A not insignificant portion of movement conservatism involves pundits and activists scamming credulous readers/viewers/donors out of their money. RedState's Erick Erickson hawks transparently fraudulent “Instant Millionaire” schemes to his email list subscribers. Dick Morris raised funds for a super PAC which then turned around and funneled money right back to Dick Morris. Talk radio is saturated with ads for gold Krugerrands, survival seeds, food insurance, and other poor investments that conservative talkers are paid handsomely to endorse.
The unchallenged king of right-wing swindling, however, is Newsmax. The conservative magazine is constantly spamming its subscribers with messages promoting “miracle drugs,” warnings from quack doctors hyping unproven therapies for dangerous medical conditions, and investment tips gleaned from the New Testament. A recent promotion from Newsmax, also blasted out by the conservative Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), shows that the commitment to squeezing cash from gullible followers trumps even basic conservative ideology. The two anti-welfare-state media outlets are pushing their audience to take advantage of a “weird trick” to go on taxpayer-funded vacations and “add $1000 to monthly Social Security checks.”
This “weird trick” comes courtesy of “The Franklin Prosperity Report,” a monthly newsletter operated by Newsmax that is supposedly based on the “investment methods” of Benjamin Franklin. According to The Franklin Prosperity Report, loyal Newsmax readers who loathe socialism and have no tolerance for the welfare state can nonetheless partake of “up to $20,500 of the trillions in money, services, and other goodies that Uncle Sam may have ALREADY allocated for your family for 2013.”
Seriously, Newsmax wants you to know that you can game the system and go on foreign vacations on the taxpayer dime, even if you can otherwise afford it:
Many people mistakenly believe that you have to be destitute to receive government money and giveaways. However, the truth is that a larger percentage of rich people than poor people are eligible for government money -- such as 100% fully paid “cultural exchange” trips to other countries.
At the same time that they're pushing wealthy readers to take advantage of government “freebies,” “goodies,” and “special 'loans' you do not have to pay back,” Newsmax is venting fury at reports that Massachusetts taxpayer dollars were spent on government benefits for dead people. They're publishing columns by Thomas Sowell arguing that “the political left's welfare state makes poverty more comfortable, while penalizing attempts to rise out of poverty.” Newsmax ran a John Stossel piece claiming “America's welfare state” is “a threat to our future.”
Then there's CBN, which emailed out the Franklin Prosperity Report promotion to its audience, tantalizing them with the “weird trick” to boost their monthly Social Security take. Any CBN viewer who jumped at the opportunity must not have seen CBN correspondent Dale Hurd's story from January warning that if “Americans want a glimpse into their possible economic future, they should look to France where there's high unemployment, low growth, more taxes, and more people on welfare.” According to Hurd:
HURD: France should be a warning for Americans who've just voted for four more years of big government spending. The French are experts at big government. They've been deficit spending for decades, and it's made the country poorer.
Funnily enough, the picture Newsmax used in their promotion is that of an elderly couple enjoying themselves heartily at the base of the Eiffel Tower.
Of course, both Newsmax and CBN will tell you that the content of their promotional offers doesn't necessarily reflect the views and opinions of their media operations. Nevertheless, they're bashing the welfare state with one hand while bilking gullible followers with promises of a lavish, taxpayer-funded lifestyle. It's pretty scummy, and all too common in the conservative media.