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Our Newsmax Problem

John L. Perry's column advocating a military coup against President Obama is just the latest and most extreme example of Newsmax's anti-Obama rhetoric and activism.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/7/2009

John L. Perry began his Sept. 29 Newsmax column this way:

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

But Perry certainly seemed to be advocating just that farther down in his column:

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

As outrage grew over Perry's column, Newsmax quietly deleted it (though not before ConWebWatch made a copy). You won't find an explanation at Newsmax -- or, for that matter, any reference whatsoever to the controversy; rather, it released a statement to liberal websites that highlighted the column, such as Media Matters and Talking Points Memo:

In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military. He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.

After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.

Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.

Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.

Of course, what Perry did 30-plus years ago is irrelevant to the events of today; Newsmax's highlighting seemed to be an attempt to somehow proves that Perry isn't really a right-wing nut. (True to form, longtime NewsBusters misleader Warner Todd Huston seized upon Perry's long-ago Democratic affiliations to insist that "Perry is not a conservative" -- apparently missing that Perry's column is called "Right Angles" and is carried at a right-wing website, where he has repeatedly praised the likes of Sarah Palin.)

Further, Newsmax's dismissal of Perry as nothing more than an "unpaid blogger" is a tad disingenuous since Perry has been writing for Newsmax since 1999 and Perry's Newsmax bio touts how he "contributes a regular column to"

But Perry's column is only the most extreme example of increasingly strident anti-Obama rhetoric and reporting at Newsmax, which runs in contrast to attempts over the past few years to moderate its conservative agenda and temper the extremism that marked Newsmax's early anti-Clinton years (indeed, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy is now doing sit-down interviews with Bill Clinton) and competitors such as WorldNetDaily.

Yet it has echoed WND by embracing the birther movement (though not to WND's fanatical extent). While Newsmax had published rants by Barry Farber and Pamela Geller (whose column contained numerous falsehoods and distortions) and repeated birther talking points in a July article, went full birther in early August with an article claiming that "Lou Dobbs is right" on the issue. Ruddy followed -- first in an Aug. 3 appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" (apparently subbing for WND's Joseph Farah, whose demands O'Reilly decided not to accede to), then in an Aug. 5 column -- by rehashing those talking points.

While Ruddy asserted in his column that "I believe Obama was born somewhere in the state of Hawaii," he adds that "we have no idea of his birthplace," and concludes with a list of presidential birthplaces, with Obama's listed as "unknown." Ruddy then tried to reframe the issue: "The issue over Obama’s birth certificate is not about President Obama’s citizenship. It is about his honesty and his promise to be the most transparent president ever." Or it could be that the issue is Obama's critics refusing to accept the validity of official state documents in order to de-legitimize him. Ruddy didn't address that possibility.

Newsmax followed that up in September by touting how "conservative thinker and best-selling author David Horowitz likens President Barack Obama to the 'Manchurian Candidate' — a tool of the far left fostering the implementation of its radical agenda." Newsmax didn't note that Horowitz was flip-flopping from his earlier criticism from just three months before of those making inflammatory claims about Obama, insisting that attacks on Obama be based on his policies, "not because he is a Manchurian candidate or a closet Islamist, as more than a few conservatives seem to think."

Newsmax writers have also invented quotes to put in the mouths of Obama and his aides. As ConWebWatch has detailed, James Humes wrote in a March column that "when President Obama walked into the Oval Office for the first time and saw" a bust of Winston Churchill, "he said, 'Get that goddam thing out of here.'" In fact, there's no record of Obama saying such a thing, directly or paraphrased. Humes' column was later amended -- again, without any notice to readers that a change was made -- to claim that "the story was never fully substantiated, despite frequent repetition on radio talk shows." Humes named no "radio talk shows" upon which Obama's "quote" was repeated.

Meanwhile, a May 21 column by James H. Walsh began by purporting to quote Obama adviser David Axelrod as saying, "The 'TEA Party' movement is an unhealthy mutation from public dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s economic policies." But that direct quote doesn't exist. The full context of Axelrod's remarks -- apparently taken from an appearance on the April 19 edition of CBS' "Face the Nation" -- shows that he is specifically responding to the issue of states seceding from the union when he referred to "an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy." Axelrod never called the tea parties an "unhealthy mutation."

Newsmax is also engaging in direct anti-Obama activism by hosting a donation page for the League of American Voters, a right-wing group tied to Newsmax columnist Dick Morris that's currently fighting against Obama's health care reform plan. Newsmax has not disclosed the details of this financial arrangement to its readers, which raises ethical questions about its reporting on the issue.

