WorldNetDaily is republishing freelance work from former reporter Leo Hohmann -- which is just as terrible as the work he did when he was on WND's payroll.
By Terry Krepel Posted 1/31/2022
Leo Hohmann was one of the most dishonest reporters WorldNetDaily has ever employed (and that's saying something given the motley crew of writers it has published over the years). He's best known for being anasty Islamophobe and for forcing WND to stealth-edit articles he wrote to remove claims in which he falsely accused yogurt maker Chobani of importing Muslim immigrants to work at a manufacturing plant in Idaho, presumably to avoid a lawsuit.
Despite this spotty history, WND has welcomed Hohmann back last year as a writer -- sort of; it's actually just republishing articles that first appeared on his own personal website. But it's clear that Hohmann has not changed his ways, while still pushing WND editorial narratives. He wrote in a July 20 article:
Attorney Thomas Renz filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama on July 19 that alleges a massive government cover-up of vaccination-related U.S. deaths that number “at least 45,000.”
The suit, filed on behalf of America’s Frontline Doctors in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, is based on a sworn statement by a government insider under federal whistleblower protection.
Speaking at the Re-awaken Tour event held July 17-18 in Anaheim, California, Renz made the bombshell announcement he says is based on a whistleblower with access to government computers and can prove that “at least 45,000” Americans have already been killed by the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA.
The CDC’s own reporting system, called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, provides numbers of people, updated weekly on Fridays, who have been reported as having died or been injured by vaccines in the U.S.
The COVID vaccine deaths reported to VAERS stood at just under 11,000 as of last Friday, July 16. This represents more deaths reported from all other vaccines combined since the VAERS system was established in 1990.
Hohmann didn't bother to fact-check anything, of course. But an actual fact-checker did and found that it's yet another deliberate misunderstanding of how the VAERS reporting system works, and that reports of adverse effects and deaths are not verified and cannot be used to establish a definitive link between vaccines and those alleged adverse effects:
The number tracks back to a woman who did not reveal her method for calculating the figure and who has not been publicly identified. She based her calculations on reports of deaths in VAERS, according to a lawsuit. But the number does not align with data contained in VAERS and even the reports of death entered into that system do not prove that those people died as a result of receiving a vaccine. VAERS is an open system that contains reports that can be submitted by anyone and are not verified.
Finally, the claim was part of a lawsuit by America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that has peddled many false and conspiratorial claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
Hohmann went on to uncritically quote more misinformation from Renz:
The injections from Pfizer have an 80% failure rate in Israel, Renz said.
“They don’t work. The absolute risk reduction of these vaccines is 1 percent,” he said.
Renz was referring to the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials, which showed the absolute risk reduction for those getting the vaccine was 1% less of getting a severe case of the virus compared to those who got a placebo.
In fact, as another fact-checker reported, the Israel data lacks context and is being used in a misleading manner:
Misleading posts on social media are now twisting data from Israel to falsely claim the country’s vaccination program is a failure due to the number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among the vaccinated.Medical professionals say Israel’s vaccine program is making remarkable progress against the virus.
Experts say the country’s high vaccination rates are keeping case numbers down and reducing hospitalization and deaths even as the delta variant is provoking an uptick in infections. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows Israel documented 1,118 new cases on July 21 -- which is less than a tenth of the 11,934 new cases the country had at its peak on Jan. 27, before vaccines were widespread.
“It doesn’t mean vaccines don’t work,” Dr. Robert Cyril Bollinger, Johns Hopkins University professor of infectious diseases, said about Israel’s data. “They have very low rates after vaccination versus where they were before vaccination.”
Others, meanwhile, have pointed out that the Israel numbers are outliers that are based on a small number of cases, which raises question about their accuracy.
Spreading lies does not seem like a good way for WND to keep itself alive. Apparently, WND believes its audience wants to be lied to and misled.
COVID is a 'psyop'?
WND gave Hohmann another shot at misleading its readers in an Aug. 11 article, and he went full conspiracy theory:
Any student of military history will tell you: Wars don’t just happen.
They are always foreshadowed by a propaganda operation intended to soften up the target, wear people down, weaken their resolve to fight.
Like any halfway decent misleader, Hohmann began by pumping up the credentials of the person he was invoking to help him mislead:
The most successful operations come down to this simple strategy: Identify your enemy, segregate, isolate, then annihilate.
Piers Robinson, co-director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, is an internationally recognized expert on propaganda, but not just any propaganda.
