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Update: Whatever Happened to Preachers Telling the Truth?

Jerry Falwell gets the divine calling to lie about Gore. Plus: NewsMax screws up another Judicial Watch press release.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/25/2000

Some people never learn.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who has been caught once before lying to the public by pushing the discredited "Clinton Chronicles," inserts foot A into mouth B again in his Sept. 23 "exclusive commentary" on WorldNetDaily.

In a piece titled "Whatever Happened to Truth in Campaigning?" Falwell tries to save the Republic by breathlessly informing us that Al Gore has an exaggeration problem. In the process, he tries to breathe new life into two lies about lies:

"His two most famous lies were: 1) claiming that Harvard professor and author Erich Segal used him and wife Tipper as models for his best-selling book, 'Love Story,' and 2) claiming that, as a congressman, he 'took the initiative in creating the Internet.' The Internet, of course, was created years before Mr. Gore even entered Congress, and Mr. Segal has reported that he has no idea why Al Gore makes the outrageous claim to be the inspiration for his book."

As anyone who doesn't obsessively hate Gore knows, these are a couple of whoppers in themselves. And Falwell's depiction of the "Love Story" story is an outright fabrication.

One more time: Gore never said he and Tipper were the models for “Love Story.” According to a story in the New York Times, Gore said he had heard that author Erich Segal had said that and that was “all I know.” And far from denying it, Segal told the Times that the lead male character in “Love Story” was indeed modeled after Gore as well as his college roommate, actor Tommy Lee Jones.

As for the Internet story, the Washington Post quoted Vinton G. Cerf, a senior vice president at MCI Worldcom and the person most often called "the father of the Internet" for his part in designing the network's common computer language as saying, "I think it is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the vice president in his current role and in his earlier role as senator."

Falwell also engages in some willful misinterpretation, saying Gore "told a tall tale about discovering 'a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal.' He added fuel to that lie by declaring he 'had the first hearing on that issue ... that started it all.' President Carter had actually declared the Love Canal a disaster area months before Mr. Gore's hearing."

Had Falwell bothered to read the entire quote by Gore from which this issue sprang, he would know that Gore was not claiming to have discovered the problems at Love Canal but rather the general issue of cleaning up hazardous waste sites, and Gore did indeed hold hearings on the issue that led to the creation of the "Superfund" to clean up those sites.

So, if Falwell is so concerned with "truth in campaigning," will he now be attacking Lynne Cheney's lies about the movie "Kids"? You'll be seeing Falwell do the lambada before that happens.

To rephrase the good reverend's opening statement: does anybody else care that Jerry Falwell appears willing to say anything -- even at the habitual risk of getting caught -- to smear those he doesn't agree with?

* * *

Once again, the news is not that NewsMax has run yet another Judicial Watch press release as a NewsMax story. (For those of you keeping track at home, that's at least eight since May.) Once again, the news is that NewsMax managed to botch the job.

In its generally faithful reproduction of Judicial Watch's Sept. 21 release announcing Kathleen Schwicker's (nee Willey) latest lawsuit, NewsMax lops off the headline Judicial Watch put on it. This turns out to be a bad thing. Why? Because that headline contains the laundry list of people and organizations being sued, none of which, including President Clinton (the only name left in NewsMax's headline) are named in the body of the press release.

And on top of that, Judicial Watch went through the trouble to put the actual complaint on its site, but NewsMax doesn't bother to link to it from its press release -- er, article.

NewsMax -- performing the Internet equivalent of rip-and-read.

* * *

As much fun as it is to watch NewsMax botch press releases, it's absolutely hilarious to watch them hideously contort themselves into a mass of contradictions.

On July 30, NewsMax ran an article criticizing supermarket tabloids for running articles on conservatives, even though NewsMax has run anti-Clinton stories that originated in those very same tabloids (duly documented by ConWebWatch).

Getting caught in that contradiction wasn't enough, apparently. On Sept. 24, NewsMax informed us that Hillary Clinton, as a law school student, helped defend a branch of the Black Panthers, "a revolutionary group that called for the assassination of white political leaders -- including then-President Nixon."

NewsMax's source for this article? The National Enquirer.

This puts the lie to NewsMax's earlier claim that because a former Clinton administration official is part of an investment firm that owns most of the major tabloids (including the Enquirer), said tabloids would go easy on the Clintons.

You can't make this stuff up, folks.

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