Chris Rodda tells the full story of how the right wing media started a false rumor that Mikey Weinstein had become an adviser to the Pentagon in an attempt to destroy religious freedom for Christians in the military — and then debunked their own false story.
On April 28, breitbart.com started a rumor — Mikey Weinstein had been tapped as a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance.
Other articles quickly followed:
May 1: “Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith“
May 3: “Pentagon Defends Unconstitutional Policy Against Soldiers Sharing Faith“
May 7: “Pentagon Began Relationship with Anti-Christian Extremist in 2009“
May 7: “Congressmen Probe Religious Bigot’s Influence at Pentagon“
May 8: “Senators to Hagel: Explain DOD Policy on Religion“
May 11: “Congress Must Tell Pentagon to Protect Troops’ First Amendment Rights“
May 13: “59 Congress Members Demand Hagel Explain Meeting with Anti-Christian Extremist“
May 13 “Congress Investigating Obama Admin’s Hostility to Religion in the Military“
FOX News also joined in, of course, as did other right-wing media outlets, such as WorldNetDaily, and the rumor spread and got bigger, with Weinstein even becoming an anti-religion advisor to President Obama himself.
But then a bunch of Christian right groups demanded a meeting with the Pentagon to discuss the false story and proudly announced that it wasn’t true — while blaming Mikey for the rumor they had started:
In addition to their email blast’s blatant admission that this religious liberty stuff is really all about the god-given right of military Christians to bash the gays, the AFA made a point of letting its followers know that they had “specifically expressed alarm at the undue influence on the military of noted atheist ‘Mikey’ Weinstein with whom the Pentagon has met on a number of occasions,” and that they had been assured by Air Force officials that “Weinstein’s self-proclamation of influence is greatly exaggerated and that the Air Force no longer returns his phone calls.”
Weinstein’s self-proclamation of influence is greatly exaggerated? Wait a minute! It was breitbart.com that started the rumor that Mikey Weinstein had become a Pentagon consultant!
Planet Wingnuttia has reverse causality, you see.