a man whose newborn child was taken into custody by state officials over his alleged links to a right-wing extremist group who had what state officials called "a lengthy history of domestic violence";
a birther hero who associated with a self-proclaimed "pro-White" radio host;
a man whom WND claimed was arrested for questioning Obama's "eligibility," burying the fact that he was actually arrested for allegedly trying to incite a riot by trying to perform a citizen's arrest on a county official; and
a man who was criticized for, in WND's words, "a commentary acknowledging the smudges on the character of Martin Luther King, Jr." when, in fact, he was reading a commentary pulled from a website operated by the neo-Nazi group Stormfront.
With such an unsavory history, you'd think WND would pay more attention to the people behind the causes it promotes.
Apparently not. Meet WND's newest poster boy.
Joe Kovacs wrote in a Sept. 29 article headlined "Man ordered to surrender guns just for blogging!":
An Arizona man has filed a federal lawsuit against some of the state's top judges, claiming they're taking away his freedom of speech and right to own firearms, all because someone didn't like what he wrote on his blog.
"You can't suspend someone's constitutional rights [for blogging]," said Mike Palmer, who is bringing forth the legal action. "Everybody in America blogs or Twitters, so it's a First and Second Amendment issue."
The scenario started when Palmer, a 55-year-old Christian missionary from Phoenix, was online discussing "spiritual death" often referred to in the Bible.
But, according to the suit, a woman from Prescott, Ariz., Melody Thomas-Morgan, complained to authorities that Palmer was threatening her with "death," keeping that word in quotes in her legal filings.
Palmer explains, "It is true that the blog, 'That Woman Jezebel,' talks about spiritual life and spiritual death. ... Spiritual 'death' as in 'The wages of sin is death.' (Romans 6:23) ... It is not true that the blog ever mentions the 'death' of Miss Thomas-Morgan."
Kenton Jones, superior court judge for Yavapai County, went along with the woman's harassment complaint and ordered Palmer to surrender his guns.
As Kovacs did in telling the story of Tim Adams -- the birther hero who associated with white supremacists -- he failed to report numerous crucial details -- like exactly why a blogger would face having his firearms taken away. It turns out that Palmer is an online stalker obsessed with a woman, Melody Thomas-Morgan, and started a blog about her titled That Woman Jezebel. Thomas-Morgan felt threatened by what he wrote about her. Kovacs manages to avoid directly mentioning any of the evidence that led to the restraining order being issued against him. (Curiously, Kovacs doesn't use the term "restraining order" to describe what was issued against Palmer.)
According to Thomas-Morgan's statement to the court, Palmer is "close friends and spiritual mentor" to her ex-husband. She writes that Palmer sent her a "sympathy card (for my death, a 'self-inflicted head wound') ... as well as continual letters full of libel against me, sent to my pastor and family members." Thomas-Morgan also stated that Palmer "makes sexual references" about her three young children in his blog. She continues:
In the past, Mr. Palmer, when visiting our home (pre-Dissolution), would oftentimes warn me not to make any fast moves around him because he might "accidentially" go into martial arts mode and do a quick chop to my neck and kill me. He also told women in our church that women breast feed for sexual pleasure (personally, never met a one); and told women in the congregation that they sould not wear deodorant because it could cause breast cancer. Obviously, this is NOT normal behavior.
Mr. Palmer's harrassment of me is continuous and must end. None of what he says about me is true. And what he does say about me and my children is harmful and fear-producing.
A transcript of the hearing on the restraining order reveals that Palmer -- who has depicted himself as "Jeremiah, the Weeping Angel" -- sent letters to Thomas-Morgan's then-future son-in-law, as well as his father and her minister, making claims about her that she says aren't true. In granting the restraining order, the judge said of Palmer:
Speech is not totally free, and in reviewing the letters written to the minister, to the son-in-law, honestly, you're frightening. You seem to think that your evangelicism gives you the right to make accusations of any nature against people and send those out to their friends, their relatives. It's amazing.
Needless to say, Kovacs does not mention the judge's comments -- or anything else that would suggest that what Palmer did to warrant the restraining order against him involved a lot more than "blogging."
This is who Kovacs wants to see fully armed -- an malicious online stalker who is clearly trying to vindictively destroy a woman's life and who even the judge in the case considers "frightening." This is who Kovacs wants to put forward as a Second Amendment poster boy.
An Oct. 10 WND article by Bob Unruh kept up the support, as well as the obscuring of facts. Unruh wrote that the woman Palmer is targeting is merely a "reader" of the blog who "complained that the online discussion was a threat to her life." In fact, the woman is the entire focus of the blog; Palmer is specifically attacking her and making threatening statements toward her.
This was followed by an Oct. 21 article (this one unbylined) that again takes the side of Palmer and hides the real facts of the case. As before, WND narrowly focused on the loss of Palmer's gun rights as a result of a restraining order against him and discusses in only the vaguest of terms why there is a restraining order in the first place:
The summary suspension of 2nd Amendment rights for Mike Palmer, a 55-year-old Christian missionary from Phoenix, was issued in a complaint by Melody Thomas-Morgan of Prescott, Ariz., who charged that an online discussion was a threat to her life.
