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Monday, September 20, 2021
Newsmax Touts Lindell's Bogus Election Claims ... To Keep His Ads?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax gave the controversy over MyPillow guy Mike Lindell pulling his ads from Fox News because it refused to run ads for his (bogus) election "cyber symposium" ... perhaps because it wanted to keep Lindell's ads on Newsmax TV.

A July 30 article credited only to "Newsmax Wires" hyped the controversy, then added: "Newsmax is planning to the air the Lindell ad on its network." That included a further statement: "Newsmax, in a statement, noted, 'We do not endorse any political or issue ad that appears on our network. We do believe, however, that all Americans have a First Amendment right to free speech.'"

The next day, an article by Sandy Fitzgerald touted how Newsmax hosts Diamond and Silk "slammed Fox News for refusing to run advertising for My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell's upcoming cyber symposium on election fraud, calling the decision a denial of Lindell's freedom of speech. Fitzgerald went on to note that "Newsmax is airing the Lindell ad," adding a minor dig at Fox by pointed out that "The duo came to Newsmax for their show "Diamond and Silk Crystal Clear" last August after leaving Fox Nation." Fitzgerald didn't mention that Diamond and Silk lost their Fox Nation gig for spreading false coronavirus conspiracy theories.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newsmax invited Lindell on one of its TV shows to to talk about the Fox News controversy, as summarized in an Aug. 5 article by Bill Hoffmann, who helpfully recited the ad -- but adding a disclaimer to keep it out of further legal trouble:

In the one-minute ad Fox refused to air, Lindell looks into the camera and says: “Hi, I’m Mike Lindell and I'm coming to you with the most important commercial that I've ever done. All of you know what MyPillow and myself have gone through in the last five months in my efforts to bring the truth forward.

“Well it's all come down to this. I'm having a cybersymposium on Aug. 10, 11 and 12. This historical event will be live-streamed 72 hours straight on my new platform, FrankSpeech.com.''

Lindell then makes a pitch for MyPillow products, which he says are available at discount prices through FrankSpeech.com.

Newsmax, along with several other networks, has accepted the ad.

The network said in a statement it does not endorse any advertisements that appear on the network and editorially has accepted the 2020 election results as “legal and final.”

Newsmax also let Lindell hype his symposium, which he claimd "will feature 65 forensic cyber experts who will challenge the official results of the presidential election" and " will include a re-creation of election night vote counting 'in real time' so viewers can better understand what happened." A clip of the ad Fox wouldn't run (but Newsmax will) was embedded in the story.

Speaking of legal trouble, an Aug. 10 article by Marisa Herman on Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion lawsuit against Newsmax for spreading false claims about the company  also included a Lindell disclaimer:

The Dominion lawsuit was filed on the opening day of “Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium” in South Dakota, a three-day event in which he and panels of experts, government officials and other political figures were to discuss the MyPillow CEO’s claims of election fraud.

Newsmax — as well as other outlets — aired paid television advertisements for the symposium. Fox News declined to air the advertisement citing pending litigation.

Herman and Logan Ratick gave Lindell's symposium sympathetic treatment in an Aug. 11 article:

Halfway through Mike Lindell's 72-hour cyber symposium concerning claims of 2020 election fraud, roughly 90,000 viewers are tuning online for his revelations.

The MyPillow CEO has promised the "proof" that will show that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, a sentiment that has been echoed by the former president himself.

[...]

Lindell has been promoting the three-day cyber event as the forum that will ultimately demonstrate the 2020 election was hacked.

For months, Lindell has claimed that Chinese government hackers changed votes in every state.

Herman and Ratick did have to conceded a couple nods to reality, admitting that "Election infrastructure and Trump administration cyber security officials all have deemed the 2020 election the 'most secure in American history'" and that "All 50 states have certified the election as legal and final, a conclusion that was sealed by the Electoral College and Congress."

But when the symposium turned out to be a fraudulent bust, Newsmax didn't do a story on that. It did, however, publish an Aug. 12 article by Jeffrey Rodack uncritically repeating Lindell's claim that he had been "attacked" at his hotel after the symposium (Lindell later admitted the alleged assailant was a fan who "aggressively poked" him in trying to get a selfie). Rodack also wrote that Lindell "promised the 'proof' that will show that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, a sentiment that has been echoed by the former president himself" -- but didn't tell readers none of that proof ever surfaced.

Newsmax's kid-gloves handling of Lindell appears to have paid off. Not only are there still MyPillow ads on Newsmax TV, he returned to Newsmax to tout his new social media platform, as summarized in an Aug. 31 article by Jack Gournell:

Fox News might have rejected advertising for Mike Lindell's new social media platform, FrankSpeech.com, but he said several others, including Newsmax and two national broadcast networks, did accept it, which just shows Fox wants to censor his platform, he told Newsmax.

"Where does it end with the censorship?" Lindell said Tuesday on "The Chris Salcedo Show." "We have [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey and [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg and what those guys have done in Google. ... These guys have exposed themselves."

Gournell didn't mention that Fox News rejected the ad for Lindell's symposium, not his social-media platform. He didn't mention the symposium at all, let alone that it was a major bust that made Lindell look terrible.

