Schmoozing With a Terrorist Whitewasher
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein turns his chatting-up-Muslim-militants gimmick into a book. But there are some terrorists he's not terribly eager to write about.
By Terry Krepel
Aaron Klein has quite a gimmick going. Ever since he latched onto the idea of chatting up Muslim militants, it's provided a veritable font of articles for WorldNetDaily.
As ConWebWatch has detailed, Klein focuses on a mere handful of Palestinian militants operating mostly in the West Bank and Gaza, whom he portrays without evidence as representative of all Muslim militants. And the things he quotes them as saying -- i.e., they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq -- just happen to reinforce conservative talking points.
Klein has now built the gimmick into a book (published by WND, of course) titled "Schmoozing with Terrorists." The promotional copy breathlessly touts the tome: "Klein, a Jewish reporter, confronts terrorists whose stated goal is the annihilation of the United States and Israel, and narrates his interviews from the unique perspective of a Jew meeting with his enemy."
The articles WND has run to promote the book fall in line with Klein's history of using terrorists to bolster conservative talking points -- terrorists love Hillary Clinton! They love Rosie O'Donnell! They hate Britney Spears! They hate Rudy Giuliani! They love the heck out of all liberals!
What you don't see is any reason to take the terrorists' statements seriously. After all, the terrorists may be just telling Klein what he wants to hear. Or they may not know Klein is using their words to foment conservative sentiment against them, which would seem to be a breach of confidence on Klein's part; the consequences for Klein if the terrorists find out would surely not be pleasant.
Nor does Klein seem to consider the possibility that he is being used by the terrorists. After all, in 2004, conservatives spun a video released by Osama bin Laden shortly before the 2004 presidential election as evidence that bin Laden supported the election of Democrat John Kerry. In fact, in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," author Ron Suskind reported that CIA analysts agreed that "bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." In other words, by appearing to support liberals, bin Laden achieved his goal of getting Bush re-elected because it served his agenda to have the U.S. mired in Iraq.
For all of Klein's obsession with terrorists, there's another reason to question the seriousness of his book: there are some terroristic acts he's not so eager to address. That's because they are committed by people for whom Klein feels a close affinity -- right-wing Israeli extremists.
Chief among them are those affiliated with the Kach movement, which advocated the forcible removal of Arabs from all of Israel, including the disputed areas of Gaza and the West Bank, and advocated the creation of a theocracy to rule Israel that would ban marriage between Arabs and Jews. The Kach political party was banned in 1988, and Kach and its Kahane Chai offshoot were declared terrorist organizations by Israel in 1994 after Kach member Baruch Goldstein massacred approximately 30 Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.
As ConWebWatch has documented, Klein's reporting has minimized the contacts of his sources with -- and the history of violence of -- Kach/Kahane Chai and other extremist movements in Israel:
Further, Klein has demonstrated his anti-liberal, pro-right-wing bias by repeatedly attacking left-center Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, bashing him during election season (while having nothing but praise for Olmert's conservative Likud rival, Benjamin Netanyahu) and attempting to undermine Olmert's authority during a time of war, Israel's 2006 conflict with Hezbollah.
Such a wildly slanted track record puts Klein's objectivity and authority as a chronicler of the thoughts of "terrorists" in question. That, of course, doesn't keep WND from promoting his articles and his book.
Oct. 3 WND column by Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, called Klein "the bravest and most courageous and determined reporter with whom I have ever been associated." But, really, how "brave" and "courageous " could it be for Klein to distort and whitewash the violent acts of those whose ideology he supports -- then hypocritically abandons when that support becomes inconvenient?
Of course, Klein isn't the only WND employee guilty of hypocrisy on this issue: Back in 1997, Farah had listed Kach as one of the "terror-supporting groups" on a Clinton administration list that he as "no use for."
Given that Farah himself has a history of shoddy reporting, perhaps it's only fitting that he has given a pass to Klein's more dubious work. After all, WND has been forced to retract a Klein article that falsely smeared an Islamic relief group, and it has had to defend a poorly written article in which Klein suggested that Fox News paid a ransom for two reporters kidnapped in 2006 in Gaza.
All of this may be a way to sell Klein's book, but it's certainly no way to inspire trust in it. And Klein has too shaky and biased of a journalistic record for "Schmoozing with Terrorists" to be considered as anything more than what it is -- a gimmick.