The Dangerously Uninformed Ben Kinchlow
The WorldNetDaily columnist and former "700 Club" co-host peddles misinformation and falls for bogus chain emails.
By Terry Krepel
Which makes it surprising, then, that Kinchlow has written so many uninformed columns for WND -- to the point that he has actually built a couple of them around discredited chain emails.
Kinchlow devoted a December 2015 column to a list of what he presented as the "top 20 facts" about the "immigration crisis." It includes dubious things like "As many as 12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver" and :"Nearly one million sex crimes are committed by illegals in the U.S. every year." Kinchlow rather convolutedly credits the list to "Richard Corbeil, a popular columnist for Florida newspaper The Apopka Chief" and "attributed to freelance reporter Tina Griego."
Just a couple problems with the list: It's bogus, has been circulating for years, and the person Kinchlow "attributed" it to didn't write it.
As the TruthOrFiction.com website points out, that list has been circulating in one form or another since at least 2007. Griego, now a columnist for the Denver Post, has stated that she did not write it, and that a reference to a separate column she wrote that appeared in the original somehow got twisted into authorship for the whole thing. She went on to point out that the numbers in the list as they relate to Denver and Colorado are mostly unverifiable -- "It is impossible to know how many gang members in the city [of Denver] are illegal immigrants" -- adding that "The numbers are a prop, arranged to support a larger argument and, in this case, it's a cultural one," raising questions that "no amount of drummed-up statistics and wishful thinking will answer."
This information was not hard to find, yet it appears Kinchlow didn't bother to verify it before sticking it in his column (and yet can also somehow judge that Corbeil is a "popular columnist"). Instead, he presents it as undisputed "facts," adding: "Maybe you can articulate the shock value better than I. Believe it or not, the above information actually left me speechless; all I could do was shake my head. It’s time to make a statement in the voting booth in the next national election."
(The Apopka Chief doesn't put much of its content online, apparently, so it's unclear where Corbeil did any fact-checking of his own before copy-and-pasting the bogus list -- guessing from Kinchlow's blind acceptance of his work, were guessing he didn't.)
We know WND doesn't bother to fact-check much of anything on its website -- editor Joseph Farah exhibits a perverse pride that the opinion columns he publishes contain misinformation. But Kinchlow is not big on facts either, so his bogus column is a match made in WND heaven.
Kinchlow quoted another chain email in his July 3 column (italics his):
It has been proven scientifically that a vacuum cannot exist in nature. If American citizens do not participate in their political system, a republic, then a vacuum is created and government of the people will be replaced with government over the people.
Does any of that sound familiar? It should -- It's been floating around right-wing chain-email circles for years. Heck, ConWebWatch first wrote about it back in 2004, and it had been around since 2000.
Kinchlow didn't repeat most of the falsehoods around this purported quoting, getting it correct that the statement is attributed to "an historian named Alexander Tytler." Had Kinchlow bothered to dig a little deeper -- say, a visit to Snopes, which ConWebWatch made in 2013 when CNS columnist Alan Caruba repeated it -- there's no evidence Tytler actually wrote such a thing.
A little more digging from someone who actually dug into it, blogger Loren Collins, shows that the quote appears to date back only to 1943, when industrialist Henning Webb Prentis Jr. said it in a speech.
Nevertheless, Kinchlow went on later in his column to repeat the cycle of society quote typically attributed to Tytler -- "from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual fate to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency again into bondage" -- and attributes it directly to him. But this too apparently is also from Prentis' speech.
If WND cared anything about editing, they would have alerted Kinchlow to his error.
Getting it wrong
Kinchlow got a couple things wrong about the U.S. role in the Israel-Hamas conflict in a July 2014 column. First, he wrote: "Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall Secretary of State John Kerry flying in to meet with the Palestinian leadership to stop their firing rockets into Israeli towns and villages."
But "the Palestinian leadership" is not firing rockets into Israel; Hamas is. Because Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, the U.S. does not negotiate directly with them.
Keep in mind, Israel and America are allies, yet the Obama administration announced a week ago that it is sending $47 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian government.
First, Kinchlow is again falsely conflating Hamas with all Palestinians. Second, that aid is not being given to the Palestinian government -- it's going to USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Still, Kinchlow clung to his misinformation:
I have a question for the current administration. You just approved an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid to a government that openly calls for the destruction of its neighbor, continually allows rockets to be fired at civilians and promotes the death of its own citizens as martyrs and human shields.
The better question is what up wid a columnist who fails to get his facts straight before he opines.
Kinchlow complained in a December 2015 column:
Moderate Muslims have proclaimed with real, or feigned, anger that these extremists have hijacked the real Islam the “religion of peace.” If the moderate Muslims “the good people” truly believe their “religion of peace” has been hijacked by extremist elements that do not represent the teachings of the prophet and of Islam, why don’t they step forward and speak up?
Guess what, Ben? Numerous Muslim groups around the world did, in fact, denounce the Paris attacks. And Muslim groups also condemned the San Bernardino attack. Kinchlow simply couldn't be bothered to check first before writing his column; it suits his anti-Muslim agenda better that way.