Like the rest of Newsmax, Gournell clearly knows on what side is bread is buttered.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Newsmax Interview With Nunes Omits Mention Of Previous Failed Lawsuits
Topic: Newsmax

A Newsmax interview with Rep. Devin Nunes, as summarized in an Aug. 13 article by Sandy Fitzgerald, touts the one defamation lawsuit he filed that hasn't been dismissed outright:

Rep. Devin Nunes, who is suing both MSNBC and The Washington Post over reports they'd made tying him to actions with Russia, said Friday on Newsmax that the legal actions are being taken to "hold the fake news accountable."

The California Republican told Newsmax's "National Report" that he scored a rare win this week, when a Washington, D.C., judge ruled that his libel lawsuit against The Washington Post could proceed. 

In a Nov. 9, 2020 story from the Post about Nunes' one-time chief of staff Michael Ellis, the paper alleged that Ellis, who became general counsel of the National Security Agency, had helped the congressman obtain information from the White House on intelligence files to back his claims that the Obama administration had spied on Trump Tower, reports Reason.com.

"That was never true that I had, you know, James Bond-style jumped, rolled out of cars, jumped over the fence at the White House at midnight," said Nunes. "They knew from prior reporting that that was totally false ... they acted with actual malice. They've been doing it for years. Thankfully a judge saw."

But the Post never reported Nunes did "James Bond-style" stuff. The article originally stated that Nunes went to the White House in a "midnight run" to find evidence that the Obama administration was spying on Trump Tower, which the Post later corrected to say happened during the day, and misattributed a statement about spying to Nunes instead of Donald Trump. Nunes didn't tell Newsmax that part of his lawsuit against the Post was dismissed.

Unsurprisingly, neither Newsmax nor Nunes made no mention of all the other Nunes lawsuits against media outlets that have ended in swift dismissal. For instance, a different suit Nunes filed against the Post last year was dismissed. Most infamously, Nunes tried to sue Twitter over a couple of parody accounts -- one stating itself to be "Devin Nunes' Cow" -- mocking over his dubious claims of being a farmer, among other tihngs, and failed. Those cases have since been completely dismissed as well.

Nunes is clearly unable to handle any sort of public criticism, so he's trying to strip his critics of the right to criticise him by forcing them to spend money defending themselves in court. Newsmax doesn't want to report any of that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Newsmax Columnist Defends Poland's Right-Wing Authoritarianism
Topic: Newsmax

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz wrote in an Aug. 16 Newsmax column:

A few weeks ago Brussels chastised Warsaw’s judiciary, media, and sexual issues as incompatible with EU law. The saga continues as Poland has passed a new law to regulate its media market with particular attention to foreign influences, including America’s Discovery Channel.

First, in an ongoing dispute over sovereignty, the EU’s top courts ruled that Poland’s Disciplinary Chamber, a judicial watchdog to counter corruption and maleficence in the courts, is incompatible with EU legislation because it is allegedly not independent.

Not so, says Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. First, the verdict contradicts the Polish Constitution which is the supreme law of the land; second, the judicial watchdog is independent.

It has displayed independence in a number of its rulings vis-à-vis the ruling Law and Justice party. And it certainly is independent in comparison to Poland’s former rigged post-Communist judicial system which never attracted the ire of the EU.

In other words, Brussels, go fly a kite. The government of Poland was democratically elected. The courts are democratic and so is the Constitution. Its letter is binding for the nation.

Actually, there's plenty of evidence that the Disciplinary Chamber lacks full independence. Just ask Igor Tuleya, who was disciplined by the chamber, opening him up to criminal charges, for allowing media to cover a politically sensitive case. Additionally, the Disciplinary Chamber's legitimacy has been rejected by the Polish Supreme Court itself. At any rate, it's now a moot point because the day after Chodakiewicz's column appeared, Poland agreed to shut down the Disciplinary Chamber.

Chodakiewicz wasn't done, going on to somewhat defend Poland's efforts to squelch media dissent. He admitted that efforts to force partial Polish ownership of media outlets in the country is "silly" and that state-controlled media "are little more than [Law and Justice Party] propaganda loudspeakers." Still, he criticized the channel TVN -- owned by a branch of the U.S.-run Discovery Channel -- should switch to right-wing propaganda anyway:

Currently, its liberal message is hardly distinguishable from the American leftist narrative. In the Polish context it is particularly repellent and loathsome because it is perceived as a foreign media entity attacking Poland’s Christianity, patriotism, and tradition.

To add insult to injury it is done in Polish by woke hirelings. And they are much more sophisticated, better funded, and more internationally connected than the Polish public TV apparatchiks.

Poland’s leftist opposition, the EU, and the Discovery Channel have already made it about freedom of the press. Ultimately, however, it is about sovereignty.

Discovery should drop its woke programming and switch to Christian and patriotic offerings. It would corner the market in Poland in no time and defeat in ratings the nation’s public TV. But that would not be congruent with EU legislation, would it?

Chodakiewicz offered no examples of the "liberal" and "woke" content he claims TVN offers, let alone that said content attacks the country.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Newsmax Tries To Blame Obama Party for Martha's Vineyard COVID Spike
Topic: Newsmax

Sandy Fitzgerald wrote in an Aug. 14 Newsmax article:

Martha's Vineyard is experiencing a COVID-19 spike with 74 people testing positive for the virus after hundreds of people converged on the wealthy enclave to dance and party — maskless — at last Saturday's bash celebrating President Barack Obama's 60th birthday.

