WorldNetDaily has taken a shine to Russia's Vladimir Putin in recent years. One WND columnist defended Putin's prosecution of the punk band Pussy Riot and insisted that Putln is "simply a Russian nationalist, doing his best to strengthen his own country’s interests." And WND editor Joseph Farah effectively cheered Putin's aggressive military actions in Ukraine against Hillary clinton's criticism of it: "And is it wrong for a leader of a modern state to seek to restore greatness to his own country? ... Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if Hillary’s party took such an attitude toward their own country?"
So it seems WND's fealty toward Russia is based in part on reflexive liking of whatever Hillary criticizes. Which means it's not really a surprise that WND is taking Donald Trump's -- and Russia's -- side over allegations by the CIA and other intelligence experts that Russians meddled in the U.S. presidential election for the apparent purpose of helping Trump win.
WND kicked off defense mode with an article highlighting the Trump transition team "disputing the truthfulness" of the CIA report. Farah then throws the intelligence community under the bus -- despite the fact that he presumably relies on parts of that same intelligence community to feed him stuff for his G2 Bulletin (the front page of which currently says nothingabout the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election system).
Farah's Dec. 12 column is a list of "11 reasons not to trust Obama's CIA," all of which are personal attacks on CIA director John Brennan and none of which have anything to do witih what the CIA reported about Russia. One of those attacks is that "One of the FBI’s former top experts on Islam says Brennan converted to Islam years ago in Saudi Arabia." That ex-FBI guy is John Guandolo, who -- as we noted when WND first touted this claim in 2013 -- is a serial philanderer and adulterer who jeopardized a federal investigation by having sex with a witness and trying to get her to donate money to a right-wing "anti-terrorism" organization.Farah, of course, doesn't mention that Guandolo has no credibility, and Snopes points out the claim has never been substantiated.
Nevertheless, Farah rants about Brennan: "He’s a partisan. He’s either a clueless nutcase or just a very dangerous person to have leading agencies like Homeland Security and the CIA. Best case scenario: He’s a partisan hack. Worst case scenario: He’s an anti-American kook who has spilled more security secrets than Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen combined – maybe throw Julius and Ethel Rosenberg into the mix, too."
Farah followed up the next day with another list column, this one on "9 facts you should know about these 'Russian hacks'." This time Farah is mostly either making excuses for the Russians ("No one is alleging that the Russians hacked into election computers to change votes"; "America hacks other nations for its own purposes. ... All nations do") and actively praising them for their hacks ("this would be exposing the truth of something the Democrats were trying to hide"). He concludes by complaining, "Do you see why this whole imbroglio over Russian hacks is of less concern to me than what the hacks in the Democratic Party and establishment U.S. media are doing with it?"
In other words, Farah's OK with foreign interference in the U.S. election system because it benefited his candidate.
WND's Greg Corombos called on ostensible hawk Frank Gaffney to comment, and he suddenly stopped being a hawk because, as with Farah, the Russian hacks benefited his candidate:
“It’s fragmentary at best. At worst it’s a lot of hearsay,” Gaffney told WND and Radio America.
“What the public knows is very limited. It really comes down to some press accounts based on unnamed sources in the CIA, people talking about briefings they had from CIA or FBI or others,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney labels Trump’s approach to Russia as “benign” but notes the Obama administration also did its best to make nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin – especially in the early years of this presidency.
“These are the very who in the outgoing administration of Barack Obama have done much to appease and pander to Vladimir Putin. It’s a confused situation, to say the least,” he said.
Unlike Farah, though, Gaffney did concede that the situation needed to be investigated and admitted that "Putin is a dangerous adversary, not a man we can safely do business with."
WND columnist Michael Brown cheered the idea that people seem top trust Trump more than the CIA, declaring that "it’s easy to think that the information linked from unnamed CIA sources is unreliable." He added, "We also should bear in mind that the source for the Russian hacking claims is the liberal, mainstream media, which has also taken a big credibility hit in recent months."
Meanwhile, WND's whitewashing of the incident continued apace:
- Bob Unruh touted how "the FBI previously said it couldn’t back the CIA’s conclusion that the Russians hacked the accounts of the Democratic National Committee and party leaders," burying the fact that the FBI disputes only intent, not that Russian hacking occurred.
- WND uncritically quoted right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham complaining about "selective moral outrage" regarding Russian hacking.
- Another article by Unruh asserted that "claims that the Kremlin hacked the U.S. election to hand the Oval Office to Trump are falling apart," complaining that "It’s getting more complicated than a Robert Ludlum thriller novel."
Yep -- it's clear the Russkies have a good friend in Joseph Farah and his WND.