His focus is on conflict and war and the role of propaganda within that framework. He is also an associate researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 "War on Terror" and has served as an advisor to NATO leaders.
From 2016 to 2019, Professor Robinson chaired the department of politics, society and political journalism at the University of Sheffield.
That led to Robinson's wild claim that the entire COVID-19 pandemic has been one big propaganda psyop:
“COVID-19 is probably one of the biggest propaganda operations we’ve seen in history because of the global nature and the resources put into it,” Robinson said. “It was pretty clear from the beginning that propaganda was being employed.”
In the U.S., one of the main spigots of propaganda has been Dr. Anthony Fauci and the media’s elevation of him to god-like status, hanging on his every word and never pressing him to provide data to back up his constantly swerving pronouncements. Every Western government has its version of Fauci, spouting ever-changing, confusing information meant to keep the population off balance, afraid and confused.
A fearful, dazed and weary public is less able to resist the dizzying array of draconian policies coming from governments, from facemask rules and incessant testing to quarantines of the healthy and mandatory mass vaccinations.
In his latest effort to prepare Americans for even greater medical tyranny, Fauci went on national TV Aug. 8 and said “a flood” of new COVID vaccine mandates are coming down the pike as soon as the shots get FDA approval, which he expects to happen as soon as next month.
Fauci has continually frightened the American public for 18 months, wearing everyone down with a steady diet of propaganda.
Which brings the subject back to Robinson, who has decades of studies under his belt in the art of propaganda in war time.
Robinson documents how the British government sought expert advice from behavioral psychologists on how to use the media to manipulate public opinion by ratcheting up the level of fear surrounding the COVID pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, this leads to Hohmann spreading more COVID misinformation:
Blaming the unvaccinated for continued flare ups of the pandemic is everywhere.
“This should ring alarm bells for anyone who has even the most basic grasp of history. You start to talk about segregation, you start to talk about people who are unclean, unhealthy, unvaccinated versus vaccinated,” Robinson said.
None of these policies is based on scientific data.
“All of the level-headed epidemiologists that I listen to are very clear that this idea that the unvaccinated spread the virus is not accurate scientifically, but that is the kind of message which is being communicated by people who have been pushing the agenda from the beginning,” Robinson said. “And that will create divisions, and we’ve been in this kind of place in history and it ends very badly when we start segregating people and we start using that language. But, quite terrifyingly, this is the language which is being used by the people who have been pushing draconian restrictions, vaccines, for the last two years.”
In fact, unvaccinated people not only spread the virus, they make it more likely for more virus mutations and variants to happen -- making the pandemic even harder to control -- and the unvaccinated are more likely to be affected more severely if they catch the virus. Robinson went on to whine:
“Very credible, eminent scientists, are now being smeared in the media because of their anti-lockdown views or for questioning the Covid vaccines. The casual smearing is certainly a big part of what’s going on. This should be another warning sign to those who think everything is OK and there are no problems out there. People should ask themselves, why are very eminent scientists from the beginning [like Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone] being smeared and being censored and shut down and shut out from debates? That tells you something. That tells you this isn’t a rational response that’s going on. This is a propagandized response. And it’s being carried through by shutting people up, by humiliating them, smearing them and so on.”
In fact, neither McCullough nor Malone are "very credible, eminent scientists"; they both have been caught pushing lies and misinformation about COVID vaccines.
By the end of his article, Hohmann and Robinson were throwing in other conspiratorial tangents into their argument:
“All the alarm bells are ringing with anyone who has a knowledge of history, and a knowledge of propaganda, how governments don’t always operate in the best interests of their populations. All the alarm bells are ringing, and we are in extremely dangerous times, unfortunately, and very worrying for the future.”
So what is the end game?
“There are some great investigative journalists out there, who have reported on the World Economic Forum and the idea that the end game is a restructuring of society which involves more control over individuals and their lives by the state,” Robinson said.
“There are many theories out there. But one thing is clear; this all seems to be driving toward a real end to proper freedom. If you have a vaccination passport which you need to get into your supermarket, you’re not actually free anymore.”
Digital currencies are another thing that seems to be in the offing.
“This gives a tremendous shift in power to governments,” he said. “This is all pretty anti-democratic. If you think democracy and freedom are generally good things, and I’m one of them who does, this is all extremely concerning.
“We are at a pivotal moment...it could go either way. That’s why people must mobilize and realize something is wrong beyond COVID-19.”
