WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah devoted his June 23 column to attacking MSNBC, calling its programs "agitprop" and a "bad joke" where there's "no attempt at balance. There's no attempt at fairness. There's no concern for the truth."
What Farah doesn't say: Agitprop that disregards the truth is WND's territory.
Take, for example, this WND column published the same day as Farah's by Pieder Beeli, in which he purports to do "an inferential or forensic analysis" of President Obama by analyzing "what is implied rather than what is explicitly stated." You know, because mind-reading is more important than actual words. Beeli comes to the shocking conclusion that Obama has a "preference of Islam over Christianity," adding that "his fealty toward Islam and multiculturalism far exceed his fealty toward Christianity.
But Beeli -- whose listed qualifications for doing such an analysis are that he "has a Ph.D. in physics and has been previously published in right-to-life newsletters, blogs, online letters to the editor and student newspapers" -- uses a litany of lies and false attacks to reach his conclusion.
For instance, Beeli writes, "I have not heard Obama affirm the central Christian tenet, 'The love of God was revealed to us on the cross of Jesus Christ.'" Here's what Obama said in a January 2008 Christianity Today interview: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life."
Beeli went on to complain that Obama has referred to the Quran as "holy," claiming, "one does not expect a Christian to suggest that the Quran is holy, because the Quran and the Bible contradict each other." But as BeliefNet's Steven Waldman noted, President Bush made several references to the "holy Quran" in speeches.
Beeli also asserted that "I have heard Obama forcefully mock the Bible." No, he hasn't. The link he provides to support this claim goes to an article at the right-wing website OneNewsNow quoting right-wing activist Robert Knight complaining that Obama used the term "Holy Quran." That in turn links to a Knight column claiming Obama "mocked the Bible's relevance for politics" in a 2006 speech, in which Obama said:
And moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's populations, the dangers of sectarianism are greater than ever. Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith. Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount -- a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? We -- so, before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles now. Folks haven't been reading their Bible.
Of course, Obama was not mocking the Bible; he was pointing out the need for government to respect a diverse society and that even a purely Christian-based society would have trouble deciding which brand of Christianity to enforce. (James Dobson cited the same speech to falsely suggest that Obama wanted to expel Christians from the U.S.)
Beeli claims his little mind-reading analysis is "especially valuable" because Obama has told "over 150 documented lies," and because of "the Islamic sanction of taqiyya, which "has its origins in the prophet of Islam who allowed one of his followers to lie in order to kill someone who mocked the prophet." Unsurprisingly, Beeli is wrong about that too.
Hussein Ibish, senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, points out that the idea promoted by people like Beeli that taqiyya "constitutes a carte blanche for all Muslims to lie to all non-Muslims" is false; rather, it permits Muslims to lie about their faith in order to save themselves from imminent harm or death. "If there is a major religion that does not contain a doctrine that might permit someone to recant at the stake or before the axe, I am not aware of it," Ibish adds.
Beeli also baselessly insists that "Obama shows a deference to align public policy with Islam" and "shows a strong refusal to align public policy with Christian principles." He also cites the hysterically anti-Obama and anti-Muslim Pamela Geller as support and repeats the questionably sourced claim that Obama "confided his Islamic faith to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit."
But then, when you're reading minds and have decided actual words don't matter, facts really don't matter either.
Meanwhile, blogger Richard Bartholomew has done a little research into Beeli. Turns out he's not only an anti-evolutionist, he had this to say about the head of the Federal Reserve: "Ironically a single unwitting Jew, Bernake [sic], is committing terrorism on the US comparable to all the rest of the 1.2 B Muslims combined." He later repeats this claim: "Unfortunately a Jew, Fed Chairman Bernake, has committed more terrorism on the US in the last 8 years than the entire Muslim population has over the last twenty."
Farah told his WND readers to "sit back and enjoy watching these folks drown in their own incompetence, ignorance and insincerity. It's a sight to behold." Farah was talking about MSNBC, but with Beeli's sleazy, fact-free attack coming on top of WND's embrace of a man with white supremacist connections in a desperate attempt to perpetuate its failing birther crusade -- not to mention WND's lengthy history of factually deficient Obama-bashing -- he may have just as well been talking about his own website.
(A version of this post appears at Media Matters.)