Anti-Obama -- and birther -- tendencies
Kinchlow really has it in for President Obama, for some reason. Observe the interesting bit of talking down of qualifications Kinchlow did in his Aug. 7 column, effectively claiming that Donald Trump should be elected despite his manifest disqualification to hold the office. His defense: Obama wasn't qualified (and apparently wasn't born here, proving that Kinchlow is a discredited birther):
There is one overriding factor that will be at the forefront of the upcoming election, just as there was a similar factor in play regarding the election of our last president. Remember, this was/is a man who had, in effect, done nothing of significance in life, has no definitive proof of American citizenship, bowed to the Saudi king and has called the Islamic call to prayer “one of the most beautiful sounds” on earth.
Kinchlow went on to complain people would vote for Hillary Clinton only because she's a woman and not because of "qualifications, character, ability, experience, the American way, etc." He concluded by huffing: "Let me reiterate: America voted in Barack Hussein Obama to prove that we were not racists and now comes the opportunity to demonstrate to the world (and ourselves) that we are not anti-feminist, sexist bigots. So, the question is: Will it be “hooray for Hillary” regardless of qualifications other than the fact that she’s a woman?"
Is Kinchlow really claiming that Clinton isn't qualified to do the job? How lame.
Then, in his Sept. 4 column, Kinchlow really did try to argue that America isn't racist because it didn't go birther en masse on Obama like he hoped:
You have doubtless heard, read or seen the charges, direct or indirect, leveled against Donald Trump by the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media. Any statements attributed to certain candidates or conservative politicians that do not meet the standards applied by the mainstream media or liberal elites are directly or indirectly labeled “racist.”
Kinchlow's claim stems from charges by birthers that Obama has, as WND asserted, paid at least the amount he cited to "his top eligibility lawyer" following the election. The implication, which Kinchlow took the bait on, is that all of the money was spent to, as Kinchlow redundantly asserted, "conceal a hidden past." (If it's already "hidden," it doesn't need to be "concealed," does it?) But as Salon reported, WND doesn't prove its heavy implication that every cent spent on those lawyers went to fight "eligibility" issues and that much of that money more than likely went to normal legal expenses related to winding down a presidential election campaign.
Also, think about what Kinchlow appears to be saying here. If attacking Obama's eligibility makes one "racist," what does that make the aggressive birthers at WND, the publisher of his column?
Kinchlow is prone, as any good WND columnist is, to the occasional anti-gay freakout. In 2014, he argued that "homosexuality is not 'natural'" because "if homosexuality/lesbianism is 'natural,' then like all other species, they should, within the arena of sexual activity, reproduce their species."
Kinchlow had a ancient Middle Eastern freakout in his April 10 column:
Well, the newest wrinkle in our trek to insanity is that to sympathize with, or to show support for, a particular group of people, America and England are going to have full-size, 48-foot temple entrances of the god “Baal” erected in New York’s Times Square and Trafalgar Square in London.
Kinchlow's concern over spreading "symbols of Baal worship" is overblown -- and obscures pertinent facts. Such as: While the temple started as a worship site for a pagan god, the temple was converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine Era and, later, a mosque. The temple's remains were destroyed by ISIS during its occupation of Palmyra last year, and the arch is all that remains. The arch recreations are meant to celebrate World Heritage Week, as well as serve as an act of defiance to ISIS' attempts to erase evidence of the Middle East’s pre-Islamic history.
Kinchlow's Oct. 16 column was titled "The danger of a biased media," in which he complained: "In an 'unbiased' media, why is it permissible to report allegations of improper behavior against one candidate but not another?"
He then cited right-wing author Ronald Kessler's attacks on Hillary Clinton, based on anonymous claims. Kinchlow touts Kessler as "the Washington Post’s investigative reporter," but he hasn't worked for the Post for decades; his most recent journalism gig was for Newsmax, where he was anything but unbiased.
Which highlights the major flaw in Kinchlow's analysis. He complained: "If you think most of what you see on TV, read in the print media or hear on radio is there without conscious design, then the free press our 'unbiased media' have been extraordinarily successful in fooling a lot of people."
But Kinchlow doesn't seem to understand that his column is published by one of the most biased "news" organizations on the planet. He should read WND's website sometime to see how many smear jobs it perpetuated against Hillary vs. actual reporting on Donald Trump's vile misogyny.
As for the media "fooling a lot of people," we need only to go to Kinchlow's column of the previous week, in which he once again went birther on Obama:
We must introduce, and face the repetition of, a concept that led to the election of Barack Obama as president. It must be clearly understood that an objective view of Obama’s qualifications for president reveals the qualifications simply do not exist. There is nothing in his past, in terms of achievement, that qualified him for the office he now holds.
In fact, Obama has released two birth certificates, verified as authentic by Hawaii state officials.
Kinchlow might want to address the danger of the highly biased media that has been extraordinarily successful in fooling him -- while also publishing him -- before he complains about the "unbiased media."
Until then, he's the living proof of his own adage that "The most dangerous citizen is not armed but uninformed."