While there's plenty of well-deserved blame to go around for Penn State's handling of the horrific abuse scandal at their school, some conservatives have determined that there's a larger villain that deserves the lion's share of responsibility for what happened.
Opponents of equal rights for gays and lesbians often resort to the canard that tolerance of homosexuality damages the very fabric of our nation and does nebulous (though grave) harm to families and society as a whole.
Because their predictions of things like "anarchy" in New York in the event of the legalization of gay marriage never pan out, anti-gay activists are forced to make absurd leaps of logic in order to blame acceptance of homosexuality for a whole host of society's ills.
Enter Joseph Farah, editor of conservative website WorldNetDaily, who holds the impressive distinction of managing to stand out as a crackpot even among the fever swamps of far-right conservative online media.
In a WND column titled, "Penn State: A comfortable place for child rape," Farah says, "There are new rules in effect regarding what types of sexual behavior is appropriate and lawful." Farah posits that these "new rules" have moved "the lines between right and wrong sexual behavior" and that these "sudden moral changes ... may explain why our system failed the victimized children in the sex scandal at Penn State."
The "new rules" Farah refers to are, predictably, the fact that homosexuality is no longer viewed as a "disorder" and a "perversion," but is accepted (or, as Farah puts it, "considered a virtue").
Sean Hannity hosted WorldNetDaily (WND) founder Joseph Farah on his Fox News show to discuss whether the allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain are valid "from a journalistic perspective." Yet Farah has a long history of outrageous statements, smears, and conspiracy theories.
The right-wing media have spent much of this month sniping at President Obama for taking a vacation. Now, some are taking the criticism up a notch, venturing into racially charged territory in the process.
In an August 22 column, WorldNetDaily founder and editor Joseph Farah wrote that "You won't hear me complain that Obama is taking his 17th vacation in the last two-and-half years," adding: "We should be grateful the man has no work ethic. Just imagine the damage he would have done to the country if he did." Farah also asserted that Obama "vacations more than any of his predecessors," which is simply false.
Then, in his August 23 column, WND's Burt Prelutsky took a break from hurling epithets like "loathsome" and "Chicago cockroach" at Obama to declare: "I wouldn't care if Obama was a Muslim if he weren't such an arrogant, lazy, snotty, lying socialist."
That's twice this week that WND columnists have portrayed Obama as lazy. The idea of the lazy black man is among the hoariest bits of stereotypical racial imagery out there, as we noted when Fox News' Eric Bolling described Obama as "chugging 40s" and having "hoodlums in the hizzouse."
It's not the first time that the birther-obsessed WND branch of anti-Obama activism has ventured into this territory. Last year, the WND-affiliated Western Journalism Center published an article with the headline "Is Obama Stupid and Lazy?"
It never ends.
In a new article filed last night at WorldNetDaily, reporter Bob Unruh explains that Donald Trump "reached out to WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi, author of 'Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama is Not Eligible to be President,' with a long list of questions about where the issue is, and where it seems to be going."
Corsi discussed the supposed phone conversation during an extended interview on Alex Jones' radio show yesterday (audio below). Though Sean Hannity (by canceling a scheduled radio interview), and Fox Business Network (by grilling Corsi and calling his theories "debunked"), have seemingly distanced themselves from Corsi, Jones represents the ideal audience for Corsi's increasingly-deranged conspiracies about the birth certificate.
As we've documented, Jones is perhaps the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the country, and describes himself as the founding father of the 9-11 "inside job" movement.
According to the write-up of the interview at Jones' website, Corsi alleged that Trump was "working with Obama" on the birth certificate issue and that Trump's incessant promotion of the issue was "subterfuge":
Appearing on the Alex Jones Show, Corsi said that he now completely discounted the apparent efforts of Donald Trump to force the release of Obama's birth certificate, stating, "I'm completely convinced at this point Donald Trump was subterfuge, that he.... was working with Obama."
Corsi explained how he was contacted directly by Trump, because Trump wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes, and that he requested several copies of Corsi's book before it was released.
Trump's role according to Corsi was to "beat the drums big" and craft a false resolution to the controversy in order to make the press "go to sleep" and get his $60 million dollar television contract with NBC, owned by General Electric, which is closely allied with the Obama administration.