[...]

Last Saturday, hundreds of guests flew in from around the country to party under tents on his estate in Edgartown, but in the nights before the celebration itself, Obama also met with friends Thursday at the Barn Bowl & Bistro and then Friday at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort.

The party continued Sunday when Obama enjoyed a brunch at the Beach Road restaurant under a marquee that was built for him by the water in Vineyard Haven.

But even as Fitzgerald was writing that, she (or he) was also admitting that there was no evidence to back it up:

Health officials are pointing out it is still too early to know if the cases were related to the workers and guests who gathered for Obama's weekend extravaganza, The Daily Mail reported in an exclusive Saturday.

[...]

Even before the week celebrations, though, Martha's Vineyard was already having a surge of cases, with 48 people falling ill in the week before the party. Of those people, about half had gotten their vaccinations, said health officials.

Indeed, even the right-wing Washington Examiner has admitted that the COVID surge on the island has nothing to do with Obama's party.

As political attacks go, this one lame, not to mention completely false. It doesn't help Newsmax's efforts to be seen as a legitimate "news" source.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Dominion Sues Newsmax Over Bogus Voter Fraud Claims
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's legal troubles over its aggressively pro-Trump reporting after the 2020 presidential election have yet to end. Last month, Dominion Voting Systems -- the company that supplied some of the voting technology used in elections -- sued Newsmax, along with fellow pro-Trump outlet One America News Network and others, for their role in pushing false claims about the company.

A Newsmax spokesperson tried to push back by playing victim: "“While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 Presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.” But the lawsuit makes it clear what Newsmax did and why Dominion thinks it was done:

Dominion’s attorneys opened their Newsmax complaint with a series of quotes, including one from Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy in which he said, “In this day and age, people want something that tends to affirm their views and opinions.”

Among other things, the lawsuit singled out one of the network’s signature shows, Greg Kelly Reports, for a segment called “Democracy or Dominion,” based on Powell’s claim that Dominion and Smartmatic software shifted millions of votes.

“Throughout this time, Newsmax recklessly disregarded the truth; indeed, Newsmax knew the statements it repeatedly broadcast about Dominion were lies,” the lawsuit stated. “Specifically, Newsmax knew the vote tallies from Dominion machines had been confirmed by numerous independent audits and hand recounts of paper ballots following the election.” Dominion’s attorneys also pointed to statements from figures such as then-Attorney General William Barr and then-Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs, debunking the claims.

The lawsuit also pushed back against Newsmax’s argument that it was merely reporting on the election claims.

“Newsmax made the intentional and knowing choice to depict—and then publicize, endorse, and fuel—the lies about Dominion as truth, creating and promoting an alternate reality that duped millions of Americans into believing that Dominion stole the 2020 election from President Trump. It repeatedly broadcast the lies of facially unreliable sources — lies which Newsmax itself adopted, endorsed, promoted, and manufactured,” the lawsuit states.

“In short, this lawsuit is not about Newsmax covering President Trump; it is about Newsmax courting President Trump, by feeding its audience a torrent of lies that supported the false narrative that President Trump won the election.”

As we've documented, Newsmax tried to forestall a lawsuit from Dominion and fellow voting-tech company Smartmatic last December by issuing a statement pushing back against right-wing attacks on the companies -- even though Newsmax made those same attacks on TV and its website. In April, Newsmax settled a lawsuit from Dominion executive Eric Coomer by, in part, issuing a statement defending him.

Newsmax's own article on the latest Dominion lawsuit, by Marisa Herman, gave a further hint at its possible defense:

After the 2020 election, Newsmax interviewed and reported on the statements made by  Trump, his attorneys, elected officials, and others who made claims about Dominion.

During its election results coverage, Newsmax made several requests for an interview with Dominion’s spokesman, who declined to come on the network.

Newsmax also hosted and aired multiple guests who claimed the election was not stolen or rigged and disagreed with the Trump campaign claims.

On Dec. 19, 2020, Newsmax issued a statement clarifying its coverage, noting that “No evidence has been offered that Dominion … used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election.”

In correspondence with Dominion, Newsmax also noted that though the Trump campaign did not provide evidence of software manipulation, this does not mean the voting company never acted wrongly.

That appears not to have swayed Dominion enough to keep it from suing Newsmax, so it's unclear how that would hold up in court.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Newsmax's Reagan Pushes COVID Misinformation
Topic: Newsmax

Michael Reagan has previously pushed COVID misinformation, and he's doing it again. He ranted in a July 31 Newsmax column:

"Chicken Little" made one wrong prediction of doom and the poor poultry spokesperson became a social pariah for eternity.

The CDC is a fountain of misinformation — predicting doom, backtracking on predictions, issuing decrees, backtracking on decrees, ignoring inconvenient science and recycling virus policies that didn’t work the first time — and yet pocket totalitarians in government at all levels follow CDC "expert" advice without question.

Now the pandemic porn purveyors at the CDC are using the Delta variant as the latest excuse to flex their authoritarian instincts.

It’s time to turn off the TV, step back, go outside for a maskless walk and then come back and evaluate the facts.

In a recent interview on CNBC’s "Squawk Box" Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Marty Makary tried to put the virus in perspective. "There’s a lot of good news out there, and I think that people need to hear that good news right now. People have an entirely distorted perception of risk."

