Both the "news" and opinion sides of WorldNetDaily -- already fans of Vladimir Putin -- put Biden-bashing and biolab propaganda ahead of warmongering worries when Russia invaded Ukraine.
By Terry Krepel Posted 6/20/2022
WorldNetDaily has long been a booster of Russian leader Vladimir Putin -- it embraced its persecution of LGBT people and critics of his regime, and it even defended Putin against allegations he meddled in the 2016 presidential election to help get Donald Trump elected. So it's no surprise that WND's "news" side served up a dose of Biden-bashing and Putin appeasement in writing about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A Feb. 24 article by Bob Unruh hyped how "Former President Donald Trump is charging that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is playing Joe Biden "like a drum" and the just-launched attack on Russia's neighbor, Ukraine, would not have happened were he still in the White House." Unruh admitted that Trump "stirred up his critics in both parties by describing as "savvy" Putin's strategy of declaring two parcels of Ukraine as independent and then claiming Russia's forces were invading as 'peacekeepers,'" but tried to dismissing by noting one source of criticism was Liz Cheney, "who was removed from her GOP leadership post for her earlier attacks on Trump."
A Feb. 26 article by Unruh seemed to be justifying Putin's invasion as a ploy to reverse "demographic winter" in Russia:
A commentary in the Washington Times recently called demographic winter "The plague of the century."
Elon Musk has warned about it, telling a forum recently, "One of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and rapidly declining birthrate."
Simply, there are not enough people being born in some nations to replace those seniors who die. Populations will be declining.
Now the Ruth Institute is suggesting that this threat could be part of why Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, his neighbor.
"Most observers are missing the demographic dimension of the war in the Ukraine," said Ruth Institute Communications Director Don Feder. "Russia needs people, and in Ukraine there are 41 million people who are ethnically identical to its own.
"By absorbing Ukraine, it will increase its population almost 30% overnight."
ConWebWatch has documented how the "demographic winter" concept is largely a racial one, with white babies the only ones that advocates are genuinely fretting about. Unruh was silent about the racial aspect.
In a March 3 article, Art Moore gave space to an analyst who was effectively arguing for Ukraine to capitulate to Russia to keep Russia from bombing it:
The fall of the major Ukrainian city of Kherson on Thursday marks a major turning point in the war, because Ukrainian forces mounted very little resistance and, consequently, the city of 300,000 was spared, contends Russia analyst Clint Ehrlich.
"The message to other cities is clear: Fight and be leveled or surrender and be treated kindly," he wrote in a thread on Twitter presenting his conclusion that the Ukrainians must face the grim reality that they are outmanned and Russia has shown in the past that it will show no mercy if it meets resistance.
Ehrlich said there's "a real risk that we're selling the Ukrainians a false bill of goods just like we did when we promised them NATO membership."
"They keep asking for a NATO no-fly zone because they know they can't win without it," he said. "We aren't going to give it to them."
That leaves the West with a "troubling moral quandary."
"Are we really helping the Ukrainians by encouraging them to fight?"
Ehrlich said he is "awed" by the bravery of the Ukrainians.
"But if the end result is watching [Ukraine] get viciously torn to pieces, was it really worth it?
Moore didn't mention that Ehrlich is actually a pro-Trump and pro-Russia enthusiast who once started a website to defend them both and currently works as a computer scientist at a blockchain company. So, maybe not the most credible person to comment on the issue (unless you're WND).
Given WND's longtime enthusiasm for Putin, it's probably not a surprise that it would help him spread disinformation and propaganda to boost his war prospects and bash the U.S. -- this time with both "news" and opinion sides contributing. Laura Hollis started the ball rolling in her March 3 column, beginning with a complaint that the U.S. has said mean things about Putin:
Putin, on the other hand, claims not only that parts (if not all) of Ukraine belong to Russia; he has intimated that the United States has been funding the development of possible biowarfare agents at laboratories in Ukraine, and that these pathogens could be used as weapons against Russia.
Until recently, most of us would have tended to believe the statements of our own government over the inflammatory accusations of a former Soviet strongman. But two-plus years of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that our own government lies to us continuously and repeatedly.
In fact, the similarities between the "Ukraine biolabs" story and the theory that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology are remarkable.
A Washington Post article from 2005 opens with this statement: "The United States and Ukraine agreed yesterday to work jointly to prevent the spread of biological weapons, signing a pact that clears the way for Ukraine's government to receive U.S. aid to improve security at facilities where dangerous microbes are kept." The two U.S. senators spearheading that initiative were Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, and Barack Obama, then a Democratic senator from Illinois.
