U.S. agencies to import homosexuals from all over the world who are threatened."

(A version of this post appears at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:37 AM EST
Saturday, December 10, 2011
NewsBusters Unhappy That Gays Are On Their TV
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters just hates it when gays are allowed to appear on TV.

Media Research Center employee Matt Hadro -- who is apparently in charge of the gays-on-TV beat, judging by his history -- devotes a Dec. 9 NewsBusters post to complaining that CNN gave "quality airtime" to "the director of a film on the coming-out story of a lesbian teenage girl." Even worse for Hadro, CNN's Frederika Whitfield "asked no tough questions" of the director "and instead teed her up to explain what the film is trying to accomplish."

 Yeah, NewsBusters never conducts such softball interviews.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:39 PM EST
WND's Klein Recycles Bogus Attack on ProPublica
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein cranks out another guilt-by-association smear job with a Dec. 6 WorldNetDaily article attacking NBC for entering into a content-sharing agreement with ProPublica. Klein puts "journalism" in scare quotes in describing what ProPublica does, and repeats a hit job on the organization by the right-wing (but not identified by Klein as such) Capital Research Center, which dismissed ProPublica as "churn[ing] out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid."

But as we detailed when WND first touted this attack on ProPublica, the CRC never accuses ProPublica of getting its facts wrong, only of not uncritically repeating right-wing talking points.

Klein omitted that the CRC actually praised ProPublica when it did reporting that more closely aligned with its agenda: "ProPublica reporters should receive high praise for their stories on Obama’s stimulus package and banking bailouts, on recent business and financial scandals, and on other issues related to open records and open government."  But that would have undermined Klein's attempt to brand ProPublica and NBC as hopelessly liberal.

It's rather amusing to see Klein put "journalism" in scare quotes in describing ProPublica. After all, the biased pseudo-journalism he accuses ProPublica of engaging in -- of which he provides exactly zero examples to back up his assertions -- is exactly what Klein himself spews out every day.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EST
Friday, December 9, 2011
NewsBusters Unhappy That Reality Has Liberal Bias
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein complains in a Dec. 8 NewsBusters post:

Take a stroll down the list of the six stories featured in Politico's "Daily Digest" email today, and you'll find five of them with a decided pro-Obama and/or anti-Republican angle.

Let's score the first story, about the upcoming GOP debate in Iowa, as neutral, even though the theme is a pending alpha dog-fight between Gingrich and Romney.  But after that, every story has a decided liberal slant, as you'll see here:

  •  "It's Cantor vs. Boehner again". Infighting among Republican leaders threatens GOP agenda.
  • "Dems: McConnell to regret filibusters".  Mitch McConnell's legislative maneuvers will come back to haunt him.
  • "Obama trump card: Payroll tax cut":  President Obama has "found a way to gain the upper hand" on the tax issue.
  • "Obama's strong minority support".  Obama very strong with minorities in swing states.
  • "Candidates take hard line on Mideast".  Republican positions are "provocative" and a President Gingrich would "roil" the Middle East.  In contrast, Obama has handled the region "with extreme care and caution."

All of those stories, of course, are legitimate news, whether Finkelstein wants to admit it or not.

So, once again, NewsBusters has proven correct Stephen Colbert's declaration that reality has a well-known liberal bias.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:18 PM EST
Newsmax Ignores Reality On Trump Debate's Impending Fate
Topic: Newsmax

Friday morning, Donald Trump appeared on Don Imus' radio show to say that the Republican presidential debate he is co-sponsoring with Newsmax may not go forward because only two candidates have committed to appearing at it while at least three candidates, including Mitt Romney, have declined.

Newsmax apparently missed that interview, because an article published about four hours later optimistically asserts, "Newsmax and Trump have said they will forge ahead with the debate." No direct quote to that effect from either Trump or Newsmax is included in the article, though it does include a list of major conservative groups and leaders" who have "endorsed the debate vocally."

In the Imus interview, Trump also contradicted an earlier assertion by Newsmax that he wasn't running for president, saying that "They really want me to drop my status as a potential person to run as an independent, and, honestly, I don't think I'm going to do that. I'm not going to drop it."Newsmax has previously insisted that Trump said he would not run for president, but as we pointed out, that's not what he said then, either.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2011 5:10 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Puts Words In Obama's Mouth
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com loves to portray President Obama as saying things he did not say by putting words in his mouth. It does so again with a Dec. 7 article by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey:

In a speech delivered at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas, on Tuesday, President Barack Obama argued that while a limited government that preserves free markets "speaks to our rugged individualism" as Americans, such a system "doesn't work" and "has never worked" and that Americans must look to a more activist government that taxes more, spends more and regulates more if they want to preserve the middle class.

