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.
Earlier this week, Media Matters' Christine Schwen detailed the virulent Muslim-bashing at CPAC's "Jihad: The Political Third Rail" event, co-hosted by Pamela Geller and featuring one speaker's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe and that and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." (Not to mention Geller's own charming description of Umar Abdulmutallab as "the Christmas balls bomber.")
It's worth mentioning that Geller has been a columnist at Newsmax for the past several months, where she regularly spewed her anti-Muslim and anti-Obama venom. Newsmax, you may recall, has had some issues in recent months with columnists going a bit over the top -- advocating a military coup against Obama, calling for a allegedly figurative "tenting" of the White House to kill the "varmints" inside, etc. -- prompting some hasty column deletions.
We were going to ask if Geller's CPAC hate-fest was acceptable to Newsmax, but it seems that question has already been answered. The latest Geller column in the Newsmax archive is from February 10 -- which means it removed a February 16 column in which Geller smeared Obama as a "weakling," "jihad-enabling," and, finally, "President L-dopa" because "Obama is to American people what L-Dopa was to Oliver Sacks' patients." (Here's the Newsmax column in Google cache, and here's a version of it at Big Government, which apparently has no problem with Geller's vicious insults.)
Anyone familiar with Geller's long record of inflammatory comments could have seen this outcome as inevitable. The question is why Newsmax believed that such hatred deserved to be enshrined in a column on its website in the first place.
The upcoming Newsmax cruise features the usual suspects as its "guest speakers" -- Christopher Ruddy, Dick Morris and Ronald Kessler among them. One name caught our eye, though: James Humes, who will give a talk about Winston Churchill.
Last March, Humes wrote a Newsmax column in which he asserted that President Obama said of a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office, "Get that goddam thing out of here." In fact, there's no credible record of Obama ever saying such a thing. Humes anted up with an ugly smear suggesting that Obama "took umbrage at Prime Minister Churchill's actions in 1953 of wiping out the Mau-Mau, the Kenyan terrorists who made a specialty of slitting throats of sleeping white and Black Kenyans."
After the fabrication was caught, Humes' column was quietly altered to concede that "the story was never fully substantiated, despite frequent repetition on radio talk shows." But Humes offered no evidence that any radio talk show forwarded the claim at all, let alone did so "frequently." (The Mau-Mau smear, meanwhile, remains intact.)
It says a lot about Newsmax that it has rewarded the purveyor of this kind of hate and mendacity with the honor of being a "guest speaker" on its cruise.
From NewsMax.com's January 31 "Insider Report":
1. 'Draft Kudlow' Movement Picking Up Steam
A rising voice is calling for CNBC talk host and supply-side economist Larry Kudlow to challenge liberal New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in this year's election.
And Kudlow said he is going to give a possible run "careful consideration."
Newsmax first disclosed that Kudlow could have political aspirations back in March 2009, reporting that he was mulling a bid for Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd's Senate seat from Connecticut. Kudlow announced several weeks later that he wasn't running.
But on Jan. 20, Newsmax reported that "the New York political scene is buzzing with talk of a movement to draft Larry Kudlow" to run as a Republican challenger to Schumer.
Several media outlets cited and/or linked to the Newsmax story in the days that followed, including Politico and The Village Voice in New York.
Then on Sunday, Jan. 24, the Buffalo News reported that Michael Caputo, who served as a speechwriter for Rep. Jack Kemp, is leading an online movement to draft Kudlow for the race, and has set up a Web site at www.draftkudlow.com.
"No one in New York State deserves to stay home more than Chuck Schumer, and I really believe Larry Kudlow is the one person who can send him home," he told the newspaper.
And Caputo told Newsmax: "It's time for Chuck Schumer to be sent packing."
Kudlow has served as chief economist for several Wall Street firms, and was an economics adviser to President Ronald Reagan. He now runs his own economics research firm, hosts CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" and "The Call" programs, and hosts "The Larry Kudlow Show" on WABC Radio on Saturdays.
Caputo and his group aim to collect 100,000 signatures online to help convince Kudlow to enter the Senate race.
Here is the actual headline from an actual story about an actual poll:
Newsmax/Zogby Poll: Scott Brown Could Defeat Obama in Presidential Race
Thus, we have a right-wing hotbed of inflammatory anti-Obama rhetoric -- remember the call for a military coup against Obama? -- teaming up with what poll maven Nate Silver describes as "the worst pollster in the world."
A week ago, Zogby didn't think Brown could defeat Martha Coakley. Now he's claiming Brown might be able to beat Obama?
These two deserve each other, it seems.
After Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abraham Foxman criticized Rush Limbaugh for his January 20 statement that "a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there" -- remarks Limbaugh later lied to defend -- the right-wing media has rushed to defend Limbaugh and to attack Foxman. Foxman has been smeared as a "terrible Jew" and a "plague on his people," and described as a "disgusting, craven little twerp."