So, "dangerous microbes" are at these Ukrainian laboratories, and the United States government has been providing funding. For what, exactly? To "improve security."
This hardly inspires confidence.
Predictably, any suspicions about the work conducted in Ukrainian laboratories and funded by the U.S. government are now being dismissed as "disinformation." Foreign Policy published an article yesterday insisting that the "Ukrainian lab bioweapons" claims are just "conspiracy theories" being advanced by (of course) the Russian and Chinese governments and (wait for it) QAnon supporters who are spreading misinformation on social media as part of the "dogma for the right wing of the Republican Party."
So, what's really going on in the Ukrainian laboratories? Who do you believe?
Well, certainly not Hollis or WND. As the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler pointed out, "The Russian claims about Ukrainian labs bear the earmarks of the Soviet Union’s long-running campaign of false allegations that the United States used biological weapons," which resumed in earnest a couple decades ago and have been repeatedly debunked -- which didn't stop right-wing media from embracing the disinformation upon Russia's war on Ukraine.
A March 9 article by Art Moore furthered Russia's disinformation effort:
The United States continues to dismiss as "Russian propaganda" the claim that Ukraine is developing biological weapons.
However, the U.S. State Department's top Ukraine official made a startling admission to a Senate committee in response to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's question, "Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?"
Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland did not deny or confirm that Ukraine has chemical or biological weapons. She apparently surprised the senator and the panel by acknowledging the European nation does have "biological research facilities" that are a source of concern amid the Russian invasion.
But Kessler noted that right-wing outlets were parroting a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who insisted that Nuland’s comment was proof of the United States’ "illegal and criminal activity on Ukrainian soil." Moore waited until the end of his article to report rebuttals to Russian claims about the biolabs.
Moore followed up with a March 12 article that lavished attention on how "Russian ambassador Vasily Nevenzya claimed the U.S. Department of Defense funded and supervised a network of at least 30 biological weapons research laboratories in Ukraine." Unusual for WND, Moore gave space to U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield to rebut the claims as the disinformation they are -- though he again mentioned how Nuland "gave a guarded answer in which she neither denied or confirmed" that Ukraine has bioweapons. Moore then called on one of his favorite COVID misinformers, Robert Malone, to claim that the U.S. partnership with Ukraine over the labs is providing Russia with "some semblance of political cover for military actions."
In between, however, WND published a March 10 column by Ilana Mercer that totally embraced Russian biolab disinformation and justified Russia's war on Ukraine:
The finding of American-installed WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) laboratories located in Ukraine, near the Russian border, is certainly a reminder of the extent, the depth and the gravity of the American State's lies about this conflict and its genesis. Put it this way: If Russia had American privileges, namely the right to invade sovereign countries while retaining its virtue, these biowarfare facilities copped to by Victoria Nuland, one of the American architects of the February 2014 coup in Ukraine would have served as casus belli (provocation) for war.
I abhor what is, on its face, a Russian war of aggression. However, knowing the history of the conflict leaves no room for doubt: The Russian Bear was poked, and poked and then some.
An anonymously written March 15 article was devoted to pro-Russia ex-politician Tulsi Gabbard throwing a fit over being called out by, of all people, Mitt Romney for spreading the biolab disinformation:
Just the News reported Gabbard had explained on social media her concerns about the "25-plus, U.S.-funded" locations.
Those, if breached, she warned, "would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world."
Romney launched his attack on social media, claiming, "Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives."
She said, to Romney, "MittRomney, you have called me a ‘treasonous liar’ for stating the fact that “there are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world and therefore must be secured in order to prevent new pandemics."
"Please provide evidence..." she charged.
"If you cannot, you should do the honorable thing: apologize and resign from the Senate."
The anonymous WND writer made no mention of the numerous debunkings of the biolab claims or that it originated with Russian propagandists.
Shari Goodman embraced the disinformation in a March 17 column:
Additionally, while the Biden administration at first denied the existence of biological weapon labs in Ukraine, Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland later admitted under oath in a congressional hearing that there were in fact 20 to 30 bio labs in and around Ukraine. We are to believe that these labs with dangerous pathogens were there for scientific study in a highly unstable country that just happens to share a border with a nuclear arch enemy of ours.
