WND Columnist Spread Blame For Parkland Massacre (And Not To The Guns) Topic: WorldNetDaily
While we're waiting for WorldNetDaily (and Chuck Norris) to tell their readers the truth that CNN never tried to force a Parkland school massacre survivor to ask a scripted question at a televised forum (spoiler: we'll be waiting a long time for that), let's take a look at who WND is blaming for the massacre. Spoiler: it's not the gun, and they get the facts wrong on who they do blame.
Jane Chastain concedes that maybe President Trump shouldn't have repealed thath Obamap-era law banning the mentally ill from buying weapons -- but she then heaps more blame on the American Civil Liberties Union for somehow making sure the shooter was never institutionalized in the first place:
Trump’s critics rightfully point out that he signed a law that repealed an Obama regulation that would have added an additional 75,000 people who suffer from mental illness to the national background data check. No doubt Trump would like to take that back.
The rule that was repealed specifically required that the Social Security Administration add people who have been deemed incapable of managing their financial affairs to that list. That would include many who receive SSI disability payments due to mental illness. This would not have prevented Nikolas Cruz from obtaining all his guns, but it would have been a small step in the right direction.
The measure was part of a larger group of Obama rules that were reasonably repealed by Congress shortly after Trump took office. Yes, the repeal of the gun measure was supported by the NRA, but another organization that has been largely left out of this discussion, the ACLU, was also to blame.
Let us not forget that in the ’70s and ’80s the ACLU was at the forefront of patients’ rights legislation and court cases that emptied our mental institutions. These cases raised the bar significantly for anyone to be committed. The courts ultimately ruled that a finding of mental illness alone was not enough to justify a state’s locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement if such persons are dangerous to no one and can live safely in freedom.
What does living safely in freedom mean? Today, for the most part, that means living on the streets. Why? Because most of the mentally ill don’t think they are mentally ill. Once out, they refuse their meds and don’t go for treatment. When that happens many do become dangerous, and their heartbroken families are simply afraid to keep them or take them in. Research suggests that individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all homicides in the United States. For mass killings, the percentage is approximately 33 percent.
It’s an urban legend that we have insane people living on the streets because Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals. Most mental hospitals were closed simply because they no longer had any patients. Sadly, liberal organizations like the ACLU that worked to get all these mental patients released largely abandoned society’s most vulnerable.
But Reagan did, in fact, play a role in deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill into group homes without funding or oversight to make sure they were being properly taken care of, both as California governor and as president.
Brent Smith, meanwhile, blamed Obama (as any given WND writer is wont to do for whatever):
This is what has been happening anywhere former President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder had instituted their bribery “Promise Plan.”
The Promise Program was “invented” for reasons of – what else? – diversity. Too many young blacks were being incarcerated. And schools were losing out on federal dollars because of the dropout/incarceration rate. The Promise Program incentivized police departments not to arrest young black men thus making the schools’ retention numbers look better. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be that obvious as to only let the young black ne’er-do-wells skate, so they expanded the “look the other way” service to include most school-age hoodlums.
And Shazam – the arrest/incarceration numbers began to plummet.
But this is precisely why background checks don’t and can’t work – because of the Promise Program. Like the calculator, the database can’t function if criminal data aren’t put into the system. The system, like the calculator, is only as good as the people running it.
It is precisely why Nickolas Cruz passed one after another background check. Like many other Broward County hoodlums, his name was left off the background check database.
Smith characterization of the Promise program as a "look the other way" service is false; it's a diversionary program designed to address root issues with youths accused of misdemeanor school-related offense instead of immediately treating them as criminals.
In fact, the Promise program was started in Florida by a Republican governor, Charlie Crist and had conservative support on the federal level, and the program -- even if Cruz had been involved in it -- doesn't prevent the arrest of a student making felony-level threats.