Dr. Makary was polite enough to avoid pointing out the majority of the "distorted perception of risk" is due to what can be best decribed as the opposition media’s hyperventilating "Virus Apocalypse" coverage.

Here's context you don't get from the mask mandate militia:

Dr. Makary said the current threat presented by COVID-19 today is dramatically lower than it was one year ago. Even better, for younger Americans, "the case fatality rate of COVID has become similar to seasonal flu. 'Right now, we’ve got 1/50th the number of daily cases of this virus" compared with cases of flu during a mild season in the U.S.'"

COVID-19 cases less deadly than the flu?

We’ll wager you haven’t heard that on any of the leftist shout shows.

Perhaps because that's not really true -- 630,000 dead Americans would dispute the contention that COVID is safer than the flu if they weren't, you know, dead.

Also, Makary is perhaps one of the last people we should trust on COVID issues, since he's a misinformer who notoriously declared last winter that the U.S. would reach "herd immunity" from COVID' by April, which proved wildly wrong. He's since moved on to becoming a Fox News pundit.

Reagan repeated another right-wing pundit who insisted that the Delta variant "is literally the flu with a [case fatality rate] identical to it," prompting Reagan to add that "The Delta variant is actually good news since it’s less harmful and getting it provides robust natural immunity to any COVID virus."

Actually, the Delta variant is more transmissible than the flu, and there's no evidence that it's "less harmful" than the original virus. Further, a recent study shows that about half of people who have survived COVID still have lingering symptoms -- so much for the whole "less harmful" angle.

Also: You know what else provides robust immunity to COVID? Vaccination. Reagan weirdly doesn't advocate getting one.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Trump Buddy Ruddy Runs To Defense of Trump Organization
Topic: Newsmax

We know Newsmax is doing what it can to stay in the good graces of Donald Trump, and CEO Christopher Ruddy's July 6 column, complaining about charges of corruption against officials in the Trump Organization, is a reminder that this comes straight from the top:

Many in the liberal press seemed to be gloating and gleeful. Trump is finally being held accountable, they say!

The establishment angst over the iconoclastic Trump has been palpable for some time, even before he took the oath of office in 2017.

Almost from Day One, liberal New York prosecutors have been determined to “get Trump.”

It is highly unusual – unprecedented, actually – for a former U.S. president or his business to be charged for alleged crimes before he became president, largely as a result of politically motivated investigations.

Any fair-minded person has to admit the investigations into Trump and his businesses are political.

For example, the state claimed the Trump Organization violated federal law, but the feds are not prosecuting. And James ran her successful 2018 campaign for attorney general on a single issue: “Get Trump.”

She claimed “that man in the White House ... can’t go a day without threatening our fundamental rights,” referring to Trump as an “illegitimate president.”

This from the leader of a website that had trouble admitting that Barack Obama was legitimately elected in 2008, pushed birther conspiracy theories, and published a columnist who called for a military coup to resolve the "Obama problem." We also don't recall anyone at Newsmax complaining about the repeated politically motivatedRepublican investigations into Benghazi, which Kevin McCarthy has admitted were designed to hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential chances. So Ruddy has little room to complain about Trump being targeted by allegedly politically motivated investigations.

Ruddy went on to offer a veiled threat of prosecution of Hunter Biden for the alleged crime of being Joe Biden's son if New York prosecutors don't lay off Trump:

This past week I was in New York and I spoke to two well-connected Democrats.

One told me New York prosecutors “just hate Trump so much” they are blind to the implications of what they are doing.

Another, a business leader, said that the biggest loser in the indictments was, in fact, President Joe Biden.

“The precedent has now been set, you can criminally prosecute a president and his associates,” the person said, pointing out the legal vulnerabilities of the president's son, Hunter Biden.

I personally do not believe Hunter Biden should be prosecuted as a result of his father becoming president.

But a number of pundits have said that the flimsy New York state prosecutions represent clear evidence that our nation has become a banana republic and that anyone will be fair game under the new standard, including Hunter, future presidents and their families.

Thanks, Chris, for admitting that right-wing attention on Hunter Biden is completely driven by politics, not the law. And does he really think Republicans will stop targeting Hunter no matter what happens to Trump?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Newsmax Won't Fact-Check Trump Speech's Election Claims
Topic: Newsmax

Eric Mack cheerfully wrote in a July 24 Newsmax article:

Delivering a speech on election integrity in the battleground state of Arizona amid a forensic audit, former President Donald Trump told supporters Democrats cannot "win elections without cheating; there's no way."

"The preliminary numbers are a total disaster, and we're going to go over those numbers," Trump said Saturday night at the Turning Point Action conference in Phoenix, Arizona, which aired live on Newsmax.

"The facts are coming out. The truth is being uncovered and the crime of the century is being fully exposed."

[...]

Trump picked up his rebuke of the mail-in ballot boxes that were disproportionately used in Democrat strongholds throughout the country in the 2020 presidential election under the guise of COVID-19, and in many cases not approved by the state legislatures.

"How about those drop boxes," Trump said. "Where they were coming in? And Biden was getting 97% of the vote? No, I don't think so."

Trump outlined many of the audit allegations of examples of election fraud, or at least irregularities that require answers and information from Maricopa County, Arizona.

