As part of his argument he tries to dissuade us of the notion of the "vast right wing conspiracy" of the Clinton years, not knowing that in telling his story he's merely inviting us to look again at all the obvious evidence of that conspiracy.
And I'm not sure he realizes his errors. Oh well. Not my problem.
His problems starts at the beginning of his first column which starts with this:
Four years ago, I wrote a column called “Obama’s enemies list” predicting Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service would subject his domestic political adversaries to politically motivated audits.The only problem with the beginning of his series is that it starts with something that just isn't true. From Reuters:
How did I know it was coming?
The FBI is not planning to file criminal charges involving the Internal Revenue Service's extra scrutiny of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing law enforcement officials.And yet Farah is using it to connect Obama's IRS to Clinton's.
The newspaper quoted officials as saying that investigators probing the IRS actions, which unleashed a political furor in Washington, did not uncover the type of political bias or "enemy hunting" that would constitute a criminal violation. The evidence showed a mismanaged agency enforcing rules it did not understand on applications for tax exemptions, the Journal reported.
In his second part, writes:
At some point in 1995, Bill and Hillary Clinton had what I describe as “a prophetic nightmare.”It was the Western Journalism Center's tax exempt status that obviously triggered investigation. Let's see if we can imagine why.
If you were conscious in the 1990s, you probably remember Hillary talking about this bad dream in a television interview in which she explained that her husband’s problems were all manufactured by “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” Around the same time, she invented a phrase even more paranoid in its delusions – “a right-wing media conspiracy.”
That’s where I came into the picture.
In 1995, I had been in the news business for 20 years. It’s the only business I ever worked in as an adult. I began my career as a reporter in the New York area, where I grew up and went to college. In 1979, I moved to Los Angeles where I worked for what was one of the largest papers in America at the time, the L.A. Herald Examiner. By 1981 I was directing the news operation of the paper, a job I held for the next six years. In 1987, I became editor in chief of an L.A. suburban daily and a chain of weekly and twice-weekly papers. During this period, I served as a journalism adjunct instructor at UCLA. In 1990, I became editor in chief of the Sacramento Union, where I also started a tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)3 foundation called the Western Journalism Center to foster independent investigative reporting and train young journalists in the mission and best practices of American journalism.
According to the US Code, a 501(c)3 are those:
Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office. [Emphasis added.]Hmm...they can't carry out propaganda or participate in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for office.
Now let's take a look at what Farah and the Western Journalism Center was doing in the 90s.
They were part of the so called "media food chain" that spread the (oh, please can I say it? Can I? CAN I??) propaganda that Vince Foster did not commit suicide. From January 1995 - The Telegraph in the UK:
THE SCOPE of the inquiry into the mysterious death of the top White House aide Vincent Foster has suddenly been broadened, casting doubt on the original verdict of suicide.And:
The seemingly minor issue of where the body was found could turn out to be of critical importance. A journalist for the *Pittsburgh Tribune-Review*, Chris Ruddy, has been fighting a lone crusade for several months seeking to establish that the Park Police misreported the location of the body.Interesting that every where you look at the right wing conspiracy, you see my dearly departed friend, Richard Mellon Scaife and his "news" paper, the Tribune-Review. But let's get back to 1995:
Ruddy is convinced that it is the key to exposing a cover-up that allegedly involves the police, the White House, and even elements of the FBI.
If Ruddy is right, it suggests a political scandal of colossal proportions.
The Ruddy article was republished as a full-page advertisement in the *Washington Times* on Friday, paid for by a conservative media watchdog in California called the Western Journalism Center.And there it is - more or less exactly how the Commerce Department described it in the mid-90s:
The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. Well funded right wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Next, the stories are re-printed on the internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media. After the mainstream right-of-center media covers the story, Congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a "real" story.And specifically:
The controversy surrounding the death of Vince Foster has been, in large part, the product of a well-financed right-wing conspiracy industry operation. The "Wizard of Oz" figure orchestrating the machinations of the conspiracy industry is a little-known recluse, Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife uses his $800 million dollar inherited Mellon fortune to underwrite the Foster conspiracy industry. Scaife promotes the industry through his ownership of a small Pittsburgh newspaper, the Tribune-Review. Scaife's paper, under the direction of reporter Chris Ruddy, continually publishes stories regarding Foster's death. The stories are then reprinted in major newspapers all over the country in the form of paid advertisements. The Western Journalism Center (WJC), a non-profit conservative think tank, places the ads in these newspapers. The WJC receives much of its financial backing from Scaife.So it's hardly surprising that someone would want to make sure that Farah's Scaife-funded propaganda unit was clean, right?
It's actually kinda funny that Farah playing down the "right wing conspiracy" part (which is true) while playing up the "IRS was illegally spying on the tea party" part (which isn't).
But that's the right wing conspiracy for ya - some very well funded people with a frighteningly tenuous connection to reality.