In their article, WND explains that Corsi afforded Trump the opportunity to shake off allegations that he was working with Obama by recommitting himself to hyping the issue. Corsi also indicates that he was regularly in touch with Trump while the latter was making the media rounds and peddling the conspiracy theory:
"I told him he needs to publicly say that the document in the vault, the original long-form birth certificate, needs to be exposed and examined independently," Corsi said. "The doctor's records, the Kapiolani records of Ann Dunham to corroborate she was in that hospital."
"I told him if you don't press these issues you can't be surprised if there are those who think you're working with Barack Obama [on the dispute]," Corsi added.
During much of April Trump made regular appearances on talk shows and news broadcasts, and almost every time either he or the interviewer raised questions about Obama's eligibility. At the same time, he regularly was in conversation with Corsi and others who helped Corsi investigate the Obama eligibility dispute about the evidence that exists.
Enumerating the various evidence Corsi offered on Jones' show to prove that the long-form was "clearly forged," Jones' website lists "an obvious misspelling on the stamp and a 'smiley face' that appears in the signature of the doctor once the document is blown up to 800 per cent."
Yesterday marked the release of WorldNetDaily writer Jerome Corsi's latest book, Where's the Birth Certificate? A few short weeks ago, the book rode a wave of publicity from unscrupulous conservative websites like the Drudge Report and Fox Nation to #1 on the Amazon bestseller list. Led by Fox News, right-wing media outlets were embracing the birther canard at an ever-increasing pace.
Then it all fell apart.
In the intervening weeks, the birther "issue" has very publicly - and quite embarrassingly for prominent birthers like Corsi and former pretend presidential candidate Donald Trump - collapsed. Obama released his long-form birth certificate on April 27, demolishing the supposed impetus for Corsi's book and rendering it an amusing cultural artifact. In its published form, the book provides a glimpse into the fevered imaginations of some of the most prominent conspiracy theorists of the Obama era.
Corsi announces in his preface that he was writing the book "in the conviction that Obama has usurped the office of the presidency by waging a skillful public relations campaign to suppress his actual birth circumstances." Unfortunately for Corsi, that "conviction" turned out to be utterly, laughably false.
So, first things first: Where's The Birth Certificate?, Corsi asks in his book title. In the Foreword, WND CEO Joseph Farah repeats the question, saying that it has "dogged Obama throughout his term of office" and "may well cost him any chance for re-election in 2012."
Well, here it is:
WND's attempts to discredit Obama's long form birth certificate -- in the desperate hope that it will make Jerome Corsi's upcoming book, Where's the Birth Certificate?, somehow relevant -- have crossed the line from pathetic to hilarious.
Earlier this week, WND CEO Joseph Farah announced that he is persuaded that "the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's White House is fake, phony, a fraudulent forgery." Yesterday, he wrote: "It's about to get much worse for Obama. We are just days away from several more shoes dropping." He added that "we may be witnessing the final days of the Barack Obama regime."
If the most recent report by Corsi is any indication, Obama probably doesn't need to pack up his desk any time soon.
Last night, Corsi published an article about how the supposed "growing list of apparent anomalies" in Obama's long-form certificate "continues to fuel suspicion that the document is a crude, computer-generated forgery."
The latest "anomaly" is a supposed "typographical error" used in the Hawaii Department of Health stamp on Obama's long-form. Take us away, Jerome [note: some of WND's images have been resized to fit Media Matters' site -- originals here]:
Surprise! Ten days after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah declared last night that his crackpot website will "be presenting what I believe is compelling new evidence that Obama is not only ineligible to be president, but that the document released by the White House is fraudulent." Oh, good. This should prove to be a scholarly exercise.
WND literally cannot accept that Obama was definitively born in the U.S. and is eligible to be president for a simple reason: money. They've built much of their Obama-era business model around questioning Obama's birth certificate and eligibility. (You can still prove to your neighbors you are incapable of critical thinking with your very own "Where's the Birth Certificate?" lawn sign, t-shirt, or bumper sticker.)
Jerome Corsi's WND-published new book, Where's the Birth Certificate?, is set for release next week. Obama releasing his long-form a few short weeks before the book's release put WND in a somewhat awkward position, but they are undeterred. In an attempt to make the release of this book less outwardly hilarious -- and in lieu of adding the subtitle "Oh, There It Is" -- the crew at WND is going all in and declaring that Obama's long-form is a forgery.
Farah's latest column, headlined "The birth certificate debate -- it's not over," essentially gives the Cliff's Notes version of Corsi's two latest stories. Farah concludes that the supposed birther cover-up "could make Watergate pale by comparison."