Note how Mack has written this in a way that made Trump's allegations vague so he doesn't have to fact-check them. Heeck, he won't even tell readers that Trump has a history of pushing false claims about the election, which ought to be standard reporting for any Trump claim.Mack didn't even acknowledge what most observers have in pointing out that the Republican-led Arizona ballot audit is a total mess.

By contrast, an actual news outlet did fact-check the election-related claims in Trump's speech and, unsurprisingly, found numerous false and misleading claims. But Mack's job here is not actual reporting, it's Trump stenography. He wrote another article on the speech in which Trump ranted about various other things -- again, with no fact-check in sight.

Meanwhile, Trump did an interview with Newsmax before his speech, which generated three more articles:

Again, no fact-check of anything, even though Trump referred to his never-proven claims of a "rigged election." Perhaps that's because Newsmax's real target here is not its readers but a certain one-man audience. Which would seem to explain a July 27 article by Bill Hoffmann touting its ratings for the  Trump speech:

Newsmax’s live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s Phoenix rally Saturday was a solid ratings smash — beating every other major cable news network in America.

New Nielsen data shows that Newsmax was No. 1 in key coverage ratings, winning in all demos and easily walloping Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business Network and CNBC in the 7-9pm ET time slot.

According to media analytics giant Nielsen, Newsmax drew a total household coverage rating of 1.31, with Fox News taking a lackluster second place with just 1.02.

In terms of total viewers, Newsmax drew a coverage rating of .71, compared to Fox’s .49.

[...]

But the Nielsen data tells only half the story. Newsmax estimates that an additional million-plus viewers tuned in to watch Trump’s rally through OTT streaming devices and its smartphone app.

Unlike Fox, Newsmax is free on most major OTT platforms.

Interestingly, Nielsen’s figures for the Phoenix rally’s pre-show coverage from 5-7 pm ET, show Fox with a slight lead over Newsmax — 0.83 vs. 0.65. That indicates that once the actual rally began, audiences abandoned Fox and flocked to Newsmax.

Newsmax is still trying to present itself as the Trumpiest news channel, with some not-so-good consequences -- and even as overall ratings for Newsmax have tanked since peaking earlier this year.

Newsmax clearly does not want to admit that -- or that its insistence on treating Trump as a golden calf who can't be criticized or even fact-checked might be playing a role in its ratings dive.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Newsmax's Black Actually Thinks Trump Can Be Calm And Moderate
Topic: Newsmax

The political scene is evolving so quickly that I presume to offer some advice to President Trump: He can now win in 2024 by being the potential candidate of calm and moderation.

The Democrats have become a Babel of contending extremists, suddenly and implausibly blaming the Republicans for defunding police forces and miraculously discovering the virtues of voter identification, after having denounced it for six months as the resurrection of Jim Crow.

[...]

Thus far, the one great accomplishment of the Biden administration, apart from a rising stock market, has been the reduced decibel level of the Biden White House — something gratefully appreciated by many Americans.

The constant tumult of the Trump years grated on almost everyone, although Trump’s assailants often were equally, if not chiefly, responsible for the clangorous quality of those years.

But the increasing concern about the human wave of illegal immigration across the southern border, about sharply rising rates of violent crime and inflation, will soon attract the interest of even the most slavishly anti-Trump media, however tepidly. And Democrats already are showing their nervousness over those and other foreboding prospects.

[...]

While the Democrats’ pseudo-legal harassment of Trump — the Russia collusion fraud, the two spurious impeachments, the hysterical COVID-19 smears (replete with early charges that no vaccine developed under Trump’s auspices could be trusted), the accusations of him instigating an organized, heavily armed insurrection by his supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — continues.

It has spiraled down to Speaker Pelosi's pathetic commission with Rep. Cheney as a sorceress’s apprentice. They will make a last political stand to try turning the hooliganism at the Capitol into something on the scale of Pearl Harbor or 9/11, as suggested by many in politics and the media.

The fact that the former president has come through all of this is a great personal victory and a true wonder of political staying power.

Now, as time passes, the public irritation with Trump’s bombastic behavior, of his being in the nation’s face day and night for four years, will recede and gradually be replaced by the spectacle of a comatose Biden administration, floundering and dissembling, fecklessly struggling with the various crises it has created.

There will be, soon enough, nostalgia for Trump instead — and if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity.

-- Conrad Black, July 19 Newsmax column

(Black has never actually observed Trump, has he?)


Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Newsmax's Hirsen Fluffs Ex-'Superman' Actor, Censors How Ignorant His Captain America Criticism Was
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen began his July 12 Newsmax column by sucking up to Dean Cain:

Dean Cain gained a whole lot of fame when he starred in the hit 1990s television series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

Cain played the dual role of the understated Clark Kent and his alter-ego Superman, with actress Teri Hatcher co-starring as Lois Lane.

At the height of its popularity, “Lois and Clark” brought in roughly 15 million viewers per show. Its influence spawned a series of novels, trading cards, and a comic book, which all worked to solidify Cain's brand as a major player in the “Superman” legacy.

Not only does Cain have the looks to take on the Man of Steel role, he’s got the athletic cred under his belt to make the media magic believable.

