Topic: The ConWeb
How did the ConWeb initially react to the events of Sept. 11, 2001? Pretty much the way you'd expect them too. Let's take a look back:
The bodies weren't even cold yet before WorldNetDaily and Newsmax were finding ways to blame President Clinton. WND found a convenient anonymous source to blame Clinton (thus demonstrating that Aaron Klein, while Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy attacked "the ever clever bastard" Clinton for seeking to "destroy America's intelligence agencies," like WND citing an anonymous source as backup. Accuracy in Media, meanwhile, used 9/11 to peddle its conspiracy theory regarding the crash fo TWA Flight 800.
Newsmax was particularly offended that President Bush's actions might be implicated as a cause of 9/11. One article ranted: "How depraved can the liberal media be? How despicable? How utterly anti-American?" Then-Newsmax columnist Dan Frisa called the New York Times "despicable traitors" for suggesting such a thing. (Apparently, it wasn't treasonous or un-American to blame Clinton.) Phil Brennan declared that "I have a few suggestions for Mr. Bush about who he ought to put in the nation's cross hairs: Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, the New York Times, Mary McGrory, The Washington Post and all the other Benedict Arnolds* in the anti-American media rat pack mindlessly attacking President Bush." The asterisk after Arnold keys the reader to a footnote that reads: "I ought to apologize to the memory of Benedict Arnold for lumping him in with this disloyal media scum - he was a genuine American hero before his betrayal - something that can't be said about the president's media critics, the majority of whom never wore a uniform."
Another Newsmax article went into full Bush-worship mode: "The president has been eloquent. He has been confident. Real Americans support him 100 percent."
Then-WND columnist Hugh Hewitt was particularly small-minded in his post-9/11 support for those in high office, writing: "If last November's vote had gone the other way, and vice president Gore had been the man to face this awful challenge, I pray that I would have supported him at this crucial juncture – in my columns and on my radio and television shows." In other words, just a week after 9/11, Hewitt was as eager to use it as a cudgel had those in office been Democrats as he was to use it against critics of President Bush.
The ConWeb also worked to deify Barbara Olson, the right-wing author who was on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11. WND, Newsmax and CNSNews.com all took part in the hagiography, which was mostly about making money on her death by peddling her books to a grieving readership
Newsmax targeted then-ABC host Bill Maher for his statement that "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away" is cowardly, while "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly" -- until it figured out that it agreed with him.
Finally, how can we forget Anthony LoBaido's unhinged rant at WND blaming America for 9/11? LoBaido declared that "America has killed over 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 years old with our anti-Saddam sanctions" and tried to make the argument that America deserved to be attacked and suffer massive loss of life:
All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, WallStreet greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let's remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York.
LoBaido earned extra points for his reference to "the openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic Hillary."
This is one of the few times WND eventually decided that something was too crazy for its website. While WND editor Joseph Farah initially defended LoBaido's right to say what he said, the column was quietly deleted from the WND website a few months later without explanation or apology. Of course, nothing ever goes away on the Internet, including LoBaido's screed.
It's that screed that inspired us to name the annual ConWebWatch Slantie Award for most unhinged statement made by a ConWeb writer after LoBaido.