The New York Times' Media Decoder blog reports on a Moneywatch post highlighting Newsmax's use of Bill O'Reilly for its latest financial scheme, this time a report instructing how to receive generous tax-free "IRS payouts" of $1,196 or more. Turns out it's not as exciting as it sounds -- it's about investing in municipal bonds, which Moneywatch calls "the dowager of the investment world." Municipal bonds are tax-free, but their interest rates are low; to receive that promised $1,196 payout, according to Moneywatch, you have to purchase $2 million worth of municipal bonds. According to Moneywatch:
The faux news show (linked here) starts with an anchorman sitting at a desk in front of a glowing "Economic Crisis Summit" video screen. The anchor welcomes O'Reilly and gets him talking about Obama and taxes — O'Reilly's normal bailiwick. Then he asks: "How can you invest in this treacherous environment?" O'Reilly suggests buying depressed stocks that pay dividends, which plays right into the anchor's hand.
As soon as O'Reilly leaves, the next "guest" is a smarmy-looking "accountant" named Bill Spetrino, who purports to agree with O'Reilly and offers a newsletter called "The Dividend Machine." But he adds that he has "something even better." Spetrino maintains that he's written a report about a "forgotten, seven-state Constitutional Clause" that guarantees generous tax-free "IRS payouts" of $1,196 or more. And, he's agreed to provide this report "free" to viewers of the show produced by Newsmax.
Moneywatch updated its post to note that after it went up, Newsmax scrubbed O'Reilly from the newsletter. The Times reported that, according to Fox News, the interview O'Reilly gave was used by Newsmax for its financial scheme without his knowledge. "They took an interview that Bill did and used it for other purposes," said Bill Shine, a Fox News executive vice president, adding that "we're all disappointed in this."
It's highly unlikely that O'Reilly and Fox News were not aware that Newsmax was using O'Reilly to sell financial products until Moneywatch wrote about it. After all, Newsmax has been doing so for two months.
On July 21, Newsmax -- following up on its previous partnership with Bill O'Reilly, in which O'Reilly appeared in a Newsmax webcast designed to sell its financial products -- issued an email announcing that O'Reilly will star in a new upcoming webcast.
Described as "A Newsmax Undercover Report," the email states that "This Internet Broadcast Will Feature Bill O'Reilly and What He Is Doing to Prepare" for what Newsmax calls "the Largest Tax Hike in America's History," the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. In the email, Newsmax financial publisher Aaron DeHoog follows Newsmax tradition by engaging in anti-Obama fearmongering (underline in original):
Dear Newsmax Reader,
I'll cut straight to the chase.
You are about to be directly hit with a full assault from the IRS.
And you should heed this warning and prepare yourself accordingly.
To pay down our massive federal deficit, President Obama is going to come calling for what he believes is your portion of our $13.2 trillion tab.
In fact, as we stand now in his eyes, you are responsible for more than $119,000 (that's exactly how much each citizen owes, according to my sources).
So you are going to be slapped with new Medicare taxes, cap and trade, and a value-added tax.
And President Obama is just getting started.
Once he intentionally lets the Bush tax cuts expire, tens of millions of Americans will feel a direct impact to their retirement savings.
And that's just on the federal level.
In fact, Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget calls for keeping the Bush tax cuts for all except individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making $250,000.
Note the ad on the left side of this screenshot taken from Newsmax on July 18:
James Edwards is the host of the "Political Cesspool" radio show on a Tennessee radio station. Edwards' show's website states that "the hallmark of his work on Political Cesspool" is that he delivers "an unapologetically pro-White viewpoint."
Edwards' book, Racism, Schmacism, appears to cover similar territory. The promotion for the book on the" Cesspool" website declares that "James Edwards gets it" -- among the others who apparently "get" Edwards are Jerome Corsi, Pat Buchanan, and WorldNetDaily birther hero Tim Adams -- and also that "James isn't afraid to call a spade a spade" (underlined for emphasis). The promotion continues (emphasis in original):
Media conservatives are rushing to BP's defense, attacking the Obama administration for "demonizing" the company after the Gulf oil spill.