As for the QR codes on the vaccine passports, “we should have all learned a lesson after 9/11, with the Patriot Act, surveillance, monitoring everything, and governments, if they can get away with it, will exploit all of this.”
Seeing the writing on the wall, some resisters are already talking about buying swaths of land and forming self-supporting communities that exist off the grid.
“Hopefully,” Robinson mused, “it isn’t coming to that.”
Hohmann didn't mention that Robinson has a record of failure. When the pandemic first started, Robinson falsely insisted that it was a "low fatality virus" no different than the flu. He has also been accused of serving as an apologist for unsavory leaders like Russia's Vladimir Putin and Syria's Bashar al-Assad.
In other words, exactly the kind of shoddy source you'd expect Hohmann and WND to promote.
Hiding facts about right-wing activist
He served up more dishonesty -- falsely portraying a right-wing activist as a victim -- in a Nov. 22 article:
An FBI SWAT team raided the home of an activist mother of four in Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 16, knocking down her door, bursting into the house with guns and handcuffing her while she was homeschooling her children.
This is the first known case of the federal government making good on its promise to not only intimidate but actually carry out a raid on a mom who was involved in her local school board politics, said Brannon Howse, who interviewed Sherronna Bishop at Lindell TV Wednesday night.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland issued an Oct. 4 memorandum directing federal, state and local law enforcement to look for parents to prosecute nationwide who may have made “threats” and made “harassing” phone calls to school board members nationwide, equating such parents to domestic terrorists.
Now a mother, Sherronna Bishop of Grand Junction, Colorado, has felt the brute force of the FBI’s heavily armed SWAT unit used against her family.
She was at home with her three children about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when she heard someone pounding on the front door, then using a battering ram to break it down. She said the officers “manhandled” her 18-year-old daughter, pulling her up the stairs by her hoodie, while another officer put her in handcuffs and ushered her out of the house. They proceeded to search the entire house.
Hohmann is lying by linking the raid to the Department of Justice memorandum (and he's leaning into the false narrative about the memo pushed by WND and elsewhere in the right-wing media). It wasn't until the 10th paragraph that Hohman got around to hinting that other factors were involved.
She said the agents would not tell her why they were searching her home. They did leave behind documents related to the search warrant, saying they entered her home because she was suspected of causing “intentional damage to a protected computer, wire fraud and conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer.”
“I don’t know anything about this. They couldn’t explain any of this,” she said. “I will tell you why: they were at my home to intimidate me, to shut me up, because I was using my First Amendment rights to advocate for [Mesa County Clerk] Tina Peters on the issue of Dominion [voting machines] and the damage done in our election. And they’ll never be held accountable. Instead they will criminalize this woman who has stood up.”
Instead of elaborating on that, Hohmann continued to push the bogus school link and portrayed Bishop as a victim, a "suburban housewife and mom" being "targeted" by the government, going on to rant: "Now, an activist mom has been targeted, raising the question: Has the FBI become the political shock troops for the White House, seeking to harass and intimidate anyone who speaks out against its policies?"
Hohmann is censoring the truth about the raid. Bishop is an associate of Peters, the county clerk who gained notoriety by taking part in a "cyber symposium" held by MyPillow guy Mike Lindell last august with the goal of uncovering election fraud (which didn't happen). She brought with her what she claimed was proof that county election data was altered -- which turned out not only to be not true, but also resulted in her getting fired from her job for allowing an unauthorized person to copy election-related hard drives and shutting off security cameras to hide that unauthorized copying.
On top of that, Bishop's story about a battering ram being used to enter her house -- treated as fact by Hohmann -- appears not to be true either. The Colorado attorney general and the local district attorney responded to Bishop's accusations this way: "At no time was force used on Ms. Peters or her home. Ms. Peters was allowed to move around her home and fix herself breakfast while agents gathered items before departing....We are issuing this statement to clear up inaccuracies about what occurred during yesterday’s enforcement action."
Hohmann also failed mention that Bishop is a former campaign manager for Lauren Boebert, the far-right extremist who is now a congresswoman from the state. (It appears, however, that Bishop was unhappy with Boebert praising the district attorney's approach to the Peters investigation, so they're on the outs right now.)
It's clear that Hohmann couldn't be bothered to fact-check anything Bishop said -- bad move on his part.
The fact that WND invited Hohmann back to write this dishonest piece -- and the others -- demonstrates bad judgment on its part, and it proves yet again why nobody believes WND.