Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post nervously warned.
It was the third week of Khashoggimania. And some difficult questions were being asked.
The Washington Post had provided Jamal Khashoggi, a Hamas supporter and an old friend of Osama bin Laden, with column space in which to promote the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood. It had seized on the pretext of his disappearance and death to fracture the coalition against Iran and advocate regime change in Saudi Arabia. These had also been Khashoggi’s two fundamental Islamist goals.
Advocating Muslim Brotherhood regime change under the guise of human rights had worked in Egypt, Libya, and other countries in the Arab Spring. But it faltered in Syria when people started asking difficult questions about the “secular” and “democratic” Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militias.
Now the Washington Post was concerned that members of Congress were asking tough questions about Khashoggi, a “secular” and “democratic” Islamist advocating regime change in Saudi Arabia. It feared that they might undermine its exploitation of Khashoggi’s death to pull America away from the anti-Brotherhood coalition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and toward the pro-Brotherhood Turkey and Qatar.
"A cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets," the Post article worried. These “right-wing” articles mentioned damaging facts like Khashoggi's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Osama bin Laden that the paper wanted to bury.
“I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah,” Khashoggi wrote after Osama bin Laden’s death. “You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan.”
Front Page Magazine’s article documented Khashoggi’s extensive terrorist affiliations and his advocacy for Islamist power, and subsequent posts delved into his anti-Semitism and support for Hamas. These were all documented using reputable sources ranging from Khashoggi’s own published writings and interviews, to sources like The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright and the Wiesenthal Center.
The Washington Post had no rebuttal to this array of facts. Instead, it dishonestly used conspiratorial language to cast aspersions on our work, smearing the unchallenged facts in a widely distributed article as part of a “dark whisper campaign.” It argued that some unnamed and unquoted “experts on the Middle East” claimed that Khashoggi had adopted a “more liberal, secular point of view.”
This absurd lie is belied by Khashoggi’s own Washington Post editorial advocating for the Muslim Brotherhood. Earlier this year, Khashoggi insisted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman “does not have the answer to what moderate Islam means,” but that it was Muslim Brotherhood clerics like Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi who had invented “moderate Islam.” Qaradawi had praised Hitler for killing Jews in the Holocaust, and expressed his desire that the next Holocaust be carried out by Muslims.
The Post quoted "four GOP officials" who were apparently too afraid to name the names of the "lawmakers and others who are passing around information critical of Khashoggi" because it would expose them as "sources." The “right-wing” sources were Patrick Poole, Mark Levin, and, an article by me that the Post smeared as a “story in far-right FrontPage magazine,” taking issue even with Bosch Fawstin’s artful illustration of “bin Laden and Khashoggi with their arms around each other.”
The hysterically vitriolic tone of the Washington Post piece, its conspiratorial claims of “cadres” mounting a “dark whisper” campaign and hidden “sources” among House Republicans could be mistaken as another routine smear of conservatives. But it’s a about a war for Washington D.C.
The Washington Post believes that it can set the agenda for Washington D.C. And it sees Front Page Magazine’s cutting edge investigative journalism and the David Horowitz Freedom Center as a threat.
Not only in the public arena, but in Congress.
The latest Washington Post smear of the Freedom Center is part of a pattern. Last month, it slimed Rep. Ron DeSantis, currently running for governor in Florida, for speaking at the Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend. Even though DeSantis had appeared at Freedom Center events alongside African-American activists and a Medal of Honor recipient, it tried to slander him and the Center as racists.
The Washington Post’s smears in September and October share a common underlying worry that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is reaching Republican House members. And it is trying to intimidate them with slanted stories and anonymous leaks. The Republicans whom the media fears are not the loudest or those who have the most conservative ratings, but those who don’t listen to the media.
That is why the media hates and fears President Trump so much.
The media’s power comes from driving the narrative, not just at the breakfast table, but in the Senate cloakroom, the legislative chambers, and in the Oval Office. The Post’s latest attack on the Freedom Center is an acknowledgement that our stories and speakers are undermining the media’s influence.
Last year, the Washington Post attacked the Freedom Center’s tax exempt status in “How a ‘Shadow’ Universe of Charities Joined with Political Warriors to Fuel Trump’s Rise.”
It warned that the Freedom Center’s 2014 Restoration Weekend had “brought together an array of hard-right activists and a little-known charity whose ideas would soon move from the fringes of the conservative movement into the heart of the nation's government.”
After this profile, identifying the Freedom Center as a key hub for conservative ideas among elected officials, the Washington Post has been launching smear campaigns intended to prevent the Center’s ideas from reaching elected officials. Other media outlets quickly joined in this coordinated campaign.
The Tennessean attacked Rep. Marsha Blackburn, alleging that she had attended a Restoration Weekend, even though she had not. Rep. Brian Mast was attacked by Treasure Coast Newspapers for speaking at Restoration Weekend events. Both The Tennessean and Treasure Coast Newspapers are part of the USA Today network.
The media has launched similar attacks at administration appointees who had appeared at Freedom Center events, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, Stephen Miller, Attorney General Sessions, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and NASA Director Jim Bridenstine.
The Washington Post has slandered, smeared and lied about the Freedom Center because it’s afraid of the truth.
The Freedom Center is a non-partisan organization. We don’t advocate for political candidates. But we do believe that elected officials should have the information that they need to be able to do their jobs. And we believe that all Americans should have the information to know what is really happening.
The Washington Post believes that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a threat because some elected officials are reaching past the echo chambers and filter bubbles of the mainstream media to get the actual facts. The Post’s paranoid screeches about a “cadre of conservative House Republicans” reading Front Page Magazine reflects panic at no longer being able to set the agenda in Washington D.C.
It would have been unthinkable for The Post to have published a darkly conspiratorial article about members of Congress reading pieces from The New York Times, The Nation, or The Intercept. That’s despite Rep. Julian Castro apparently relying on the latter’s fake news to claim on CNN that Jared Kushner had arranged for Khashoggi’s killing. Only media that bursts the fake news bubble is a threat.
The Post claims that its advocacy for Jamal Khashoggi is motivated by its passion for a free press. But in trying to suppress dissenting views, like those in Front Page Magazine, it is showing that it is every bit as disdainful of a free press as Khashoggi was. Like Khashoggi , its Islamist martyr who “deplored” that some in the Saudi media were free to air pro-Israel views, The Post wants a press that agrees with it.
The Freedom Center believes in a free press. And it believes that everyone is entitled to the facts.