From the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
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Here's how Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz describes one of Newsweek's potential buyers:
One is Newsmax, a conservative Web site and monthly favored by Sarah Palin and founded by Christopher Ruddy, who once investigated conspiracy theories that Clinton administration officials Vince Foster and Ron Brown were murdered.
That's quite an antiseptic description of Ruddy, who didn't investigate conspiracy theories so much as he created and promoted them. Kurtz's phrasing -- that Ruddy "once investigated conspiracy theories" suggests that Ruddy at one time looked into them, perhaps for the purpose of debunking them. In fact, he obsessively promoted the looney conspiracy theories for years -- so obsessively, in fact, that even Rupert Murdoch's New York Post tired of his crackpot ways and got rid of him. After that, he slung his mud on Richard Mellon Scaife's dime at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Kurtz's decision to gloss over Ruddy's past is not an inconsequential one; if Ruddy is successful in taking over Newsweek, its readers deserve to know his disgraceful background.
We've previously detailed how Newsmax uses anti-Obama scaremongering (and Dick Morris) to sell its financial schemes. Now Newsmax is apparently cooking up another scheme -- and it has enlisted another Fox News personality to help sell it.
A June 3 email sent to Newsmax's mailing list promotes something called the "Economic Crisis Summit," starring Morris (of course), but also "Premier Guest" Bill O'Reilly:
The purpose of the "summit" is described this way:
Media Matters has obtained the following statement from a Newsmax spokesman regarding its interest in Newsweek:
Newsmax Media, Inc. has made a bid for Newsweek. Newsmax Media is a multi-platform publishing company that produces a variety of print and electronic products covering news, politics, health, finance and lifestyle, with different editorial voices and perspectives.
The company's bid for Newsweek's print and online assets is congruent with its objective to diversify and expand into numerous distinct media brand offerings, like any major multi-title publisher.
Newsweek's staff, advertisers and readers can be assured that if Newsmax Media, Inc.'s bid is successful, Newsweek's stellar brand and editorial representation would remain distinct from our other brands. Newsweek would continue in its mission to objectively report the news and provide analysis from a wide spectrum of perspectives.
Right-wingers love to claim that troubles in the print-media world can be chalked up to news consumers rejecting "liberal media bias." As Media Matters' Terry Krepel noted a few weeks ago, the decision by Washington Post Co. to sell Newsweek was no different:
At NewsBusters, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker claimed that Newsweek "repeatedly showcased their favorite candidate, Barack Obama, on the cover" and asked, "Might such obvious blatant liberal advocacy, which anyone could see in the grocery store checkout line, help explain its decline in fortunes -- in credibility followed by finances?"
He was joined by fellow MRC employee Clay Waters, who complained that a New York Times article on the sale failed to mention "Newsweek's purposeful shift toward liberal opinion over news-gathering."
At Fox News on May 8, contributor Liz Trotta highlighted John Podhoretz's claim that Newsweek is "a liberal journal of opinion masquerading as a news publication," added that "even The Washington Post" called it left-leaning, and posited that Newsweek's strategy of "shoving liberal opinion down [people's] throats" failed because it "colossally ... misjudged what the American public and the American readership is. It's not a bunch of lefties from New York."
Of course, this is the same right-wing media establishment that ignored the also-up-for-sale conservative Washington Times' lack of profits.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Newsmax publisher Christopher Ruddy is interested in purchasing the faltering news weekly (emphasis added):
OpenGate Capital, the investment firm that owns TV Guide, plans to formally declare its interest in acquiring Newsweek before Wednesday's deadline for nonbinding bids, according to managing partner Andrew Nikou. Christopher Ruddy, publisher of the conservative monthly magazine Newsmax, said he also plans to bid.
A right-wing "news" outlet is now interested in picking up a magazine that media conservatives claim failed because of "liberal bias." It would be funny if it weren't so delusional.
