ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Bob Unruh's Parade of Lies and Misinformation

By WND editor Joseph Farah's own standards, he must fire his news editor for his plethora of dishonest reporting. But Unruh remains on the job.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 12/17/2014

Bob Unruh

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah had a perfect chance a couple months ago to walk his talk.

Garth Kant devoted an Oct. 20 WND article to doing his best to clean up after Rep. Michele Bachmann after Politico pointed out her suggestion that she urged the U.S. to declare war on Islam, insisting that "it appears Bachmann is clearly calling for war on the Islamic State" but "never calls for a war on Islam."

Then, Kant quotes his boss opining on the situation:

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah said, “The Politico reporters should be fired immediately for so blatantly misrepresenting Michele Bachmann’s comments – especially given the threats from ISIS.”

If that's the standard that must be followed, then Farah must immediately fire one of his WND news editors, Bob Unruh, for his own blatant misrepresentation of the words of another.

An Aug. 8 WND article by Unruh promoted a right-wing attack against a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston. Unruh quotes only critics of the ordinance and can't be bothered to talk to any supporter of it.

Because Unruh is a propagandist and not a reporter, he repeats several falsehoods about the ordinance and its supporters, as he is prone to do when reporting on LGBT issues. For instance, he attacked Houston Mayor Annise Parker, claiming that "The ordinance was adopted 11-6 by the Houston City Council on the insistence of Parker, who has acknowledged it’s 'all about me.'"

We could not find the original source of Parker being quoted as saying the ordinance was "all about me." We did find, however, a similar statement that, when put into context, shows that Parker is not making the narcissistic statement Unruh portrays her as saying. From the Houston Business Journal:

"This is personal. It is not academic. It is my life that is being discussed," said Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. city. "It applies to the range of protected groups ... but the debate is about me. It is about two gay men at this table. It is very intensely personal."

That's much different than Unruh's made-up quote. It's not the narcissistic statement Unruh's fraudulent misquote of Parker suggests it is, but an admission of how the non-discrimination ordinance directly affects her.

But then, Unruh's not much interested in facts, despite claiming to be a reporter.

So uninterested in facts is Unruh that he repeated the false "all about me" quote again in an Oct. 13 article. Two days later, though, he adjusted it slightly, writing that "Parker, a lesbian, has admitted the anti-discrimination ordinance is 'all about' her and her lifestyle." The quote is still wrong -- she never said "all about."

On Oct. 16, Unruh dropped the fraudulent quotes altogether, claiming that Parker "has said the issue is all about her own lifestyle choice." But that's a lie too -- Unruh offers no evidence that Parker has ever referred to homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice." That phrase is a construct by anti-gay activists like Unruh who don't want to admit homosexuality can be inborn.

Unruh reverted to his previous lie in an Oct. 18 article, claiming Parker "admitted" the ordinance "was all about her."

At no point did Unruh provide a link to an original source for his fraudulent quote of Parker.

All of that happened before Farah declared that anyone who "blatantly misrepresent[s]" quotes should be "fired immediately." Apparently, that doesn't apply when the reporter in question is one of his own employees.

After all, Farah has rather proudly admitted that his website publishes misinformation. And Unruh has proven himself to be a master misinformer, which his insistence on reporting only the side he agrees with no matter how contradictory to reality it is.

Indeed, Unruh's parade of misinformation has continued unabated since Farah's toothless threat that he's too cowardly to carry out himself.

More misinformation

An Oct. 27 WND article by Unruh carried the urgently worded headline "Stone-throwing Muslims bloody Christians in MICHIGAN."

It's not until you start reading the article that the fraudulent nature of the headline quickly becomes clear: The incident in question happened two years ago, and the story is about a proceeding in a lawsuit related to the incident.

That's not to say Unruh isn't dishonest in the article -- this is Bob Unruh, after all. As usual, he reports only one side of the story, heavy on criticism of the "rock-throwing Muslim mob," and curiously disappears all information on why the Muslims might have been throwing rocks at them in the first place.

As ConWebWatch previously documented when WND last failed to tell the truth about this incident, the "Christian" group was headed by inflammatory street preacher Ruben Israel, who was carrying a severed pig's head because, he told police, Muslims are “petrified” of pigs and so it “keeps them at bay.” The supposedly Christian group was also shouting at the Muslims that they are going to hell and their religion is a lie.

