"Has a central tenant [sic] of global warming just collapsed?" That's the first sentence of a July 29 Fox News article about a recent study which shows nothing of the sort, demonstrating just how broken climate change coverage is at news outlets like Fox, where scientific illiteracy meets political slant.
Last week, Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), one of the few climate scientists who think we don't need to worry much about global warming, published a paper purportedly challenging mainstream climate models that is both limited in scope and, by many accounts, flawed. After a Forbes column by James Taylor of the libertarian Heartland Institute misinterpreted the study and declared that it blows a "gaping hole in global warming alarmism," an avalanche of conservative media outlets, including Fox, followed suit:
The conservative group writes that "[y]ou may have heard on Fox News and elsewhere about former DOJ career attorney J. Christian Adams, who quit the DOJ and blew the whistle on the cover-up of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation cover-up. ... the politicized Obama DOJ thought otherwise and decided not to press charges. That's when Adams quit and went public with this outrageous decision not to enforce the law." RNLA later asks for money to help "fight these gross abuses of the Obama administration."
As Media Matters has documented, Adams is a longtime right-wing activist who has admitted that he does not have firsthand knowledge of the events, conversations, and decisions that he is citing to advance his accusations. Additionally, the Bush administration's Justice Department -- not the Obama administration -- made the decision not to pursue criminal charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for alleged voter intimidation at a polling center in Philadelphia in 2008. The Obama administration successfully obtained default judgment against King Samir Shabazz, a member of the New Black Panther Party who was carrying a nightstick outside the Philadelphia polling center.
The July 17 RNLA email, sent through Newsmax.com's mailing list:
Was it the opportunity to snag a glowing profile from a right-wing outlet?
Could it have been the chance to reach Lou Dobbs' coveted demographic of aging anti-immigrant conspiracy theorists?
Perhaps he was given some sort of clue as to how glowing the profile would end up? There isn't really a harsh word in the piece… they cover his dashingly good looks, his affection for Ailes-Hannity-O'Reilly, his purported fairness to both sides, that he worked at the AP once upon a time when it was still fair, and all of the big politicos appearing on his show. The profile's author, Ronald Kessler, even explains to his readers what it means for King to "keep kosher" since his conversion to Judaism.
The only thing that makes sense is the idea that King agreed to the interview because he knew in advance that it would be a puff-piece. Then again, maybe he didn't know Newsmax's history of right-wing incendiary misinformation. For example, back in September the publication ran a column (eventually taken down) stating that a military coup "to resolve the 'Obama problem'" was not "unrealistic." There's a lot more where that came from.
Check out the interview's gems after the break.
As was the case with previous "summit[s]" held by the right-wing website Newsmax, its June 17 Economic Crisis Summit -- featuring Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris -- was little more than an infomercial designed to use fears of inflation to sell Newsmax's $1,495 "hot commodities insider membership."
In the run-up to right-wing website Newsmax's June 17 Economic Crisis Summit -- featuring Bill O'Reilly - CEO and Editor in Chief Christopher Ruddy used fear of inflation and skyrocketing gas prices to entice people to attend the event. Previous Newsmax "summit[s]" have similarly stoked fears to drive sales of Newsmax's financial-services products.
NewsMax.com today e-mailed to their readers "a special message from our sponsor;" a fundraising appeal from Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who asked NewsMax readers to donate so that she might have "the ammunition I need to run an aggressive campaign and tell the people of this state who Harry Reid really is: a tax-and-spend liberal, one of the architects of Obamacare, the intellectual Godfather of Cap and Trade."
Screenshot of NewsMax.com's e-mail below the fold:
Earlier today, Karl Frisch highlighted the interest of Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy in buying Newsweek. While Newsmax makes rich Republicans its target demographic -- according to Talkers magazine, 20 percent of its readership claims a net worth of $1 million or more -- it likely doesn't throw off enough money for Ruddy to purchase Newsweek without help.
Enter Richard Mellon Scaife.