UPDATE: WND columnist James Zumwalt also falsely blames the Promise program:
But the story all the race-baiters fail to report is the role the NAACP actually played in the high death count Cruz tallied. The reason the four police officers held back, failing immediately to neutralize an active shooter in the school, was due to law enforcement’s adoption of the NAACP’s ill-advised, social-justice “PROMISE” program – a product of then-President Barack Obama’s politically motivated, race-based safer school policy. The policy sought to statistically demonstrate safer schools existed simply by police ignoring crimes committed by students, thus resulting in reports of reduced arrests. One would have thought an active-shooter scenario would have overridden such a policy. It did not; ironically, white students died due to an NAACP policy encouraging police to ignore criminal acts.
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Favorite (Dishonest) Catholic Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- and in particular its "news" division, CNSNews.com -- gives Bill Donohue of the right-wing Catholic League a free pass to rant, rave and lie. Read more >>
WND Finds Another Irrelvant Movie Image To Mock Transgenders Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily loves to dishonestly reduce the issue of transgender rights iin schools to boys showering with girls, and then illustrating it with insulting and irrelevant images, i.e., the shower scene from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Well, WND's anti-LGBT bias as struck again and it upped the insulting-image factor.
A Feb. 17 WND article by Bob Unruh began by claiming in highly biased language that "An LGBT activist group claims that when Congress adopted Title IX in 1972, banning sex discrimination in schools, lawmakers had in mind that boys who believe they are girls should be allowed to use girls restrooms and showers." The article is illustrated with an image of ... the shower scene from "Psycho":
This is not the kind of thing that inspires confidence in the credibility of a "news" organization begging readers to rescue it from financial oblivion.
WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb outlet reporting false information on the Christopher Steele dossier on Donald Trump.
In one of his rewritten Judical Watch press releases on Feb. 6, CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote:
The intelligence memo released last Friday showed that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid a law firm that, in turn, paid a political research group, Fusion GPS, which then paid ex-British spy Christopher Steele who, in turn, paid Russians to provide political "dirt" on Donald Trump -- the false and salacious Trump dossier.
That fake document was then used by the FBI and Justice Department -- James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Sallie Yates, among others -- to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Like WND, Chapman offered no evidence to back up his claim that the Steele dossier is "false" or "fake." (We'll concede "salacious.") Nor does Chapman quote anyone at Judicial Watch making such a claim.
Contrary to Chapman's false assertion, several parts of the Steele dossier have, in fact, been verified. Even the Republican House Intelligence Committee memo concedes that the dossier is at least "minially corroborated."
Nevertheless, Chapman asserted in a Feb. 14 article -- again, another Judicial Watch stenography effort -- that the dossier is "fabricated." He once again failed to offer any evidence of fabrication.
Still, he asserted that "The document has zero credibility and even then-FBI Driector James Comey testified before the Senate in 2017 that the dossier was 'salacious and unverified.'" In fact, Comey stated only that portions of the dossier were "salacious and unverified," not the entire dossier. He did not state that any of it was false or had "zero credibility."
Indeed, between this and his bogus story about Melania Trump ordering that the White House be exorcised before she moved in, the person with zero credibility here is Chapman.
WND Whitewashes Right-Wing Militia Extremism of Oath Keepers Topic: WorldNetDaily
An anonymously written Feb. 26 WorldNetDaily article states:
Enough is enough, says an armed U.S. Army veteran in Indiana who has decided to take student and teacher protection into his own hands after the horrifying Florida school shooting and threats of school violence rocked his own town.
Mark Cowan says he is keeping watch outside North Side High School in Fort Wayne with his AR-15 and a handgun – at least until added security is in place. Cown told WANE-TV 15 that he’s standing guard to protect students and defend them against anyone who might threaten their safety while they’re in school. He has been in contact with local police and the school resource officer.
“I [decided] to get my butt off the couch and come out here and keep an eye on these kids and teachers. They deserve it,” Cowan told the news station. “They all deserve a right to go home every night without fear of what’s going to happen during the day.”
In addition to being an Army veteran, Cowan is a member of Oath Keepers, an organization of former police officers, first responders and veterans.
