WorldNetDaily Wants You To Think Obama Is the Antichrist
What do you do after you've repeatedly likened President Obama to Nazis? If you're WND, you turn "The Daily Show" into reality and go the Antichrist route.
By Terry Krepel
You're WorldNetDaily. You've made your name (and a fair bit of money) by throwing every bit of mud you can find at President Obama, telling lies and beyond. You've even repeatedly depicted him as a Nazi. What do you do for an encore?
Well, you reach for the trump card that resonates most deeply with your far-right, evangelical Christian audience: You liken Obama to the Antichrist.
This latest attempt by WND to denigrate and dehumanize the president of the United States appears to have its genesis in a spam email circulating in early 2008 citing the Book of Revelation purportedly describing an Obama-like figure as the Antichrist. As urban legend-debunking website Snopes.com pointed out, Revelation makes no such direct claim.
WND latched onto it through an August 2008 column by Hal Lindsey, who wrote of "a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib and seemingly holding all the answers to all the world's questions," adding:
It won't be Barack Obama, but Obama's world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.
The powers that be at WND, it seems, filed these ideas away for future use, even as others ran with them.
The time for WND to resurrect the idea came on July 30, with a article by Joe Kovacs touting an anonymous YouTube video claiming that the Bible depicts Barack Obama as the Antichrist. Kovacs interviewed the anonymous video-maker, who said he mashed up a sentence from the Book of Isaiah with a sentence from the Gospel of Luke, pulled out the Hebrew equivalents of the words "lightning" and "heaven" and determined, in words of the video voice-over: "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, he would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'"
Kovacs offered no critique of the scholarship of the video's conclusion, even though he purports to be a Bible scholar who has written a book (WND-published, natch) claiming to offer "a fresh, amazing look at what's actually found in the pages of the greatest book of all time."
Meanwhile, religious blogger Richard Bartholomew offered a more likely explanation:
The “U” slips in as a Hebrew “vav” construction, supposedly to link “lightning” and “heaven” to together.
WND followed up this smear with an Aug. 5 column by Joel Richardson -- who, as ConWebWatch detailed, featured the factually challenged story of self-proclaimed former terrorist Walid Shoebat in a previous WND-published book -- carrying the headline, "What Obama and the Antichrist have in common." Richardson tries to be too clever by half, asserting that "Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that in no way do I believe that President Obama is the Antichrist" -- then outlining all the ways that Obama is like the Antichrist.
Richardson also worked in the theme of his new WND-published book "The Islamic Antichrist," in which he claims that, yes, the Antichrist is Islamic -- specifically, the messianic figure known as the Mahdi. But as Bartholomew has detailed, this view relies on "voodoo scholarship" by reading contemporary events into the Bible's Book of Daniel when "it was written with a contemporary audience [the 2nd Century BCE] in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later."
Richardson then ties it all together by making the long-discredited suggestion that Obama is a secret Muslim:
We have just watched as a man lacking virtually any proper qualifications rose to become the most powerful man in the world, almost solely on his charisma and his shallow appeal to class envy. Today, throughout the Islamic world, the masses are yearning for and longing for a populist messiah figure known as the Mahdi who, according to their very own prophecies, will employ precisely the same methods as Obama.
Despite what Richardson disingenuously claims, he is in fact linking Obama to the Antichrist.
WND liked Richardson's smear so much, it was promoted in an Aug. 10 email to its readers. The message includes the disingenuous disclaimer that "Richardson is quick to point out he does not believe Obama is that future global leader," but it makes sure to add that Obama's "messianic appeal and some of his policies do foreshadow the dreaded 'man of sin,' says Richardson."
(UPDATE 9/7/009: This is not the first time that WND has tried to link a Democratic presidential candiate to the Antichrist. As ConWebWatch previously noted, an October 2004 WND article showed a photo of John Kerry surrounded by people holding posters with a large number 6 on them; WND helpfully noted: "According to the book of Revelation in the Bible, the number "666" is associated with an end-time beast power.")
Just because WND has found a new way to smear Obama doesn't mean it has abandoned the old ones. Its writers have continued to repeatedly liken Obama to Nazis (though several of them seem to be singing from the same talking points):
Lenin and Hitler used the national and economic disasters in their countries to ride to political victory. Conquest in a time of disaster! I believe the United States is in the midst of a similar development, spearheaded by Barrack Hussein Obama.
-- Hilmar von Campe, April 4 column
What kind of Christianity did [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright teach Obama that this man can believe that a politician can be a Christian by tolerating hatred and making abortion part of his political platform? Barack Obama has a hidden agenda. He is closer to the Nazis than to our Founding Fathers[.]
