Anatomy Of A Cain-Gasm
WorldNetDaily helped promote the presidential campaign of Joseph Farah's friend, Herman Cain. But when allegations of sexual improprieties kept popping up, Farah didn't want to talk about it.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily was pushing for Herman Cain to run for president long before he actually entered the race.
A fawning July 2010 profile by Chelsea Schilling (best known for getting stuff wrong and writing a similarly slobbering profile of birther queen Orly Taitz) depicted Cain -- who has written a weekly column for WND since August 2009 -- as "President Obama's worst nightmare a business mastermind, a natural problem solver and a black man of 'substance' who says he would 'take the race card off the table' in a challenge against Obama as the GOP presidential candidate in 2012." WND editor Joseph Farah followed up a few days later by expressing his pleasure at "my friend Herman Cain's willingness and openness to the challenge," adding, "He's clearly another super-qualified candidate if the American people are willing to support a nonpolitician for the presidency. I am. He's got my support if he can prove himself in the heat of political battle, which I think he can."
When Cain did decide to enter the Republican presidential race in May of this year, WND never bothered to suspend publication of his column -- indeed, it published Cain's column announcing his presidential run. That was a clear sign, along with Farah's friendship, that WND would put partisanship ahead of journalistic ethics regarding Cain. (By contrast, Fox News suspended paid commentators Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum when their presidential ambitions became clear.)
"I watched the South Carolina Republican presidential debate Thursday, and I thought Herman Cain won hands down," Farah declared in his May 7 column. Noting that "I know Herman Cain personally. I've seen him in many other venues. I've heard him speak many times," Farah proclaimed Cain as a "exciting candidate" and declared that Cain is "entirely acceptable to me" as "my presidential candidate to oppose Barack Obama's re-election in 2012."
When Cain started surging in the polls in early October, few were more thrilled than WND. Enthusiasm abounded across the website -- a Cain-gasm, if you will. Needless to say, Farah was the leader of that bandwagon:
It looks like a genuine, home-spun, non-politician, conservative candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is emerging.
-- Oct. 7
I have to admit, when I first heard from Cain himself that he was going to seek the presidency, long before he made it public, I was, shall we say, skeptical.
-- Oct. 13
The best news to date is the unexpectedly positive response from the public to Herman Cain's candidacy. He is not just seen as a great new voice in Republican politics someone who makes the debates more interesting. He is perceived as the favorite candidate among the grass-roots Republican voters nationwide, according to an increasing number of polls.
-- Oct. 16
Many of WND's columnists also hopped aboard the Cain train:
In the spring of 1969, Herman Cain and I independently came to the same decision; we would start our graduate studies at Purdue University in the fall.
-- Jack Cashill, Oct. 12
What makes Herman Cain so interesting is the passion and clarity of his view of American freedom and his Reagan-like ability to communicate and excite grass-roots Americans.
-- Star Parker, Oct. 14
Any unbiased observer watching the current Republican presidential contest is aware that Herman Cain is causing a great deal of heartburn for the far left. Recently, Cain was verbally assaulted by a college professor and a celebrity. It was an unprovoked assault owing to the fact that Cain had the "audacity" to imply that "brainwashed" blacks should be allowed to "think for themselves."
-- Ben Kinchlow, Oct. 16
Rove and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus may want Romney but if the Party were smart, they'd be on bent knees with crucifixes, rosaries, or whatever, praying that Herman Cain would win. Herman's winning may not be the death knell, but it would deal the left a blow from which they and their minions would never fully recover. It would change the face of conservative politics and elections for the foreseeable future.
-- Mychal Massie, Oct. 17
Herman Cain would make a great president of the United States. He is my candidate, and he has a good chance of becoming the candidate of the Republican Party.
-- Tom Tancredo, Oct. 21
A couple of WND columnists, though, were not fully on board with WND's Cainiac agenda. Vox Day delcared in May that, as a former Federal Reserve regional official, "Herman Cain is far too financially and economically dubious to be given any serious thought as a conservative presidential candidate."
