One of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees was forced during his confirmation hearing today to defend a blog post he wrote that extensively cited the “reporting” of WorldNetDaily, a conservative website that was a primary driver of the birther conspiracy theory about President Obama.
John K. Bush of Kentucky, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has been nominated to sit on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, has a troubling history for a potential federal judge, including once using an anti-gay slur in a speech. Bush also has been a prolific blogger, writing hundreds of posts under a pseudonym, many of which, according to the Alliance For Justice, cite “radical right-wing sources that are known for promoting inaccurate conspiracy theories as the basis for his factual assertions.”
One egregious example of this was an October 2008 post in which Bush wondered if audience members at a presidential debate would ask Obama “about his Kenyan family.” In the post, he extensively block quoted from a WorldNetDaily story, claiming that the Kenyan government had detained WorldNetDaily’s Jerome Corsi after shutting down a “news conference in which he planned to announce the findings of his investigation into Barack Obama’s connections in the country.” He now works for InfoWars, the notorious conspiracy theory outlet led by Alex Jones.
By that time, WorldNetDaily had already become obsessed with Obama’s Kenyan heritage as a way of promoting the conspiracy theory that he was secretly born abroad and therefore ineligible for the presidency. The WorldNetDaily reporter supposedly whisked away from a planned press conference in Kenya was Jerome Corsi, who went on to write the book “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” and lead the website’s birther “investigations.”
In other words, Bush’s use of WorldNetDaily as a source of information, especially about the topic of President Obama’s Kenyan heritage, raises major alarm bells about his judgment and impartiality. Sen Al. Franken addressed this during an exchange with Bush at today’s hearing, in which Bush repeatedly refused to answer how he goes about deciding what is a reliable source of information. (Franken mistakenly calls the outlet “World News Daily”):
In the exchange, Bush said that he was “certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group as far as birtherism goes,” but the use of WorldNetDaily as a news source was revealing. By the time Bush wrote that blog post citing WorldNetDaily’s coverage of Obama, the site had already distinguished itself as a source of conspiracy theories and wacky misinformation, and not only about the future president. It had published a report claiming that the pair of snipers who terrorized the DC area in 2002 “were homosexual lovers with ties to the al-Qaida terror network”; it spread breaking news on the discovery of the carcass of Bigfoot; it published a column warning that soy is turning children gay.
As for Corsi, WorldNetDaily’s crack birther reporter, Politico noted in August 2008 that in addition to his anti-Obama work and his role in the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in 2004, Corsi had “penned another tome asserting oil is a nearly infinite resource that continues to generate naturally, and posted a series of online comments through 2004, including suggestions that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lesbian and Muslims worship Satan.”
Needless to say, WorldNetDaily has not gotten any more reliable in the nine years since.
Of course, Bush wasn’t responsible for everything that had ever been posted on WorldNetDaily, but even the casual reader would notice that the site wasn’t exactly a reliable source of information.