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Monday, November 13, 2023
WND Hyped RFK Jr.'s Switch To Independent Run -- Then Turned Against Him
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been a very enthusiastic promoter of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s presidential campaign -- not because it actually wants him to win, but because it might hurt President Biden's re-election plans. When Kennedy left the Democratic race to run as an independent, WND was initially supportive. An anonymously written Oct. 9 article hyped the move:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., long feared by Joe Biden supporters as a major challenge in the 2024 presidential race, now has announced he'll run as an independent, meaning Biden will not be able to dispose of his candidacy before election day, if then.

The Washington Examiner reported Kennedy confirmed Monday he'll switch from the Democratic Party, where he was up against Biden, to an independent bid for the White House.

"During a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, speech which his campaign billed as a 'historic announcement,' Kennedy, 69, spoke in front of a sign that read 'declare your independence,'" the report said.

"I'm here to declare myself an independent candidate," he said.


Just days ago, Politico had reported on the fears among Biden supporters of this very move, and how they were scheming to remove such challenges.

It was Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, who "convened a Zoom call with 30 other like-minded donors this week to address a persistent fear among national Democrats: Third-party candidates who could undercut Joe Biden’s campaign."

But Kennedy has no real constituency among Democratic voters -- much of his campaign support has come from Republicans who, like WND, are hoping he will serve as a Biden spoiler, and much of his media support has come from right-wing outlets like WND and Fox News, whom Kennedy has praised.

The next day, WND published a statement by Kennedy explaining his decision, under the quote-marked headline "I'm a Kennedy from a Democrat family. But I'm running for president as an independent." But that quote does not appear anywhere in Kennedy's column -- that was the headline from the Fox News version of the statement. The tell is that even Kennedy would not have used the "Democrat family" construct; use of "Democrat Party" phraseology comes exclusively from right-wingers like Fox News who consider it a juvenile insult to refuse to use the party's proper name.

But as it because clear that an independent Kennedy would pull more votes from Donald Trump than from Biden, WND started to turn on him. Slavishly following the Republican narrative flip-flop on Kennedy, Peter LaBarbera went on the attack in an Oct. 12 article:

The Republicans' gloves are off regarding Democrat-turned-Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential candidacy, and if Sean Hannity's Tuesday interview with RFK is any indication, their new theme song might be: "The Thrill is Gone," by blues legend B.B. King.

With some polls showing Kennedy could hurt Trump more than Biden in a potential three-way race, what is also "gone" are the friendly puff interviews heralding Kennedy as a brave primary challenger to President Biden – victimized by the same "rigged" Democratic Party nominating system that protected Hillary Clinton's against the surging candidacy of socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016.

"I hope you don’t mind, but I did a little research on you," Hannity said toward the beginning of his Fox News interview with Kennedy, according to Mediaite. "You’re pretty liberal. You know, you’ve called for curbing logging, oil drilling, fracking. You wanted to eliminate it. You called it had a victory for democracy. You wanna curb U.S. fossil fuel extraction. 'Keep it in the ground,' you once tweeted. You want a ban on fossil fuel extraction, a ban on fracking.

Hannity continued: "You called the NRA once, a 'terror group.' You supported, over the years, Democrats – Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary. You praised Bernie Sanders multiple times. You support affirmative action. So, why is this party of yours – why didn’t they want to allow you to compete? ‘Cause that’s as pretty liberal of a record as anybody I know."


Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is leading the way in exposing Kennedy as a "Radical Democrat," the title of their new report on the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

"While Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now running under the guise of being an independent, he is just another radical, far-left Democrat," states the Oct. 9 report, subtitled, "Make No Mistake – RFK Jr. Is Just Another Liberal Who Wants to Ban Fossil Fuels, Raise Taxes, and Pass a Green New Deal."

"RFK Jr. is an energy radical who wants to end fossil fuels," says one section header in the document.

LaBarbera did note the flip-flop:

Liberal media pundits and other leftist Democrats – and RFK Jr. supporters – are blasting Hannity for his turnaround on RFK Jr., but it was to be expected given two political realities: 1) polls revealed Kennedy could dig into likely GOP nominee Trump's support in 2024; and 2) coverage by most conservative media of RFK's actual (left-leaning) record has been superficial in not digging into his more liberal positions.

The former Democrat's longstanding opposition to vaccines and his fervent support of free speech and against COVID mandates have made him popular on the Right. Many conservatives and independents who are drawn to RFK Jr. see government and corporate "COVID tyranny" – and the willingness of so many Americans to succumb to hysteria and obey irrational edicts by both – as one of the most disgraceful chapters in U.S. history. Many of those same people, though supporters of Donald Trump, were troubled by his bragging about developing the rushed COVID vaccines, which have been tied to myocarditis and are now widely distrusted, and his deference to Anthony Fauci and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx during the pandemic.

But Kennedy's other advocacy, including his aggressive support for a "green" agenda, has not received nearly the coverage as his stances on COVID and government "weaponization" under Biden.


Claiming that Fox News hosts promoted RFK Jr.'s candidacy only because they thought it would hurt Biden's chances in 2024, leftist video podcaster David Pakman said in a broadcast analyzing Hannity's "ambush" interview that it has now "pulled a 180 on RFK."

"Fox is scared of the monster it created," Pakman said Wednesday in a video titled, "Hannity AMBUSHES RFK Jr. now that he's a threat to Trump," which had 124,000 views by press time.

He said Hannity "sandbagged" Kennedy because "the new line for Republicans and right wing media is RFK might reelect Biden and hurt Trump because MAGA people are like, hey, [RFK is] anti-vax but maybe less nuts than Trump. That sounds interesting."

Despite that, LaBarbera failed to mention the fact that his employer also heavily (and ironically) promoted Kennedy's campaign when he was running as a Democrat, and that he too is part of this right-wing flip-flop.

LaBarbera followed that with another attack on a Kennedy policy unfavored by right-wingers in an Oct. 19 article:

Harkening back to the societal damage of Jim Crow segregation, now-Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has come out for reparations, causing a backlash among conservatives who once praised his candidacy as a centrist alternative to leftist Democrats.


Response by conservatives on X to the Kennedy reparations story was immediate and a sign that it could be devastating to his attempt to cast himself as a moderate. The son of assassinated liberal Democratic presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy was already reeling after a tough interview last week with Fox News host Sean Hannity, in which Hannity grilled him for his progressive past statements on the key issues like environmental ("green") regulations. Said Hannity: "You’re pretty liberal. You know, you’ve called for curbing logging, oil drilling, fracking. You wanted to eliminate it. You called it had a victory for democracy. You wanna curb U.S. fossil fuel extraction. 'Keep it in the ground,' you once tweeted. You want a ban on fossil fuel extraction, a ban on fracking."

LaBarbera did note that "Now that RFK Jr.'s candidacy is seen by both the Right and Left as potentially taking votes from their prospective 2024 presidential candidate (at this point likely Trump vs. Biden), his past statements and positions on a host of issues are coming under renewed scrutiny." But he failed to disclose that WND was a supporter of Kennedy's campaign when he was running as a Democrat, and that it was only when Kennedy moved to running as an independent that he felt the need to examine those stances.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:53 AM EST

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