According to Farah, the pencil marks on Obama's long-form birth certificate are "the very same tell-tale scribblings found in a clearly fraudulent document posted on the Internet about a year ago -- a document that alleged he was born in Kenya." This proves... something? Even Farah's not entirely sure, but he is asking for "some viable explanation other than the two documents were created by the same forger." That must be it, Joseph.
It would be tedious and probably pointless to assess their latest "evidence" in detail, but just to get an idea of how far past the bottom of the barrel the birthers have now scraped, here's a small sample:
Right-wing media responded to the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate by attacking the president and claiming that certain questions surrounding the document remain unanswered. Below is a sampling of the early attacks by conservative media following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
WorldNetDaily founder and editor Joseph Farah reportedly wrote in a recent email exchange with Salon's Justin Elliott, "Admittedly, we publish some misinformation by columnists." Indeed, Farah is right: WorldNetDaily columnists -- and reporters -- have published numerous falsehoods and smears as well as some of the most absurd anti-Obama conspiracy theories and falsehoods.
This month, right-wing media figures are arguing that President Obama should be impeached for actions he has taken with respect to Libya. Undermining the possibility that they really care about the constitutional issues involved, this argument is just the latest in the right-wing media's neverending quest to see Obama impeached.
WorldNetDaily offers readers "10 easy steps" to become an "eligibility activist":
It probably won't surprise you to learn that nine of the ten steps require you to send WND a check.
Step one offers readers "the most in-depth primer on the subject ever compiled," for the low, low price of $7.95. Step two asks for a "donation of $2 or more." Step three is a sales pitch for a $17.99 DVD. Step four instructs readers to buy a yard sign for $19.95. Next step: Purchase a $19.99 t-shirt. Step six requires the purchase of a $4.00 pack of postcards. Step 7: Purchase bumper stickers at a minimum of $2 each ($5.95 if you prefer a magnetic bumper sticker for easy removal.) Step 8 is easy: Sign a petition. Finally, a reprieve from the financial shakedown! But it doesn't last long: WND readers who want to become "eligibility activists" are next asked for another donation. Finally, completion of the 10 steps requires the purchase of a $22.95 book from WND.
WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah explains: "It's time to step up the pressure … If you want to encourage me to keep up the fight, please follow this 'how to become an eligibility activist 10-point program.'"
Total Cost: At least $96.83 (not counting those two donations.)
Gee, you don't think WND's relentless birtherism is just a shameless attempt to con gullible readers out of their hard-earned cash, do you?
The corruption of the Conservative Political Action Conference, an important American political institution, is widespread.
Thanks to WND's reporting, we now see that it transcends the participation of the homosexual activist organization GOProud
Let me try to frame what is happening inside the conservative movement in a way that might sharpen our focus.
Let's pretend that some free-market-loving adulterers got together and formed an organization called "Swing Right." This group says it supports a strong U.S. defense, but that the military should have no rules against promiscuous sex inside the ranks. The group says it supports free enterprise, but that tax policy should be revamped to create equity for those in the "swinging" lifestyle. The group says it supports limited government, but it approves of the intervention of federal judges in state referenda in which citizens approve of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The group also calls for special protections of the "swinging" community that will ensure adulterers will not be fired by their bosses because of their behavior and applauds hate-crimes laws to punish those who don't approve of their lifestyle.
Would it be appropriate for conservatives, who are supposed to be about conserving the vital institutions of self-government, to validate such a group's claims being part of the movement?
Immediately, some will suggest my analogy here is outrageous and ridiculous. Yet it is a near-perfect parallel to what CPAC and others in the conservative movement have done in their eagerness to build a bigger tent, to show how open-minded they are, to bring in more money and, perhaps, to make them more comfortable in their own spiritual void.
Equating gays and adulterers is a longstanding conservative slur. But considering the source, it could be mistaken for a sign of progress: Just last week, the folks at WND were equating gays and Nazis.
Among the most controversial reactions to the landmark repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a recent column at WorldNetDaily by Joseph Farah, in which he essentially urged soldiers and those interested in becoming soldiers not to serve in the U.S. Military.
"As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave - in droves," Farah, who oversees the well-read site, wrote in the column posted December 17 before the repeal occurred.