The discussion concerned the "wages of sin is death," and the reader claimed that Palmer was threatening her with "death," with that word in quotes in the legal filings.
In fact, there is no "discussion" occurring here -- only creepy online attacks by an obsessed man.
One thing was conspicuously missing from all of WND's articles on Palmer -- the views of Palmer's victim, Melody Thomas-Morgan.
In a email to ConWebWatch, Thomas-Morgan confirms that WND made no attempt to contact her regarding its stories on Palmer. She also stated that there are good reasons why Palmer should not be allowed to possess weapons as part of the anti-harassment order against him:
a. Mike Palmer sent me a Hallmark sympathy card, for my death. In it, he wrote out a page of sentiments including that I died from “a self-inflicted head wound”.
b. He continually states that I am dead. (One can call me any name they want, my given name, my married name, my middle name, my nickname, etc., etc., but I the same person; even if you called me “Hey, you!”) I clearly established a pattern of behavior on Mike Palmer's part. This is key in harassment cases.
c. He left a gun on the bed of my then seven year old son at my son's father's house. It was dad's visitation day, my son walked into his bedroom and saw the gun on the bed.
d. He made it clear to every member of our family many years ago when he would visit my then- husband in order to “pray”, where he kept his gun in his automobile. He would also identify the defensive weapons that he had on his body. He would make the point that he was armed.
e. Most concerning to me is that he made sexual references to my minor children in his blog. Accusing a fourteen year old of engaging in sexual activityeither by choice or not (not by choice is rape, right?). He has since (being served Injunction Against Harassment) changed the wording. He also accuses one child of engaging in porn on the computer (something this son's father was actually “caught” in.)
f. Mike Palmer has referred to himself as “Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet”, reminiscent of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. He believes himself to be a modern day prophet and thus, from his mouth comes “God's Word”. This is maybe the most concerning issue. He thinks he speaks for God, and could quite possibly act on His behalf.
Thomas-Morgan further stated that her ex-husband "sent out (I am sure with Palmer's help) a cd and family pix to 600 households (1200 to 1300 people, including children) in our small community about my supposed 'sin' and finishing with some verse from Ezekiel about God taking the sinner's life. Their supposed commitment to the Word of God (their version of it), is what is concerning."
In her email, Thomas-Morgan also criticized WND's Kovacs and Unruh for their biased coverage, pointing out that this case "is about one thing only: harassment," and that they "need to do a little more research":
Joe and Bob: Have you ever thought to ask yourselves a most obvious question? Who and what is Mike Palmer and why is he even thinking about me? I will tell you.
He does not know me; he knows my ex-husband.
I stood up and said “no” to an abusive husband, and then all hell broke loose (including Mike Palmer's attempt to inject himself into our family dynamic). Maybe you should investigate the abuse and the rights of children (children unable to go to any organized school because that is “sin”--only homeschooling is acceptable to God); daughters being unable to work outside the home or be involved in society; ultimately, no child going to college because they would have to do college school work in the home; future husbands of the daughters would have to own outright a home and he would also have to sign a legal agreement that the daughter would never work outside the home and that any grandchildren would be home schooled; complete obedience to the father because otherwise you are disobeying God and not loving God; no one in the household allowed to have a differing opinion than the father. I could go on.
Mike Palmer sent me a Hallmark sympathy card for my “recent passing” from a “self-inflicted head wound”. He talked about my “death throes”. He showed up at every hearing, even the one to get my name changed. He sent a letter to my employer saying that I may murder children; posted that I may murder seniors; accused me of adultery and even named the supposed mystery man; lied about me having to go on food stamps (I got on food stamps because my then-husband cut me off completely from all sources of our personal finances. I raised our children and home schooled them; had no work experience);
Mike Palmer is my ex-husband's spiritual mentor and close friend. He would visit my ex and “pray” and spend the night. Ex-husband has told the minor children how he looks up to Mike Palmer and his supposed spiritual maturity. Mike Palmer also took pictures of the children and then went home and blew them up in sizeoffering them as a gift to the children.
Maybe Joe and Bob, you need to do a little more research before you publish things. Mike Palmer does not know me at all; all of the information he has published regarding me and my children is false (and came from a twisted source). His comments about the sexual activity of my children is totally inappropriate (I noted that he changed a few items after being served the Injunction Against Harassment.) The one child's supposed pornography site on the computer is most likely from his father. And why would my ex-husband and Mike Palmer be looking at pornography on the computer?
This case is NOT about freedom of speech, it is NOT about freedom of religion, and it is NOT about rights of bearing arms. It is about one thing only: harassment.
On a deeper level, it is really about freedom. Freedom to have your own opinion. Freedom to think your own thoughts, be educated, mix in society, have friends, get a job, dress as you want to dress, and free to be your own person. And that is why I will continue to stand and say “no” to these two men: because my children are worth it.
WND, sadly, appears to have decided that Mike Palmer's right to possess a gun is more important than Melody Thomas-Morgan's right to be free of harassment and fear.