Alan Caruba, Bamboozler Extraordinaire
It's not just climate change: Mr. National Anxiety Center also loves Obama-bashing and believes that right-wing chain emails are credible sources of information.
By Terry Krepel
Caruba -- the one-man band behind the so-called National Anxiety Center -- is an Obama-hater and a birther, and he pulls some of his attacks straight from factually challenged right-wing chain emails. CNSNews.com and Accuracy in Media published his columns anyway.
Caruba is an Obama-hater, which surfaced in a December 2008 CNS column spent complaining about kids today, with their computers and their casual sex and their voting for Obama:
While growing up, the Millennials led a busy, structured life in the 90s and this first decade of a new century. Their parents were devoted to them and the feeling was returned. They were told they were smart and to be inclusive and tolerant of all races, religions and sexual orientations. They were accustomed to being team players and they took being connected 24/7 for granted via cell phones and the Internet. This was a generation that was thoroughly nurtured.
Caruba used an August 2010 CNS column to go beyond Godwin, likening Obama to none other than murderous cult leader Jim Jones:
On November 18, 1978 the world was shocked to learn that more than 900 members of the People’s Temple had committed suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. They took their lives drinking poisoned Kool-Aid -- at the urging of Jim Jones, charismatic preacher who founded the Temple in the 1950s in Indiana, later moving it to California and then to Guyana.
Not even notorious Obama name-caller Ellis Washington went that far.
Caruba went birther in a June 2012 column, published by AIM:
July 4th is a good day to demand that President Barack Hussein Obamaborn in Mombassa, Kenya, raised in Indonesia, and leaving no paper trail in Americaresign before he does further harm to all Americans, to the American dream, and to the hope of freedom in the hearts of men and women everywhere in the world.
Of course, Caruba did not back up his claim about the president's birthplace.
Caruba did not take Obama's re-election well, arguing in his Nov. 6 column -- published by both CNS and AIM -- that America committed "national suicide" in doing so. After lamenting that "Romney, sadly, lacked sizzle," Caruba went into an all-too-familiar conspiracy-laden smear attack of Obama:
Obama has never had any real sense of how people feel about things that are important to them. Why should he?
Caruba also wrote:
In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:
As ConWebWatch first documented in 2004 -- when this quote started popping up in chain emails -- the professor's last name is Tytler, not Tyler, and according to Snopes, there's no evidence Tytler ever actually said this.
How apropos that Caruba's conspiracy-mongering features an inaccurate quote from a chain email. This is not the first time he has done this.
In a February 2011 AIM column ranting against multiculturalism in general and immigration in particular, Caruba wrote:
In 2008 Los Angeles County, population 10.2 million, was where 42% of workers were paid cash and did not pay taxes; 90% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles were for illegal aliens; more than two-thirds of all births were to illegal aliens; nearly 40% of all inmates in California were Mexican nationals who were there illegally; and, nationally, while less than 2% of illegal aliens were picking crops, 37% were on welfare.
Most of Caruba's of these statistics are falsely portrayed and apparently pulled out of chain emails, with a few of the numbers inflated for dramatic impact. As Snopes detailed:
Where did Caruba get such anxiety-generating smears from? From email chains, apparently; Snopes.com notes that Alikhan and Shora were cited in a email, complete with reference to being a "devout Muslim."
Alan Caruba devotes his June 18, 2012, AIM column to ranting about Rachel Carson and her book "Silent Spring," the 50 anniversary of whose publication is this year. To hear Caruba tell it, Carson helped foment America's "unfounded fears of pesticides" and is just like Hitler:
There are books that have doomed millions to death. “Das Capital” by Karl Marx kicked off the worst economic system of the modern era, claiming the lives of millions of Russians and Chinese, along with others in the process.
Caruba goes on to rail against the DDT ban, claiming that "Malaria, once on the brink of being eliminated, has long since made resurgence since the ban of DDT, although some nations most affected by the disease have received permission to use it. That is Rachel Carson’s true and lethal legacy."
In fact, DDT-resistant mosquitoes -- which carry the malaria virus -- had begun to appear well before the DDT ban due to overuse of the pesticide. Further, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting states, there was never a global ban on DDT, and 10 out of the 17 African nations that currently conduct indoor spraying use DDT.
Caruba also claims that "The coast-to-coast plague of bedbugs that has occurred in the past decade and continues today could have been eliminated if DDT were still in use." In fact, Newsweek reported that, as with mosquitoes, bedbugs had developed resistance to DDT by the time of the DDT ban; besides, "In the 1960s and 1970s, most of the bedbugs that had survived the onslaught of DDT were wiped out by malathion, until it, too, stopped working."
Amateur media criticism
Caruba decided to (inadvertently) demonstrate the difference between right-wing media critics and real media analysts in his May 2010 AIM column rooting for the deaths of Time and Newsweek:
If I were to date the rapid decline of both newsmagazines, I would point to the endless succession of weekly covers from 2008 onward that featured Barack Hussein Obama or his wife Michelle. Not since Princess Diana has anyone received such constant exposure beyond their inherent merit.
Such an insistence that Newsweek's alleged political agenda is to blame for its problems (its print edition died for good a couple years later) ignores examinations by actual media analysts as to why newsweeklies are on the decline. Slate's Jack Shafer, for example, pointed out that while the death of newsweeklies has been predicted even before the advent of the Internet, the Web is accelerating their demise by squeezing out their place in the media landscape. Reuters' Felix Salmon reached a similar conclusion.
We don't recall Caruba biased editorial content for the fact that right-wing newspapers survive only through the good graces of deep-pocketed, ideologically driven owners, though the logic is exactly the same.
In 2010, AIM gave Caruba space to claim that Bradley Manning, accused leaker in the Wikileaks case, is "a sexually confused young man drawn to the Lesbian Bisexual Gay and Transgender movement and yet granted a security status sufficient to have given him access to secret information." Caruba provided no evidence that a non-heterosexual orientation is reason enough to deny one access to "secret information."
Caruba peddled anti-United Nations conspiracies in his June 4 AIM column:
It’s what you do not know about what the government is up to that can get a lot of people killed. For example, on June 3rd, President Obama will sign off on a UN treaty which, if ratified by the Senate, would override the Second Amendment and deprive Americans of the right to own guns.
In fact, the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty does not override the Second Amendment; it specifically states that it "reaffirm[s] the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional systems." Further, the American Bar Association investigated the treaty and found that "the proposed [treaty] is consistent with the Second Amendment."