"If the U.S. military is going to be transformed into just another tool of twisted social engineering, rather than a force designed to defend America's national security interests, dedicated, brave and upstanding young men and women should no longer participate of their own free will," Farah added. "It's just that simple. Let the politicians cobble together a military of social deviants if they think they can."
The column drew several critical responses from those in the news business and those who follow military and gay rights issues, ranging from one who called it "irresponsible" to another describing it as "disgusting bigotry."
Mike Triplett, vice president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and top blogger on the group's website, blasted Farah's column.
"It is clearly, incredibly irresponsible. This is a good example of the kind of irresponsible commentary that goes on so often in the conservative press," he said. "It is unfortunate that there is so much irrational vindictive inside the conservative press and that it gets linked to by conservative bloggers and legitimate press. That is of greater concern, they are linked by more legitimate people."
Ashwin Madia, an Iraq War veteran and interim chairman of VoteVets.org, stated in an e-mail response to the column:
"It's disappointing to hear someone demand that brave American men and women stop serving their country because of his blind hatred for a particular group of people. Fortunately, those who have served in today's military - including leadership from every branch - are rightfully confident that every survey of service members is correct and this repeal will have little effect on recruitment, retention, and readiness."
He also added, "...the disgusting bigotry of Mr. Farah makes very clear who has rightfully earned the title of 'social deviant.'"
Col. Dave Lapan, a U.S. Department of Defense public affairs officer, dismissed Farah's column.
"We see editorials and opinions all the time and people are free to have opinions," Lapan said. "I would suspect that most people in the military are serving for other reasons and wouldn't listen to that type of admonition for people.
"The military is, if nothing else, a meritocracy, people advance because they are good at what they do, regardless of where they grew up or what gender they are or what racial group they grew up with."
Lapan added: "Historically, when other militaries have made this change, those who reported that the change would cause them to either leave the service or not join the service severely overestimated what actually happened in practice. Very small numbers actually followed through on that."
Jarrod Chlapowski, field and development director of Service Members United -- the largest gay and lesbian troop organization - said predictions of military problems are unfounded.
"They made much more dire predictions about white soldiers leaving the military during the integration of African-Americans in the military and it did not occur," said Chlapowski, an Army veteran who served from 2000 to 2005.
He said reactions like Farah's are not a surprise, but hardly the majority viewpoint: "We won our biggest gay rights victory yet and this is what you will see. Yes, the media should not be advocating something that is clearly wrong and incorrect, but it is an opinion column and he is entitled to it. The implementation of the repeal will be the best education in that regard, it will demonstrate that it is not an issue. We are at a point where we are not arguing for repeal, it is actually happening."
In a December 17 column at WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah encouraged U.S. service members to leave the military if Congress were to lift the ban on openly gay service, writing, "As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave - in droves." Farah also wondered, "So what's next if the U.S. military opens up its ranks to flaming homosexuals, transsexuals, transvestites, lesbians and other sexual deviants du jour?" From the post:
So what's next if the U.S. military opens up its ranks to flaming homosexuals, transsexuals, transvestites, lesbians and other sexual deviants du jour?
According to the Pentagon's survey on the impact of the move, 265,000 military service people would leave earlier than planned as a result of just this move. That represents 12.6 percent of all personnel, and, I think, that's low-balling it.
Military analyst Bob Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, said the real number could exceed half a million.
"Twelve-point-six percent is just the people who said they would leave," Maginnis told WND. "If you add in the number who said they 'might' leave, you get 23.7 percent. That would be 528,000, when you count both active duty and reserves."
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As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave - in droves.
If the U.S. military is going to be transformed into just another tool of twisted social engineering, rather than a force designed to defend America's national security interests, dedicated, brave and upstanding young men and women should no longer participate of their own free will. It's just that simple. Let the politicians cobble together a military of social deviants if they think they can.
After all, this is simply a plan being orchestrated by a regime that loathes the military and seeks to destroy it. Maybe it's time for America to recognize what that will mean to the future of the country.
As Media Matters previously noted, most respondents to the Pentagon's DADT survey said repeal would not affect their career plans, and predictions that integration would hurt retention proved false in foreign militaries.
Since NPR terminated Juan Williams' contract, numerous conservative media figures, led by Fox News hosts, have suggested -- citing no evidence whatsoever -- that the firing is related to a recent $1.8 million donation to NPR from Open Society Foundations, a philanthropy started by George Soros.