A couple months back, we reported that WorldNetDaily is republishing David Barton's discredited book "The Jefferson Lies," pulled from the market in 2012 by mainstream Christian publisher Thomas Nelson after it lost confidence in it after numerous reports of falsehoods turned up. Now, WND and Barton have turned on their spin machine to sell it in preparation of its Jan. 12 sale date.
On Dec. 9, WND published Barton's lengthy defense of his book. As Warron Throckmorton -- one of the chief fact-checkers who discredited it -- details, it's a rehash of a defense Barton wrote in 2013, right down tothe claim that the book "will be released by Simon & Schuster in 2013" (which WND appeared to have corrected after Throckmorton pointed it out). Barton also spends a lot of time personally attacking Throckmorton; as Throckmorton noted, "It is a sign of a weak argument when you spend little time on the facts and a lot of time on the personality of the person bringing the facts."
That's apparently the main defense Barton and WND will be serving up. A Dec. 17 WND article by Michael Thompson (who "works in the marketing department for WND.com and WND Books and is the social media manager for WND") is a book promotion under the headline "Anatomy of an American book banning." But Barton's book was never banned; as we've noted, WND has continued selling "The Jefferson Lies" long after every other respectable bookstore stopped selling it. And the end of Thompson's article notes that copies of the book were "recovered by Barton and WND before it could be destroyed." If "recovered" means Barton buying 17,000 copies from Thomas Nelson, then sure. (As that link shows, Barton's attempt to republish his book through Glenn Beck's publishing arm was as much of a failure as the Simon & Schuster venture -- even though Beck himself wrote the book's foreword.)
Thompson also attacks Throckmorton, arguing that the utterly irrelevant issue of his decision to stop hating gays like a good right-winger should is a reason his work debunking Barton shouldn't be trusted:
Though a professor at a conservative school, a past contributor to National Review and a self-defined “traditional evangelical,” Throckmorton’s conduct over the past few years reveals a relentlessly negative approach toward and borderline obsession with Christian conservatives.
Throckmorton has endorsed the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center’s call for the American Family Association to be considered a hate group characterized with the likes of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. He has described conservative pro-family groups such as the American Family Association, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and Liberty Counsel as an “evangelical culture war complex” only interested in the commandment, “thou shalt demonize the gays.” He has even condemned former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his participation in “The Response” prayer gathering.
This hostility to evangelicals is surprising as Throckmorton was once seen as a key authority in the effort to help homosexuals refrain from same-sex sexual activity through counseling. He produced a documentary, “I Do Exist,” which showed change is possible for homosexuals. He was also critical when the American Psychiatric Convention canceled a dialogue on the role of religion in homosexuality at its convention.
However, Throckmorton seems to have reversed his position on homosexuality. He now says he “regrets” the video was used “as a part in the culture war surrounding homosexuality.” Furthermore, he says, “I now believe durable change in basic attractions is very infrequent.” According to the Sexual Identity Therapy he created, “The emergence of a gay identity for persons struggling with religious conflicts is a possibility envisioned by the recommendations.” Throckmorton has also affirmed that accepting one’s homosexuality can be “healthy.”
Thompson defends the personal attacks on Throckmorton because "as it was the opposition of supposed conservatives that observers largely credited for the demise of 'The Jefferson Lies,' Throckmorton’s 'team' is highly relevant, especially when his sole professional focus at this point seems to be attacking Christian conservatives. More importantly, it appears such 'conservative' criticism was the key factor in getting Thomas Nelson to pull the book."
Thompson's boss, WND editor Joseph Farah, is totally down with the personal attacks because apparently only right-wingers predisposed to liking Barton can properly critique him:
“But the testimony of unqualified critics, far-left ministers crusading against the Founding Fathers, and a former conservative looking to make a name for himself in the liberal press are hardly credible,” said Joseph Farah, founder and chief executive officer of WND and WND Books, the new publisher of “The Jefferson Lies.”
At no point in this article do Thompson or Farah rebut any claim made by Throckmorton, nor do they show any intention of giving Throckmorton an opportunity to respond at WND.
In other words, it's all about vengeance against a critic rather than telling the truth. Barton and WND are trying to reframe the controversy over the book as "political correctness" linked to an ownership change at Thomas Nelson rather than over botched facts. But as Throckmorton points out, Thomas Nelson currently publishes numerous right-wing authors -- including WND's own Jerome Corsi.
Meanwhile, Throckmorton has already gotten his hands on a copy of the republished Barton book, and he's already found a couple whoppers about himself and his efforts in debunking Barton. Throckmorton adds: "This misrepresentation of recent history is just the first of many issues from the second edition of The Jefferson Lies I will explore in the coming months."
Sit back and enjoy, folks. This will be fun to watch.