Scaife, that longtime right-wing sugar daddy, has been Ruddy's benefactor for well over a decade, since Ruddy brought his Clinton conspiracy-mongering to the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. When Ruddy started Newsmax in 1997, Scaife was among the original investors, and by 2002 he was the third-largest shareholder. Today, all the other shareholders have been bought out, and Scaife and Ruddy are the sole owners of Newsmax, with Ruddy holding a majority stake.
Ruddy and Scaife purchasing Newsweek is not as far-fetched as it sounds, actually. Newsmax already publishes a monthly magazine that, despite an unmistakable rightward tilt, is professionally designed. A Ruddy-operated Newsweek would likely look much as it does now -- but would definitely have a lot more right-wing content, with an additional focus (like its current magazine has) on two other areas of Newsmax interest, money and health. It may also give a bigger platform for longtime Ruddy buddy (and failed prognosticator) Dick Morris, who has a history of helping Ruddy shill for Newsmax' financial products.
If, say, George Soros had expressed interest in buying Newsweek, Fox News wouldn't be able to report on anything else for days. But two right-wing political activists looking into obtaining the number-two weekly newsmagazine is raising barely a ripple.
UPDATE: Newsmax has confirmed that it has made a bid for Newsweek, adding that if it succeeds in obtaining the magazine, "Newsweek would continue in its mission to objectively report the news and provide analysis from a wide spectrum of perspectives."
Newsmax financial-scheme spokesman Dick Morris turned his unique (read: incorrect) brand of political analysis to the results of Tuesday's election contests, making the observation that Sens. Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln, by the unfavorable results of their races, "are now reaping the harvest of their votes for healthcare."
That analysis might make sense if their Democratic primary opponents had made their votes for health care reform an issue in the election. But they didn't.
Lincoln's main opponent in the Arkansas primary, Bill Halter -- whom she will face off against in a June runoff after neither candidate got a majority of the vote -- not only supported health care reform but also claimed that Lincoln didn't do enough to improve the bill:
Congress and the President have done the right thing by reforming health care -- although I would also have supported a bill that would have allowed the public to buy into a system that would have also provided more competition and choice.
While the bill wasn't perfect, and it could have been improved with more decisive action instead of only-in-Washington tactics, it will prevent people from being denied health care insurance due to pre-existing conditions and it will begin to provide more than 450,000 uninsured Arkansans the health care they need.
We need to continue to make progress on health care – and that means standing up to the insurance industry and special interests who like the system the way it is. I supported the bill Congress recently passed to rein in health care costs and reduce our national debt. And it helps our seniors who need it most by ending the donut hole in prescription drug coverage and improving Medicare solvency. But Blanche Lincoln sided with the insurance companies and HMOs who gave her campaign more than $800,000 and voted against this effort to make health care reforms even better.
The man who defeated Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak, voted for the same reform bill Specter did, saying, "With this legislation, Congress is finally tackling the problem of ever-increasing health care costs and health insurance that doesn't protect those enrolled in plans from this growing burden."
It's hard for Lincoln and Specter to be "reaping the harvest of their votes for healthcare" when their primary opponents also supported it.
Undaunted, Morris went on to make this bold prediction about those races in the November election: "The new Senator from Pennsylvania will be Republican nominee Pat Toomey and from Arkansas it will be republican Congressman John Boozman."
Given Morris' abysmal history of political predictions, Toomey and Boozman might not want to rush to pack their bags just yet.
From an April 21 e-mail from Newsmax.com:
Would you consider taking a job with a government agency that does the following:
- Unnecessarily strikes fear into the hearts of tens of millions of your fellow citizens, causing such anguish and despair that some are driven to suicide each year
- Requires citizens to know 10 million words of rules and regulations because the failure to do so may result in draconian fines and even jail, while at the same time no one in the agency has a full understanding of all the rules and regulations it requires others to know
- Routinely ignores the constitutional protections against self-incrimination and the right to the presumption of innocence
- Seizes the assets of citizens without obtaining court judgments
- Penalizes marriage
- Discriminates against many of the nation's most productive citizens
- Destroys incentives to work, save and invest, and undermines job creation
- Routinely protects agency personnel who have engaged in citizen intimidation, misrepresentation or worse
No, I am not referring to the Nazi SS or the Soviet KGB, but the IRS, which is guilty of all of the above and more.
