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Silence Equals Assent

WorldNetDaily has so far refused to respond to our documentation of how its racially charged rhetoric may have influenced Charleston shooter Dylann Roof. Is that an admission that we're right?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/9/2015

Shortly after Dylann Roof was arrested for killing 9 blacks in a Charleston, S.C., church, a website was discovered containing numerous pictures of Roof burning the American flag and posing with the Confederate flag, as well as a manifesto describing his path to embracing white supremacy.

In blog posts at ConWebWatch, which became an article at the Huffington Post, I pointed out how the views expressed in Roof's manifesto reflected those promoted by WorldNetDaily over the years.

Roof stated how the Trayvon Martin case "truly awakened" him and that "It was obvious that [Martin's killer, George] Zimmerman was in the right" -- views that mesh with WND columnist Jack Cashill, who wrote a WND-published book defending Zimmerman and portraying Martin as a thug in training.

Roof's concern over "black on White crime" is echoed by Colin Flaherty, whose rants obsessing over "black mob violence" were heavily promoted by WND -- to the point that Google threatened to dump WND from its ad program over it. WND also republished Flaherty's self-published book touting how "groups of black people have been roaming the streets of America – assaulting, intimidating, stalking, threatening, vandalizing, stealing, shooting, stabbing, even raping and killing."

Roof's concern that post-apartheid South Africa should be a lesson to the United States reflects WND's editorial agenda as well. It has long promoted the causes of racist white Afrikaner mercenaries in South Africa and even let pro-apartheid dead-enders opine on the death of Nelson Mandela. WND also has as a weekly columnist South Africa native Ilana Mercer, who still pines for the days of apartheid.

WND usually responds to criticism in an immature way -- for example, editor Joseph Farah's thin-skinned huffiness. Recall that when I previously published an article about WND at HuffPo, his response was to call me a "talent-challenged slug" (and fail to disprove anything I wrote). But WND management has been unusually silent, and the only actual response, from Cashill, was surprisingly weak.

Cashill wrote in his June 24 WND column:

The Martin reference inspired the Huffington Post’s Terry Krepel to publish an article Monday headlined, “Did Right-Wing Media Influence Dylann Roof?”

In the article, Krepel quotes Roof on Martin and then asks the twisted, defamatory question, “Where have we heard before that the death of Trayvon Martin was justified and blacks are nothing but thugs and criminals?”

The answer to the first part of that phrase, Krepel insists, is here on the pages of WND. As to second part of that question – the “nothing but thugs and criminals” part – one has to wonder whether the cash-strapped HuffPo has fired all its editors – and lawyers for that matter.

Yes, two years ago, WND published my book on the George Zimmerman case, “If I Had A Son.” Yes, the WND editors and I believe it is wrong to send an innocent man to prison for 30 years. Krepel slams us for so thinking.

Note Cashill's subtle threat of a legal action against me and the Huffington Post, despite being unable to identify anything false that I wrote. Indeed, Cashill confirms my characterization of his book as portraying Martin as a thug in training, stating that "Had Zimmerman not shot Martin, it is likely that Martin would be in prison today."

The rest of Cashill's column is dedicated to a rather lame attempt to prove that Roof didn't actually write the manifesto attributed to him, dismissing him has nothing more than "a drug-addled, ninth-grade dropout" who was incapable of having the "style, syntax and vocabulary" used in the manifesto and articulating his racist thoughts as well as he did.

Cashill also suggested that the website the manifesto was found on is a fake, designed to "set [Roof] up and/or discredit the political right." He conveniently ignores the fact that the Washington Post article he cites as proof of the "far-left" leanings of the people who discovered Roof's website also points out that it has "been confirmed by law enforcement as legitimate."

Cashill issued a more specific attack on me in a column at the far-right American Thinker, calling me a "veteran propagandist" who "forced [his] hand" in commenting on the Charleston shootings. The fact that Cashill devoted more space to a response at American Thinker than at WND would seem to be another sign of WND's reticence.

Cashill claimed that my noting the indisputable fact that WND has published writers like Cashill and Flaherty who are so quick to demonize blacks is evidence of my having a "pathology." One might respond that Cashill's record of aggressively defending murderers who kill those he considers a blight on society -- gays, abortion doctors, black teens -- is pathological as well.

Cashill also took my description of Zimmerman as a "habitual criminal" out of context, deliberately ignoring the fact that I was pointing out that Zimmerman now has a longer criminal record that Martin did.

Curiously, Cashill repeats the statement in Roof's manifesto about how he was "truly awakened" by the Trayvon Martin death and how "It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right" without reflecting on how close those statements coming from a mass murderer come to his own views. If this does give him pause, Cashill makes sure not to show it.

Cashill appears to be so outraged at being called on his track record that he has no intention of reflecting on why that is -- or why a mass murderer is echoing his own views.

Changing the subject

Meanwhile, WND keeps trying to make sure discussion of Roof involves anything other than the closeness of the racial views in Roof's manifesto to WND's own editorial agenda.

One recent attempt to change the subject came in a July 3 WND article by Leo Hohmann, who falsely suggested that history professor Juan Cole is somehow anti-Semitic for pointing out that the Islamophobia promoted by WND faves like Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes is reflected in Roof's manifesto. Hohmann plays up a reference by Cole to Geller and Pipes as "right-wing Jews." But Hohmann takes the phrase out of context; in the blog post Hohmann is attacking, Cole points out that it's ironic that Geller and Pipes are Jewish because Roof "went on heartily to hate Jews, as well. Many American Jews, he held, are pro-African-American, and so he abhorred them, as well."

Hohmann made no mention of the details of Roof's manifesto that reflect WND's concerns about black-on-white violence and the Trayvon Martin Case. Instead, he contacts Geller and Pipes for predictably outraged quotes that anyone would link them to Roof.

If Leo Hohmann were an honest journalist, he'd get into the details of Roof's manifesto. But he isn't, and Farah isn't paying him to be one.

They say silence equals assent. Should we take WND's silence as assenting that its editorial agenda contributed to Roof's mindset?

Come to think of it, WND was similarly silent in 2011 when it came out that a manifesto written by Anders Breivik, the terrorist who murdered dozens in Norway, cited WND six times and reflected WND's editorial agenda in attacking Islam, feminism and multiculturalism.

It seems that WND is trying to keep its head down, hoping the moment passes and desperately trying not to draw any attention to the clear parallels between itself and Roof.

But in this case, WND's silence arguably makes my case as much as any thin-skinned attack.

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