So, who exactly is Christopher Ruddy? For starters, Ruddy was a bit too nutty even for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. As the New York Times reported in 1997:
...Chris Ruddy, a ferociously dogged reporter who says he lost a job at The New York Post partly because he would not let go of the Vince Foster story. Ruddy now works for The Tribune-Review, a right-wing Pittsburgh paper, and his stories are reprinted in newspaper advertisements around the country, paid for by the Western Journalism Center in Sacramento, Calif. Richard M. Scaife, an angel of the far right, owns The Tribune-Review and contributes money to the center.
The "Vince Foster story" to which the Times refers would be the crazy right-wing conspiracy theory that Foster didn't commit suicide and was instead killed.
As for Newsmax, it's a rabidly conservative "news" outlet that traffics in just the sort of right-wing Obama conspiracy theories and misinformation that Ruddy cut his teeth on during the Clinton years.
Newsmax, apparently not wanting to be outdone by Fox Nation's blatantly dishonest headlines, sent out this "breaking" email yesterday:
Oh, wow, that's big news! The White House chief of staff "admits" that choosing Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court was a "screw-up" because she is "not mainstream"? Huge!
Only … that's not quite what happened. Newsmax's subject line mashes together two separate stories.
In one, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly said the White House had "screwed up the messaging" on the administration's support for Israel (while stressing "concerning policy, we have done everything that we can that is in Israel's security – and long-range interests.")
In the other, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker argues that Kagan is not "mainstream" -- not because of Kagan's views, but because Kagan is a New York Jew who went to an Ivy League college:
More than half the country also happens to be Protestant, yet with Kagan, the court will feature three Jews, six Catholics, and nary a Protestant.
Fewer than one-fourth of Americans are Catholic and 1.7 percent are Jewish.
[A] New York City girl who attended a prep school, Ivy League colleges and law school, who once barred military recruiters from Harvard's recruitment office and was an adviser to Goldman Sachs, can't be characterized as anything close to mainstream America.
Newsmax's combination of a story about Rahm Emanuel talking about Israel and a conservative columnist criticizing Elena Kagan into a subject line that makes it appear as though Emanuel said Kagan is "not mainstream" is almost impressively dishonest. Fox Nation has some competition.
On May 4th, Fox Nation pushed evangelist Franklin Graham's latest comments on Islam, made to Newsmax, by displaying the following text:
Fox Nation linked to a Newsmax article reporting that Graham accused President Obama of "giving Islam a pass" by ignoring treatment of women in Muslim countries and called the Pentagon's decision to rescind his invitation to a National Day of Prayer "a slap at all evangelical Christians."
Since President Obama's inauguration, right-wing website Newsmax has repeatedly used inflammatory anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked readers' fears of hyperinflation and economic collapse to drive sales of the financial-services products it offers, including newsletters and investment programs. Fox News analyst Dick Morris and Steve Forbes have played key roles in promoting Newsmax's financial products and economic rhetoric.
On April 22, Newsmax sent the following email to its list:
Links in the email forward to the website of "Julian Whitaker, MD," which promotes his book "The Truth About Diabetes & How to Reverse It NOW!" Whitaker states that "medication is NOT the answer for type 2 diabetes," instead urging the use of "natural ways to stop the blood sugar assault on your body," including:
Conservative media are once again claiming that President Obama's past comments about the importance of finding a Supreme Court nominee who demonstrates "empathy" mean that he will appoint someone who will not follow the law. In fact, conservative justices cited the importance of personal experience during their own confirmation hearings and conservatives have repeatedly expressed support for empathy in judicial nominees.
Right-wing media have falsely claimed that the net neutrality principle supported by the Obama administration is an attempt by the government to control Internet content. In fact, net neutrality does not mean government control of content on the Internet; rather, net neutrality ensures equal and open access for consumers and producers of content and applications, and is supported by a wide array of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Christian Coalition of America.