Wait, what? Oath Keepers is "an organization of former police officers, first responders and veterans"? Not that we recall.
And not that the Southern Poverty Law Center recalls either:
The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.
The Oath Keepers was formed in 2009 by Yale Law School graduate and former U.S. Army paratrooper Stewart Rhodes in the direct aftermath of the election of the nation’s first black president. Today, it is one of the largest radical antigovernment organizations in the United States. By 2016, the group was claiming an improbable 30,000 members who were said to be mostly current and former military, law enforcement and emergency first responders.
The core idea of the Oath Keepers is that its members vow to forever support the oaths they took on joining law enforcement or the military to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As a practical matter, what that means to the group is suggested most plainly by its list of the 10 “Orders We Will Not Obey” — a compendium of much-feared but entirely imaginary threats from the government, including forcing Americans into detention camps, imposing martial law, and disarming all civilians. Those supposed threats are all key to the central conspiracy theory of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement of which the Oath Keepers is a part. Basically, Patriots believe that the government will at any moment impose martial law, probably with the aid of foreign or United Nations troops; that all guns belonging to normal citizens will then be seized; that resisters will be thrown into concentration camps; and that, in the end, America will be forced into a one-world socialist government, “The New World Order.”
WND has previously whitewashed the Oath Keepers as "a group of veterans who provide security at pro-Trump rallies."
MRC's Latest Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spentalotoftime complaining that media outlets were surprised that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, who represented the country at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, wasn't an ogre or a terrible person. Nicholas Fondacaro, for instance, whined that "Despite the fact her job entailed censorship and glorifying public executions, numerous outlets had touted her for 'stealing the show,' winning 'diplomatic gold,' being the 'Ivanka Trump of North Korea,' and hyping the extremely creepy North Korean cheerleading group."
But there was one media outlet curiously missing from the MRC's scorn, and we're pretty sure you can figure out what it is.
A Feb. 9 video on the Fox News website carried the headline "Kim Jong Un's sister steals show at Olympic ceremony." Repoter Greg Palkot stated: "Stealing the show today, the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She was interacting and very friendly whith South Korean president Moon, especially with a unified Korean team." But that segment never got singled out by the MRC.
In the midst of a Twitter argument with the MRC's Fondacaro and Fox News media reporter Brian Flood, CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy pointed out that both Fox and the MRC omitted the Fox segments fawning over Kim's sister from its attacks on similar coverage elsewhere. In a poor attempt at deflection, Fondacaro wouldn't talk about why the MRC tave Fox News a pass, instead huffing that Darcy was "trying to make it about Fox News," then huffed further, "Quit trying to change the subject." Darcy helpfully added: "I don’t think the MRC is allowed to criticize fox!"
Russia Has Another Comrade at WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
Over the past few years, WorldNetDaily has gotten unusuallycozy with Russia and Vladimir Putin. The motherland gained another comrade in Hanne Herland, whose Feb. 22 WND column praises how Christian Russia has become:
The growing tendency to persecute Christians in the West worries many. In an interview after the 2016 meetings between the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis in Cuba, the patriarch stated: “I strongly believe that we should work together in order to save our society from de-Christianization – because, facing increasing atheistic pressure, which has become quite aggressive in some countries, Christians are being squeezed out of public life. In a sense, we may say that Christians are uncomfortable in many developed countries today. Christians are under pressure. All this indicates that we are dealing with a dangerous, critical situation, with regard to Christian reality and Christian presence.”
Many would be amazed, reading these words. It is indeed, to a Westerner, surprising to see that a country such as Russia, which before used to be an atheist state, now is leading the fight for the Christian faith internationally. It illustrates quite well that some of the information given to the public through the mainstream media is not exactly balanced. We hardly ever hear about Russia’s defense of Christianity. In fact, it is hard to find any positive comments about this large nation at all.
