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WND Boosts The Conspiracy Theory President (Until It Doesn't)

WorldNetDaily didn't start taking a hard look at Robert Kennedy Jr.'s policies until he decided to run for president as an independent candidate instead of a Democrat -- though it still has a sweet spot for his anti-vaxxer activism.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 1/29/2024

Robert Kennedy Jr.

WorldNetDaily's enthusiastic promotion of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s presidential campaign continued over the summer and into the fall -- because it might hurt President Biden's re-election, not because it actually wants him to win. An anonymously written June 22 article hyped that "A newly posted video of an interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat candidate for the 2024 nomination for president, reveals how it was Barack Obama who actually made Big Pharma a part of his political party. And, he said, it was when Obama 'made a golden handshake with the devil.'" Bob Unruh helped Kennedy attack Biden in a July 24 article:
Evidence of alleged corruption by Joe Biden has been piling up for some time already: The claims of bribes and other huge transfers of money that could be payoffs. The financial deals with America's detractors around the globe, and more.

And there have been a lot of people calling for investigations of what appears to be corruption.

Now a popular Democrat is joining those requests.

Just the News reports that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a candidate for the Democrat [sic] nomination for president in 2024, now is demanding an investigation into possible corruption by Biden.


"I have avoided criticizing the president because I’m trying to bring people together and end some of the vitriol, the poison that’s made politics so poisonous," Kennedy told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo's "Sunday Morning Futures."

But, he said, "I think though the issues that are now coming up are worrying enough that we really need a real investigation of what happened. I mean, these revelations where you have Burisma — which is a notoriously corrupt company that paid out apparently $10 million to Hunter and his dad — if that’s true, then it is really troubling."

On Aug. 14, WND not only promoted an interview Kennedy did with Tucker Carlson, it published an anonymously written article that repeated his complaints that he's being criticized online:

A court hearing has been scheduled this week for a case being brought by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. against the powers of the internet that are censoring him.

He's contending for the Democrat nomination for president in 2024, and while the Democrat party [sic] machinery – apparently – still is behind Joe Biden, the Kennedy name certainly has the potential to disrupt the Deep State's best-laid plans for that vote.

The Hill explains that even though his name is associated with one of the most powerful Democrat families over the years, he's being targeted now.

The opinion piece said, "Not a day goes by that he is not vilified by a left-leaning news site. The vitriol these outlets direct at Kennedy is often far more inflammatory than what they launch against the 'hated' former President Donald Trump on a regular basis."

The commentary said it's because he's been considered for years a "charter member" of the "Democratic/liberal/progressive community" and he knows the "shadowy inner workings" of the Democrat machine better than most.

But during COVID-19, he "strayed." He criticized COVID policy and practice as well as treatments. And he defended doctors, nurses, police, firefighters and more who opposed the mandated shots, and paid a penalty for that.

Which is why a hearing Wednesday before a federal magistrate judge on his request for a temporary restraining order barring Google from censoring his comments on YouTube takes on a huge significance.

It was not mentioned that Kennedy has a history of spreading lies and misinformation about COVID and its vaccines that social media works to eradicate.

After Kennedy started making noise about running as an independent, Unruh helped push the idea in a Sept. 26 article:

Joe Biden could be facing a disastrous defeat in the 2024 presidential election, assuming he's still in the hunt then, if Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would offer voters a third-party candidacy.

That's according to a report from Newsweek, which revealed that one-third of Democrat voters likely would support him.

The results, from Rasmussen Reports, confirmed that combination of factors would undoubtedly hand the White House to President Donald Trump, who then would become only the second president to be re-elected ever to serve non-consecutive terms.

The survey said 57% of likely Democratic voters plan to support Biden in the Democratic primaries, to the 25% committed to Kennedy.

Unruh didn't mention that Rasmussen Reports has a right-wing bias, making polls like this a bit untrustworthy.

Kennedy was also continuing to get support from WND's columnists. Richard Blakley portrayed Kennedy, along with Donald Trump, as an alleged victim of "persecution" by Biden in his Aug. 17 column:

While the main thrust of Biden's assaults have been against his main rival, former President Trump, Biden has also refused Secret Service protection for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as Kennedy is dealing with death threats while running for the Democratic presidential nomination. This is the first time in history this protection has been denied for a candidate with 20% in the polls, according to RFK Jr.

