WorldNetDaily Lies About Obama Nominees
WND continues its pattern of lying about Obama by promoting falsehoods about people Obama has named to government posts.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily, it seems, is simply unable to restrain itself from telling lies about President Obama and his administration.
As ConWebWatch has documented, WND has told repeated lies about Obama and his eligibility to be president, as well as promoting false claims about an Obama-supported bill to add gays to the federal hate-crime law. That disregard for the truth extends to the people Obama has nominated to government posts.
WND has promoted numerous false claims about Obama's nominees in its news articles and columns. Here are some of them.
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THE LIE: Hannah Rosenthal, nominated by the State Department as anti-Semitism envoy, is "anti-Israel."
THE LIAR: Aaron Klein, Nov. 26.
THE TRUTH: Klein's article originally carried the headline "Obama appoints anti-Israel lobbyist to anti-Semitism post," referring to Hannah Rosenthal, nominated by the State Department as anti-Semitism envoy. The headline has since been changed (a screenshot of the original is here).
The smear is an apparent reference to Rosenthal's affiliation with the advocacy group J Street. But J Street isn't "anti-Israel"; in fact, as Media Matters detailed, J Street describes itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement" and states that it "represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own -- two states living side-by-side in peace and security." The group has also been praised by such Israeli leaders as Shimon Peres and Tzipi Livni.
Which, of course, is precisely Klein's problem. As a far-right Jewish activist who's sympathetic to Kahanist extremists, Klein doesn't like anyone who's even remotely liberal (like Peres and Livni). Klein has previously smeared J Street as "a far-leftist Mideast activist organization," and he claimed in his Nov. 26 article, as he has before, that the group has been "accused of working against the Jewish state" (omitting, of course, that those accusations come from right-wingers).
Klein also claimed that Rosenthal's "writings suggest Israel's policies are to blame for anti-Semitism," specifically citing comments attributed to Rosenthal in a 2002 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article. In fact, as Media Matters points out, the comments do not imply that when read in context. Further, while Klein referenced an open letter from Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman to Rosenthal disagreeing with an op-ed Rosenthal had written describing a pro-Israel rally being "dominated by narrow, ultraconservative views of what it means to be pro-Israel" (remember, Klein is an ultraconservative), he failed to note that Foxman has endorsed Rosenthal's nomination.
In a follow-up Nov. 29 article, Klein falsely claimed that J Street is "pro-Hamas." In fact, as Media Matters noted, J Street merely supports talks between the Israeli government and Hamas. At no point does Klein explain how that makes the group "pro-Hamas."
THE LIE: Kevin Jennings, President Obama's safe school czar, "violated a state law" by failing to report that when he was a high school counselor, he "was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an 'older man.' At the very least, statutory rape occurred."
THE TRUTH: The article repeats claims made by the Washington Times and Fox News, citing an audiotape of Jennings relating the story of the student in question during a 2000 speech. But both organizations edited the audio to omit the fact that Jennings expressed concern to the student over sexually transmitted diseases because, he said, "my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before."
Further, the student in question has stated that he was 16 (and thus of legal age of consent) at the time of his counseling by Jennings, and has also stated that he had "no sexual contact with anybody at the time."
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THE LIE: Jennings "counseled a 15-year-old student to keep quiet about being seduced by an older man."
THE TRUTH: Again, the student in question was 16, not 15. Further, as Media Matters detailed, there's no evidence whatsoever that that Jennings told the student to "keep quiet."
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THE LIE: John Holdren, the administration's science czar, "advocated ... compulsory abortions in the U.S." in a textbook he co-wrote in the 1970s.
THE TRUTH: In fact, Holdren was merely repeating a claim that compulsory population-control measures, including abortion, "could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." Even the right-wing Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid found that to be an egregious distortion of the facts, pointing out that "while Holdren can be criticized for including this reference to compulsory abortion, it cannot be said, strictly speaking, that it is necessarily his view."
A Sept. 21 article by Jerome Corsi tried to spin the lie. After noting that PolitiFact pointed out that "the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Clearly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate forced abortions,"Corsi adds: "A close reading of 'Ecoscience,' however, shows the authors clearly stated their acceptance of abortion as an effective population-control technique." But "acceptance" is not the same thing as advocacy. Still, in an Oct. 10 article, Corsi wrote that Holdren "advocated abortion as a means of population control."