The speech of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held at the 28th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, 2015, stands out as a relevant illustration. Lavrov is among the non-Western leaders who voices, on a regular basis, concern about the aggressive secularism in the West and the persecution of Christians, as morality and traditional national, cultural and religious identity is eroding in Europe. At the Council, he noted: “Christianity is the world’s largest religion in terms of both the number of its supporters and its worldwide presence. After all, every country has at least one Christian community. … I also have to mention the problems experienced by Christians in a number of Western European states, where for some reason it has become politically incorrect to identify oneself as a Christian, and where people are even starting to become uncomfortable with Christian values that form the foundation of the European civilization.”
History may explain part of the reason for this new Russian approach. After the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians were weary of the anti-traditionalist, atheist, Communist society they felt had limited them for so long. Many welcomed the new freedoms of religion, and today around 70 percent of the Russian people are Christians. This implies massive movements within society to return to the old, cultural greatness of the Russian state.
How strange it is to see a Russian speak like this, while our own progressive political leaders steadily make the point of omitting references to our religious heritage when they speak. The world is truly changing when one has to look to Russia to find support for Christianity in the West.
Herland doesn't mention that Putin considers the Russian Orthodox Church to be an unofficial arm of the government and part of his propaganda machine -- a merging of church and state not permitted in the U.S.
Editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is CNSNews.com's go-to guy on federal spending, particularly of the wasteful variety. A couple weeks ago, for instance, Jeffrey penned an entire article about how "The federal government is funding a clown school located in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco-based congressional district that has classes and workshops on 'Precision Idiocy' and how to act like a 'Buffoon,'" as well as another article about food stamp fraud.
Reports have surfaced that Carson attempted to spend $31,000 on a dining set for his office suite, while another HUD oficial reportedly said that "$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair." A HUD employee who complained about the expenses was reportedly demoted and reassigned to a new job.
That's the kind of wasteful spending that should be up Jeffrey's alley. But neither he nor anyone else at CNS has reported a word about this to their readers.
Funny how Jeffrey's only interested in wasteful spending when it involves people or causes he doesn't like. But that's a pattern for the obsequiously pro-Trump CNS under Jeffrey; as we've already documented, CNS was days behind the rest of the media in reporting on HHS Secretary Tom Price's extravagent spending on private charter flights, waiting until literally an hour before he resigned over it to do its very first article.
WND (And Chuck Norris) Still Won't Correct That False 'Scripted Question' Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb outlet to hide the truth about a story tied to the Florida school shooting from its readers.
An Anonymously written Feb. 22 WND article recounted how "A teen survivor of the tragic Parkland, Florida, school shooting claims he turned down an invitation to participate in a CNN town hall Wednesday evening because the network gave him a list of 'scripted questions' to ask." WND did note CNN's denial of Haab's claim, then added that "It wouldn’t be the first time CNN has been accused of featuring political plants at its town hall forums."
Progressives are on the warpath to restrict free speech and guns, and they even tried it with Colton Haab. Thank God, Colton was not afraid to stand up to suppressors of free speech. Rather than suppress Colton’s freedoms and solutions, CNN should have elevated and highlighted them.
Thank God there are still young men like Colton Haab who realize suppression in any form is just a return to life under the British Crown. And if we’re going to protect the children across this land, we’re going to have to call up the reserves and do it ourselves instead of waiting on Washington.
WND also stuck a reference to it into another Feb. 23 article, which noted that Haab "claims CNN wanted to censor his views at a town hall."
Just one problem: Haab's story isn't true.
As we documented when the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro peddled the story, CNN has since released the full email exchange between it and Haab's family, and it revealed that the emails released by Haab's family to the media were altered to make it look like CNN look bad. Haab's father has now conceded that he altered the CNN emails.
But like Fondacaro, WND has refused to report that CNN has been vindicated, apparently out of hatred of CNN. Shouldn't a business that purports to be a "real news" operation, as WND's Joseph Farah claims it is, want to do something about the fact that the story it published three articles about has been discredited? That's not helping to change WND's well-earned reputation for publishing fake news.
