WND's Chief Islamophobe
WorldNetDaily reporter Leo Hohmann has been peddling hatred of Muslims with misleading and biased reporting, at one point effectively asking: Why should police investigate a crime when we can simply make assumptions if the perp is Muslim?
By Terry Krepel
Hohmann’s brand new book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad,” provides an in-depth look at the plan of radical Muslims to fundamentally transform the population of the United States by establishing enclaves of non-assimilated Muslim immigrants a process known as “civilization jihad.”
Hohmann is the perfect guy to write a WND-published book about Muslims -- because he will only bash them and can't be bothered to report the full story.
While WND touts Hohmann's investigation of a "case" in Idaho, he actually failed there as a reporter. The first clue to that is his June 21 WND article on an incident there, which has an oddly defensive tone:
A 5-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by two boys at an apartment complex in Twin Falls, Idaho while a third boy filmed the attack and some local residents are charging the police and city officials with covering up the fact that the boys are from Muslim immigrant families from Sudan and Iraq.
What Hohmann doesn't tell you: This is apparently not the original article he wrote on the alleged incident.
Talking Points Memo reported that WND is one of the right-wing websites that "reported that a group of Syrian refugees sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl at knife-point. Some versions of the story claimed that the attackers’ fathers cheered the assault and that city officials intentionally covered up the true version of events."
The URL of Hohmann's article gives us the original headline -- "Muslim migrant boys accused of assaulting Idaho girl, 5" -- and an earlier version of that article has been reposted at this website, but it appears to not be an original version as it includes later details that rebut original claims.
Nowhere do Hohmann and WND disclose that the article has been so extensively rewritten that it has a completely different headline. WND even has the capability to indicate updates in a story's dateline, but it has not done so here.
Hohmann's complaining that media outlets interested in reporting facts highlighted "a few details that were erroneously reported by bloggers" while "ignoring or downplaying the broader truth of the story" is rather rich, given that those "few details" promoted by Hohmann (who's apparently a "blogger" now) and others were key facts that were completely wrong.
Hohmann also complained about those fact-based news organizations pointing out that the original, false story was “pushed by local anti-refugee activists.” and by “conspiracy and anti-Muslim websites.” Hohmann -- who desperately wants to make sure that we know that "an attack did occur and it was perpetrated by Muslim migrants" -- failed to identify himself and WND as among the “conspiracy and anti-Muslim websites" who pushed the false story.
Hohmann then quoted one of those "anti-refugee activists," Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch, whom he identifies only as someone "who has been following the refugee program for the past nine years." The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that Corcoran's anti-refugee activism is praised by white nationalist organizations across the country like American Renaissance, the Council of Conservative Citizens and VDARE, and she has even touted AmRen's "good commentary."
So it seems Hohmann quietly scrubbed his story to remove false claims without telling readers what changed, whined about the news organizations that waited to get the story right before reporting it, and presented extremists as mere concerned citizens. That's a credibility issue.
Hohmann continued to fan the anti-Muslim flames over the incident. In a June 23 article, he complained that the alleged perpetrators, ages 7, 10, and 14, "were released into the custody of their parents following a hearing Thursday afternoon," despite the fact that it's probably standard procedure in cases involving juveniles. He also whined that "The case has been sealed by the prosecutor," though he did concede this is also "standard procedure in juvenile offenses."
Hohmann also asserted that "WND was the first to interview eyewitness Jolene Payne and give a fully accurate report on what happened at the Fawnbrook Apartments." But Hohmann offers no proof that what his "eyewitness" claims she saw was "fully accurate."
Then, on June 25, he got incensed that a prosecutor was trying to tamp down on right-wing media falsehoods about the incident: "The Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for Idaho has taken the highly unusual step of intervening in a local criminal case involving an alleged sexual assault by juvenile Muslim migrants and threatened the community and media with federal prosecution if they 'spread false information or inflammatory statements about the perpetrators.'" Hohmann again asserted that "WND was the first to report a set of facts about the Twin Falls assault," which, again, is simply not true.
And how did Hohmann respond to being told not to tell lies about Muslims? By again quoting the anti-Muslim activist Corcoran whining that she can't lie about Muslims.
