Conservative media spend a lot of time and energy wringing money out of their followers. Between the conservative publications that use their email lists to scam subscribers with dubious health advice, and the conservative radio hosts who pitch precious metals to their listeners, and the symbiotic relationship that exists between right-wing pundits and conservative non-profits and activist groups, it's all but certain that at any given moment some overly credulous right-leaning Americans are throwing good money at bad investments.
Salon writer Alex Pareene has posited that "the conservative media movement exists primarily as a moneymaking venture." Indeed, conservative websites -- particularly conspiracy-minded ones -- offer a wide array of products inspired by their nonsensical jibbering. WND, for example, has an entire section of its online store devoted to selling products related to the Obama birth certificate conspiracy the site has been flogging for more than five years.
These sites hawk a staggering array of often-bizarre products, ranging from gear to protect you and your family from the ever-imminent Apocalypse, to playing cards featuring the members of the New World Order. All of it generously marked up. Right Wing Watch highlighted several gift options from conservative outlets "for the prepper in your family," including "a $150 bucket of black bean burgers" (with ketchup).
In the spirit of the season, here is Media Matters' Christmas (not holiday) shopping guide to right-wing websites.
Surviving The Apocalypse
Price: $1,499 from WND.com
WND has published dozens of articles over the years warning its readers of an impending attack on the U.S. -- possibly by Iran, North Korea, or Cuba -- with an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon that could leave "9 out of 10 Americans dead." This Faraday cage -- "manufactured specifically for WND" -- will ensure that "your electronics will survive" the devastating EMP attack, even if you don't.
It weighs a barely-there 55 lbs, and at the low price of $1,499, it only needs to protect 3 iPhones from an EMP attack (or one iPhone from three EMP attacks) in order to pay for itself. Be sure to supplement your Faraday cage with some "EMP Faraday Bags," designed with "desiccant pouches to remove humidity and a sliding bag clamp to ensure a tight Faraday cage seal."
"Super Male Vitality™"
Price: A steal at $69.95 (on sale from $89.97) from InfoWars
Super Male Vitality™ uses the "science of modern day technology" to keep you from losing "vitality, energy, sexual drive, and overall wellness." Alex Jones himself attests to the fact that Super Male Vitality™ is "literally an infusion of the highest quality sources and naturally derived essences."
So what goes into this magic science potion? There's "a ground vine with deep roots," various types of ginseng, "the common oat," and a tree bark that "has been described as an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant."
You may think that paying $70 for a 2-oz. bottle of oats and ginseng is a bit excessive. But just listen to Alex Jones: "This product works so well for me that I actually had to stop taking it before I go on air or else I would want to do hours and hours of overdrive with complete focus."
Makes a great stocking stuffer alongside Fluoride Shield™, which protects you from the dangers of fluoride with the help of exotic, hard-to-find ingredients like tamarind and cilantro.
In lieu of material gifts, some people instead choose to make charitable donations in someone else's name during the holiday season. And WND has plenty of worthy causes ready to accept your money.
For example, you can donate anywhere from $3 to $1,000 to the "Fund To Retire Tod [sic] Akin's 2012 Campaign Debt." In a personal "plea" from Joseph Farah, the WND founder lashes out at Karl Rove and Republicans for their "betrayal" of Akin. Akin himself implores readers to donate to "help send me back into the fight for freedom."
You can also donate to the "Where's The Real Birth Certificate? Media Campaign," which seeks to stop Obama from being re-elected last November. Or "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment Campaign," which wants to put a copy of a Joseph Farah produced End Times documentary "in the hands of every member of Congress." There's the "Justice from Esquire Fund," which hopes to raise "hundreds of thousands of dollars" for WND's hopeless legal battle against Esquire for publishing a blog post mocking WND reporter Jerome Corsi's 2011 book, Where's The Birth Certificate?
If you'd prefer that your donation not be earmarked for a specific boondoggle, you can also give WND up to $5,000 for their general legal defense fund. Give more than $25 and you get "a FREE copy of 'Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America.' (Hardcover)."
"The Lennon Prophecy"
Price: $13.98 from WND.com
In The Lennon Prophecy, author Joseph Niezgoda argues that "[John] Lennon may well have sold his soul to the devil and that the assassination was merely Satan collecting his due." Like most scholarly works, Niezgoda bases his book on a "unique trail of sorcery, mysticism, numerology, backwards masking, anagrams and literary and theological writings." A review of the book posted at another site gives a glimpse into the author's scholarship: "Niezgoda explains that Lennon had to spell 'beetles' incorrectly so he could use the letters to make an anagram of 'seal bet,' hiding in plain sight his pact with the Devil."
