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Code Pink Learns from Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week’s Slanderers By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Code Pink learned something from the far-Left college students who smeared Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week at George Washington University this month: the liberal establishment is a most effective and willing accomplice in slandering any individual or organization that wants to see an honorable exit from the war in Iraq. This week, Code Pink excelled the success of “Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness,” getting the major international media to report its hoax as fact.

On Monday, the Code Pinkos issued a press release in the name of Blackwater USA – the private security force in Iraq that leftists describe as “mercenaries” – announcing the corporation had formed a new “Department of Corporate Integrity” to “defend its corporate name and clear up its public image.” It then attributed a phony quotation to respected conservative commentator Max Boot:

“Blackwater has become synonymous with mercenary, but the public doesn't understand that mercenary has actually be a positive term throughout history,” said Max Boot of the Council of Foreign Affairs.

After inventing another quotation for Blackwater CEO Eric Prince, the release stated:

Directing the new Department of Public Integrity is Kitty Laver, who has 20 years’ experience in public relations and corporate responsibility. “My job is to put the mercy back in mercenary,” says Laver. (Emphasis added.)

“Kitty Laver” was a pseudonym for none other than Medea Benjamin: Code Pink founder, Castroite, organizer of the violent Seattle World Trade Organization riots, and benefactor of “the other side” in Iraq. In 2004, Medea delivered $600,000 of cash and supplies to the terrorist stronghold of Fallujah, but on Monday, she delivered an infinitely dearer amount of anti-American propaganda in “mainstream” media. An admission Americans were involved in “mercenary” work would not only render Blackwater unpopular, but lessen the stigma of terrorists’ killing its personnel.

Nonetheless on Monday the Associated Press, CBS News, Politico.com, and all reported the phony press release at face value.

The hoax went off smoothly, without the annoyance of journalistic due diligence. One of the planners chortled, ”Code Pinkers stayed in character as Kitty Laver of Blackwater while our phones rang off the hook from Blackwater and the press…A television network called us to schedule Blackwater president Eric Prince for their morning talk show.”

Only later did they realize they had been fooled. (Code Pink conducted a "Blackwater press conference" Tuesday morning.)

Politico.com stated in its retraction:

Code Pink today pulled off a hoax that pulled in Politico and a number of other news outlets when it ginned up a fake release, saying that Blackwater USA was creating a new “Department of Corporate Integrity” that would put the “mercy back in mercenary.” That should have been a tip off.

That’s precisely the problem: it should have been a tip off, and not the only one. The fact that representatives from Blackwater denied the story “within minutes” of the release should have been a first clue. The fact that the contact number on the press release belonged to Code Pink rather than Blackwater may have also been instructive.

Why did these glaringly obvious facts not give seasoned reporters for prestigious media outlets a moment’s pause? Politico.com frankly confessed its operational bias in its retraction: “In this business, you sometimes come across news items and think, ‘You couldn't make that stuff up.’ Well, sometimes you can.” (Emphasis added.)

The media missed the holes in this story for the same reason CBS ignored the evidence that the memos on George W. Bush’s service in the Texas National Guard were forgeries, that Newsweek reported imaginary Koran desecration at Guantanamo Bay, that the Associated Press has promoted one misleading story after another about the war, and that no official at George Washington University could see the words “Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness” stamped at the bottom of every anti-Muslim flyer distributed at its campus: this press release fit the Left’s preconceived paradigm of the conservative/patriotic enemy. In 2004, Dan Rather’s narrative demanded that President Bush had skipped out on his duty to his country. The endless page one stories about Abu Ghraib prove how desperate the MSM wanted to uncover atrocities inflicted on the innocents in American custody. GWU administrators punished the students victimized and defamed by leftist hate speech, because the leftist template assumes conservative hearts secrete an endless stream of racist, chauvinistic, jingoistic hatred for all non-WASPs. And Monday, the dominant media narrative instructed that the United States employed self-confessed “mercenaries” on the battlefield in Iraq, where they daily commit infinitely worse war crimes than Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. In indulging its fantasies, the media have proven themselves easy marks for left-wing hoaxes and further eroded whatever credibility they still have.

Such media “mistakes” are made only in one direction: leftward. Were the faulty reportage simply due to journalistic laziness or incompetence, a similar conservative lie – say, a press release quoting Nancy Pelosi as saying, “My job is to run interference for the terrorists until they can win” – would have an equal chance of making the Six O’Clock News. It has not – in no small measure because these hoaxes are overwhelmingly perpetrated by one side. Conservatives know they can win on the facts; left-wingers must demonize their opponents, inventing the fodder for conservative defamation when necessary.

And they know that in the mainstream media, they still have a powerful and ready ally.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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