All of these persecutions of presidential candidates show we have entered into a new era of demise for the United States, where tyrannical rulers are able to wield their power to persecute their opposition.

Blakley offered no evidence that Biden is personally blocking the Secret Service from protecting Kennedy. In fact, the Secret Service provides protection only for "major" candidates, which Kennedy has not proven himself to be.

Going independent: Cheers, then attacks

When Kennedy left the Democratic race to run as an independent, WND was initially supportive. An anonymously written Oct. 9 article hyped the move:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., long feared by Joe Biden supporters as a major challenge in the 2024 presidential race, now has announced he'll run as an independent, meaning Biden will not be able to dispose of his candidacy before election day, if then.

The Washington Examiner reported Kennedy confirmed Monday he'll switch from the Democratic Party, where he was up against Biden, to an independent bid for the White House.

"During a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, speech which his campaign billed as a 'historic announcement,' Kennedy, 69, spoke in front of a sign that read 'declare your independence,'" the report said.

"I'm here to declare myself an independent candidate," he said.


Just days ago, Politico had reported on the fears among Biden supporters of this very move, and how they were scheming to remove such challenges.

It was Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, who "convened a Zoom call with 30 other like-minded donors this week to address a persistent fear among national Democrats: Third-party candidates who could undercut Joe Biden’s campaign."
But Kennedy has no real constituency among Democratic voters -- much of his campaign support has come from Republicans who, like WND, are hoping he will serve as a Biden spoiler, and much of his media support has come from right-wing outlets like WND and Fox News, whom Kennedy has praised.

The next day, WND published a statement by Kennedy explaining his decision, under the quote-marked headline "I'm a Kennedy from a Democrat family. But I'm running for president as an independent." But that quote does not appear anywhere in Kennedy's column -- that was the headline from the Fox News version of the statement. The tell is that even Kennedy would not have used the "Democrat family" construct; use of "Democrat Party" phraseology comes exclusively from right-wingers like Fox News who consider it a juvenile insult to refuse to use the party's proper name.

But as it because clear that an independent Kennedy would pull more votes from Donald Trump than from Biden, WND started to turn on him. Slavishly following the Republican narrative flip-flop on Kennedy, Peter LaBarbera went on the attack in an Oct. 12 article:

The Republicans' gloves are off regarding Democrat-turned-Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential candidacy, and if Sean Hannity's Tuesday interview with RFK is any indication, their new theme song might be: "The Thrill is Gone," by blues legend B.B. King.

With some polls showing Kennedy could hurt Trump more than Biden in a potential three-way race, what is also "gone" are the friendly puff interviews heralding Kennedy as a brave primary challenger to President Biden – victimized by the same "rigged" Democratic Party nominating system that protected Hillary Clinton's against the surging candidacy of socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016.

"I hope you don’t mind, but I did a little research on you," Hannity said toward the beginning of his Fox News interview with Kennedy, according to Mediaite. "You’re pretty liberal. You know, you’ve called for curbing logging, oil drilling, fracking. You wanted to eliminate it. You called it had a victory for democracy. You wanna curb U.S. fossil fuel extraction. 'Keep it in the ground,' you once tweeted. You want a ban on fossil fuel extraction, a ban on fracking.

Hannity continued: "You called the NRA once, a 'terror group.' You supported, over the years, Democrats – Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary. You praised Bernie Sanders multiple times. You support affirmative action. So, why is this party of yours – why didn’t they want to allow you to compete? ‘Cause that’s as pretty liberal of a record as anybody I know."


Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is leading the way in exposing Kennedy as a "Radical Democrat," the title of their new report on the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

"While Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now running under the guise of being an independent, he is just another radical, far-left Democrat," states the Oct. 9 report, subtitled, "Make No Mistake – RFK Jr. Is Just Another Liberal Who Wants to Ban Fossil Fuels, Raise Taxes, and Pass a Green New Deal."

"RFK Jr. is an energy radical who wants to end fossil fuels," says one section header in the document.