He then wrote an article featuring "First amendment attorneys" -- again, mostly right-wing anti-Muslim activists -- complaining that they, too, are being deprived of their First Amendment right to lie about Muslims. It also includes WND's own (apparently terrible) lawyer:
Daniel Horowitz, who represents WND on First Amendment issues, went one step further. He suggested Olson’s words, insinuated that “false or inflammatory” speech could get an American citizen arrested, consisted of a terroristic threat.
Wouldn't a lawyer who supposedly knows about First Amendment issues also know that falsely calling someone a "criminal terrorist" is potentially libelous and could get him sued?
A later article updating the case hinted at Hohmann's next target: "The world’s largest yogurt plant is operated in Twin Falls by Chobani, and approximately 30 percent of the staff there are foreign refugees, WND previously reported."
And indeed, Hohmann's next article attacked Chobani for hiring refugees, and even went after the Idaho mayor who helped recruit the Chobani to his town, grumbling that he "now plays a dual role of elected official and president/CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce." Of course, Hohmann makes sure to include his favorite Muslim-hater, Corcoran, to huff about "the steady influx of cheap, overseas labor."
Oh, and that claim from Hohmann about refugee employment at the Chobani plant, which comes from a January article he wrote? The myth-busters at Snopes took that apart, finding Hohmann's assertion that "Twin Falls is in line to receive about 300 refugees this year, many of them Muslims from Syria" to be highly questionable. It detailed how that Hohmann's numbers come from "a confusing number of metrics and purported statistics," adding that "None of that mish-mash of numbers appeared directly related in any way to Chobani's founder, or to his company's hiring practices." After going over the numbers Hohmann apparently used, Snopes concluded that contrary to what he wrote, "the vast majority of people asking for asylum in Idaho were not from Muslim countries," and only 2 percent were from Syria.
Conspiracy theory revival
WND just loves a good conspiracy theory. For instance, it quickly pounced on (discredited) claims of a never-arrested third suspect in the San Bernardino terrorist shootings; not only did WND columnists Pamela Geller and Jack Cashill push the conspiracy, Hohmann himself piled on in an article invoking not only the third-shooter conspiracy but also other "lingering questions about how the incident occurred and the way it is being handled by the FBI." Hohmann wanted to know "why there has been no video footage" of the shooting released, why reporters were allowed to go "traipsing through the apartment" of shooters Syed Farook and his "jihadist wife" so soon after investigators were done with it, and why the Council for American-Islamic Relations held a press conference denouncing the shooting "before the FBI even ruled the crime to be an act of terrorism."
That apparently reminded Hohmann of an earlier, never-proven conspiracy it promoted -- that there was a third, Middle Eastern man involved in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. WND published a book by a local TV reporter, Jayna Davis, pushing the conspiracy theory. (The book was published in 2004, when WND's book imprint was operated with religious-oriented publisher Thomas Nelson; when that deal ended, Thomas Nelson got to keep the rights to most of the titles published under it.)
A Dec. 27 WND article by Hohmann rehashed Davis' conspiracy theory about the purported involvement of a "shadowy Middle Easterner" who "was seen in the Ryder truck with Timothy McVeigh" before the bombing, but the FBI "had their case of “homegrown domestic terror” against two native-born Americans, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and they refused to consider that the case may have involved an element of international terror." Hohmann goes on to quote Davis asserting there are "striking parallels between 1995 and what is happening today" and that both the Oklahoma City and San Bernardino attacks were, in Hohmann's words, "part of a larger network of sleeper cells operating within the United States."
Hohmann doesn't mention that despite all the circumstantial evidence Davis and WND have pushed on the Oklahoma City bombing, no Middle Eastern connection has been established. When Davis' "shadowy Middle Easterner," Hussain al-Hussaini, was arrested on unrelated charges in 2011, an FBI spokesperson stated that al-Hussaini was "thoroughly investigated" in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing and "was found to not have any role whatsoever in the attack on the Murrah Federal Building in 1995." The spokesperson added, "The investigation was closed and the FBI has no further interest in that individual."
Then as now, WND has no intention of letting the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory -- especially when "shadowy Middle Easterners" play a role.
Hohmann presumes all Muslims are terrorists
Hohmann complained in an Aug. 5 WND article:
Is “mental illness” the new cover for jihadist attacks on the West?
