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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
WND Scrubs Article to Fix False Claims, Complains About Having To Do It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Leo Hohmann's June 21 WND article has an oddly defensive tone:

A 5-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by two boys at an apartment complex in Twin Falls, Idaho — while a third boy filmed the attack — and some local residents are charging the police and city officials with covering up the fact that the boys are from Muslim immigrant families from Sudan and Iraq.

Although not yet confirmed, the alleged perpetrators — migrant boys ages 14, 10 and 7 — appear to be from refugee families.

At least three local newspapers have tried to discredit the reports of the assault, focusing instead on a few details that were erroneously reported by bloggers while ignoring or downplaying the broader truth of the story — that Muslim migrants stripped down and humiliated a vulnerable little girl.

If not for the alert action of an 89-year-old grandmother, who witnessed “something funny” going on in the community’s laundry room and immediately put a stop to it, the assault may have taken an even worse turn.

Snopes also posted an article debunking the initial false reports about the boys being “Syrian” Muslims but failed to point out that they were indeed Sudanese and Iraqi Muslims.


Earlier reports that multiple “Syrian” refugees had gang-raped the girl “at knife-point” were inaccurate, however.

“There was no gang rape, there was no Syrian involvement, there were no Syrian refugees involved, there was no knife used, there was no inactivity by the police,” Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs told the Spokesman Review, a local newspaper. “I’m looking at the Drudge Report headline: ‘Syrian Refugees Rape Little Girl at Knifepoint in Idaho’ – all false.”

But an attack did occur and it was perpetrated by Muslim migrants.

What Hohmann doesn't tell you: This is not the original article he wrote on the alleged incident.

Talking Points Memo reports that WND is one of the right-wing websites that "reported that a group of Syrian refugees sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl at knife-point. Some versions of the story claimed that the attackers’ fathers cheered the assault and that city officials intentionally covered up the true version of events."

The URL of Hohmann's article gives us the original headline -- "Muslim migrant boys accused of assaulting Idaho girl, 5" -- and an earlier version of that article has been reposted at this website, but it appears to not be an original version as it includes later details that rebut original claims.

Nowhere do Hohmann and WND disclose that the article has been so extensively rewritten that it has a completely different headline. WND even has the capability to indicate updates in a story's dateline, but it has not done so here.

Hohmann's complaining that media outlets interested in reporting facts highlighted "a few details that were erroneously reported by bloggers" while "ignoring or downplaying the broader truth of the story" is rather rich, given that those "few details" promoted by Hohmann (who's apparently a "blogger" now) and others were key facts that were completely wrong.

Hohamnn also complained about those fact-based news organizations pointing out that the original, false story was “pushed by local anti-refugee activists.” and by “conspiracy and anti-Muslim websites.” Hohmann -- who desperately wants to make sure that we know that "an attack did occur and it was perpetrated by Muslim migrants" -- failed to identify identify himself and WND as among the “conspiracy and anti-Muslim websites" who pushed the false story.

Hohmann then quotes one of those "anti-refugee activists," Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch, whom he identifies only as someone "who has been following the refugee program for the past nine years." The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that Corcoran's anti-refugee activism is praised by white nationalist organizations across the country like American Renaissance, the Council of Conservative Citizens and VDARE, and she has even touted AmRen's "good commentary.

So Hohmann quietly scrubs his story to remove false claims without telling readers what changed, whines about the news organizations that waited to get the story right before reporting it, and presents extremists as mere concerned citizens. No wonder WND has no credibility and is in deep financial trouble.

UPDATE: Wonkette notes that WND deleted its original story on the alleged incident, which was apparently stolen from Alex Jones' conspiracy website Infowars.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:29 PM EDT

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