Meanwhile, Craige McMillan ranted in an April 8 column:
Back to our original concerns about Resident Biden's continued health, and the exposure of his son Hunter's financial relationships with Ukraine and the biolabs the U.S. built there to conduct experiments and research that would have been illegal in this nation, and most other nations. China (think Wuhan), the United States and Ukraine seem to have been not too concerned about the kinds of experiments going on in biolabs. These facilities seem to have been cathedrals for those who worship "science" at any price, even the destruction of humanity and the rest of God's creation.
It's not a good look for WND to be so actively spreading Russian propaganda.
WND columnists were expressing their love for Putin -- and embraced his anti-American hate -- in the months before the invasion. Hanne Nabintu Herland lovingly recounted Vladimir Putin's attacks in an October speech in her Nov. 3 column:
Since Russia is now our much talked about enemy, one would assume that the Western media would scrutinize every word said by President Putin at the influential 2021 Valdai Discussion Club in Russia. But not so.
As the Valdai event in Sochi focused on the individual, values and the role of the state, sharing the vision of modern Russia, negative focus on COVID-19 in Russian hospitals was seemingly the only popular topic the same week in Western mainstream media.
This, of course, effectively halted any intelligent discussions in the West on topics such as conservatism versus progressivism, totalitarianism versus citizens' rights, the importance of not focusing on race and skin color, the need to combat racism, inequality and important topics such as the dire situation in Afghanistan, all addressed at the Valdai Discussion Club.
President Putin held talks with journalists for over three hours at Valdai, rivaling his well-known annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum open talks.
In fact, the Valdai Discussion Club is little more than a pro-Putin think tank, meaning there's little actual "discussion" going on there, and any journalists who failed to toe the party line were likely strongly encouraged to do so lest they get the Navalny treatment.
Herland first highlighted Putin's remarks on Afghanistan, then moved to what she really wanted to hype:
The second main topic at the 2021 Valdai Discussion Club was President Putin preaching Russian conservatism as a remedy against the extreme progressive, left-wing wokeness that now destabilizes the Western hemisphere. Putin noted: "It is with puzzlement that in the West today we see practices that Russia has left in the distant past."
The president said that it is very surprising to see how Western countries turn to an aggressive dogmatism in the struggle for equality against discrimination that borders on absurdity. While opposing racism is a noble cause, the culture of abolition turns into a reverse discrimination based on skin color.
"People who dare to say that men and women still exist as a biological fact are almost ostracized. ... Not to mention the simply monstrous fact that children today are taught from a young age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa. Let's call a spade a spade: This simply verges on crimes against humanity under the banner of progress," he said, as quoted by The Moscow Times.
Putin added: "In the coming era of global readjustment, which may last quite long and whose final outlook is unknown, moderate conservatism is the most reasonable line of conduct," stating that Russia will be guided by the ideology of healthy conservatism. This is seen as opposed to the extremism that leads to political collapse.
Herland went on to gush: "He described the current worldwide political and social upheaval by quoting a Chinese proverb: 'God forbid living in a time of change,' which is precisely what we are now experiencing." She didn't mention that Putin forbids his countrymen to change if it involves him losing power. Perhaps she wants his corrupt authoritarianism to take over in America.
Elizabeth Lee Vliet spent her Feb. 16 column fearmongering about numerous things, at one point suggesting that talk of conflict in Ukraine may "signal an orchestrated plan moving toward increasing totalitarian control over Americans and other Western democracies," while also claiming that it "more importantly provides legal 'cover' for forced vaccination of all military members, as well as forced quarantine and compulsory vaccination of American civilians similar to the violent tyranny taking place in Australia and Austria." She did not provide evidence of anyone in American facing "forced quarantine."
Nicholas Waddy demanded full appeasement of Putin by keeping Ukraine out of NATO, since Ukraine isn't worth saving anyway, in a Feb. 14 column:
In case you couldn't decipher my sarcasm, let me be more upfront: there is no good reason for the current brouhaha between NATO and Russia over Ukraine. Ukraine has been, for a millennium or so, deep inside the Russian sphere of influence. In effect, Ukraine is Russia's little brother headstrong and resentful, but destined to live in the shadow of big, strong Rus, come what may. And we in the West, for some reason, think it's our business to take Ukraine's side (of late), and to upbraid Rus for his highhandedness, insisting that he treat his little brother like an equal. What's more, we expect to get our way not by bopping Rus on the nose, in the time-honored manner in which bullies are generally brought to heel, but by waving our arms in a pantomime of outrage and, if pressed, by threatening Rus with a cut in his allowance. Little do we realize that such tactics are tailor-made to infuriate Rus, to goad him to acts of aggression, and in fact to make little Ukraine's already complicated life absolutely miserable. The simple fact is that we interfere with this age-old fraternal bond at our peril, and even more so at the peril of the very people we claim to want to help.
