WND has renounced birtherism (albeit for politically expedient reasons). What deeply held belief will it renounce next (for politically expedient reasons)?
A March 17 WND article by Bob Unruh gives us the answer:
Multiple headlines on YouTube claim former Rep. Michele Bachmann believes Barack Obama is the Antichrist.
There’s “Michele Bachmann warns Obama will reveal he’s the Antichrist.”
The popular (7,000 views) “Lunatic Bachmann Says Obama Is About To Reveal Himself As Anti-Christ.”
And “Michele Bachmann WARNS The ANTICHRIST Will Take Over UN (OBAMA’S REAL AGENDA).”
However, the former lawmaker from Minnesota told WND, “I did not say President Obama is the Antichrist, nor did I infer that he is.”
Bachmann said she’s asked YouTube to take down the inaccurate statements but has not received a response.
Politicians expect criticism of their positions and statements, but now, as a former politician, Bachmann says she is just trying to get YouTube to halt the outright fabrications.
The claim that she identified Obama as the Antichrist, she said, is beyond the pale.
“I think President Obama has done more to hurt our nation than any other American president in our nation’s history. He changed world history by enabling Iran, the world’s chief sponsor of anti-Israel/anti-American terrorism, to quickly get a nuclear bomb and the means to deliver it to the U.S.,” she said.
“Barack Obama’s legacy is the establishment of lawlessness in the United States. He has deeply damaged both the American and global economies. He has deliberately stoked hatred between people based upon the color of their skin.
“In fact it is difficult to identify any positive legacy he will leave the American people. That being said, I do not believe Obama is the Antichrist,” she told WND.
Unruh doesn't mention that the idea of Obama being the Antichrist was popularized by WND itself. It has promoted columnists Hal Lindsey and Joel Richardson llinking Obama with the Antichrist, as well as a video made by Carl Gallups (then hiding behind his PPSimmons pseudonym) claiming that the Bible actually tells us that Obama is the Antichrist.
Last August, WND gave Gallups a platform to walk things back -- he insists that he really doesn't believe Obama is the Antichrist, only an antichrist, and he again refused to apologize for making the video, calling it "thought-provoking."
Unruh doesn't explain why this particular accusation is now ideological poison at WND -- it's been trying to distance itself from the claim it once enthusiastically promoted for a while now. And he also doesn't explain why the statements Bachmann did make on the subject, while not explicitly claiming Obama is the Antichrist, should not be interpreted as suggesting that.
Unruh huffed that "One would have to make a number of unsupported assumptions to conclude that a statement by host Eric Barger indicated that." But he's fuzzy on the origin of the claim, and he fails to link to the Raw Story article on Bachmann's interview with radio hosts Barger and Jan Markell he blames for helping to forward the story.
In it, Bachmann talks with Barger and Markell about a questionable report claiming that Obama wants to become secretary-general of the United Nations after leaving office. Raw Story continues:
“Obama would only go into an empowered, powerful UN, powerful enough to see the United States come under the UN’s authority,” Bachmann said.
Markell found the reporting credible enough to form the basis of a wild conspiracy theory about Obama becoming “king of the world.”
“The whole idea of Obama being able to extend his presidency, even enhance it and expand it, I don’t think I need to say what I’m thinking because I think a lot of the listeners are thinking the same thing, and we all are too, and as you shake your head you wonder what’s coming next,” Barger added.
The implication, of course, is that Obama is the biblical Antichrist — a suggestion Bachmann herself has made before.
Unruh also quotes Markell vouching for Bachmann's non-Antichrist-ness -- but he apparently failed to ask he why discussion of Obama being "king of the world" should not be interpreted as veiled talk of Obama being the Antichrist.
(And Unruh waits until near the end of his article to obliquely note that Markell co-wrote a WND-published book.)
It seems like Unruh's article is just another effort to rebuild WND's credibility by tamping down its well-earned reputation for Obama-hate and conspiracy theories. And it's done as dishonestly as we've come to expect from WND.