Fox News has run repeated segments attacking some progressive media figures and politicians for suggesting that political rhetoric from the right inspired the recent tragic shootings in Arizona. In doing so, Fox has whitewashed right-wing media figures who have attempted to describe Loughner as a liberal and pin the shooting on "the left."
As details about the tragic shooting in Arizona came to light, members of the right-wing media quickly used the fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf was listed as one of Jared Loughner's favorite books as evidence that his politics are "left wing." This characterization coincides with years of effort by Fox News personalities to tie the fascist Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler to progressivism.
The right-wing media are kicking off 2011 by reviving "death panel" claims -- which was PolitiFact's 2009 "Lie of the Year" -- by claiming that a recent change to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements was tantamount to the establishment of "death panels." In fact, the rule simply compensates doctors for providing voluntary end-of-life counseling.
In an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, Sarah Palin listed Newsmax as a news source that she reads regularly.
Not only is Newsmax a far from credible source for news, but it's also a major league promoter of Sarah Palin.
Newsmax, it turns out, offers discounted copies of Palin's book America by Heart to those who sign up for trial subscriptions to Newsmax magazine, calling Palin "one of the most influential political figures of our time." Palin also visited the Newsmax headquarters in October to tour the organization's offices and participate in a webcast for the website. Now the Newsmax site is touting Palin's endorsement, conveniently linking to the discount deal on her book.
With this kind of friendly treatment, it's no wonder Palin listed them as a site she reads regularly.
It shouldn't be a surprise that John LeBoutillier would pop up on Fox & Friends to spout utterly discredited conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth -- after all, he's a conspiracy-monger from way back.
LeBoutillier was one of the more rabid Clinton-haters in the 1990s, hurling all manner of smears and embracing conspiracies, such as those surrounding the death of Vince Foster. For instance, in a February 2001 Newsmax column, LeBoutillier claimed there were "stories for years that Vince Foster -- shortly before his still-mysterious and still-unsolved death -- had just visited Switzerland. Could it be he was depositing cash for the Clintons and then had to be silenced?"
In that same column, he wrote that "The busty Denise Rich's 100 White House visits last year while Hillary was campaigning all over New York suggest sex" was a factor in President Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich. He also wrote that "For years there have been rumors of the Clintons having an account -- named Chelsea -- in the Cayman Islands, which is a refuge for drug money," suggesting that that account was where the supposed "cash ... used to secure the Marc Rich and other pardons" was deposited. He went on to insist that "Any proper investigation of the Clintons and the pardons needs to treat the Clintons just as an investigation would treat a John Gotti or an international drug lord."
There's much more LeBoutillier insanity on the Clintons:
So we're leafing through the new issue of Newsmax magazine, the one with the cover story "The Truth About Islam in America." That story is unusually even-handed coming from a conservative media outlet, balancing anti-Muslim activists like Robert Spencer with the story of American Conservative Union board member Suhail Khan.
But then Newsmax sticks this cartoon in the middle of it:
The cartoon was drawn by New York Post editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas, perhaps best known for a cartoon that can be interpreted as depicting President Obama as a rabid chimp who needed to be shot by police.
Newsmax magazine, while unmistakably conservative, has tended to have higher editorial standards than its website parent (advocating a military coup against Obama, anyone?), and it has seen a significant increase in subscriptions over the past year. That indicates the magazine's more temperate approach is a success. Running the Delonas cartoon, however, clashes with that approach.
Since NPR terminated Juan Williams' contract, numerous conservative media figures, led by Fox News hosts, have suggested -- citing no evidence whatsoever -- that the firing is related to a recent $1.8 million donation to NPR from Open Society Foundations, a philanthropy started by George Soros.
Earlier this month, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris announced the creation of Super PAC for America, whose goal is to raise $20 million to help Republicans win 100 House seats in this year's election. As he has numerous times before, Dick Morris is using his Fox News platform to promote and raise money for the group.
Betsy McCaughey -- best known for repeatedly misleading about health care reform -- made numerous false or misleading claims in order to attack the effectiveness of the stimulus bill.
Sarah Palin used a webcast at the right-wing website Newsmax to use inflammatory language echoing that of fellow conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich to attack President Obama and his policies. She also revived her long-debunked claim about "death panels" in the health care reform law.
A September 26 Newsmax "Insider Report" item, headlined "Palestinian Activist Speaks at Obama's Church," makes a big deal out of how, "immediately following Obama and his family's attendance at St. John's Episcopal Church, a pro-Palestinian activist delivered an address at the same church." According to Newsmax, the activist used his speech to deliver "a demand for Israel 'to surrender its biblical heartland.'" But the church is hardly "Obama's church," and the "pro-Palestinian activist" who spoke was repeatedly courted by the Bush administration.
Newsmax's claim that St. John's is "Obama's church" is presumptuous and absurd. First, as Newsmax also noted, it was "only the third time he has worshipped publicly since taking office." Second, as the church's website states, "every person who has held the office of President of the United States has attended a regular or occasional service at St. John's" since the church's founding in 1815. That means it's just as much George W. Bush's church or Ronald Reagan's church (or even Grover Cleveland's church) as it is "Obama's church."