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THE LIE: Chai Feldblum, Obama's nominee to become commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "praised polygamy."
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THE LIE: Judicial nominee David Hamilton opposed the invocation of Jesus Christ in public prayers but not the invocation of Allah.
THE LIAR: Phyllis Schlafly, May 6.
THE TRUTH: While Hamilton, as a federal district judge, issued a ruling striking down "sectarian" prayer in the Indiana legislature -- not merely references to Jesus -- he later issued a post-judgment motion clarifying that non-sectarian references to God were permitted.
Another WND columnist issued a different misleading Hamilton attack --Jonathan Falwell stated in a March 28 column that the American Bar Association "rated him as 'not qualified' for his current post." Falwell does not note that Hamilton's ABA rating for his 1994 nomination to the federal district judicial post was based on "his limited number of years practicing at the bar and his lack of trial experience." The ABA rates Hamilton as "well qualified" for his current nomination to the federal circuit court.
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THE LIE: The National Council of La Raza, of which Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been a member, supports reconquista, the idea of Mexico reclaiming parts of the southwestern United States.
THE TRUTH: La Raza has explicitly rejected the idea of "reconquista":
Another misconception about NCLR is the allegation that we support a “Reconquista,” or the right of Mexico to reclaim land in the southwestern United States. NCLR has not made and does not make any such claim; indeed, such a claim is so far outside of the mainstream of the Latino community that we find it incredible that our critics raise it as an issue. NCLR has never supported and does not endorse the notion of a “Reconquista” or “Aztlán.”
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THE LIE: White House communications director Anita Dunn boasted that Obama controls the media.
THE LIAR: Headline, Oct. 18 article by Aaron Klein.
THE TRUTH: The headline reads: "White House boasts: We 'control' news media; Communications chief offers shocking confession to foreign government." But Klein's article makes no such claim, instead stating that "Obama's presidential campaign focused on "making" the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was 'controlled.'" That's the kind of media strategy every major candidate tries to employ.
When it was announced that Dunn would step down from her position at the end of the month, WND tried to take credit for it, with Aaron Klein claiming in a Nov. 10 article that this "makes her the second Obama administration official to step down following controversies on which WND has reported." In fact, Politico reported in April -- months before WND focused on Dunn -- that she was filling the job on an interim basis "until the president settles on a permanent replacement" for previous communications director Ellen Moran.
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THE LIE: Chas Freeman, nominated by Obama to head the National Intelligence Council, is directly tied to Osama bin Laden by once having "business ties to Osama bin Laden's family."
THE TRUTH: Klein failed to report relevant details showing the lack of connection between Osama's terrorism and the bin Laden family's business interests. At no point, for example, does Klein mention the fact that Osama's brother, Bakr bin Laden, publicly renounced Osama bin Laden in a statement released to the media in February 1994. Instead, he claimed that "some bin Laden factions have not disowned Osama" -- but never bothered to identify who they are or prove that Freeman is in any way associated with those "factions."
Even Newsmax's Ronald Kessler -- no slouch at hurling invective at Obama -- agreed that Klein's line of attack was unfair. Kessler wrote in a March 11 column: "To be sure, a few of the criticisms leveled against Freeman were unfair. The fact that Freeman had business dealings with a construction firm owned by Osama bin Laden’s family was a non sequitur. Years before bin Laden began attacking American interests, his family severed ties with him when Saudi Arabia expelled him and confiscated his assets."
Freeman ultimately withdrew his nomination after questions were raised about his financial ties to China and Saudi Arabia.
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THE LIE: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as a member of Latino Justice PRLDEF, "vetoed Miguel Estrada from becoming an appellate judge."
THE LIAR: Jackie Mason, July 16 video.
THE TRUTH: First, Sotomayor was on PRLDEF's board from 1980 to 1992; Estrada wasn't nominated until 2003. Second, while PRLDEF -- not Sotomayor -- opposed Estrada's nomination, it cannot be logically argued that the group "vetoed" it, since only the Senate, of which the PRLDEF is not a member, can approve or disapprove federal judicial nominations. Third, nobody "vetoed" Estrada's nomination, not even the Senate; Estrada withdrew his nomination after Senate Democrats blocked it for two years.
Mason went on in his video to smear Sotomayor, referencing her calm demeanor during her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee: "The answer now is that you deserve a job because you were never rattled. Serial killers very often are not rattled either when you catch them."