Hohmann also quoted his boss, WND managing editor David Kupelian, asking "Where does ‘radical Islam’ end and ‘mental illness’ begin? And what if they are the same thing?"
By contrast, Hohmann quoted WND author Carl Gallups effectively running to the defense of alleged Charleston massacre perpetrator Dylann Roof -- who can't be pigeonholed as a Muslim terrorist -- by insisting he actually was suffering from mental illness because, in Hohmann's words, "Roof was at the time of his arrest carrying Suboxone, a powerful narcotic commonly used to treat opiate dependence and has been linked with sudden outbursts of violence." Of course, it couldn't possibly be that Roof may have been taking his pro-apartheid cues and concerns about black-on-white crime from WND writers who spouted that sort of thing.
While Hohmann filled his article with the rantings of anti-Muslim activists, one voice is curiously missing from his discussion of the issue: that of any actual mental-health professional. You'd think that would be relevant to the conversation, but Hohmann apparently didn't.
Hohmann followed up with an Aug. 19 article grousing that "a knife-wielding Muslim yelling 'Allahu Akbar!'" who stabbed a Jewish rabbi in France was described as suffering from "psychiatric issues." Hohmann offered his own armchair analysis: "The defining element of insanity, for legal purposes, has long been that the perpetrator is not aware that his actions were wrong. That would account for almost all Islamic terrorists, who believe their violent outbursts are part of the Quran’s instructions for them to wage jihad against non-Muslims and therefore they are morally justified." Hohmann once again quotes Muslim-hater Spencer but no mental-health professional.
In an Aug. 30 article on a "Muslim stabbing" in France, Hohmann complained that "As with most of the other attacks, it was immediately dismissed by authorities as being carried out by a 'mentally sick' man" and filled out much of his article with "a list of knife attacks just in the last two months, not including jihad attacks using guns, bombs or vehicles."
Hohmann further groused in a Sept. 26 WND article:
A pattern has emerged, repeating itself after almost every new terrorist attack committed on U.S. soil.
In fact, Cetin has been reported to have a history of violence against family and girlfriends, which does not automatically translate into being motivated by terrorism. Physical abuse transcends religions, after all.
Hohmann also complained that "Many of the major TV networks were referring to Cetin initially as a naturalized U.S. citizen of Turkish descent but that also turned out to be false as he is a lawful permanent resident or LPR, not a citizen." In fact, he is a naturalized citizen, and Hohmann should really correct his article.
(WND also published a separate false report claiming that Cetin committed "voter fraud" because he voted while not being a U.S. citizen. Turns out he is, in fact, a citizen, but WND never corrected or retracted its false story).
Hohmann is effectively demanding a rush to judgment on any crime by a Muslim. Who needs a police investigation when we can simply presume that because the perp was a Muslim, he was motivated by ISIS or some other extremist ideology?
After an incident at Ohio State University, Hohmann more fully expressed that sentiment. In his first story on the incident, he complains yet again that police are bothering to do a full investigation instead of jumping to the conclusion that because he's a Muslim, he's a terrorist: "The Somali refugee who stabbed Ohio State University students with a butcher knife Monday praised a well-known al-Qaida terrorist on his Facebook page minutes before his attack, yet authorities say they are not ready to assign a motive."
The next day, Hohmann was in full Islamophobia mode, with some lecturing of the media for not hating Muslims as much as he does:
When Abdul Ali Artan tried to run over a crowd of helpless students at Ohio State University, then got out of his car and slashed as many as he could with a butcher knife, media titans CNN, CBS and NBC treated it as an isolated incident.
Hohmann called on "several experts who follow the refugee program" to answer that question, but they're all Islamophobes like him, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer among them.
Hohmann also tried to fearmonger by making "a simple perusal of some very recent history, roughly the previous 17 or 18 months," in which he listed eight certain violent incidents. Then he moves the goalposts, adding, "A little further back, in 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing by the Tsarnaev brothers left three dead and more than 300 injured."
And what is the significance of this? "The one common denominator of all nine attacks is that each was carried out by Muslim immigrants or sons of Muslim immigrants." Yep, Hohmann had to pad out the list by throwing in "sons of Muslim immigrants"-- he couldn't come up with enough actual Muslim immigrants to make the list long enough.