Newsmax then went on to attack the "Palestinian activist," Ziad Asali, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, citing a post at a website called Israel Today that drew from dubious right-wing sources like Discover the Networks and Gateway Pundit to back up its claims. Newsmax stated that Asali's "message, according to Israel Today, amounted to a demand for Israel 'to surrender its biblical heartland for a phony "peace." ' " But Israel Today's claim appears to be nothing more than a paraphrase of what it thinks Asali's agenda is; at no point does Israel Today assert it actually listened to Asali's remarks.
Newsmax uncritically quoted Israel Today's claim that "Asali and the ATFP pretend to want a lasting two-state solution to the conflict," even though that "pretend" claim is right there on its website. Newsmax also accepted Israel Today's assertion that ATFP's support for a "right to return" for Palestinians means that the group "advocate[s] the demographic destruction of the Jewish state"; in fact, Asali has signed onto a New America Foundation letter supporting Israel's right to exist.
In fact, Asali is much more mainstream than Newsmax and Israel Today would have you believe.
Newsmax "Political Insider" Dick Morris writes:
An analysis of the published polling data on 80 House races indicates that there are 54 districts now represented by Democrats in which Republicans are now ahead and another 19 where they are within five points and where the Democratic incumbent is under 50 percent of the vote. That's 73 likely wins. (The undecided vote always goes against the incumbent, so if a congressman is significantly under 50 percent, even though he may have a lead, he is likely to lose).
Morris doesn't provide any sources for his claims in the first half of the paragraph, so let's just skip ahead to the parenthetical where he explains that Republicans are likely to win all 19 districts in which they are within 5 points of a Democratic incumbent who is under 50 because "[t]he undecided vote always goes against the incumbent." That part is, like much of what Morris writes, false. The "incumbent rule" was never that undecided always break against the incumbent; it was that they usually do so. And there are indications that the rule is increasingly unreliable (as President Kerry could tell you, if he existed.)
But even if it was true that "[t]he undecided vote always goes against the incumbent," that does not mean, as Morris seems to think, that all undecided voters go against the incumbent. Take a hypothetical race that meets Morris's criteria: a 46-43 lead for the Democratic incumbent, with 11 percent undecided. For the Republican to win, s/he must* do more than win a majority of undecided -- s/he must win a whopping 64 percent of the undecided vote.
So, basically, Morris's "analysis" is a crock. And his analogies aren't any better:
We hope that polling will show that the likes of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank are within our reach. We'll take the pawns. But we'd like to snare a few bishops, rooks, castles and knights in our sweep. (We will dethrone the queen, but she'll still be in the House. Next cycle, we win checkmate and take the king). [Emphasis added]
Rooks and castles are the same thing.
* This assumes, of course, that the size of the electorate is static, and that neither candidate sheds support s/he already has.
Newsmax has decided it wants to scare its readers about health care reform, and it has enlisted perhaps the biggest scaremonger on the issue to do it -- all in the service of selling stuff.
In the grand tradition of Newsmax, it's throwing out a loss leader as bait for something that could bring in some real revenue. This time, it's the "two-part book" of Newsmax's fearmongering about health care. As per usual, the book is free (except for a "nominal shipping charge" of $4.95), and includes trial subscriptions to two of Newsmax's health newsletters, which must be canceled before the trial subscription ends to avoid being automatically charged for a full year's subscription.
On the a web page (PDF) for this latest promotion, Newsmax health publisher Travis Davis states that among "the Nation's Top Minds in Law and Medicine" he has assembled for this scaremongering mission is "constitutional scholar and former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey," who is apparently this promotion's Dick Morris. You may remember McCaughey as the person Media Matters named as its 2009 Health Care Misinformer of the Year, and it appears McCaughey will be repeating some of her misleading attacks for Newsmax:
Newsmax sent out an email today to its mailing list touting the presence of Sarah Palin in "a special pre-election webcast series we will be airing exclusively online" starting October 12. According to the email, the webcast, to be called "Make America Great Again," will be hosted by Michael Reagan and feature Palin as well as "other opinion leaders such as Dick Morris."
Morris, of course, has been a longtime marquee participant in shilling for Newsmax's money-making schemes. Like Palin, Morris is a Fox News contributor, making her at least the third Fox News employee to team up with Newsmax; the other is Bill O'Reilly, who did an interview featured in an informercial for yet another financial product (though Fox News denied that it knew O'Reilly would be used in that way). Palin has also previously touted Newsmax as one of the news sources she reads.
It wouldn't be Newsmax, though, if it wasn't using people like Palin to try and sell you something.
This past Sunday, President Obama and his family took a trip across the street from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church where, according to Ben Smith of The Politico, they attended a service, heard a sermon on a passage from the Gospel of Luke, and took Communion as a family. Smith also reported that Obama has generally chosen not to publically practice his faith "because of the possible disruptions his presence, and the increased security, would cause a congregation."
Never ones to miss an opportunity to overstate their importance, right wing media figures bizarrely used the occasion to gloat and claim credit for Obama's church attendance.