Likewise, we could also find no evidence that Norris has retreacted his defense of Haab now that his story has been discredited. C'mon, Chuck, what's the holdup?
CNS Article on Hope Hicks Resignation Reads Like A WH Press Release Topic: CNSNews.com
The White House doesn't appear to have written a full press release about the departure of Hope Hicks as the Trump White House' communications director. But if it had, it would read a lot like Melanie Arter's Feb. 28 CNSNews.com article about it.
Arter's article is chock-full of press release-eseand nothing but congratulatory statements:
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is resigning to explore opportunities outside of the White House, having served in that role since September, the White House announced Wednesday.
The exact date of Hicks’ departure is yet to be determined, but it’s expected to be sometime in the next few weeks.
“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country," Hicks said in a statement.
"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future,” Trump said in a statement.
“When I became Chief of Staff, I quickly realized what so many have learned about Hope – she is strategic, poised and wise beyond her years. She became a trusted adviser and counselor and did a tremendous job overseeing the communications for the President’s agenda including the passage of historic tax reform. She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed, is an understatement," White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement.
Hicks “approached the president and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring opportunities outside of the WH,” the White House said.
As a longtime Trump stenographer, Arter fails to mention the actual events that may have precipitated Hick's resignation, regardless of the cheery fluff being peddled.
As an actual news outlet reported, Hicks' resignation comes a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee and admitted that she sometimes tells "white lies" as part of her job.
Hicks was also involved in another very recent high-profile controversy. She is the (apparently now ex-) girlfriend of White House staffer Rob Porter, who was forced to resign after his history of spousal abuse was made public. And as a different actual news outlet reported, Hicks may have helped draft a White House statement defending Porter before the scandal fully expoded.
Arter is such a dutifulstenographer for the White House press office anyway, she might as well be on Trump's payroll.
WorldNetDaily's recent near-death experience didn't keep editor Joseph Farah from rehashing old, discredited anti-Obama conspiracy theories.
In a Feb. 22 column ranting about President Obama's purported "political crimes," Farah cited -- with an assist from the right-wing American Spectator -- what he claimed were "six instances of Obama interfering in the national politics of other countries." At least two of them are bogus non-scandals WND has tried to puff up over the years.
Farah wrote, "He did it in Israel in an attempt to deny Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister position." That's a reference to State Department money going to a group in Israel for a completely unrelated project, though that infrastructure was later used in a campaign against Netanyahu in 2015 Israeli elections. As we pointed out the last time WND try to portray this as a scandal, a Senate subcommittee found that the grup fully complied with the terms of the original grant, no grant money was used in the election, and the State Department placed no limitations on the post-grant use of those resources.
Farah also wrote, "He did it in Kenya as a U.S. senator who went to the aid of one of his corrupt relatives, Raila Odinga." (The Specator article actually cited WND's Jerome Corsi as evidence of this.) This is one of WND's zombie lies, as we've also pointed out; Obama remained neutral in Kenyan politics and did not support Odinga during his 2006 trip to Kenya, and though Odinga attended some of Obama's events while Obama was in Kenya and clearly wanted to associate himself with Obama, there's no evidence that Obama "openly supported" Odinga.
Farah wasn't done, of course; he also write that Obama "did it famously in Egypt by supporting a Muslim Brotherhood fanatic to replace a pro-American, pro-West president, Hosni Mubarak." That's not true either; Obama supported a democratic political process post-Mubarak in which the Egyptian people elected Muslim Brotherhood-linked Mohammed Morsi, not any specific candidate in that election. Also, Farah ignores the fact that however "pro-American" Mubarak may have been, he was also a dictator who repressed critics of his regime (and for whom WND served as a willing mouthpiece).
Farah additionally claimed that Obama "did it in Honduras by standing by a corrupt leftist, like himself, a close friend of Hugo Chavez, as he tried to dismantle the country’s constitution." This is a reference to Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran military leader who was overthrown in a coup in 2009. Again, as in Egypt, Obama was expressing support for a democratic process in Honduras and against a military overthrow. And Farah is wrong here too: it turns out that Obama administration officials helped to keep Zelaya from returning to office after the coup and also helped the overthrowing junta in consolidating its power.