Arguably, our useless chiding of Russia and our even more useless cheerleading for Ukraine might be defensible, if Ukraine itself were worth fighting over. It isn't. It probably never was, and it certainly hasn't been since we and the Europeans acquired the ability to produce more food for ourselves than we could possibly eat.
Once upon a time, Ukraine was a breadbasket, and rich agricultural lands are worth a pitched battle or two. Now, though, Ukraine is an impoverished backwater, a cesspool of corruption and strategic dead weight. Winning its allegiance, or defending its independence, is about as useful to the West as staking a claim to one of Jupiter's moons, or annexing broad swathes of the fourth dimension. Ukraine ought to be absolutely, positively unthinkable as the ground over which World War III could be fought, with all the dreadful portents for nuclear annihilation such a war would bring with it.
We can, however, diffuse Russia's anxiety and forestall a seemingly imminent invasion by a simple expedient: We make Russia a promise, either explicit or implicit, that Ukraine will never be a candidate for NATO membership and, in fact, that the era of NATO expansion has come to an end. By doing so, we would not only bring the present crisis to a happy conclusion, thus securing peace and prosperity for ourselves and for the Russian people, but we would also have conveyed these inestimable blessings to Ukraine. The Ukrainians' sovereignty would be intact (if a little frayed around the edges), and all for the sacrifice of one absurd fantasy: that Ukraine could ever be a member-in-good-standing of the Western alliance. We, the Ukrainians and the Russians will all be better off when this dangerous illusion is set aside.
"President" Biden, I realize that, as a loyal CNN/MSNBC viewer, disparaging and antagonizing Russia comes second nature to you, but, please, give up these strong-arm tactics before you get someone hurt and, by "someone," I mean everyone!
In a March 1 column, Andy Schlafly tried to blame everyone but Russia for Russia invading Ukraine:
Europeans do not want to merge with Ukraine, and most Ukrainians and Russians do not want that merger either. Yet the Deep State has pressed for this fantasy until the horrible conflagration ignited.
This is the so-called New World Order that leads nations into wars. In the United States and western Europe, the unelected officials who comprise the Deep State think they can force global alliances that are contrary to millennia of bonds and cultures.
On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced his new application to become a member of the European Union, in defiance of Russia. Zelenskyy requested immediate admission into the EU at a time when millions were praying instead for a deescalation in hostilities.
The Deep State has wrongly promoted the European Union for everyone, as a sort of one-world government whose purpose is to have as many members as possible without regard to the resultant conflicts.
Jim Darlington devoted his March 3 column to claiming that Democrats made Putin invade Ukraine by going after Donald Trump's ties to Russia:
So, we come to a question. A very pointed question. Who really started this war?
OK, Putin. He invaded Ukraine. Horrible. Period. But who set the stage?
It was Donald Trump's fault, of course. Ask anyone with a "D" by their name. And in a way it was. He had been toying with the idea of building a Trumpian tower in Moscow, before throwing his hat into the presidential ring which was more than the elite lying class could ignore, so rich it was in possibilities for slander. Henceforth the H. Clinton campaign could base half its otherwise threadbare platform on the charge that Trump was just a dupe of Vlad, and then base her entire blame-shifting campaign, after she lost, on the Russian-Trump collusion to steal the election. Well, on top of all the other excuses, of course.
And there it goes again, idiocy's hallmark reminder that back in the day (historically about two minutes ago), it was completely normal and expected that Democrats who lost would shout "Stolen Election!" Whereas now, any suggestion that 2020 wasn't exactly kosher is plainly assigned to the realm of Traitorous, Seditious, Insurrectionist, Enemies of Democracy! My! My! How fashions do change!
The leftist challenges to Trump's legitimacy and the following three years of "Russiagate" nonsense undeniably interfered with the obvious need to befriend our fellow (at least nominally) Christian nation, in a world of hostile jihadists and communists. But Trump never really had the option of sending Vlad an "Overcharged" button. Every wish to reach out had to be measured against a certainty of accusation and vilification, and a consequent expenditure of political capital.
We should not be too harsh on those who seem to want to defend the Monster Putin. The better part of his Dr. Frankenstein is the American Democratic Party. He is a needless enemy, with whom we should have long since allied against the infinitely greater Chinese (and jihadi) threat.
When you're equating people holding Trump accountable for his behavior and associations with a bloodthirsty dictator, you're losing, Jim.
