Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily has a terminal case of Obama Derangement Syndrome -- and it's a particularly bad case, given that it feels it needs to make up things as a result. This time, WND tried to keep some of its usual fingerprints off the fabrications, publishing stories from other sources pushing the unproven idea that Barack Obama murdered his chef.
The coverage began with a July 25 article from the Western Journal -- an organization descended from a nonprofit WND editor Joseph Farah founded in the 1990s -- noting the Obama family's statements on the drowning of chef Tafari Campbell. A July 30 article republished from the notoriously unreliable and libel-infested Gateway Pundit, however, heavily pushed the murder angle:
Just a week following the unexpected and rather tragic death of their personal chef and friend, Tafari Campbell, the Obamas were spotted out and about, seemingly unscathed and unaffected.
Barack and Michelle Obama were spotted at the Vineyard Golf Club and Farm Neck Country Club, respectively, according to exclusive photos obtained by Daily Mail. The pictures are the first public glimpse of the Obamas since the loss of their dear friend and personal chef.
Dressed in a green polo shirt and white shorts, Barack Obama was seen engaged in a round of golf at the exclusive Vineyard Golf Club. The former president, noticeably bearing bandaged fingers, which causes speculations online.
Citizen journalist Travis of Flint, Michigan wrote, “just days after his personal chef and friend died in a very mysterious paddle boarding accident, Barack Obama appears to have injured fingers and a black eye. We still don’t know who the other person was and Obama loves paddle boarding. I think we can all guess what happened at this point!”
The story was accompanied by a WND reader poll that asked, "Do you suspect Barack Obama's injuries are somehow related to the death of his personal chef?" A total of 94 percent of readers said yes.
WND followed this with an Aug. 1 article from the slightly less unreliable Western Journal, which repeated some of that bogus speculation:
The identity of a second paddle-boarder with former President Barack Obama's chef when he drowned at Martha's Vineyard has been partially revealed.
The U.K. Daily Mail reported Monday, "A female staff member of Barack Obama had been with chef Tafari Campbell when he tragically drowned while paddle-boarding in a pond beside the former president's estate" on July 23.
"The woman, who was on a separate paddle board, had tried in vain to reach Campbell after he had fallen off but was ultimately forced to return to shore to summon help," the news outlet added.
There was speculation online that perhaps former President Obama had been with Campbell when he drowned.
The Daily Mail reported that all the members of the Obama family -- Barack, former first lady Michelle Obama and the couple's daughters Sasha and Malia -- were away from the estate when the accident happened.
Meanwhile, state officials ruled Campbell's drowning to be an accident. But conspiracy theories have always been more important than the truth at WND, so it published an Aug. 27 article from the Western Journal all but accusing the Obamas of a cover-up of some kind:
If Barack and Michelle Obama were actually trying to build up conspiracy theories around the still-murky death of the family's personal chef in July, they couldn't be doing a much better job.
As the Boston Herald reported on Tuesday, the office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner last week officially ruled the death of Tafari Campbell an accidental drowning, but so little information has been released about the circumstances that First Amendment advocates and conservative critics are engaged in an outrcry over what is still being withheld.
And there's plenty to make the most fair-minded observers suspicious.
Campbell, 45, was found dead July 24, a day after disappearing while paddle boarding in Edgardtown Great Pond near the Obama estate on tony Martha's Vineyard.
That's obviously a tragedy for Campbell, who left behind a widow and twin sons. But drowning accidents happen every day, even in enclaves for the rich and famous like Martha's Vineyard. The race goes not to the swift, after all.
The story could be told in day, causing a ripple in the ebb and flow of the news cycle, but then left largely to the friends and family who survived to carry on the important business of living, while the rest of the country moved on.
Instead, it appears that a veil of secrecy has dropped over the death, shrouding what should be simply mundane details in an aura of mystery.
Officials have still not publicly identified the woman who was paddle boarding with Campbell. She's been known to have been a fellow Obama staffer and the Daily Mail reported last week that she was 26, but other than that, she's a cipher.
His toxicology report -- which would give an idea whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the death of a man whose body was found only 100 feet from shore -- has not been released, thanks to Massachusetts law.
If Campbell was inebriated or suffered from some sort of medical condition that made it impossible for him to save his own life, the public hasn't been informed, and that's a major question.
Even people who can't swim will struggle mightily to keep themselves alive, and 100 feet, under the calm conditions needed to go paddle boarding in the first place, should have been do-able for a man who knows how.
And that mystery feeds the idea that there's more to Campbell's death than a simple accident in a resort area at the height of summer.
This isn't tinfoil hat stuff either.
Actually, it is. But that's not going to keep Western Journal writer Joe Saunders from walking right up to the line of suggesting that Obama murdered Campbell:
The fact that a crime in South Boston might go unsolved is important to South Boston, and maybe the whole city, but it would be tough to find an American outside of the New England area who would care.
However, Democrats and the establishment media still haven't shaken their regard for former President Barack Obama as a kind of messianic figure of the New Socialist Age, and his wife, Michelle, is still considered presidential material in some quarters.
Massachusetts owes the country more. The Obamas owe the country more.
And when they don't pay up, they're forcing even the most non-conspiracy-minded American to ask: "What do they have to hide?"
Funny, we don't recall WND and its affiliates of ever accusing Donald Trump of having something to hide, even when he did in the form of this tax returns.
We'd call all this highly irresponsinble on WND's part, but we know that lying to its readers and falsely smearing its political enemies is standard operating procedure there -- something that public rejection of its journalistic approach, in the form of years of begging for money to stay alive, surprisingly has not changed.