Of course, Farah has never cared that much about facts when they conflict with his right-wing political agenda. But he doesn't seem to realize this lack of credibility is one big reason why he has been spending the past few months begging for money to keep WND alilve.
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now? Topic: Media Research Center
How has the Media Research Center been hating on the LGBT community lately? Let's review!
Gabriel Hays had a freakout over a Coca-Cola commercial during the Super Bowl that was just a little too acknowledging of people he despises for his personal and political comfort:
Coke is woke, and gosh darn it, we’ve all got to know about it!
Coca Cola’s new ad, “The Wonder of Us,” aired during Super Bowl LII. The 60-second spot immediately came out out with the usual diversity happy talk. “Better world, bridging continents, yadda yadda.” However, this time Coca Cola went a little further in terms of diversification, providing a not so subtle subtle nod to the transgender trend, er, ‘non-binary’ community.
The narration says: “There’s a Coke for he, and she, and her, and me, and them. There’s a different Coke for all of us.” When it reaches the pronoun “them,” it’s accompanied by a visual of a young androgynous person wearing a rainbow lanyard. She or he is the “them.”
The genderqueer nod is almost hard to spot amidst all the steaming heaps of diversity but, but apparently, all the right people saw it, and loved it.
Kyle Drennen followed up the MRC's attacks on gay Olympic skater with a swipe at gay Olympic skiier Gus Kenworthy for criticizing Vice President Mike Pence's anti-gay history, grumbling that "The media have been eager to find any way to politicize the Olympic games."
So yes, society, it’s your fault for thinking that it’s strange for men to be doing women things, and vice versa. But now, gone are the days where men “searched themselves for vestiges of effeminacy as though for lice,” or when queerness was spat upon, “simply owning blush could become a liability.” These 20th century fears and stigmas are being rejected by the beauty boys, and it’s a brave new world.
But as Them explains, many of the prominent beauty boys are just cisgender (straight) guys that love makeup. Eccentric as that is, the trans and queer movement would like it to go further, with more queer and non-binary representation happening. That is where the real risk and art is.
This kind of representation would push the gender debate even further, and make society “more open to varying forms of self-expression.” Waters reflects on the classic gender-bending image of Louis XIV in high heels and a massive wig, saying that it shows “that our ideas of masculinity and femininity are ever-changing.” Fair enough, but he takes heart that the rise of the beauty boys might mean something even more significant; that we may be on the verge of divorcing from gender norms entirely.
And that seems way more scary and twisted than a bunch of boys wearing eyeliner. Nevermind, grab the torches and pitchforks.
Tim Graham complained that "On Wednesday, NPR's Fresh Air devoted more than 36 minutes to promoting transgender Democratic activist Sarah McBride and her new book Tomorrow Will Be Different[foreword by Joe Biden, cover blurbs by Sen. Kamala Harris and Cecile Richards]. She spoke at the 2016 Democrat [sic] convention," going on to huff that "transgender activism has never been more extreme and aggressive."
A Feb. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore carries the headline "Report: Mueller still relying on discredited 'dossier.'" Moore goes on to write that "Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asserted the revelations about the discredited dossier’s centrality in obtaining the surveillance warrant means the entire Mueller investigation is unjustified."
But Moore offered no evidence that the dossier has been "discredited"l all he did was link back to a Feb. 2 article he wrote in which he repeatedly called the dossier "discredited" -- also without supporting evidence.
The Steele dossier is far from "discredited"; in fact, several parts of it have, in fact, been verified. Even the Republican House Intelligence Committee memo concedes that the dossier is at least "minially corroborated."