-- Hilmar von Campe, May 4 column
Did you know that Hilter wasn't right-wing? He was actually a socialist. That's what Nazi means -- national socialist. He had a lot more in common with Obama than he did with Reagan or Bush or Bush Jr.
-- Molotov Mitchell, May 6 video, complete with this image:
A now well-known political figure ran a campaign promising change. His success was largely due to his skill as an orator, his use of words. He used many words to assuage his detractors, claiming that capitalism and the church were in no danger from him and he was no threat to those who had worked hard and succeeded. He was fortunate to be conducting his campaign during a severe economic downturn. The stock market had fallen, banks had failed, businesses were closing, and unemployment was increasing.
-- Dr. Frank Rosenbloom, June 19 column
After this letter Obama sent to the ayatollah is fully vetted, I'm sure it will become clear that much in the same way as the 1938 Munich Treaty between Neville Chamberlain and Hitler lit the fuse for World War II and the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, so we will soon learn that Obama's appeasement letter to the ayatollah gave Iran the green light to steal the presidential election, brutally crush all political dissent and develop nuclear weapons with impunity to "wipe Israel off the map."
-- Ellis Washington, June 27 column
As the modern-day freedom fighters begin to organize and strategize, the government chooses not to reform, but to entrench and expand its control over the people.
-- Henry Lamb, July 4 column
Even when my wife and I lived in Germany for five years, I thought I would never be able to experience what the ordinary, moral German felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the savior was a former smooth-talking demagogue rabble-rouser from the streets of Munich, not too unlike the man from Chicago at the helm of our country today. The average German knew next to nothing about him. What they did know was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory and without a teleprompter. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and waved a lot. People, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully them into submission.
-- Bill Rouchell, Aug. 14 "letter of the week"
WND even managed to work in oblique Nazi references into its Obama birth certificate coverage. A July 9 WND article by Joe Kovacs declared that "Federal law regarding the release of health records is so restrictive and intimidating, U.S. hospitals could conceivably refuse to confirm or deny if Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler were born in their facility."
Despite such purported outrage when conservatives are depicted as Nazis, WND hypocritically defends its own depictions of Obama as a Nazi.
In his Aug. 17 column, WND editor Joseph Farah asserted that "national socialism ... was then and remains today, despite the denials of historical revisionists, a 'left-wing' idea. All socialism is, by definition, a left-wing notion." Which, given the Nazis' hatred of leftists and communists, cannot be true.
Farah then asserted that "Obama seeks to use his power to impose policies that have, like it or not, a striking resemblance to those Hitler promoted in the 1930s," followed by a laundry list of unsubstantiated claims such as "Infanticide" and "Unfair treatment of Jews, in Obama's case, with regard to Middle East conflict." Farah then complained that is "acceptable for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say American citizens attending congressional town halls are swastika-carrying thugs," even though some of those protesters were indeed carrying swastikas and engaging in thuggish behavior.
Farah concludes by denying that he's unfairly likening Obama to Nazis: "Am I calling Obama a little Hitler, a Nazi or a fascist? I am saying American liberty faces very serious challenges from the country's own leadership not from citizens who dissent against those policies. That's what happened in Weimar, Germany, too."
What Farah doesn't mention, of course, is the striking resemblence of WND's anti-Obama rhetoric to that of the Nazis against the Jews.
Fredric J. Baumgartner wrote in his book "Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization":
The great enemy the Germans had to destroy to achieve their golden age was not Antichrist but the Jews. Yet Nazi rhetoric against the Jews was remarkably similar to that about Antichrist. The Nazis looked for the marks to identify a Jew as thoroughly and eagerly as any premillennialist did for Antichrist.
In a February 2009 "Daily Show" segment, Jason Jones wandered the streets unsure of whether Obama is Hitler or the Antichrist (or both).
Likening Obama to Hitler is not only utterly natural for Farah and his WND to do, they've apparently gotten bored with it -- hence the move to Antichrist imagery, despite the fact that doing so emulates those they claim to despise.
Yet, all of this was foreseen by "The Daily Show." A February 2009 segment features correspondent Jason Jones interviewing activists alternately likening Obama to Hitler and the Antichrist. This ultimately drives Jones into a conspiratorial frenzy, wandering the streets with a bullhorn and a sandwich board reading "Obama Is The Antichrist And/Or Hitler!"
So what happens when WND gets bored with with the Antichrist smear? What new monstrous figure will Joseph Farah and Co. liken Obama to then? We'll find out soon enough -- just keep watching "The Daily Show."