Schlafly took Russia's side again in his March 8 column:
Russia demands only that Ukraine end its military hostilities, promise not to join the anti-Russia EU or NATO, recognize Crimea as part of Russia and acknowledge the independence of the small Donetsk and Lugansk whose residents speak Russian.
Those modest demands hardly fit the liberal narrative that Russia is supposedly targeting innocent civilians or refugees fleeing the fighting. Beating war drums prolongs the bloodshed until residents leave, as more than 2 million Ukrainians have already fled.
Without support by the American people, a handful of globalists have quietly expanded NATO all the way to the Russian border, including even nations that were part of the former Soviet Union. Joe Biden endorsed this reckless expansion, which provoked the war that we now watch tragically unfold.
Schlafly did not mention Putin at all, let alone that he alone is the person who is responsible for this war.
Farah: Blame Biden!
WND editor Joseph Farah hasn't written a lot about Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- he's still too busy promoting election fraud conspiracy theories to devote much time to it -- but when he has, it's generally and unsurprisngly been centered on blaming President Biden. Right after the invasion, Farah ranted in his Feb. 24 column:
We saw war break out in Ukraine yesterday.
It's understandable, while the news is focused on it, that our eyes should be diverted there. But that may be where our enemies want us looking.
Maybe we should be instead focused on what's coming next.
What are we missing because of America's gross incompetence?
And now Joe Biden has made it all-too-possible to become a reality or at least a prequel for a world-ending nightmare scenario.
What else should we expect from hapless Joe Biden?
We have just less than three years left before he leaves office. Three years it's an ominous amount of time.
Can we sustain the world as we know it in the meantime?
We are on the brink of the most dangerous period the world has possibly ever known thanks to Joe Biden.
It's time to pray and repent!
Farah expanded that blame to all liberals in his column the next day for purportedly blocking discussion of China:
No one in the United States bothers to talk about the China virus anymore especially the radical left. It's one of the topics you can't talk about in polite company.
Nor can we talk about the Uighurs, a people living in Chinese concentration camps and marked for extinction through forced abortions.
Why can't we talk about it?
Because we don't have a free press anymore thanks to Big Tech another one of the allies of the Chinese Communists.
All Joe Biden would say about the Chinese insofar as their position on Russia and Ukraine is that they will be "stained" by it. He was careful to say nothing further because Beijing has the goods on him. He was former business partners with Russia, China and Ukraine.
Also, China may have helped Biden to pull off his BIG STEAL of the 2020 election.
When Russia first assaulted the Ukraine in 2014, Barack Obama, the great humanitarian, sent Ukrainians blankets. The second time he attacked them, Joe Biden, the man who had taken bribes from Ukraine, diddled, waffled and did virtually nothing. He's still spending weekends in Delaware. Who knows who's in charge?
In fact, by 2015 the Obama administration had sent $120 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including weapons, armored vehicles and medical supplies.
Farah used his March 7 column to praise Ukrainian leader Volodomyr Zelensky as a proud "Hebrew warrior," apparently oblivious to his own columnists trashing Zelensky as a failed leader for not capitulating to Russia.
In his April 5 column, Farah called on Henry Kissinger, of all people, to back up his anti-Biden take, which also leaned a bit into supporting Russia (and repeating the Obama blanket falsehood):
I'm hardly a fan of Henry Kissinger.
I've never thought that much of the man while I was on the right or the left.
The former secretary of state is a globalist at best. But he explained the correct path for Ukraine while both Barack Obama and Joe Biden were doing nothing about Russia's threat until it was too late.
His words were prescient, given that he was writing this in 2014, when Russia was preparing to gobble up Crimea on the eve of its invasion and occupation.
To sum up his evenhanded approach to this long simmering catastrophe, Kissinger advised that Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe.
Ukraine should not join NATO. And it should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people.
Kissinger was also cognizant that both the U.S. and Europe need to show greater appreciation for the historical and ethnic ties binding Russia and Ukraine while never ceding Ukraine's sovereignty to Russian control.
In retrospect, the war could have been avoided by statecraft, if the "grown-ups" didn't ignore all the signs and dangers.
The U.S. should have done more sooner, for example, preparing the Ukrainians militarily as Donald Trump did after Obama sent them blankets. And if Biden was the "expert" on Ukraine in the Obama administration, he should not have seen it as his personal honeypot with Hunter preying on it.
Farah hasn't dedicated a column to the Ukraine situation since. Since silence is arguably assent, we can presume that even a Biden Derangement Syndrome sufferer like Farah has decided he approves of Biden's overall handling of the situation.