It was staring us in the face this whole time.
"They Sold Their Souls For Rock N Roll - 10 Hour DVD"
Price: $33.95 from WND.com
A good companion piece to "The Lennon Prophecy," this 10 hour (?!?!?) DVD set "reveals just how Satan has been effectively using popular music to undermine God's plan for the family and ultimately heralding the coming of the Antichrist and his kingdom on earth." Among the Satanic artists listed: "Elvis, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, U2, Creed, Madonna, Britney Spears, DMX, Tupac, Tori Amos and many more."
If 10 hours of Satan and Elvis seems like a bit too much, you can buy the three-hour "condensed" version of "They Sold Their Souls For Rock N Roll" for $16.95. If you're not doing the math at home, that's 30 percent of the original for just half the price.
"Ronald Reagan's Greatest Laughs"
Price: $12.99 from Newsmax
Newsmax is the place to go "if you love Ronald Reagan -- or just enjoy laughing." On this "unique" CD or cassette (know your audience), you'll experience how Reagan used laughter as "his way of creating a special warmth, like an electric arc between him and his audience." You'll also hear Reagan use his "gift of humor" to: defeat communism, stick it to Sam Donaldson, and "learn from children."
Reagan had true wit and used humor in both public and private occasions. He was a funny man.
What more do you need to know?
The Reagan comedy CD is just one of many Reagan-themed products for sale at conservative sites. Others include Ronald Reagan playing cards, a poster featuring Reagan's head badly photoshopped onto Mount Rushmore, and Reagan "I Want YOU To Fight Socialism" posters and bumper stickers.
"Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged"
Price: $14.95 from WND.com
Conservatives like televangelist Pat Robertson have been warning of the evils of the Harry Potter series for years. A representative 2010 article for WND explained how the then-recently released movie "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" was "renew[ing] concerns that children are being lured to Satan." In case your loved ones are just now getting into the since-completed series, the hosts of "Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged" will lay out for them how J.K. Rowling embedded various "elements of Witchcraft" in the series, including "black magic," the "Mother Goddess," and, the most demonic sorcery of all, "evolution."
Other options: Though the titles sound like conspiracy theory Mad Libs, the following books and DVDs are all also for sale at conservative sites:
- God's Ghostbusters: Vampires? Ghosts? Aliens? Werewolves? Creatures of the Night Beware!
- Paradigm Shift: The Illuminati's Plan for 2012 & Beyond
- The UFO Conspiracy: Space Travelers or Demonic Deceivers?
- Bloodlines of the Illuminati
- Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 And The Return Of The Watchers
- Forbidden Gates: The Dawn Of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare
"A Free Press For A Freep Eople" T-Shirt
Price: $2.99-$13.90 from WND.com
It being the middle of December, WND explains that it's "time to stock up on spring and summer apparel." Confuse your friends with this strangely laid-out t-shirt bearing the WND slogan.
Other options: Both Glenn Beck and Alex Jones have launched clothing and apparel brands. InfoWars' Made in 1776 brand lets you fight "the authoritarian cultural engineers" with things like $60 "George Washington silver brass belt buckles." Glenn Beck's 1791 brand will sell you jeans for $160, or a t-shirt declaring your love of your $160 jeans for $40. If you want to make clear the government shouldn't tread on you no matter the occasion, WND offers hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball jerseys, short sleeve button-downs, fleece blankets, flags, lawn signs, and bumper stickers bearing the Gadsen logo.
Price: $39.96 from WND
From the description:
AN AMAZING COMPASS NEEDLE THAT SPINS ... AND STOPS IN THE DIRECTION OF OUR DREAMS ... JERUSALEM!
This beautiful gift item fashioned from pure, solid brass will not only keep you headed in the right direction but is sure to be a conversation piece. Although its stunningly engraved case speaks superior quality, once the compass is opened you will realize its meticulous workmanship makes this one of a kind.
The Jerusalem Kosher Compass is already pre-calibrated for the continental United States so it will be ready to use immediately.
Nothing to add.
The Bargain Bin
You can still buy Palin-McCain bumper stickers -- a real bargain at 64 cents each if you buy more than 25. Romney-Ryan stickers are also still for sale: "Make a bold statement this year -- and every year."
Also available: "I Have a Dream: Cain - West 2012" bumper stickers for $0.49. A perfect gift for the friend who rejects reality -- political, chronological, etc. -- in all its forms.