Unruh's article includes a heavily edited video of the incident that conveniently omits Ruben Israel's pig's head and other provocative behavior of the so-called Christians.

The article pushes the views of the lawyers for the "Christians," the right-wing American Freedom Law Center, claiming that law enforcement personnel "stood by" while the incident occurred. But as one blogger who observed unedited video of the entire incident pointed out, police intervened several times and that Muslims tried to calm the incident.

Unruh also uncritically forwarded the Law Center's claims that this is a First Amendment issue. Not only doesn't Unruh mention that members of Israel's group were shouting things like "You’re a disgusting Muslim. You’re on your way to the devil’s hand" and "You're a wicked Muslim," we weren't aware that a severed pig's head was a form of speech. Perhaps the Law Center would like to explain how that can be, but Unruh made no effort to find out.

Unruh served as a stenographer for right-wing legal groups again in a Nov. 23 article:

A Marine veteran of the Iraq war who refused to retreat when his daughter was forced in a high-school class to affirm “Allah is the same god that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism” hasn’t given up on his mission.

John Kevin Wood and his wife, Melissa, now are being represented by the Thomas More Law Center in a lawsuit against La Plata High School in Maryland over “Islamic indoctrination” in an 11th grade World History class.

The case drew national attention when John Wood was banned from entering school property after he objected to assignments to affirm statements such as the “Quran is the word of Allah revealed to Muhammad in the same way that Jews and Christians believe the Torah and the Gospels were revealed to Moses and the New Testament writers.”

In grand Unruh tradition, he got the vast majority of his information from the right-wing Thomas More Law Center and makes no effort to contact the school district in question for a response. If Unruh had bothered to do some actual reporting instead of stenography, he would know that some of his information is wrong.

As Snopes detailed, Wood was not "banned from entering school property" for objecting to the assignment. School officials say Wood "threatened to cause problems that would potentially disrupt the safety" of the school.

The school also points out that the lesson is not “Islamic indoctrination” but, in fact, an analysis of the culture of the Middle East, and students are not religiously indoctrinated.

Unruh is not simply acting a the Thomas More Law Center's stenographer (for which we hope they're paying him well for his abandonment of journalistic principles), he's also regurgitating the TMLC's anti-Islam propaganda, such as the baseless claim that "The assignment required her to affirm that ‘Allah is the same god that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism’ and that the ‘Quran is the word of Allah revealed to Mohammad in the same way that Jews and Christians believe the Torah and the Gospels were revealed to Moses and the New Testament writers.’ "

Perpetuating ex-chaplain's lie

In a Dec. 2 WND article, Unruh is unusually eager to let us know that the judge who ruled against right-wing activist and former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt is "openly lesbian," even though he offers no evidence that the judge's sexual orientation played any role whatsoever in the ruling.

As is usual for Unruh's shoddy journalism, he doesn't directly quote from the judge's decision, for which he also refused to provide a link -- usually a sign he's trying to hide something. Rather, he quotes Klingenschmitt purporting to paraphrase the judge:

“Although Judge Elaine Kaplan ruled against me, at least she affirmed how I was vindicated by the U.S. Congress, who rescinded [military regulation] 1730.7C after it was enforced against me in the Navy court,” he continued.

“She also admitted in her ruling that the government really did punish me, a Navy chaplain, for quoting the Bible in chapel, which would be protected by the First Amendment, but this judge refused to correct the Navy’s obvious abuse of power.

“She also acknowledged that I had written permission to wear my uniform during ‘public worship’ but that my prayers offered in Jesus’ name at a press conference did not qualify as ‘public worship,’” he said.

“Finally, she acknowledged I was punished for writing to my congressman and the president, but again claimed she didn’t have jurisdiction to enforce whistleblower laws. My lawyer and I plan to immediately appeal this bad ruling, and again later if necessary all the way to the Supreme Court,” Klingenschmitt told WND.

Given that Klingenschmitt is personally invested in the case, he's hardly an objective source. In fact, Unruh is working with Klingenschmitt to perpetuate a lie: that he was removed as a Navy chaplain for praying in Jesus' name.

