A gun-nut friend (yes, I remain friends with folks who are gun nuts) sent me a couple of links to opinion pieces he felt I should read. So hey, I read them. Why not? One was in The Federalist (which likes to present itself as being thoughtfully conservative) and the other was in USA Today (which is to newspapers what white bread is to bread).
I read the Federalist opinion piece. I actually agreed with some of the author’s thoughts (like ‘the loudest voices are often the most ignorant’), but disagreed with the author’s conclusions (liberals who don’t understand weaponry should shut the fuck up). Then I read the USA Today editorial, which was a lot less interesting. It was basically just another bland re-hashing of the usual tired arguments in favor of arming teachers. It was entirely wrong-headed, but fairly innocuous. In other words, about what you’d expect from USA Today.
Then I saw the name of the author of the editorial. Jerome R. Corsi. The author attribution described him in this way:
Investigative journalist Jerome R. Corsi is author of Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump. He heads the Washington bureau of Alex Jones’ InfoWars.
Calling Jerome Corsi an investigative journalist is like calling your drunk uncle an alcohol researcher. Corsi’s not any sort of journalist, let alone an investigative one. Jerome Corsi is an extreme right-wing nut job. And InfoWars? That’s absolutely one of the worst of the lunatic right-wing conspiracy theory websites.
Why would any news organization willingly turn over even a few inches of publishing space to a right-wing nut job who works for a conspiracy theory website? I mean, even if what’s written is just a bland re-hashing of the usual tired arguments, why in the hell would USA Today want to offer any legitimacy to somebody like Corsi?
I first learned about Corsi during the 2004 presidential election campaign. He wrote a book about the Democratic candidate called Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, It was essentially a right-wing attack on Kerry’s combat service in Vietnam. It disparaged Kerry’s wounds (he received three Purple Hearts) and criticized his awards for valor (Kerry was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Silver Star). For the most part, the book relied on interviews with veterans who didn’t serve on Kerry’s boat. Corsi’s book is the origin of the term ‘swiftboating’ which is defined as an unfair or untrue political attack.
That was the first of Corsi’s many right-wing conspiracy theories. He also wrote a book about then candidate Barack Obama, claiming Obama was a secret Muslim, born in Africa. Here are a few other things Corsi has claimed. 1) there’s a secret plot to replace the US dollar with some sort of international currency, 2) an Islamic terrorist group supported Sen. John McCain, 3) the US (well, President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry) sold or gave nuclear weaponry to Iran, 4) there’s a plot to create a North American Union comprised of the US, Canada, and Mexico — and that a new currency and new driver licenses have already been created, 5) the 9/11 attacks included bombs placed inside various World Trade Center buildings, and my personal favorite, 6) Adolf Hitler escaped Germany in the final days of WWII by taking a helicopter to Austria, where he boarded a plane which took him to Spain, where he was smuggled aboard a Nazi submarine (U-530) which took him to Argentina, where he (and possibly Eva Braun) were secretly landed ashore.
Possibly the only person less trustworthy and more paranoid that Jerome Corsi is Alex Jones, the demented fuckwit who created InfoWars — the lunatic right’s preferred source for the latest conspiracies on chemtrails, weather control, false flag attacks on school kids, and subterranean Satanic pedophile sex rings run out of DC area pizza parlors by Hillary Clinton and her Muslim lesbian lovers.
And this is the guy USA Today chose to write an editorial supporting arming teachers in schools in order to protect school kids from “psychologically disturbed adolescents who may be contemplating copy-cat school shootings.” Who’s going to protect USA Today’s readers from psychologically disturbed editorial writers? USA Today defended their decision to turn this loopy bastard loose on their editorial page by releasing the following statement:
USA Today’s Opposing View shows readers more than one point of view on an issue. Our signature debate format reinforces our reputation for fairness, which is one of our core values.
The problem, of course, is NOT that USA Today ran an editorial supporting the arming of teachers. The problem is giving a known conspiracy theorist a mainstream voice. The problem isn’t one of fairness, as USA Today suggests; it’s one of judgment. Not Corsi’s judgment, which is demonstrably lacking, but the judgment of the editorial staff of USA Today.
USA Today used to be news and entertainment pablum. Turns out, those were their glory days.