Newsmax's reporters and columnists have participated in various right-wing freakouts over the past several months, from hyping Obama's speech to students as indoctrination to suggesting that Chrysler dealers who didn't support Democrats were targeted for closure. Newsmax has pushed misleading reporting about Obama's policies, and its chief Washington reporter, Ronald Kessler, has tried to fabricate a schism between Obama and his Jewish supporters.

Newsmax has also published numerous Obama-bashing columns. Prior to Perry's coup endorsement, the most egregious of these was Rabbi Morton Pomerantz's attempt in June to link Obama to the killing of a guard at Washington's Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist, claiming that Obama is "creating a climate of hate" against Jews and that the Holocaust Museum shooter "felt that he could easily take retribution against the Jews for the atrocities Obama implies they are guilty of." Newsmax proudly promoted Pomerantz's column at the top of the front page.

Newsmax has published other hateful columns as well, only some of them by Perry:

If I had to sum up the current situation of the United States, I would not hesitate to call it horrendous for only one reason: the presidency and the arrogant fool now occupying that office.

Even the most dispassionate observer has to conclude that the election of an untested, inexperienced ward heeler of one of the most corrupt political machines in the United States is proving to be one of the most massive mistakes the American electorate ever made. The man is totally unfit to occupy the presidency of the world's most powerful nation.

-- Phil Brennan, Oct. 6

This is another vile chapter in the still-young Obama presidency. Obama said he would not prosecute the great Americans who kept the country safe during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Those heroic Americans kept this country so safe, in fact, that we felt free to elect a post-American, pro-jihad president.


One has to ask: why did this man run for president? The knee jerk reaction to such a question is that a man (or woman) runs for president because he loves America. It is becoming increasingly clear that Obama ran for president because he hates America and wants very much to indict it.


America electing an America-hater for president vanquished our moral authority.


The chaos from the anti-American presidency has not even begun.

Fasten your seat belts.

The man will never stop punishing America for electing him. We will pay with everything good and decent.

Obama is punishing America.

-- Pamela Geller, Aug. 26

Even to allow Obama’s socialist programs a mere toe in the water could prove to be too late. These programs are like flypaper or unspeakable social disease. The elevator to the hell of a Marxist society goes in only one direction – ever higher into costs taken from appropriations of individuals’ earned incomes.


It won’t be enough for Republicans just to be “the party of no” and stop there. They will also have to propose national alternatives that begin all over again where Barack Obama first seduced America into his leftward-spiraling, all-consuming maelstrom of latter-day Marxism.

If they fail, this nation will be down on its hands and knees for decades, scouring floors in an Augean stable where no one-time sluice will suffice to eradicate the bacilli of socialism from forever attempting a comeback.

-- John L. Perry, July 27

Obama will suck away medical resources in Medicare that now go mostly to Caucasian senior citizens and reallocate healthcare to younger, largely minority people — including more than 10 million illegal aliens — expected to pay taxes (and disproportionately vote Democratic) for decades to come.

Darwinian eugenicists can safely project that this reallocation of healthcare will increase and accelerate the die-off rate of elderly, disproportionately white conservative Americans who vote Republican and worship God

By rationing healthcare for this population group that needs it most — senior citizens — Obamacare will hasten their deaths. He will also increase the tax burden on private pensions they earned.

And because those seniors are mostly white, Obamacare will speed the day when Caucasians become a minority group (albeit without special rights and preferences granted to more politically correct minorities) here.

-- Lowell Ponte, July 17

ObamaCare legislation would finance universal health care by eliminating the most fragile among us. Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union had elaborate plans for the disposal of unwanted fetuses, the handicapped, and the elderly.

-- James Walsh, July 2

Now that he’s president, Barack Obama has new clothes, even if they don’t always fit. What he still lacks is class. Tailors can’t fix that.

Before, during, and since the president’s elevation to his stratospheric altitude in the vault of the heavens, he has been adorned in an unprecedented array of resplendent raiments of praise befitting his One-ness.


