Aaron Klein's Blinders
WorldNetDaily's largest attacker (on a volume basis) of Barack Obama has an aversion to reporting that John McCain has done some of the things he bashed Obama for.
By Terry Krepel
ConWebWatch has tracked Aaron Klein's reporting ever since he joined WorldNetDaily in 2005. In that time, he has demonstrating an unmistakable far-right bias in his reporting on Israel, from hiding the history of violent extremist of the right-wingers he covers to repeatedly attacking Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, even during a time of war, to using Muslim terrorists as messengers for his anti-Muslim agenda to suggesting that AWOL Israeli soldier and killer Eden Natan-Zada was a martyr by stating he was "murdered" by a "mob of Palestinians" while refusing to admit that the four people Zada shot to death on a bus in Gaza were murder victims.
Most recently, he has been trying to deflect criticism of Jewish West Bank settlers for recent instances of violence by portraying the violence as either perpetrated by "extremists" who weren't West Bank residents (despite having never having previously identified protesters causing violence in the West Bank and Gaza as "extremists") and the residents themselves as "mostly peaceful farmers" residing in "tree-lined communities."
This year, Klein focused most of his efforts stateside for the presidential election. There too he showed his right-wing bias, bashing Barack Obama over literally dozens of articles -- we counted more than 10o Klein articles that reference Obama in WND's archive -- and even inventing controversies such as a endorsement of Obama by Hamas through an interview he staged (while downplaying Obama's criticism of Hamas).
One thing you didn't see coming from Klein: criticism of Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain. As ConWebWatch has detailed, there's been a virtual blackout of bad news about McCain in WND's news coverage, despite WND editor Joseph Farah's assertion that he opposed the election of both Obama and McCain.
As with his Israel coverage, Klein deliberately wear blinders in his Obama coverage -- obscuring or ignoring the fact that McCain has done some of the same things he has criticized McCain for doing.
As far back as February, Klein was writing about Obama's alleged links to "confessed domestic terrorist" William Ayers, "a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971." But as ConWebWatch documented, neither Klein nor anyone else at WND has written about McCain's ties to another domestic terrorist, G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate infamy. That appears be because both Klein and Farah have close relationships with Liddy; Klein's 2007 book, "Schmoozing With Terrorists," not only offered a shout-out to Liddy in the acknowledgements section -- "looking forward to many more Mideast adventures together" -- he begins one chapter by recounting one such "adventure" with Liddy, awestruck by Liddy's general awesomeness.
In that same February article in which he first raised the Ayers link, though, Klein also tried to tie Obama to another controversial person: Rashid Khalidi, head of "a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a 'catastrophe'" who "reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism."
What Klein didn't report: McCain has his own ties to Khalidi.
The Huffington Post reported on Oct. 28 that the International Republican Institute -- chaired since the early 1990s by McCain -- gave another group headed by Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, numerous grants, including one for nearly half a million dollars, dwarfing the $75,000 Khalidi's Arab American Action Network received from the Woods Foundation, on whose board Obama sat at the time the grants were granted and through which Klein made his original link of Obama and Khalidi.
Klein ignored the McCain-Khalidi link for months after reporting the Obama-Khalidi link and repeating it in numerous articles ever since. It was only after the Huffington Post article came out that Klein was forced to acknowledge it.
In an Oct. 29 WND article, Klein finally reported the McCain-Khalidi link, then promptly tried to minimize it:
Unreported by the Huffington Post is that the CPRS, with which Khalidi was for a time moderately involved, is pro-Western and can be characterized as pro-Israel.
What follows is Klein's boilerplate bashing of Khalidi and Obama.
Klein described Khalidi's work with the CPRS as being "for a time moderately involved," but he later writes that Khalidi was one of "seven Palestinian activists" who founded the group -- which indicates Khalidi's involvement was more than"moderate."
By contrast, Klein offers no comparable gauge of involvement with the other Khalidi-linked group in question, the Arab American Action Network. Klein recites the group's to "empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities," but rather than describe how it does that, he cherry-picks the allegedly "anti-Israel" events but offers no evidence there are "scores" of them, as he claimed.
Klein also stated that "The AAAN website currently states the entire site is under construction," but ConWebWatch had no problem accessing the website the day Klein's article was published -- and found what the group does that Klein won't tell his readers about. Among those activities:
In other words, Klein's depiction of the group as solely "anti-Israel" is highly misleading.
Klein dishonestly followed up with an Oct. 3o article on "Rashid Khalidi, who has been closely tied to Sen. Barack Obama" -- but with no mention whatsoever of the Khalidi-McCain link he reported just the day before.
Klein has gotten much mileage from his April interview (along with right-wing radio host John Batchelor) of Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, who expressed support for Obama. Klein went back to that well in an Oct. 19 article, with another interview (along with Batchelor) of Yousef -- this time around, Yousef praised Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, as a "very nice" person and a "great man" whose record "speaks volumes" and who can be counted on by the terror group to engage in the "right policy" toward the Middle East.
As ConWebWatch has previously noted, the willingness, knowing or otherwise, of Yousef to advance Klein's and Batchelor's anti-Obama agenda raised questions about undisclosed orchestration of the interview between Klein, Batchelor and Yousef -- an issue that rises again with Yousef's second round of advancing their agenda.
But while Klein was promoting his interviews with Yousef as evidence that Obama shouldn't be elected, another terrorist group was apparently endorsing McCain.
The Associated Press reported on Oct. 21 that a message on an al-Qaeda-linked website, al-Hesbah, written by a frequent and apparently respected contributor, stated that the "impetuous" McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."
This went unmentioned on WND for days, even though the AP story came out two days after Klein's second interview with Yousef. And once it finally was mentioned, it was minimized like the Khalidi story -- but this time, Klein wasn't the one who minimized it.
Nov. 1 WND article by Ryan Mauro ("founder and chief editor of WorldThreats.com") claimed there has been more than one "tacit endorsement of Democrat Barack Obama by the terrorist network," citing "Joseph Shahda, an Arabic translator who monitors radical Islamic websites." Mauro did not offer any further information about Shahda.
A 2006 BlogCritics profile of Shahda, meanwhile, describes him as a "denizen of the conservative web site Free Republic" -- which should raise red flags about his partisan motivations. Shahda did translations of several documents posted on the Internet by the federal government that were seized by U.S. troops in Iraq -- an idea pushed by Republican congressmen and right-wing radio hosts -- which he then posted at right-wing chat site Free Republic.
Indeed, on Free Republic, Shahda -- writing under the name "jveritas" -- is very much rooting for McCain and against Obama. As he writes in one post, "When you vote, you beat these insanely biased polls. Go and vote, ask you family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to vote for McCain/Palin."
In another post, Shahda wrote:
Another Shahda post simply recites McCain talking points:
We are going to win because at the end a defeatist, a socialist, and a left wing liberal like Barack Obama will not be elected President.
Back to Mauro: It's not until the 11th paragraph of his article that Mauro gets around to addressing the McCain endorsement -- done so, of course, only to dismiss it:
The title of a Washington Post story Oct. 22 suggested the forums indicated significant al-Qaida support for John McCain.
Why should anyone trust Shahda when he clearly has a right-wing, anti-Obama bias? It appears that Shada and Mauro are emulating Klein's worst habits.
Unfortunately, Klein's worst habits -- his willful blindness to anything that contradicts his political agenda, at least until he can figure out a way to spin it to his benefit -- are the way WorldNetDaily does business.