Still, WND has insisted on falsely describing the dossier as "discredited." It's been doing so as early as June 2017, when then-reporter Garth Kant claimed the dossier was "full of sensational but widely discredited allegations." The only evidence Kant supplied beyond unverified denials from the people involved was a claim that "The charge that Trump attorney Michael Cohen met in August in Prague with Russian agents to cover up payments to Russian hackers was disproved when he produced his passport and travel documents." But as Newsweek pointed out, that doesn't prove he never met with Russian agents, just that he didn't meet with them in Prague (if he did indeed meet with them). And Politico notes that Cohen traveled to Italy during hte time in question, and he would not need a passport to travel from Italy to the Czech Republic and then return to Italy.
WND's false attacks on the veracity of the dossier continued:
An Oct. 25 article by Joe Kovacs uncritically quoted Rush Limbaugh calling the dossier "made-up drivel" and "a totally made-up piece of crap."
A Nov. 9 column by Laura Hollis referenced "the now infamous (and largely discredited) 'dossier' on Trump."
An anonymously written Nov. 30 article referred to the "largely discredited 'dossier.'"
A Dec. 7 article by Moore referred to the "infamous – and now largely discredited – dossier."
A Jan. 19 article by Bob Unruh called thte dossier "largely discredited."
A Feb. 2 article by greg Corombos uncritically quoted right-wing activist Ken Cuccinelli calling the dossier "largely discredited."
A Feb. 5 article by Corombos referred to the "discredited dossier."
Much of this promotion of a right-wing political agenda over facts occurred as WND was fighting for its life, a situation driven in part by its love of conspiracy theories and fake news.
Repeatedly saying something doesn't make it true, after all. You'd think WND would've figured that out by now.
Fake News: CNS Pushes Bogus Story About Melania Trump Having White House Exorcised Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman knows a story that's too good to spend much time fact-checking when he sees one -- especially when it fits his preconceived right-wing political and religious notions -- so he wrote a Feb. 8 blog post that began this way:
While commenting on President Donald Trump's very public support for Christianity, as well as the frequent Bible studies and prayer gatherings held at the White House, evangelical Pastor Paul Begley said first lady Melania Trump demanded that the White House be spiritually cleansed and that pagan, demonic items and artificats from the Obama and Clinton years be removed.
Melania Trump reportedly said, "I’m not going to go into that White House unless it has been completely exorcised," according to Pastor Begley. One thing was left, a cross on the wall. "They cleansed the White House," he said. "They had people in there anointing it with oil and praying everywhere.”
Pastor Begley made his remarks during the Feb. 2 edition of Weekend Vigilante, hosted by Sheila Zilinsky.
Chapman decided that Begley's reference to the purported "Haitian witch-doctor influence" on Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s lives" and that "They spent their honeymoon with a witch doctor" need a little fact-checking. Just a little, though, enough for Chapman to decide the story was plausible enough:
According to the Washington Post, the Clintons did go to Haiti for their honeymoon in 1975. The Post further reported, “They toured the old hotel where the writer Ernest Hemingway once stayed and visited a voodoo high priest dressed in all white.” The article does not say why they visited the voodoo high priest.
"They decorated their homes with Haitian art," saidThe Post. "They flew back again and again. Hillary Clinton once said that theirs was a 'Haiti-obsessed family.'"
In his book, My Life, Bill Clinton explained that he and Hillary attended a voodoo ceremony where an alleged "spirit arrived," participants rolled flaming torches over their bodies and walked on hot coals and, at one point, a person bit off the head of a chicken.
Chapman wrote that "CNSNews.com contacted Pastor Paul Begley and asked for more information about the spiritual cleansing. Begley said his source for the story was close to 'those working in the White House' and requested that he (or she) not be named." Despite lacking any sort of actual proof that any of this ever happened, Chapman went on to justify it anyway:
Melania Trump is a Catholic. Her husband, President Donald Trump, is a Presbyterian. The two were married in an Episcopal church in 2005. When Melania came down the aisle she was holding a Catholic rosary and a vocalist was singing the Ave Maria, reported the Washington Post.
Having a home blessed by a priest is a common practice among Catholics, especially if there is any concern that anything unholy may be in or have occurred in the home or on the property in the past.