It is, of course, true that no one loves the tax collector and that taxes are the price we pay for a civil society. But, as with anything else, there are proper and improper taxes and tax collection procedures and methods.
According to news accounts, attacks and threats against IRS personnel are rising, and unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue until there is a fundamental change in our tax laws and collection methods.
People who do not have access to the media and cannot afford expensive tax lawyers sometimes reach such a level of frustration with the IRS that they resort to violent or irrational behavior.
IRS officials and workers will say the tax code is not their fault, and they are only doing their jobs.
It is unambiguously true that the tax code and IRS are creatures of Congress, with all of its self-dealing, corruption, ignorance, and incompetence. But it also is true, and was made explicit at the Nuremberg trials, that those who carry out orders that they know to be wrong or should know to be wrong are not absolved of personal responsibility.
From a March 26 Newsmax column by Dick Morris:
Scott Murphy of New York, Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Boyd of Florida, Betsy Markey of Colorado, and Dennis Kucinich and John Boccieri of Ohio -- a partial list of the traitors who switched their votes in the House from no to yes on Obamacare.
Another, Bart Gordon of Tennessee voted no when running for re-election and then switched to yes when he retired rather than face defeat, so he is beyond our reach.
We need to make a point of defeating these traitors in 2010! That is what democracy is for.
We know who they are. We know where their districts are located. And we will all come looking for them in November.
These deceitful men and women voted no when their votes didn't count in November of 2009, seeking to fool us into believing that they had our interests at heart. But, when push came to shove and their votes counted, they switched and ran their true colors up the flagpole and voted yes.
Morris' column links to a page on the Newsmax website that accepts donations to the League of American Voters, for which Morris is the chief strategist. Morris did not disclose his relationship with the group in his column.
From a March 14 Newsmax column by Richard Grenell, who "served as the spokesman for the last four ambassadors to the United Nations -- John Negroponte, John Danforth, John Bolton, and Zalmay Khalilzad":
If President Barack Obama gets his trillion dollar healthcare bill passed this week by the Democrats in Congress, parents will be required to pay for their unmarried kids' healthcare coverage until the age of 26.
And Generation Y will be enticed to continue slacking, without a job, well past college graduation. While ski bums everywhere are cheering the news that the federal government will be forcing parents to pay for their health insurance through age 26, parents are questioning why the federal government is enticing a whole generation to stay unemployed.
America has always been a place where hard work is rewarded regardless of one's age, family status or educational background. If you have an idea you are committed to and make sacrifices to further the idea, you can be wildly successful in our capitalistic system.
In America, you can launch a multi-billion dollar computer company from your garage, you can grow up homeless and make it to Harvard and you can create a worldwide social networking movement while still in college.
But you can also be a slacker if you have the means to slack. Spending a year skiing, hanging out on the beach and surfing or traveling the world are options for the few lucky ones who have parents wealthy enough to pay for such endeavors.
But should the U.S. government encourage college kids to become slackers? Does Generation Y need any more encouragement to feel entitled? And should society guarantee a 5-year hiatus from responsibility after college graduation for millions of college kids?
While it is true that many college graduates today will be self-motivated to find a career, make their own money and contribute to society, Generation Y has been the most entitled generation in history. Should the American taxpayer tempt these kids further into believing that the American dream is easy to fulfill?
Obama's healthcare bill is being celebrated on the slopes of Colorado and the surf shacks of California but is a dangerous precedent for future generations.
One could understand extending another entitlement program through age 26 in countries where the average workweek is 30 hours per week and vacation time is guaranteed at 8-10 weeks per year. But is this new proposal anti-American? We aren't supposed to reward people who don't work hard and make sacrifices to get ahead. And we aren't supposed to guarantee anything in America but a fair shot. America is a place where you prove your commitment to your family and your community through hard work and sacrifice. It is this ethic that we call American values.
It seems we spoke too soon.
