The real conspiracy peddlers

By Joseph Farah

Here it is for you to see for yourself: A CBS News affiliate report from Phoenix on the breathtaking conspiracy behind the audacious decision of the Arizona secretary of state to ask for confirmation of Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility before placing his name on the ballot.

And who was it that manipulated Ken Bennett to take this audacious action?

The CBS 5 investigative report by Morgan Loew concludes “the real driving force behind the move might have actually been a wealthy conspiracy theory peddler.”

And who might that be?

I’m not sure – after reading and watching the whole report.

It could be someone named Tom Ballantyne, but the story never explains how wealthy he is or how he may have accumulated his wealth.

The other alternative is me.

I suspect, from reading and re-reading the story, it’s Ballantyne, because he “admits” helping to mobilize tea-party members to lobby Bennett to act.

I wasn’t aware that political action of that kind was illegal in America today. But it seems Ballantyne’s real offense is his tenuous connections with me, according to this report.

“In the days and months before members of the Surprise tea party demanded Bennett investigate the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate, two authors who contribute to conspiracy theory websites gave presentations to the organization,” reports Loew.

Those two authors, if I’m following this convoluted conspiracy invented by Loew, are Ballantyne and WND’s Jerome Corsi.

“Both websites were started by Joseph Farah, a former newspaper editor,” Loew writes. “Farah is a leading voice in conservative media, questioning the citizenship of the president. A review of editorials Farah has written show he has also pushed theories that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had ties to a Middle Eastern terrorist group and that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by missiles and that the U.S. government covered it up.”

Actually, I went much further than that. I published two meticulously documented books on these subjects – the New York Times bestselling “The Third Terrorist” by Jayna Davis, and “First Strike” by Jack Cashill and James Sanders.

These were not “conspiracy” books. They represented investigative journalism at its best – something about which Loew knows nothing.

He’s out to prove connections between me and Bennett. He does so with innuendo, unanswered questions and errors.

For instance, Loew demands to know if Bennett “knew Ballantyne and Corsi were employees and/or contributors to publications owned by Joseph Farrah (sic).” Since I have had nothing to do with the Western Journalism Center since 1999, when I left to found WND as a for-profit entity, the premise of the question is not even true. I never owned Western Journalism Center, as it has always been a tax-exempt, nonprofit charity.

He demands to know whether Bennett “thinks he was manipulated by Farrah (sic) and his followers to take state action on the issue.” Since I have never met Bennett, written to him, phoned him or spoken to him, I would suggest the answer to that loaded question is “no.”

It’s a truly amazing report for a number of reasons:

  • Here’s a guy painting broad conspiracies to explain what turns out to be an inconsequential event without even knowing how to spell some of the participants’ names, while labeling others he has never met nor talked to as “conspiracy peddlers.”
  • This is an “investigative” report that could easily serve as a press release for the Arizona Democratic Party or an editorial column in the “progressive” weekly in Phoenix, which actually picked up on it.
  • There’s a slide show companion to this report that seeks to provide the slipshod reporting with a little weight. Be sure to watch it for amusement, because it completely fails that test.

I tried to point out a few of the errors in Loew’s report, but he seemed less interested in correcting the record than in playing a Mike Wallace wannabe by getting me on camera for one of his reports – presumably so we could weave yet another tangled conspiracy tale of his own.

Sure, I’ll do that – when Phoenix freezes over.


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