That, of course is not what he said. In Obama's actual words:

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.

Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people’s premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick, mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.

We simply cannot return to this brand of “you’re on your own” economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. (Applause.) We know that it doesn’t result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and in its future. We know it doesn’t result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that’s enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens.

Jeffrey is simply spinning Obama's words to demonize him, part of Jeffrey's Obama-hating agenda. Such eagerness to distort the facts is not what a journalist does -- but then, who thinks Jeffrey is a journalist?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 AM EST
Bozell Ignores All The Evidence In Claiming Gingrich Has Been 'Completely Vindicated'
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell rants in a Dec. 7 NewsBusters post:

Following the recent threats from Nancy Pelosi and the heavy brush with which the media are painting Newt Gingrich as unethical, the Media Research Center is now calling on the networks to seize the moment and report the truth from nearly 13 years ago.

It has been 4,689 days since the IRS formally cleared Newt Gingrich of any violation of tax law.  It’s been 4,689 days since ABC, CBS, and NBC have had the opportunity to report it. What the heck.  Why not today?  Now is the time for these networks to report the truth for once.  The networks owe it to the American people to report the fact that in 1999 the IRS completely vindicated Gingrich.

Funny, we recall being lectured by the MRC's Tim Graham that a lack of charges being filed does not equal being "completely vindicated." But that involved the Clintons, not Gingrich, so consider Bozell's aggressive defense yet another MRC double standard.

The issue in the Gingrich IRS case, as Bloomberg details, was whether a college course Gingrich organized through the political group he controlled, GOPAC, used nonprofit funds to promote a partisan agenda, which is illegal. (The House Ethics Committee investigation looked at the same issue but focused on Gingrich personally, and that investigation resulted in Gingrich paying a $300,000 fine.)

As Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars points out,  the IRS revoked the tax exemption of an organization that worked with GOPAC because its funds were clearly being used for partisan purposes -- then, a few years later, under the Bush administration, reversed itself after lobbying from a GOPAC official.

Somehow, we don't think Bozell wants the networks to report that.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EST
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Newsmax Already Scraping the Barrel for People To Endorse Trump Debate
Topic: Newsmax

Presumably in order to get more presidential candidates to take part in its Donald Trump-moderated debate, Newsmax is scrambling to get prominent conservatives to endorse the debate over well-founded fears that Trump is nothing more than a publicity-seeking reality TV star. So Newsmax has been cranking articles like these:

Newsmax columnists are also contributing to the effort. Richard Viguerie encouraged encouraging Ron Paul to take part. Taking aim at Mitt Romney's refusal to enter the debate, Matt Towery tried the shame route, declaring without evidence that Romney's refusal "has sealed his fate in Florida, where the Newsmax/Trump world dominates." Really? If there's any domination of that "world" anywhere in Florida (and we can't see how that could happen), it's pretty much limited to their Palm Beach base.

Dick Morris weighed in as well; a Dec. 8 article claimed that "those who skip the debate are misjudging the broad reach such a debate would have." The article didn't mention Morris' extensive business relationship with Newsmax, which includes management of Morris' email list and his shilling for Newsmax's financial products.

Newsmax's credibility campaign, however, is already showing signs of straining to find conservatives willing to back it. One article declares:

Republicans should “jump at the opportunity” to share the stage with property mogul Donald Trump in the Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate, says former Ronald Reagan aide Jeffrey Lord.

Trump’s record as a job creator makes him precisely the kind of person the GOP should embrace, Lord writes in an article for the American Spectator.

But Lord has a history of making false and strange claims:

Lord falsely asserted that former Obama administration official Kevin Jennings "was sought out by a 15-year-old boy asking for advice about an affair with an older adult male." In fact, the boy was 16.

Lord got into a semantics argument over what a "lynching" is, bizarrely insisting that a black man wasn't "lynched" because he was beaten to death and not hanged.

Is that the kind of person Newsmax is down to so early in this campaign? It doesn't exactly bode well.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 PM EST
Suddenly, The ConWeb Loves PETA
Topic: CNSNews.com

Normally, PETA is mentioned in the ConWeb only for purposes of ridicule. For instance, one CNSNews.com article repeats an attack on PETA claiming that "the group's in-your-face advocacy is increasingly calculated to offend, provoke and otherwise show contempt for America's religious faithful." WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington, meanwhile, listed PETA among "liberal mafia pressure groups."

Now, suddenly, WND and CNS love PETA. Why? because they've signed on to their  respective freak-outs over a congressional repeal of the sodomy ban in the military, which also covers bestiality.

