Joseph Farah spends his Feb. 18 column bashing "an Internet pundit out there in the blogosphere whose name I will not utter" over her attacks on WND's Aaron Klein, accusing him of stealing story ideas from her blog.
Since Farah won't utter her name, we will: Debbie Schlussel, who is, ironically, a former WND columnist -- which Farah curiously fails to mention. We've detailed Schlussel's special brand of crazy in her work for WND in the early 2000s.
We're not going to get into the particulars of Schlussel's accusations against Klein or Farah's response to them (other than to note that Klein has a history of gleaning anti-Obama story ideas from right-wing blogs, including Schlussel's). Some of Farah's peripheral claims defending Klein, however, deserve attention. For instance, Farah wrote:
She attempted to defame Klein by alleging that he "had to retract a story he made up, claiming that Fox News paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release."
This statement is a total fabrication. The article was never retracted! Actually we defended it! And it remains posted permanently in the WND archives for anyone to view – even an investigative sleuth like the blogger in question.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. While Klein did not explicitly claim that Fox News "paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release," the tone of Klein's article heavily implied that it did. It was only afterwards that Klein and WND walked things back a bit and definitively stated that Fox News didn't pay the ransom (but also misleadingly insisting that the article did as well).
Farah also wrote:
But even those lies were not sufficient for said blogger. She continued to target the Middle East's most courageous reporter, Aaron Klein, who risks his life interviewing some of the most dangerous people in the world, by writing: "Muslims in Gaza he claims to have interviewed never heard of the guy."
It must be easy hurling those kinds of libelous insults from the safe confines of her easy chair in the United States. However, Aaron Klein doesn't use anonymous sources when he quotes senior terrorist leaders in Gaza and many of the most prominent Islamists in the world. He names names. He records many of his interviews.
That's not exactly true either. We've noted numerous instances of Klein attributing claims to anonymous sources, including terrorist leaders in Gaza. Indeed, a Feb. 16 article by Klein quotes "a top PA [Palestinian Authority] negotiator" who was "speaking on condition of anonymity" making a claim about Obamathat is not subtantiated anywhere in the article. A Feb. 2 article by Klein similarly quotes "top PA officials... speaking on condition their names be withheld" making similar unsubstantiated claims about Obama. That's part and parcel of Klein's guilt-by-association smear campaign against Obama.
The topper, though, is Farah's claim that the unnamed Schlussel is making "reckless, irresponsible accusations."That's WND's job -- from publishing false claims about a supporter of Al Gore to peddling bogus documents and repeated lies about Obama, WND is the very definition of reckless and irresponsible.
Will Farah ever hold his own website to the same standards he hold Schlussel? Don't count on it.