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The Kupelian Conundrum

WorldNetDaily's managing editor portrays himself as a journalist who hates it when others lie, but he's clearly too consumed by his far-right agenda to honestly write about anything.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/1/2013

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian began a July 29 WND column by declaring, "I thought I knew a lot about lying."

David Kupelian

Why, yes, he does. Kupelian hates President Obama so much, there is basically no lie or smear he will not publish about the president (as ConWebWatch has documented).

But Kupelian has a history of misleading and lying about a variety of subjects, not just Obama, and not just in his books, which purport to decry how "evil" is being marketed while turning a blind eye to his own sinful deceptions.

Let's take a look at some recent examples of Kupelian's dishonesty and falsehoods.

Kupelian endorses crime

Consistent with WND's anti-gay agenda, Kupelian endorses crimes when they are committed to harm the rights of homosexuals.

In August 2012, Kupelian endorsed the criminal behavior of Lisa Miller, who illegally fled the country with her daughter Isabella -- that is, kidnapped her -- to evade court orders allowing Miller's lesbian ex-partner, Janet Jenkins, visitation rights. Miller became a Christian, decided she was no longer a lesbian, which earned her representation in her custody lawsuit by the right-wing Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Liberty University. An FBI affidavit stated that Miller was living at the time in a house in Nicaragua owned by the father of a Liberty University School of Law administrative assistant, and the law school teaches its students how to engage in civil disobedience in situations such as the Miller case.

Kupelian cited reports from LifeSite News -- an anti-abortion website known for its biased reporting -- claiming that "clinical therapist Sylvia Haydash in her affidavit testified as to Isabella’s 'extremely regressive behaviors' after visiting with Jenkins." Kupelian failed to mention that Haydash was acting under Miller's direction, making her testimony suspect.

Kupelian failed to mention the fact that the Liberty law school assistant's father owned the house in Nicaragua where Miller was reportedly staying. He did acknowledge the lawsuit's statement of how the law school teaches civil disobedience, but only as a prelude to letting Liberty Counsel chief Mathew Staver deny the lawsuit's allegations.

Kupelian concluded: "God bless Lisa and Isabella, wherever they may be – and God bless all those who have helped them."

In a March 4 WND article, Kupelian rather laughably played "reporter" regarding the sentencing of a pastor involved in illegally spiriting Miller out of the country. Kupelian didn't even bother telling the other side of the case, like how judges apparently found no merit whatsoever in the smears Miller launched against Jenkins.

Having expressed such a strong opinion on the case, Kupelian had no business whatsoever "reporting" on it. But such violations of journalistic ethics are routine at WND.

Bogus homosexuality-pedophilia link

Also in keeping with WND's anti-gay agenda, Kupelian wrote a Jan. 29 column denouncing the Boy Scouts for considering allowing gays to take part:

Now the big question in all this, of course, is the following: With these sex-abuse cases within the Boy Scouting organization, just as those within the Catholic Church, are we dealing with actual “pedophiles” or with predatory homosexuals?

Virtually all defenders of the gay agenda will angrily denounce the mere suggestion that homosexuals could be victimizers here, or that the two groups could even overlap.

Contrary to the media myth that the Catholic Church’s problems are primarily with “pedophile priests” – terminology which safely absolves homosexuals from suspicion – the major portion of the church’s sexual-abuse problem has been the infiltration of its seminaries by homosexuals. In fact, widespread cases of predatory homosexual priests created a full-blown crisis for the church.

“The real problem the Catholic Church faces,” explains Father Donald B. Cozzens, author of “The Changing Face of the Priesthood,” is the “disproportionate number of gay men that populate our seminaries.”

That's not true. Margaret Smith, a John Jay College criminologist who worked on a 2004 study of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, says it's an oversimplification to blame child sexual abuse on gays. While most of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature, "participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man." Further, analysis of research shows that gay or bisexual men are not more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.

Still, Kupelian insisted on pushing the unfounded link by parsing the definition of a pedophile:

“Pedophilia” is, by definition, sexual contact with a pre-pubescent child. Most of the boys molested by “pedophile priests” have been pubescent teens. Likewise, in the scout world, although we can comfortably indulge the fantasy that there is a wide gulf between the land of homosexuals and the land of same-sex pedophiles, this does not comport with the known facts. (If you want, you can read Scientific American’s explanation here – but bottom line, many of these sex-abuse cases, whether in Scouts or in church, do not involve actual pedophiles.)

Well, no. A 2011 John Jay report reiterated its earlier findings that "the vast majority of clergy sex offenders are not pedophiles at all but were situational generalists violating whoever they had access to," and that "there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church."

Psychiatric drug freakout
Kupelian's key argument against antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs is the case of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, blaming the antidepressant Effexor for it. But Kupelian is careful not to mention the influence of a fundamentalist Christian preacher to which Yates and her husband were in thrall, who preached austerity (the Yates family lived in a bus the preacher had sold them) and taught that it was better to kill oneself than to mislead a child in the way of Jesus. It's arguable that that the life Yates was living compounded the stress on her mental state, but Kupelian is silent about it.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre -- and despite the fact that it has yet to be reliably confirmed what psychiatric drugs, if any, Adam Lanza had been taking prior to committing it -- Kupelian devoted an entire Jan. 7 column to speculating that psychiatric drugs were to blame and that "it is simply indisputable that most perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications." Kupelian again referenced the Andrea Yates case (while, of course, keeping silent about the fundamentalist preacher's influence), then went on to suggest a conspiracy of silence:

When on earth are we going to find out if the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school massacre, like so many other mass shooters, had been taking psychiatric drugs?