As Kaplan's ruling make clear, Klingenschmitt was removed as a Navy chaplain because he prayed at a political event while in uniform, and he was warned beforehand by his superiors that not to participate in the event while in uniform.

This is the event that Unruh let Klingenschmitt describe as a "press conference" and Unruh himself described as a "public worship event." Kaplan noted that Klingenschmitt's commanding officer said that given that "the event was being organized by a clergy lobbyist group, I have strong reservations about whether this event will, indeed, be a bona fide religious service or observance, rather than a demonstration or assembly to promote personal or partisan views on political, social, or religious issues."

Kaplan pointed out that “The Order did not limit Dr. Klingenschmitt’s right to engage in any religious practices (including presenting an opening prayer at the event or invoking the name of Jesus in his prayer). It simply prohibited Dr. Klingenschmitt from engaging in this activity while wearing his uniform at what was clearly a political event and not, as Dr. Klingenschmitt seems to suggest, a bona fide religious service.”

Unruh tried to downplay the significance of Kaplan's ruling: "Technically, the judge granted the government’s motion for a judgment on the case’s administrative record and her determination her court lacked jurisdiction over some issues." In fact, Kaplan pretty much demolished Klingenschmitt's claims:

Dr. Klingenschmitt has failed to establish that there was any violation of law, rule, or regulation in connection with the separation process itself. Thus, the Court can find no basis for Dr. Klingenschmitt’s contention that neither the CARE board nor the Assistant Secretary had before them an adequate record on which to judge Klingenschmitt’s suitability to be recertified and retained.

Indeed, at the oral argument in this matter, counsel for Dr. Klingenschmitt abandoned his argument that the administrative record before the Court was incomplete, and acknowledged that he had no basis for challenging the government’s representation that it included at AR 1977-2127 the entire record considered by both the CARE board and the Assistant Secretary.


Finally, Dr. Klingenschmitt’s claim that the decision not to recertify him constituted reprisal for constitutionally protected activity is not supported by the administrative record before the Court. As the court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit observed, “[b]ecause mandatory, the Secretary’s initiation of separation proceedings could not have been motivated by retaliatory animus.” Klingenschmitt v. Winter, 275 F. App’x. at 13. Moreover, the administrative record reveals that the ultimate decision not to recertify Dr. Klingenschmitt was based on performance deficiencies and misconduct that were, as described above, unrelated to the content of his sermons or any other even arguably protected activity.

In that regard, the Court finds unpersuasive Dr. Klingenschmitt’s argument that his First Amendment right to practice his religious beliefs was infringed by Captain Pyle’s Order that he not wear his uniform to the media event held in Lafayette Park in March 2006. Captain Pyle’s Order was based on Navy regulations that prohibit the wearing of a uniform in connection with political activities. ... The Order did not limit Dr. Klingenschmitt’s right to engage in any religious practices (including presenting an opening prayer at the event or invoking the name of Jesus in his prayer). It simply prohibited Dr. Klingenschmitt from engaging in this activity while wearing his uniform at what was clearly a political event and not, as Dr. Klingenschmitt seems to suggest, a bona fide religious service. Therefore, taking this infraction into consideration in deciding whether to recertify Dr. Klingenschmitt as a chaplain did not violate either his First Amendment rights or RFRA.

In short, the record fails to support a showing of any causal connection between any protected activity and Dr. Klingenschmitt’s separation. For that reason, and because his other challenges to the lawfulness of the recertification process are without merit, the Court concludes that the Navy’s decision not to recertify Dr. Klingenschmitt, which resulted in his administrative separation from the Navy, was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor contrary to law.

In other words, as Right Wing Watch points out, Klingenschmitt's entire career as a WND-promoted right-wing activist facing religious persecution is based on a myth. But because Unruh has no interest whatsoever in reporting facts and cares only about promoting false propaganda, WND readers learn none of this and are being told to believe that the myth is true.

* * *

Farah has been given ample opportunity to fire, or at least punish, Unruh for his deceptive and false reporting, but Unruh continues to work at WND apparently unfettered and undisciplined. Either Farah doesn't believe in living up to his own words, or he thinks Unruh is too valuable a misinformer to be dismissed.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2014 Terry Krepel