Alan Keyes was not happy with Cain either, asserting that "Herman Cain's professed beliefs are not deeply rooted or thought through enough to stand strong against the storm. He falls far short of being the person the nation needs in the White House to help us do so." Keyes was also put out by Cain's supposed joke that he would electrify a border fence: "Since from its beginning, America has acknowledged God as the source of human rights; joking about measures that affect the unalienable right to life comes dangerously close to mocking Him."
The Cain-gasm winds down
When it was reported that a previous Cain employer, the National Restaurant Association, had settled two sexual harassment complaints made by women against Cain, WND began responding in the usual way, by defending Cain and trying to smear the accusers.
(Brown, meanwhile, has no qualms about invoking those same ugly racial stereotypes against a black man he hates -- President Obama. Two weeks after his WND column appeared, the Farah-founded Western Journalism Center he heads published an article asking why the media is ignoring "substantial allegations" of gay sex made by Larry Sinclair. The article ignored the fact that Sinclair is utterly discredited.)
Barry Farber followed up with a Nov. 8 column invoking the Clinton Equivocation:
Cain's sex crimes, even as alleged, were nowhere near as egregious as Bill Clinton's. Did Clinton stop when she said "Stop!"? Did he drive her back to the hotel when she asked? That doesn't excuse Herman Cain if he's guilty. But it makes me feel less freaky standing by Herman Cain. And none of Clinton's victims needed Gloria Allred. Some sculptors work in clay. Some work in stone. Allred works in sleaze.
On Nov. 9, Jane Chastain went on a bizarre series of "just asking" queries designed to another alleged Cain harassment victim, Sharon Bialek:
There are 50 states in this country. What are the odds that the first woman to come forward with tawdry details of a distasteful encounter with presidential candidate Herman Cane [sic] lives in the state that elevated Barack Obama to the U.S. Senate? I'm just asking.
A Nov. 13 WND column by Gina Loudon and Dathan Paterno engaged in some shoddy armchair analysis of Herman Cain and his accusers. Loudon and Paterno insist that Cain can't possibly be guilty of sexual harassment because he's neither a rapist nor a Casanova, while smearing Bialek by baselessly insisting that she "craves money, drama and attention" and that "her personality profile fits perfectly into the contrived victim/false accuser role."
Meanwhile, in the two weeks after the harassment stories began to surface in late October, one WND voice was conspicuously absent: Joseph Farah. He wrote nary a word about it in his weekday column; when he did finally did, it wasn't at WND.
From the Nov. 14 edition of Sean Hannity's Fox News show:
FARAH: From a journalistic perspective, there's nothing to report about the charges about Herman Cain. And that's the thing I think that everybody's missing.
Farah's sudden spasm of journalistic ethics when it comes to Cain runs completely counter to WND's normal way of doing business. WND publishes unsubstantiated and uncorroborated stories all the time, as indicated by the sheer number of anonymous sources that appear in WND articles -- not to mention the fact that WND eagerly embraced the discredited and unsubstantiated Larry Sinclair.
And Farah's contention that the sexual harassment accusations against Cain are "nothing to report" is laughable considering WND's own warped and demented news judgment. (Defending stalkers, anyone?) It was just a few weeks ago WND determined that an ad buy by Cain on Rush Limbaugh's radio show merited a bylined "news" article.
Farah wouldn't know a "journalistic perspective" if it gave him a Masonic handshake. After all, Farah has declared he's not a journalist anymore, remember?
Even after that, Farah maintained his silence on his "friend" at WND. But when allegations of an affair by Cain surfaced, that was the final straw. The first sign: WND tried to unload Cain's autobiography for fire-sale prices, while it was still worth anything at all.
There's an air of resignation in the sales pitch in a Nov. 29 WND article:
It was a bold plan, he told us.