In the end, it may well turn out that knowing what kinds of guns he used isn’t nearly as important as what kind of drugs he used.

That is, assuming we ever find out.

One question Kupelian doesn't ask: Will that occur before or after Kupelian tells his readers about the fundamentalist preacher's influence on Andrea Yates?

Defending a politician friend with plagiarism

If Kupelian's Sept. 9 article defending Oregon Republican congressional candidate Art Robinson looked a little familiar, that's because it was -- Kupelian wrote pretty much the same column two years ago. Literally.

Of the 35 paragraphs in Kupelian's column, 23 are substantially or exactly the same as a Robinson-defending column he wrote in October 2010, when Robinson was also running in a House race against the same opponent, incumbent Democrat Peter DeFazio.

Which means that Kupelian was repeating the same tired, dubious defenses of Robinson, who has also created a homeschooling curriculum known as "The Robinson Curriculum." Kupelian writes sycophantically of this: "Talk about the American can-do spirit!" He continues:

One part of “The Robinson Curriculum” is a recommendation that students read as many as possible of the 99 short, classic historical novels for children penned by celebrated British author G.A. Henty (kind of like the “Hardy Boys” books). Now it happens that in one of these 99 Victorian-era books – all of which Robinson personally reprinted on his own printing press and offered to the public as an adjunct to his homeschooling curriculum – one fictional character makes a two-sentence remark while in Africa that could be considered racially insensitive by today’s standards. Because of this, candidate Art Robinson is being labeled a racist.

Yes, I know, it’s insane.

To create that bit of alleged insanity, though, Kupelian massages the facts.

The book in question is Henty's "By Sheer Pluck," and here's the offending passage, in which Mr. Goodenough, the mentor of the young lad who's the main character, pontificates upon their arrival in Africa, goes on a bit longer than the "two sentences" Kupelian claims, and is a bit more than "racially insensitive":

“They are just like children,” Mr. Goodenough said. “They are always either laughing or quarrelling. They are good-natured and passionate, indolent, but will work hard for a time; clever up to a certain point, densely stupid beyond. The intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old. A few, a very few, go beyond this, but these are exceptions, just as Shakespeare was an exception to the ordinary intellect of an Englishman. They are fluent talkers, but their ideas are borrowed. They are absolutely without originality, absolutely without inventive power. Living among white men, their imitative faculties enable them to acquire a considerable amount of civilization. Left alone to their own devices they retrograde into a state little above their native savagery.”

A PBS bio of Henty noted that his books "are notable for their hearty imperialism, undisguised racism, and jingoistic patriotism," indicating that they they went out of print for a reason: such attitudes fell out of fashion decades ago. And far from being "classic historical novels," a scholarly paper on Henty's work noted that they contain a "formulaic structure" and imparted "a discourse embodying the British imperial ideology."

The real question here is what Robinson does with Henty's books in his homeschool curriculum, particularly given that, in Kupelian's words, he encourages students to "read as many as possible." What guidance is given to homeschooling instructors in addressing the offending passage in "By Sheer Pluck" and other similar offending passages that presumably exist in other Henty books? Kupelian is silent on this, as he was in 2010 -- which suggests that it isn't addressed at all.

Kupelian also recycled his promotion of Robinson's supposed scientific credentials by touting how he has rejected science:

Robinson has single-handedly documented the utter lack of unanimity in the scientific community on manmade global warming through a petition he started – not an online petition, mind you, but an actual document physically signed – that to date has been signed by more than 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s. All 31,000 agree “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

In fact, only a handful of signers -- less than 1 percent, according to one calculation -- have a scientific background in climatology, and there's no apparent verification mechanism to ensure that the signatories do in fact have the scientific qualifications they claim. Further, there have been more than 10.6 million science graduates as defined by Robinson's group since the 1970-71 school year, making the 31,000 on the petition a tiny fraction of that -- 0.3 percent, to be exact -- small enough that one could call it "fringe."

Kupelian concluded his column (both of 'em) by begging for donations to Robinson's campaign. But Robinson really didn't need the money -- at the time of the 2012 column, he was outraising DeFazio, with a whopping 79 percent of his contributions coming from out-of-state.

Plus, Robinson had a super PAC sugar daddy he could rely on. In the 2010 election, Robinson was the beneficiary of $627,500 in advertising paid for by a New York hedge fund manager, and he dropped another $439,000 in ads for Robinson in 2012. Yet, despite outspending his opponent in a 2010 election cycle that favored Republicans, Robinson lost to DeFazio by nine points.

Kupelian mentioned none of this, of course; instead, he asserted that "Art Robinson stands an excellent chance of winning" without explaining why the outcome could possibly be any different than 2010. (You know, like his column.) In fact, Robinson ended up losing to DeFazio by 20 percentage points.

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