What Chapman never bothered to do, however, is contact the first lady's office. A few days later, the Associated Press reported that "A spokeswoman for the first lady says multiple reports that Melania Trump had a ceremony to rid the White House of demons before moving in is false. Stephanie Grisham said the reports that were shared widely on social media are 'not true in any way.'"
But in the few weeks that have passed since that story first appeared, Chapman has never corrected it or written a follow-up noting the White House's denial. (Begley, for hispart, still insists the story is true.)
As Right Wing Watch details, Begley's story fits the right-wing narrative -- pushed by Chapman and CNS -- that Trump is a deeply religious man despite having spent much of his life never expressing any evidence of such, and it has become the funhouse-mirror reflection of how right-wingers treated President Obama:
Throughout Obama’s presidency, the far-right justified their animosity toward him by, in part, claiming that he was secretly Muslim or just not a real Christian. Now, the Religious Right fringes are performing the reverse trick with Trump, justifying their support for a man who allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars in hush money to cover up an affair with a porn actress by claiming that he has found, or is in the process of personally finding God.
Paul Begley’s insistance that Melania had rid the White House of demons showed how these Trump-finds-God stories have spread through the pro-Trump media and the fringes of the Religious Right. The fact that the far-right media took the story at face value—to the point that the first lady’s office had to rebut it—shows just how much power that narrative has.
Indeed, at the end of his blog post, Chapman stated that "In his many prayer meetings, President Trump reportedly has welcomed evangelical Protestants, Catholics and Jews."
Chapman clearly isn't about to let the facts get in the way of his narrative. That's pretty disturbing for a man who is the managing editor of what purports to be a "news" operation.
Farah Says WND Is Saved, Going Back to Nonprofit Roots Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, WorldNetDaily's not-terribly-transparent fundraising campaign to avert death has apparently succeeded. Editor Joseph Farah's March 1 letter declared that WND met its $200,000 goal by that day's deadline, adding, "You have provided the cushion we needed to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps so we could fight another day."
Farah also shared "some exciting plans for the future – even if I can’t provide the details today":
We are working with a non-profit foundation through which we can more efficiently produce the kind of content that makes WND unique as an independent media pioneer and a Christian one at that. Once we’ve got everything set up – and we hope that is soon – we’ll have a way for future contributions to supplement WND’s content to be tax-deductible.
We are developing a new revenue stream that is very exciting – even revolutionary, I would say. And that’s what it takes for independent media to survive and flourish when they are playing on an uneven playing field designed that way purposely by the Internet Cartel to make our work next to impossible. More on that to come shortly.
Going nonprofit will bring WND back to its roots; it was founded as a division of the Farah-founded nonprofit Western Journalism Center before being spun off a couple years later as a for-profit operation. The WJC, by the way, still exists, run by Floyd Brown and presenting itself as a training center and laughably insisting that its goal is to "nurture, develop and deploy top notch classically educated journalists of integrity who will report the news in an unbiased fashion," despite being staffed with right-wing operatives like, uh, Joseph Farah.
We don't know if WJC is the nonprofit WND is working with, or even if WJC under Brown still has the nonprofit status it had under Farah. But this is likely the type of nonprofit WND is trying to hide behind.
As far as the "a new revenue stream that is very exciting" goes, well, who knows? An organization that is partly nonprofit and partly for-profit is tricky to manage, since a nonprofit is not allowed to be as explicitly political as WND has been over the years. More details are needed on that.
And, once again, Farah has refused to address the problematic content that helped bring WND to this state. Further, if WND is going to become part of a nonprofit, is Farah really the best person to continue running it, given that it was under his watch that WND was mismanaged to its apparent loss of independence? He can't blame everything on Google and Facebook, after all (not that he isn't trying to do exactly that).
So WND will live another day. But if it continues as it was content-wise, Farah will not have learned the lesson of how he got to this point -- and will be dooming WND to yet another "existential threat" down the road.