From a Dec. 6 WND article by Bob Unruh:

White House press secretary Jay Carney has received a scolding from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for refusing to respond to a question at the daily news briefing Monday.

The question was raised by Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House and the second-most senior reporter on the White House beat. It concerned an effort in Congress to change laws so that its decision to allow homosexuals who publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation to serve in the military succeeds.

[...]

A letter today from PETA's director of communications, Colleen O'Brien, to Carney suggested that "this is no laughing matter."

"In watching last night's news briefing, we were upset to note that you flippantly addressed the recently approved repeal of the military ban on bestiality. With respect, this is no laughing matter. Our office has been flooded with calls from Americans who are upset that this ban has been repealed - and for good reason," wrote O'Brien.

"As we outlined in the attached letter sent yesterday to the secretary of defense, animal abuse does not affect animals only - it is also a matter of public safety, as people who abuse animals very often go on to abuse human beings."

She continued, "I hope that in the future, you will address important issues with sensitivity and not dismiss them with a joke.

Similarly a Dec. 7 CNS article by Pete Winn, who is apparently the CNS bestality correspondent given his obsession with this story:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written a letter to White House Press Secrtary Jay Carney rebuking him for "flippantly" dismissing a question he was asked at Monday's press briefing about last week's Senate vote approving a bill that would repeal the military's ban on bestiality.

PETA has also writtend to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking him to make sure that language is added to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to prohibit both bestiality and cruelty to animals.

This, by the way, is at least CNS' sixth story on the bestiality ban. The others:

Do you get the feeling that CNS is way too excited to put the words "sodomy" and "bestiality" in headlines?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EST
CNS Blogger Forgets to Mention Which Party Passed Bill He Doesn't Like
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Dec. 2 CNSNews.com blog post, Eric Scheiner rants about a 1996 federal law that "allows the government to work with industry groups to levy a tax on their items with the funds designated for promotion and marketing." Scheiner complains, "Couldn't these industries pool their resources together and do research and marketing on their own?"

Scheiner doesn't seem too keen on noting which politicalparty controlled Congress in 1996, when the law was passed: Republicans.And guess who was the chief sponsor of that bill? Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican.

That omission is surprising, given the obsession Scheiner's employer, the Media Research Center, has with the media failing to highlight party affiliation in selected cases.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 AM EST
Latest Kessler-Keene-Romney Lovefest Mysteriously Disappears, Replaced By Trump-Fluffing
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax published a Dec. 6 column by Ronald Kessler quoting his longtime buddy, former American Conservative Union president and current National Rifle Association president David Keene, touting Mitt Romney's ability to beat Newt Gingrich. But sometime shortly thereafter, Kessler's column had mysteriously disappeared.

It disappeared quick enough that no copy of it currently exists in Google cache. The only place we could find a remnant of it is at Free Republic, which notes only the first two paragraphs:

Ex-CPAC Head Keene: Mitt Will Beat Newt

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination, Dave Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax.

“Romney has the discipline,” Keene says. “”He has the money. He has the organization.”

Why did Kessler's article disappear? After all, it's no secret that both Kessler and Keene are big fanboys of Romney -- in June, Kessler quoted Keene declaring Romney to be the likely GOP candidate, and in September, Kessler quoted Keene calling Rick Perry "a riskier presidential candidate" than Romney.

One possibility we can think of is that Romney is refusing to take part in the Newsmax-Donald Trump presidential debate, and Gingrich did. Anotheris that Keene criticized a willing debate participant in Gingrich.

Kessler, meanwhile, seems quite eager to toe the corporate agenda. His latest column lavishes fawning praise on Trump's new book:

When Donald Trump considered running for president earlier this year, pundits said he was doing it for publicity.

Now in Trump’s new book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again,” we learn what it was really all about: Trump believes President Barack Obama has been a disaster and wants to expose him for what Trump sees as the good of the country.

In doing that, “Time to Get Tough” succeeds as no book has so far. The combination of Trump’s business acumen, his no-nonsense prose, and first-class research have produced an important, devastating portrait of this president and his impact on America.

Of course, anything Trump might have written in his book doesn't disprove the notion that his presidential flirtation had nothing to do with seeking publicity.Indeed, Kessler concedes that "When it comes to garnering publicity, Trump is in a class by himself" -- though he insists that "regardless of how serious he was about a presidential bid, his goal all along was to influence the conversation and have a say in who winds up in the White House."

Then again, as we've detailed, Kessler is a longtime Trump-fluffer and played a lead role in touting the Trump presidential boomlet.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST

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