Last week, we wrote that it appeared Newsmax had dumped Pamela Geller as a columnist, presumably in response to her repeated hateful rhetoric. But Geller has since published a new column at Newsmax, this time on the Rifqa Bary case.
This means it's clear that Newsmax has no problem with Geller's anti-Muslim hate-fest at CPAC a couple weeks ago or, apparently, with very little of the hate she spews. The column in which she smears President Obama as "jihad-enabling" and "President L-dopa," which Newsmax had deleted, remains off the website, however (it's still in Google cache).
Newsmax needs to explain why -- after dumping a columnist who advocated a military coup against Obama -- it continues to provide space to a writer whose hateful rantings it has had to remove at least once before.
Ronald Kessler, Newsmax's chief Washington correspondent, is nothing if not a committed conservative (perhaps a little too committed, if Kessler's creepy fixation on Mitt Romney's wife is any indication). So it's not surprising that one of his favorite sources is American Conservative Union president David Keene. Kessler has repeatedly provided Keene a platform for his views.
It's a relationship that recently paid off for Kessler. At February's Conservative Political Action Conference -- operated by Keene's ACU -- Kessler received the inaugural Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award. The award, which was voted on by the 96 co-sponsors of CPAC, was presented by Keene himself. During his acceptance speech, Kessler asserted that Fox News "really is fair and balanced," which also shows just how committed a conservative he is.
Kessler reciprocated by penning a pair of fawning articles about CPAC. This was followed up by a March 1 article in which Kessler provided Keene with a platform yet again, this time to rebut complaints that CPAC isn't conservative enough, as allegedly evidenced by allowing the gay group GOProud to participate. "Keene sees the divergent views as being emblematic of the conservative movement and a sign of its health," Kessler wrote. He didn't mention, however, that he had just received an award from CPAC.
Kessler goes on to note that Keene "becomes president of the National Rifle Association in May of next year, in addition to heading the ACU." Look for Kessler to write a lot more about guns in the near future.
"Fatal Attraction," the Washington version is playing on a television near you as Obama's bipartisan summit on healthcare approaches. Like a possessed, rejected maniac the president refuses to allow the idea of a massive restructuring of our healthcare system to fade.
You're just not that into his healthcare bill? Too bad. He won't be ignored.
Obama is hoping that by rebranding and reworking the old, rejected versions of the House and Senate bill into an even scarier narrative coupled with a televised meeting, the pressure will be so intense that he can kidnap the handful of Republican votes he needs to catapult this monstrosity over the finish line.
To get our attention, Democrats attempted legislative suicide. After laying low, they're back again, and like any prey dealing with a psycho, Republicans are nervous.
They understand that this is a carefully calculated public relations gimmick designed to force their hand. They know that if they don't show up, the images of empty chairs across the table from their caucus will be used, repeatedly, to paint them as unwilling to govern and to target them in campaign ads as obstructionists. Forget alerting the wife, the White House is going to out your bad behavior on C-SPAN. In other words: this is blackmail, Beltway style.
Like any concerned observer frightened for my friend's life, as well as my own, I urged Republicans to set some terms and not accept the invitation to the president's gathering unless he agreed to start over. Apparently, Mr. Obama was in favor of a second chance for the relationship and demonstrated his willingness by crafting a more expensive and politically explosive version of the first health care bill -- just on his own terms (so much for bipartisanship).
With each passing week that the president ignores jobs, choosing to focus on his obsession and an unprecedented legislative trick to stalk the public into a submitting to a relationship they don't want, the more he looks like a lunatic who has escaped the asylum, just waiting to surprise you outside your window, in the rain on your fire escape until you relent.
What has become evident to everyone except the Democratic leadership is that the American majority has no interest in a relationship so dysfunctional, so unstable, so completely unhealthy.
Obama has stumbled many times trying to get his way. Act Two of heath care reform might be his biggest mistake on the issue yet. In an effort to hit a button to reset the process, he might have hit the one that just blew it up. Like any good horror film, the element that's most despised just won't die. Let's hope we can finish health care off before anyone gets hurt.