All this sucking up, though, was an attempt to build credibility for the actor to justify his right-wing attacks on the new Captain America comic series. Hirsen obliquely introduced this section by stating that "Cain recently became the subject of a Twitter trend, due to some statements that he made about a new Captain America comic book series." Hirsen didn't note, of course, that the reason Cain became a Twitter trend was beause he never read the comic he was criticizing -- and, thus, probably didn't understand much about Superman, the character he played on TV for a few years, around which Hirsen was trying to build his critical cred. It appears Hirsen has not only not read the comic as well -- he only quotes the one line that his drawn right-wing ire but omitting the entirety of what Captain America actually said on the subject -- his own research into Cain was factually deficient, crediting a Hollywood Reporter story on Cain's remarks when, in fact, the Reporter was detailing was said on Fox News:

The new sub-patriotic comic book character states that the American Dream is really “…two dreams. And one lie,” adding that for some, it “isn’t real.”

Cain has a sense that the change of direction for the title character is anti-American in nature and appears to be shoehorned into the content of the comic book.

Quoted in the Hollywood Reporter Cain says, “I love the concept of Captain America, but I am so tired of this wokeness and anti-Americanism.”

“In my opinion, America is the greatest country in history. It’s not perfect. We are constantly striving for a more perfect union, but I believe she’s the most fair, equitable country anyone’s ever seen, and that’s why people are clamoring to get here from all over the globe,” he adds.

Cain wonders aloud about whether today's U.S. critics realize what life is like in other countries around the world.

“Do these people ever travel outside of America?” he asks. “Do they go to other countries where they have to deal with governments who aren’t anywhere near as fair as the United States? I don’t think they do. I do it all the time, and I kiss the soil when I get back.”

But as the Twitter folks who demolished Cain's remarks pointed out, superheroes tend to be woke creatures, with Superman in canon helping the disadvantaged and repeatedly taking down the empires of evil capitalist Lex Luthor. Also, Captain America fought Nazis.

It managed to be even more stupid than the Media Research Center's meltdown over Captain America. Maybethat's why Hirsen concluded his column with more Cain-fluffing, laughably insisting that "he has generally been private about his religious convictions" despite most of his recent film projects he listed being made with an explicit right-ring and/or religious.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:46 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2021 6:48 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Newsmax's Black Keeps Sucking Up To Trump (And Nixon Too)
Topic: Newsmax

Conrad Black -- notorious sucker-upper to Donald Trump -- spent part of his July 8 column complaining that historians ranked Trump's presidency too low:

President Trump’s status at number 41 is utterly nonsensical.

His achievements in reducing illegal immigration by 95%, eliminating unemployment, generating higher percentage income gains in the lowest rather than in the highest income brackets, solid advances in Mideast peace, taming North Korea, and shaping up the NATO alliance will eventually be seen as far more important than stylistic infelicities when the current tide of partisan zeal and snobbery has ebbed.

He then declared Trump would be in his second tier of presidents, which he deemed "above average."

Black followed up in his July 29 column, complaining that reporter Carl Bernstein criticized Trump's presidency:

This past Sunday, Bernstein solemnly asserted to the porcine CNN Trump-hater Brian Stelter, that Trump is "an American war criminal operating within his own country," and that "when we’re talking about Trump, we’re obviously talking about a kind of delusional madness."

On a gentle probing from Stelter, Bernstein elaborated that his status as a war criminal consists of his "crimes against humanity" which "he has perpetrated upon our people, including the tens of thousands of people who died because of his homicidal negligence in the pandemic."

Naturally, the fact that Trump probably saved millions of lives around the world with his facilitation of an early vaccine went unmentioned and his homicidal contact was not remotely identified.

Bernstein continued, saying Trump’s "actions in terms of fomenting a coup in which to hold onto office and which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has now compared . . . to Hitler . . . to brownshirts, to the Reichstag fire."

This is unspeakable and demented nonsense; certainly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs should be fired.

But Trump wasn't the only ex-president whose reputation Black wants to rehabilitate. He wrote of Richard Nixon in his July 8 column:

Gradually, as cant and emotionalism subside, historians take note of the fact that there is still no conclusive evidence that Nixon himself broke any laws, though some people in his entourage did.

And on revisiting his presidency, each year the Watergate controversy will be less important in comparison with his achievements in normalizing relations with China, negotiating and signing the greatest arms control agreement in history with the Soviet Union, extracting the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon.

Nixon also worked to end school segregation while avoiding the bussing of tens of millions of schoolchildren out of their neighborhoods as the courts had ordered, founded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ended the draft, and ended the violent demonstrations that plagued the country relentlessly in the last year of his predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

This record will eventually put Nixon in the top 15 presidents, up from 31 in this survey, and about 40th in 2001.

Black placed Nixon in his highest tier of presidents that he deemed "unusually capable."

In his July 29 column, Black demanded that Nixon receive "balanced historical treatment":

He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it.

These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them.

But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.

[...]

He extracted the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon which would have had a chance of survival if the Watergate crisis had not prevented him from resuming aerial bombardment of the North when that country, as had been expected, violated the peace agreement and resumed its invasion of the South.

These are the reasons, and not any minor political skulduggery, that President Nixon was reelected by 18 million votes in 1972, a plurality that has not been approached in the subsequent half-century even though the electorate has grown steadily larger.