On January 24, Dick Morris wrote an article for Newsmax entitled "Pelosi and Reid Plot Secret Plan for Obamacare," and Fox Nation linked to it under the headline "Exclusive: Reid & Pelosi's Secret Plot to Pass Obamacare":
According to Morris, he found out through "highly informed sources on Capitol Hill" that Democratic leadership has a "plan to sneak Obamacare through Congress." Morris reveals that this is a "secret" two part plan. First, the House will pass the Senate's health care bill, despite ideological differences. Next, Congress will modify the bill after passage through a Senate process called "reconciliation" which requires a simple majority vote in the Senate and is not subject to filibusters. Morris claims that through putting pressure on "a core group of 23 Democratic Congressman," this "secret" plot can be averted.
Morris is correct that this is one plan that has been floated as a possibility for passing health care reform, but his assertion that this is a "secret" plot between Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid is laughable considering that this very approach to passing health care reform has been reported on extensively by left-wing blogs, right-wing blogs, and the mainstream media since the election of Scott Brown in Massachusett's January 19 special election. For instance, here's CBS on January 22:
Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate special election essentially obliterated any chance Democrats in the Senate had at passing a revised health care reform bill. In the wake of that blow to Democrats, two options for passing reform have emerged:
One option would be for House Democrats to pass the Senate bill -- on the condition that Democrats would make revisions to the legislation through a separate "fix it" bill passed in the Senate via reconciliation (a procedural step that only requires a 51-vote majority).
The Baltimore Sun on January 21:
Democratic leaders are still exploring whether the House could pass the health care bill approved by the Senate just before Christmas, obviating the need for another vote on major health care legislation in the Senate, where Democrats would no longer be able overcome a Republican filibuster.
The two chambers could then take up a separate package of changes to the Senate bill through a process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority in the Senate.
The New York Times on January 21:
Another option considered by Democrats would be to use the procedural maneuver known as reconciliation to pass chunks of the health care bill attached to a budget measure, which requires only a simple majority.
You get the point.
From Pamela Geller's January 25 Newsmax column:
Abe Foxman has come out against a great and wonderful friend of the Jews, Rush Limbaugh.
That is bad enough, but it is symptomatic of a deeper problem: I have for years derided Jews in America and the Jewish lay leadership for tolerating and supporting clear and present enemies of the Jewish people among our senior ranks. It is a sickness of the soul.
The liberal Jew worships at the church of human secularism. These lost souls are married to their liberal dogma.
On Friday Norman Podhoretz, whom I rarely cite, as his capitulation on Gaza and other existential matters of grave concern to the Jewish people have been most damaging, called Foxman out on the ADL chief's denunciation of Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite.
He called Foxman's attack on Rush "vile" and noted that Foxman "has a long history of seeing an anti-Semite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that anti-Semitism has largely been banished from the right in the past 40 years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the left, especially where Israel is concerned."
He said that rather than Rush apologizing to Foxman, it should be the other way around: "if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitism that he himself has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh."
As a passionate, proud Jew, I too stand with Rush Limbaugh and would take up against Foxman in a heartbeat. Thank God for righteous Gentiles like Rush. He is beyond delicious.
That's not all. Back in August 2007, I demanded Foxman's resignation after his continual denials of the Armenian genocide.
We, as a people, cannot condone such unspeakable silence. We, of all people, must never be silent about the systemic death of a people.
This Islamic genocide was heinous and brutal. And considering the level of Islamic anti-Semitism in the Quran and Sunnah, it would be healthy and good for living Jews (and all decent and good people) to denounce roundly the Islamic genocide of the Armenian people.
But Abe Foxman not only would take that basic fundamental stand, but he went one step further. He fired Andrew Tarsy, the New England regional director, after he broke ranks with national ADL leadership and said the human rights organization should acknowledge the Armenian genocide that began in 1915.
Dr. Andrew Bostom said at the time that Foxman "apparently thinks that [he] can pick and choose among genocides . . . In a telephone interview, James Rudolph, the regional ADL chairman, called Tarsy an extraordinary leader. Indeed, Tarsy was acting in the best ADL tradition of trying to unite people of different ethnic groups, in this case Jews and Armenians, to promote human rights."
If the national ADL doesn't acknowledge the genocide, it is complicit in a cover-up.
Back in 2006, I called Foxman out for his attacks on those dear and precious friends of Israel, the Evangelical Christians. And Caroline Glick said this of Foxman that same year: "Rather than stand with the Catholic church as Benedict moves boldly against radical Islam, American Jewish leaders led by ADL Director Abe Foxman have been attacking the church for its theological decisions."
Foxman also came out in support of the Islamic school in Brooklyn whose principal was forced to resign because of her involvement in anti-Semitic "Intifada NYC" T-shirts (see here).
See the pattern? Foxman demonizes Christian groups that love Israel but is kowtowing to the Islamic jihad.
Which Jews support deleterious characters like Foxman? Which Jews give blood money to these self-hating wretches? Who empowers these terrible Jews?
Following a well-worn conservative strategy, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others have been raising the specter of voter fraud in the Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate. In fact, actual examples of voter fraud are extremely rare, and previous claims by conservatives that elections have been stolen have proved to be utterly meritless.