LaBarbera did acknowledge the flip-flop:

Liberal media pundits and other leftist Democrats – and RFK Jr. supporters – are blasting Hannity for his turnaround on RFK Jr., but it was to be expected given two political realities: 1) polls revealed Kennedy could dig into likely GOP nominee Trump's support in 2024; and 2) coverage by most conservative media of RFK's actual (left-leaning) record has been superficial in not digging into his more liberal positions.

The former Democrat's longstanding opposition to vaccines and his fervent support of free speech and against COVID mandates have made him popular on the Right. Many conservatives and independents who are drawn to RFK Jr. see government and corporate "COVID tyranny" – and the willingness of so many Americans to succumb to hysteria and obey irrational edicts by both – as one of the most disgraceful chapters in U.S. history. Many of those same people, though supporters of Donald Trump, were troubled by his bragging about developing the rushed COVID vaccines, which have been tied to myocarditis and are now widely distrusted, and his deference to Anthony Fauci and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx during the pandemic.

But Kennedy's other advocacy, including his aggressive support for a "green" agenda, has not received nearly the coverage as his stances on COVID and government "weaponization" under Biden.


Claiming that Fox News hosts promoted RFK Jr.'s candidacy only because they thought it would hurt Biden's chances in 2024, leftist video podcaster David Pakman said in a broadcast analyzing Hannity's "ambush" interview that it has now "pulled a 180 on RFK."

"Fox is scared of the monster it created," Pakman said Wednesday in a video titled, "Hannity AMBUSHES RFK Jr. now that he's a threat to Trump," which had 124,000 views by press time.

He said Hannity "sandbagged" Kennedy because "the new line for Republicans and right wing media is RFK might reelect Biden and hurt Trump because MAGA people are like, hey, [RFK is] anti-vax but maybe less nuts than Trump. That sounds interesting."

Despite this, LaBarbera failed to mention the fact that his employer also heavily (and ironically) promoted Kennedy's campaign when he was running as a Democrat, and that he too is part of this right-wing flip-flop.

LaBarbera followed that with another attack on a Kennedy policy unfavored by right-wingers in an Oct. 19 article:

Harkening back to the societal damage of Jim Crow segregation, now-Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has come out for reparations, causing a backlash among conservatives who once praised his candidacy as a centrist alternative to leftist Democrats.


Response by conservatives on X to the Kennedy reparations story was immediate and a sign that it could be devastating to his attempt to cast himself as a moderate. The son of assassinated liberal Democratic presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy was already reeling after a tough interview last week with Fox News host Sean Hannity, in which Hannity grilled him for his progressive past statements on the key issues like environmental ("green") regulations. Said Hannity: "You’re pretty liberal. You know, you’ve called for curbing logging, oil drilling, fracking. You wanted to eliminate it. You called it had a victory for democracy. You wanna curb U.S. fossil fuel extraction. 'Keep it in the ground,' you once tweeted. You want a ban on fossil fuel extraction, a ban on fracking."

LaBarbera did note that "Now that RFK Jr.'s candidacy is seen by both the Right and Left as potentially taking votes from their prospective 2024 presidential candidate (at this point likely Trump vs. Biden), his past statements and positions on a host of issues are coming under renewed scrutiny." But he failed to disclose that WND was a supporter of Kennedy's campaign when he was running as a Democrat, and that it was only when Kennedy moved to running as an independent that he felt the need to examine those stances.

WND also republished an Oct. 30 article from the right-wing Western Journal hyping Donald Trump Jr. calling Kennedy a "Democrat plant" designed to undermine his father's presidential campaign -- never mind that Kennedy stopped running as a Democrat because he had no real constituency there. WND added a poll question to the article: "Is RFK Jr. a 'plant' in the 2024 presidential election designed to help Democrats?" Eighty-one percent of respondents voted yes, ignoring that WND itself was heavily promoting his campaign.

Interestingly, WND has shown little interest in hyping Kennedy's replacement scrappy in the Biden-spoiler camp, Dean Phillips; it has published only a relative handful of outside articles noting his Democratic campaign and nothing under a WND byline.

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