He then attacked Bernstein and his former journalistic partner Bob Woodward, complaining that "the absurdly antagonistic and muckraking treatment that they have frequently inflicted on some of Nixon’s successors must reflect on the credibility of their coverage of the Watergate affair that so durably influenced public and international opinion about Nixon," dismissing most of what they got from "Deep Throat" -- later revealed to be FBI official Mark Felt -- as nothing more than "malicious gossip prompted by the source’s failure to be elevated to succeed J. Edgar Hoover as director of the FBI."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Newsmax's 'Non-Clinicians' Are Still Ranting, Misinforming
Topic: Newsmax

We've documented how Newsmax has felt the need to tag some of its columnists -- particularly those pushing coronavirus-related conspiracy theories -- with a disclaimer noting that the writer is a "non-clinician," presumably in an attempt to avoid liability for promoting false claims, since that's a lazy way out to avoid fact-checking. Newsmax has continued to do that since we checked in last.

A July 13 column by Jack Brewer got hit with a double disclaimer: "The following article has been authored by a non-clinician, and is not an attorney." In it, Brewer demanded "serious discussion about what constitutes immunity from COVID and the potential for infringement upon individual liberties" (italics in original), particularly regarding sports, going on to assert that "requiring vaccinations for players may be illegal."

The "non-clinician" tag got applied to a July 17 column by Michael Reagan, in which he declared that "the FDA is either run by blind fanatics or psychopaths. Or both" because it's considering allowing COVID vaccinations for children under 12. He ranted that "There are potentially more risks from vaccine side effects than there are from the disease" (600,000-plus COVID fatalities in the U.S. alone would beg to differ)and asserted that "Parents are being buffaloed by an unholy combination of Big Pharma and Pandemic Panic purveyors."

Reagan went on to claim: "One of the latest scare stories is the dreaded “delta variant.” Like the original Covid-19 variant, that doesn’t harm children to the extent the media says it does with a new name and a passport stamp." Actually, the Delta variant is putting more children in the hospital. He added, "Your children don’t need a vaccine to prevent them from spreading the disease because another scare story, asymptomatic transmission, likely doesn’t exist either." Actually, it does.

Mark Schulte got a lot of "non-clinician" tags in the past, and he (and the tag) return for a July 22 column, which began by touting how Florida's COVID death count was somewhat lower than that of New York, then whined that people are being encouraged to get the vaccine: "Another hysterical media campaign, orchestrated by leading Democrats and the fake liberal media, has been directed against unvaccinated Americans."

Mark Meckler's July 29 column got ther "non-clinician" tag for cheering that that Americans are resisiting vaccine mandates because "Everyone who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine has gotten one":

To be clear, I’m not opposed to COVID-19 vaccines.

If you want one, you should get one.

But we shouldn’t suddenly throw out hundreds of years of established personal freedoms and rights just to allow the federal government, state governments, and yes, even private businesses, to force medical treatment on individuals.

The most important question the American people must answer isn’t about what is decided. Those are policy debates that can conclude in consensus and compromise.

The most important question is who decides.

We siuspect that Meckler would not be so reticent about a vaccine mandate if Trump had been re-elected.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:31 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Newsmax Cheers Evidence-Free Attempt to Defund NPR
Topic: Newsmax

Charles Kim complained in a July 5 Newsmax article:

National Public Radio (NPR) is in a bit of hot water after posting an article during the Independence Day holiday Sunday that claimed the Declaration of Independence was “a flawed” document with “deeply ingrained hypocrisies,” leading to yet another call from people on the right to defund the organization.

“I’ve seen enough,” Republican Congressional candidate Irene Armendariz-Jackson said responding to the NPR post on Twitter. “Defund NPR.”

The article NPR posted Sunday included its tradition of staff members reading the document of America’s founding, a custom of some 32 years on the radio station, but also referred to the riots of last summer and the need to understand that the document contained things that some find offensive, like referring to Native-Americans as “merciless Indian savages.”

But Kim did not explain what was factually wrong with NPR's interpretation, nor did he quote anyone who did. Instead, he touted the history of right-wingers trying to defund NPR.

Meanwhile, even obsessive NPR hater Tim Graham at the Media Research Center didn't see enough in NPR's interpretation to devote a post to it. Instead, all it warranted is a couple paragraphs in his July 7 column trying to blame the "liberal media" for dividing America":

So-called National Public Radio tweeted out a thread of the original Declaration of Independence, blasting it as "a document with flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies." It says “‘that all men are created equal’ — but women, enslaved people, Indigenous people and many others were not held as equal at the time.”

See? You can’t see the text as a statement of idealism, a promise to be fulfilled in time. The Declaration is painted as a lie perpetuated by malignant, propertied white men...with your taxpayer dollars. 

Graham conveniently omits the fact that it took the better part of 200 years for indigenous people to be treated as full Americans -- probably because that would bolster NPR's case.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:16 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Newsmax Still Sending Conflicting Messages On COVID Vaccine
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has gotten itself into a spot of bother as COVID-19 vaccine hestitancy has grown among conservatives -- and particularly among people who watch Newsmax. A recent survey found that viewers of Newsmax and One America News are twice as likely to refuse the vaccine than even Fox News viewers. For months, Newsmax has been trying to walk the line of serving anti-vaccine clickbait to its core audience while trying not to be too irresponsible about -- hence, all those "the author is a non-clinician" disclaimers on columnists spreading COVID conspiracy theories.