Muslim wins election, Hohmann freaks out
The August victory of Ilhan Omar in a Minnesota state legislative primary, in a Democratic stronghold that sealed her victory in November, got a sloppy, biased, fearmongering treatment from Hohmann. Let the fearmongering and Muslim-bashing begin:
The state that has imported the most Somali Muslims over the past 25 years has reached a historic milestone that may be a harbinger of things to come.
Contrary to Hohmann's fearmongering, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Omar built a vast coalition of support beyond East African citizens and tried to connect with many new voters, winning a three-way battle in what emerged as the most wild and unpredictable legislative primary in the state," which means it wasn't just "college students and immigrants" as Hohmann claims.
While Hohmann included a couple of quotes from Omar he gleaned from other sites -- he couldn't be bothered to actually talk to her in person for his story -- his article is mostly packed with the rantings of anti-Muslim activists and his own anti-Muslim attacks:
But some Minnesota Republicans were not so giddy, especially those who have warned for years that the build-up of Somali enclaves would eventually lead to their political empowerment, which represents a whole new phase of what they believe is a campaign of cultural jihad.
Hohmann gave free rein to anti-Muslim right-wingers like Debra Anderson to spew their hate: “Their extensive co-opting of American ideas and words overwhelm me. I don’t know where to even begin to counter their lies.” Hohmann permits nobody to respond to the anti-Muslim hate he pushes.
On top of all that, Hohmann's article is so poorly written and edited that Phyllis Kahn's last name is misspelled several times in the article and in captions as "Khan."
False attack on Amnesty International
Islam isn't the only thing Hohmann is willing to mislead or lie about. The headline of a June 3 WND article by Hohmann reads, "Amnesty International defends pimps and traffickers." He wrote:
The human rights organization Amnesty International is drawing fire from other human rights activists for a new document it released favoring the “full decriminalization” of prostitution.
The document states that "Exploitation within commercial sex takes different forms and can encompass a wide range of actions extending from labour violations (for example relating to health and safety regulation), up to and including very serious forms of exploitation involving servitude-like practices and forced labour. States have a range of obligations to protect individuals, including those involved in sex work, from exploitation and abuse. Amnesty International considers that there is greater scope for sex workers to benefit from labour-based protections from exploitation where sex work is not treated as a criminal activity."
In other words, according to Amnesty International, if sex work is decriminalized, pimps would not be able to thrive. The document goes on to ask that "States must ensure that sex workers can access adequate legal protection from the range of other forms of exploitation that do not constitute human trafficking."
The document also specifically condemns human trafficking and insists that it be prosecuted:
Human trafficking amounts to a grave human rights abuse and states have an obligation under international human rights and international criminal law to ensure that it is recognized as a criminal offence. Amnesty International supports the criminalization of human trafficking and calls on states to guarantee effective legal protections against it. States must investigate, prosecute and bring traffickers to justice and guarantee victims access to justice and reparation, including with all necessary levels of support. Trafficking victims should not be criminalized.
So Hohmann and WND are blatantly lying by claiming that "Amnesty International defends pimps and traffickers."
While Hohmann claims to quote "human rights activists" criticizing Amnesty International's statement, they are nothing of the sort. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is an anti-pornography group formerly known as Morality in Media that's much better known for protesting things like Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covers and seemingly blaming mass shootings on gay rights.
The other "human rights activist" Hohmann quotes is Judith Reisman, the anti-Kinsey obsessive with her own history of playing fast and loose with the facts. So, no, these are not "human rights activists" by any normal definition of the term -- they are right-wing activists with a specific agenda.
Oh, and those first two paragraphs contain the only direct quotes from the Amnesty International statement in Hohmann's article. The rest of the article presents Reisman and NCOSE's Dawn Hawkins providing their interpretations of the statement as accurate. Needless to say, Hohmann couldn't be moved to contact Amnesty International to get its reaction to these right-wing attacks.
Hohmann and WND build on a blatant falsehood with dishonest agenda-driven reporting that blatantly misrepresents what Amnesty International actually stated and makes no effort to address the issue fairly.
But as we've seen, dishonest, agenda-driven reporting is what Hohmann is all about.