That's an exceptionally cynical and insincere pitch, even for Farah. He knows what Cain books don't sell now is heading straight for the remainder bin, and he doesn't want to take a bath on the losses.
That fire sale seemed to serve as a cue for WND columnists to similarly throw in the towel. Jane Chastain -- who just two weeks earlier was denigrating Cain's accusers -- wrote in her Nov. 30 column:
As a presidential candidate, Herman Cain is done. He is toast!
Jerry McGlothlin, meanwhile, asserted that Cain "went from frontrunner to a perceived moral failure." Then again, he's so far-right that he also thinks Mitt Romney's Mormonism is "problematic," and he complains that Ron Paul won't ban abortion and "leaves important moral matters like abortion and drug use to individual states to decide. The problem is that as long as there is a single state that allows abortion, people will cross state lines to get what they want." He ultimately concludes, like Farah: "The only man left standing is a woman. Her name is Michele Bachman, and she's set for a second surge."
Vox Day, never a Cain fan in the first place, went the route of barely veiled racism: "To no one's surprise, except perhaps those Republicans in desperate search of a get-out-of-racism-free card, the Magic Negro, Part II: Republican edition has 'suspended' his campaign, thus marking the latest collapse of a nominal frontrunner." He goes on to lament, "If we are to take the polls seriously, this leaves Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination, which is arguably the least attractive leadership pair on offer since the Polish people were divided between Hitler and Stalin."
(This extreme approach isn't new to Day: He has previously declared that Americans needed to "reclaim their traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture," and he has lamented "the new white man's burden," which is "to plant seeds of Christian civilization that are capable of surviving the coming descent into savagery.")
Massie went the unbridled-anger route -- not at Cain's alleged behavior (Massie wrote on his personal website that the woman who claimed that she had an affair with Cain is just "another loser trying to cash in," a sentiment Cain apparently liked so much it has been republished on his campaign website) but at the supposed conspiracy that torpedoed his candidacy:
The attacks against Herman Cain came from diabolical apparatchiks in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Both parties hated and feared him Democrats, because Herman threatens to break the locks used to keep blacks, women and the so-called poor and minorities imprisoned on an invisible plantation where the cash crop was no longer cotton, but rather victimology and blame. Republicans, because he threatened to undo that which they cherish most graft and a country-club lifestyle achieved by corrupting the financial processes.
("Erebusic" is one of Massie's favorite words.)
Dennis Prager, meanwhile, went a completely different and weird direction, condoning adultery as long as it's done discreetly and by the right people:
But there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed first: What does adultery tell us about a person? For many Americans, the answer is: "Pretty much all we need to know." This certainly seems to be the case with regard to presidential candidates. The view is expressed this way: "If he can't keep his vows to his wife, how can we trust him to keep his vows to his country?"
Prager, of course, went on to deny that he was condoning adultery.
And Farah himself finally weighed in on Cain's peccadillos on his own website for the first time in his Dec. 2 column:
Herman Cain, a fresh face showed promise and raised the hopes of tea-party activists around the country with a strong popular showing. But, whether he knows it or not, his moral character and honesty has been questioned one too many times by one too many women for him to continue a serious bid for the presidency.
Farah then begged readers to "ask God for a little miracle this year" in the form of a "Michele Miracle." Why has Farah thrown his support to Michele Bachmann? "She's the real deal, folks. She's 100 percent. She's gaffe-proof. She's smarter than Newt, but doesn't brag about it half as much. She's honest. She's sincere. And she really believes in what she says."
The only question left: whether Farah will allow a man whose "moral character and honesty has been questioned" to remain a WND columnist. Then again, Farah still allows Ann Coulter's column to appear, despite Coulter not being anti-gay enough for Farah's tastes, because WND needs the traffic she draws.
And that seems to be our answer: Cain is a friend of Farah's, and WND can use all the traffic it can get, so Cain is in all likelihood staying right where he is.