Still, more aggressive walkbacks were needed. When Newsmax TV host Rob Schmitt declared that vaccinations are "just generally kind of going against nature" and "stand in the way" of the circle of life "where something’s supposed to wipe out a certain amount of people," it didn't go over well -- to the point that Newsmax had to issue a statement backing away from his claim and in support of vaccines: "Newsmax as a network strongly supports President Biden’s efforts to widely distribute the covid vaccine. It is important for the safety of all and especially those at high risk, such as the elderly."

This was followed by a July 20 column by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, in which he even more heartily endorsed COVID vaccines (while staying true to his operation's right-wing slant by framing them as a Trump achievement that Biden had managed not to screw up):

As a journalist, I believe in giving credit where it’s due.

Six months into his administration, President Joe Biden should be applauded for making a huge dent in the COVID pandemic.

He inherited an effective vaccine from President Donald Trump, took it into his arms, and ran with it.

The success of this approach has been obvious. Serious deaths and hospitalizations (the most important COVID data) have collapsed.

[...]

So far, Biden’s success as president is all about COVID – not only with the vaccine, but also his push for ample and popular stimulus packages.

His success is also about Donald Trump.

Biden could have distanced himself from the vaccine since his political nemesis had been key for its creation.

Instead, Biden did the right thing and embraced Trump’s work – and built upon it to the betterment of the country. He also benefited politically.

When we have witnessed Biden fumble, it usually has to do with him rejecting Trump’s work.

The rest of Newsmax is still not on board with that message, though. A July 26 article by Jack Gournell complained that the death from COVID of a man -- an apparent conservative -- who opposed vaccines was getting too much media attention:

Stephen Harmon, a 34-year-old California man who didn't believe in vaccines, died of COVID-19 complications last week. His death — and his social media posts mocking vaccinations — were reported by local and national news outlets.

Harmon, who wasn't famous, was a member of a Hillsong church in California. The global church counts celebrities including singer Justin Bieber among its members, but has not taken a stand for or against vaccines.

The Associated Press reported in its opening sentence that Harmon "mocked COVID-19 vaccinations" and had "died this week at a Los Angeles-area hospital after contracting the virus."

A column the same day by Tom Borelli demanded that Anthony Fauci be fired because he wasn't sucking up to conservatives in a way that would make them want to get vaccinated:

Many Americans, especially conservatives, have “Fauci Fatigue.”

His numerous TV interviews with too many conflicting statements over the past year and a half has eroded his credibility.

Moreover, Fauci’s sales pitch to get vaccinated is a turnoff to conservatives.

On MSNBC, Fauci interpreted the personal decision to avoid getting vaccinated is based on politics and said, “Get over it. Get over this political statement. Just get over it and try and save the lives of yourself and your family.”

Scolding conservatives for not obeying his view is a sure way to get the opposite response.

The recent exchange between Fauci and Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., over the definition of gain-of-function research and Fauci’s role in funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a Senate hearing will only further alienate conservatives.

[...]

To summarize, increasing numbers of Americans don’t trust the government or the science. Logically, that makes Fauci - a government scientist - the worst person to convince individuals to get vaccinated.

But conservatives have never trusted government or science. It's not Fauci's responsibility to change it -- it's the responsibility of conservatives like Borelli. So what has he done to encourage his fellow right-wingers to get vaccinated? He doesn't say, nor does he say whether he himself has been vaccinated.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:31 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Newsmax Columnist Cites Racist Writer In Bashing Juneteenth
Topic: Newsmax

Pedro Gonzalez used his July 7 Newsmax column to complain about Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday:

Juneteenth, in truth, marks the death of the old American nation and the birth of a new one, clawing out from the chest of the Republic in a nightmarish vision that would make Ridley Scott squirm.

The new holiday emerged from the mists of June with feeble opposition from Republicans, who spent months railing about the evils of anti-white critical race theory and the New York Times' “1619 Project,” only to turn around and inaugurate a national holiday to honor and validate the basic narrative underlying those things.

Just 14 Republicans voted against federalizing the holiday. It didn't matter to the GOP that a paltry 7 percent of Republican voters wanted it as a new holiday and that more than 60 percent of Americans know "nothing at all" or only "a little bit" about Juneteenth—though that will surely change now.

Gonzalez then tried to bolster this argument:

There is a historical precedent to Juneteenth: President Ronald Reagan’s signing of Martin Luther King Jr. Day into law, an event which Samuel Francis wrote about in the May 1988 issue of Chronicles.

Francis accurately predicted that the logic behind destroying Confederate symbolism would extend to virtually every other symbol of the historic American nation in the shadow of the King holiday.

He also perceived King's entry into the national pantheon, towering over the likes of George Washington, as marking the consummation of a new order that grew out of the smoldering ashes of the old.

"We forfeited the right to revere the Constitution, the governmental principles and mechanisms it established, and the men who wrote it when we put Dr. King into the pantheon," Francis wrote.

"The federalism, rule of law, states' rights, limits on majority rule, checks and balances, and separation of powers that characterize the Constitution," Francis explained, "all are incompatible with the full blossoming of the egalitarian democracy that Dr. King envisioned and which is the completion of the radical reconstruction to which his holiday commits us."

Gonzalez didn't mention that Francis was a racist -- to the point that he was the editor of the newsletter for the whit-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens until his death in 2005.So, yeah, he was never going to be very complementary to the introduction of a King holiday. Like Francis did, Gonzalez writes for the right-wing journal Chronicles, where he is an associate editor.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT

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