In a January 18 Newsmax.com article, managing editor David A. Patten raises the prospect of a "stolen election" in the race for Massachusetts' open Senate seat by citing "fears that a close election could trigger the same type of recount process that saw former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's lead over then-challenger Al Franken steadily evaporate in Minnesota." However, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that "[n]o claim of fraud in the election or during the recount was made by either" Franken or Coleman, and experts reportedly said that there was a "lack of crookedness in" Minnesota that debunks claims that the Minnesota election was stolen.
And for all the heated rhetoric being thrown at him [President Obama] these days -- socialist, sellout, soporific, yadda yadda yadda -- I don't think anyone has accused him of a racial approach to politics. People want to know what he's doing about unemployment and health care and climate change. In a very real sense, he seems to have transcended race.
(I was going to make a Tiger Woods analogy here, but at the moment that seems like a decidedly bad idea.)
Kurtz isn't the first media figure to inexplicably link Obama and Woods:
And, of course, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd strained to find similarity between Tiger Woods and White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, coming up with some drivel about both of them being entitled swans.
I'm still waiting for a media figure to compare a white political figure to Tiger. Maybe John Ensign? Both (allegedly) offered hush money to keep affairs quiet. But I guess some journalists think that's a bit of a stretch -- not like the obvious similarities between Woods and Rogers.
In addition to being an extraordinarily angry far-right blogger, Pam Geller is a columnist for Newsmax. While Geller seems to have slightly tempered what she writes in her Newsmax column, she's gone absolutely nuts on her own Atlas Shrugs blog, viciously smearing Obama.
From a Dec. 11 post:
Obama is pressuring Jews to "evacuate" from parts of Israel? And what Warsaw ghetto does the muhammadan president have in mind? I think I am gonna hurl.
The Jews will not go. The Jews will not submit to this century's nazis and Mansourian poser. No way, bloodsuckers. Not again. Never again.
From a Dec. 14 post:
It's as if the floodgates of hell have been thrown open. The moratorium on the holocaust is officially over and all the savages are free to incite, hate and destroy. Clearly those "Kick a Jew" days discussed here and here in schools are part of this growing evil Evil unleashed with an anti-semite in the White House.
From a Dec. 15 post:
Obama is bringing his jihad to Illinois. Has anyone asked the people of Chicago if they want KSM's soul mates in their state? Obama's treachery is breathtaking. A killer's paradise.
After its experiences with other columnists making extreme claims over the past few months -- John L. Perry advocating a military coup against Obama, Pat Boone calling for a "tenting" of the White House to kill the "varmints" within -- is Geller really the kind of columnist Newsmax wants to have? Or is Newsmax willing to allow Geller to be as disgusting and hateful as she wants to be on her blog as long as she tones it down for her column?
In his Nov. 30 column, Newsmax president and CEO Christopher Ruddy declared that the "mainstream media" is" simply out of touch with ordinary Americans" and that "the major media establishment lives in a bubble." Ruddy's evidence for this: The media criticized Sarah Palin for reading Newsmax.
Ruddy touts the popularity of Newsmax's website, claiming it "has reached close to 4 million unique visitors monthly." He also promotes Newsmax's magazine, asserting that it has "a monthly readership of more than 800,000." But note that he said "readership," not paid circulation, which is the standard accepted metric for measuring a magazine's reach. Newsmax has previously indicated that it believes the magazine is read by four people for every copy sold, which is apparently where it gets that inflated "readership" number.
Ruddy writes: "The bottom line is this: Those who live in the Big Media Bubble can't comprehend the appeal of Newsmax -- or Sarah Palin." He's got us there. We have trouble grasping the appeal of a website that has published columns advocating a military coup against President Obama, calling for a "tenting" of the White House, blaming the Holocaust Museum shooting on Obama, and embracing the birther conspiracy.
Ruddy also touted how Palin's book "shot to the top of the best-seller lists, reportedly selling 700,000 copies in the first week after its Nov. 17 release." He fails to mention that a not-insignificant amount of those copies are the likely result of below-cost loss-leader deals from online retailers -- including Newsmax's own $4.97 deal for the book.
Lost in the shuffle of more pressing matters yesterday was the news that former New York police chief Bernard Kerik pleaded guilty to several charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials, as part of a plea deal to avoid an upcoming trial.
As we've detailed, Newsmax has been Kerik's biggest champion over the past several months, working to rehabilitate his reputation by giving him a regular column and penning fawning profiles that whitewash his deeds in order to portray him as a "American hero" victimized by "overzealous federal prosecutors."
However much it may have wanted to, even Newsmax couldn't put a positive spin on this latest Kerik news. A Nov. 4 article on initial reports of the plea deal told the story unusually straight, albeit failing to tell readers that Kerik is (well, was) a Newsmax columnist. Newsmax went with an Associated Press story on Kerik's court appearance.
Kerik, by the way, is the second Newsmax columnist to fall by the wayside in recent weeks. John L. Perry hasn't written a column since he infamously called for a military coup against President Obama, which Newsmax was forced to retract. It remains to be seen whether Pat Boone's column will continue after Newsmax retracted his call for a "tenting"-style fumigation, "figuratively, but in a very real way," of the "varmints" in the White House.