Under those conditions, how, if the president has no class, is his populace to know what he’s doing that is classless? It’s a bit like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s celebrated dictum non-defining hard-core pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

So, the answer is that if the president’s classlessness is observed, it must be without comment about:
  • The way he walks, the way he talks, the way he looks down his nose.
  • The way he hasn’t learned to tie a four-in-hand necktie like the men do.
  • The way he smirks in public gatherings at crude, inappropriate humor.
  • The way he sulks or huffs like a spoiled child when disputed or denied.
  • The haughty way he fakes erudition off his teleprompter screens and proffers profundities on subjects in which he lacks credentials.
  • The way he says, “as I’ve said before,” when he hasn’t.
  • The way he jumps down, spins around, picks a new position when the one he holds drifts downstream toward the unpopular.
  • The way he tries to straddle two horses racing in diverging directions.
  • The way he concocts ever-shifting lexicons for marketing distasteful policies when public perceptions catch up with reality.
  • The way he can’t seem to avoid the first-person singular with almost every breath.
  • The way he behaves not only as if it’s all about him but also as if he’s all about all that is.
The poor fellow is classlessly infatuated with his reflection in the gazing pool of media adulation. Narcissism was never remotely emblematic of a class act.

-- John L. Perry, June 29

Lord of the Flies became the title of a famous novel by Nobel laureate William Golding, the story of British schoolboys stranded on a desert island. The boys separate into tribal identities and, thus balkanized, wreak havoc on one another as civilized boys lose their morality and revert to savagery.

Any similarity between this novel and what President Obama and his identity politics of class envy and racial polarization are doing to tear our nation apart is purely coincidental.

-- Lowell Ponte, June 19

Obama deliberately arranged to meet his wife, Michelle, in Paris later in his trip. The apparent reason: Muslim fundamentalists would expect a woman in the presence of the Saudi ruler to wear a veil.

-- Lowell Ponte, June 5

Thurber’s humor was delicious, none of it built around narcissistic self-aggrandizement. What he had to say, what he wrote, what he drew in his near-blindness with a lump of charcoal was of lasting enrichment and enchantment.

On the other hand, Obama’s teleprompted words, before which his leftist adulators in the media fawn and grovel so, are blowing in the wind.

Absolutely, you can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

Time is not with Barack Obama. Even for him, there’s a limit of available fools.

-- John L. Perry, May 18

Whose interest was President Obama serving when on March 30 he ordered Chrysler to either conclude a merger with Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days or lose federal bailout funds which would lead to its immediate demise?


Why would Obama undercut a U.S. company, involved in a heated negotiation, in favor of a foreign company’s interest?

Clear answers are not available, but there is one very curious shareholder in Fiat that raises some interesting questions. The African nation of Libya owns at least a 2 percent stake in Fiat and thus makes Moammar Gadhafi, who controls the wealth of Libya, a direct beneficiary of the deal favoring Fiat.

Does Obama owe Gadhafi?

-- Scott Wheeler, May 13

Like the Yorkshireman, Barack Obama burst upon the scene from obscure lineage — his emanating in disparate continents, Africa and North America.

Arms extended, Obama still circles the arena. Cheers continue, but slacken. His ill-timed effort to spread his wings across Europe, so congenial in leftist venues he courted, turned into a trans-substantial continental flop.

High-flying oratory proved utterly inefficacious in winning any major foreign-policy result he set himself to bring home in triumph. Obama’s personal diplomacy never took off.

-- John L. Perry, April 13

In a few days President Barack Obama, a professed Christian, will officiate at a pagan ceremony outside the White House and initiate young children into its un-Christian symbols.

This ceremony, the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, has its roots in the idolatrous pagan religion of ancient Mesopotamia, the land that was Babylon and is now war-torn Iraq.


Christians, where in the Bible does Jesus endorse colored eggs, bunnies, bonnets, Easter baskets, lilies or other things rooted in pagan Babylonian nature religion?

What would the Judeo-Christian God say about President Obama's pagan Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn?

-- Lowell Ponte, April 9

Salon's Joe Conason points out how Newsmax -- controlled by right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife and Ruddy -- are repeating their experiences anti-Clinton activism with Obama. Indeed, as ConWebWatch has noted regarding WorldNetDaily, Ruddy's embrace of the birther conspiracy echoes his and Scaife's attempts to prove, despite all official evidence, that Clinton staff Vince Foster did not commit suicide. Conason goes on to claim that "the once-laughable Ruddy could become a formidable player in the 2010 midterm elections -– and the fate of the Obama administration."

In order to do so, Ruddy has abandoned Newsmax's previous moderation and reverted to its rabidly anti-Clinton ways. In that context, it's clear Newsmax doesn't actually oppose an overthrow of Obama -- Ruddy and Co. simply know it's bad form to openly advocate one the way Perry did.

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