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Love the Felon, Hate the Clintons

WorldNetDaily promotes Peter Paul's latest attack on the Clintons while whitewashing his criminal past (and present).

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/25/2005

What is it with WorldNetDaily and convicted felons? Perhaps it's because there's a certain amount of affinity there -- both can lie and deceive with aplomb (as WND so ably demonstrated in its coverage of John Kerry).

When you have one promoting the other, however, watch out.

And that's exactly what we have in an Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore on Clinton-basher Peter Paul's latest accusations against the Clintons, in the form of a civil lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of not reporting to the Federal Election Commission "more than $2 million in contributions" related to a fund-raiser Paul held for her in 2000.

The bulk of the article appears to be Moore's interview with Paul; Moore apparently did little or no fact-checking of Paul's statements, which results to factual consequences that we'll get to shortly.

It's not until the 31st paragraph that Moore gets around to addressing Paul's past; the previous 30 are spent recounting yet again Paul's accusations against the Clintons in relation to a 2000 fund-raiser. Moore puts it rather gently by noting that "As a whistleblower, Paul has vulnerabilities," then allows Paul to explain away two previous felony convictions -- the first time WND has ever mentioned them despite the fact that WND has been reporting on Paul's allegations since 2001, when WND editor Joseph Farah declared that Paul's allegations "may well tell us, once and for all, if there is indeed a chance for equal justice for all in America – or whether we have one standard of justice for the politically influential and another for everyone else."

From Moore's article:

Under the Carter administration, he was convicted for cocaine possession and an attempt to bilk Cuban dictator Fidel Castro of $8 million.

He ascribes that to politics, arguing he was embraced by Ronald Reagan's kitchen cabinet, which "realized the problems I had were more related to being gung ho about removing Castro."

Moore also whitewashes Paul's current felony -- his role in a $25 million stock scam involving Stan Lee Media, which Paul co-founded with the comic-book legend. Moore described it as benignly as possible: "Paul pleaded guilty to one count of violating Securities and Exchange Commission regulations on the trading of his stock. He insists his actions did not defraud shareholders, and that, in fact, he lost money in the transaction." Moore also fails to note that Paul faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million for the charge to which he pleaded guilty. (And we don't recall the fact the Clintons lost money on their Whitewater investment being a mitigating factor for conservatives in their Clinton-bashing over the years.)

The U.S. attorney's office that prosecuted Paul, however, sees things a little differently:

The securities fraud charges arise from PAUL's leading role in a scheme to manipulate the price of Stan Lee Media common stock, including transactions in which PAUL secretly borrowed money using the stock as collateral, and to profit unlawfully from such manipulations. The scheme resulted in losses to the investing public and financial institutions of approximately $25 million.

Moore makes no effort to reconcile Paul's story with what his prosecutors claim; in fact, as we've noted, there's no indication Moore fact-checked anything Paul had to say, meekly serving as Paul's stenographer because Paul has been such a reliable Clinton-basher.

So determined is Moore to paint Paul in the best possible light, in fact, that he tells a blatant lie, claiming that "the Clinton Justice Department had him jailed while he was in Brazil and then extradicted [sic] to the United States."

In fact, as the U.S. attorney's office points out, the original indictment against Paul was not issued until June 2001, and he was arrested in Brazil in August 2001 -- months after the Clinton administration left office and, thus, no longer ran the Justice Department. Moore also does not explain why it took two years to get Paul extradited from Brazil.

Moore also quotes Paul saying, "They know they will lose on facts, which is why they continue to assassinate my character." That's a highly ironic statement for two reasons:

  • Paul is a man who has served time in prison for two felonies and is facing a prison term in the felony he just pleaded guilty to. If anyone has been assassinating his character, it is Paul himself.
  • WND has never been shy about assassinating the character of others when it has suited its purposes. In early 2003, prior to the Iraq war, WND published several articles accusing former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter of trying to meet underage girls via the Internet and also suggested that Saddam Hussein had bribed him. WND's attacks came, presumably, in retaliation for his criticism of the Bush administration's buildup to the Iraq war. A WND staffer, Joe Kovacs, appeared on a conservative radio show to discuss "Scott Ritter's run-ins with the law." We suspect Moore won't be surfacing on radio to focus on Paul's "run-ins with the law."

Ironically, WND has published columns by Gordon Prather and David Hackworth acknowledging that Ritter was correct about Saddam's lack of weapons of mass destruction, though such an admission has yet to make its way to a WND "news" article.

And it wouldn't be WorldNetDaily if it wasn't hiding a conflict of interest or two. Moore's article fails to mention Aaron Tonken, another convicted felon who organized the fund-raiser at the center of Paul's lawsuit; WND published Tonken's book on the subject (and as with Paul, has played coy with Tonken's felonies).

Additionally, Paul is currently represented by the United States Justice Foundation, which has represented WND on various matters in the past, including a defamation filed against it by a fund-raiser for Al Gore. Moore notes that Paul was previously represented by Judicial Watch (which has also done work for WND) but fails to note that Paul and Judicial Watch have split on less-than-friendly terms, with Paul threatening to sue the group.

Sadly, Moore's article serves up nothing new and everything old -- including its quest to serve up any allegation that makes the Clintons look bad, no matter how discredited the accuser, and its attempts to pretty up those discredited accusers.

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