Proving, once again, that there is no bottom, no low that is too low to go and that they're willing to do anything, no matter how depraved if it's in defense of Dear Leader, the right has now launched a smear campaign against murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, basically attempting to paint him as a terrorist.
It started with Trump Jr. boosting a smear from the right wing website PJ Media, and now it's spread to members of Congress, more far-right web sites, and of course, Fox "news."
Donald Trump Jr. on Friday promoted a smear tying Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to Osama bin Laden, retweeting a series of tweets meant to imply that the Saudi commentator, who has been missing since last week, supported Islamic terrorism.
With President Trump apparently reluctant to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s alleged murder after he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, conservative pundits have been straining to provide excuses for U.S. inaction.
Much of that effort has focused on claiming Khashoggi was a terrorist sympathizer, based on his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and career covering terrorist groups and leaders, including Bin Laden.
The latest attack on Khashoggi’s reputation started Friday with Patrick Poole, a terrorism correspondent for conservative website PJ Media. Poole ran images from a 1988 article Khashoggi wrote showing Khashoggi holding a rocket-propelled grenade with fighters in Afghanistan opposing the Soviet Union.
Khashoggi was among a number of journalists who interviewed Bin Laden in the 1980s and ’90s. But the picture and article, Poole claimed, was proof that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.”
“He’s just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists,” Poole tweeted.
And, as The Washington Post explained, it's now spread to other outlets and members of Congress are pushing the same narrative.
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia — and support Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.↓ Story continues below ↓
In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.
Those aspersions — which many lawmakers have been wary of stating publicly because of the political risks of doing so — have begun to flare into public view as conservative media outlets have amplified the claims, which are aimed in part at protecting Trump as he works to preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights.
They're wary of doing it themselves, but as the article discussed, Fox, CR-TV's Mark Levin, FrontPage magazine and others have been more than happy to do it for them.
The latest example is the segment from Fox's Outnumbered (video above), where host Harris Faulkner was just "putting it out there" that "Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood."
HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): And now some things have come out, and we're just reporting the facts, Lisa, we don't have to fall down one way or the other on this, but Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood --
MARIE HARF (CO-HOST): That's iffy, Harris, to say that he was "tied to the Muslim Brotherhood."
FAULKNER: Well, what was it, then?
HARF: So, throughout his career, he was a government spokesperson for the royal family, he worked for Prince Turki [bin Faisal Al Saud] when he was in Washington, D.C., and, at times, had written and worked with some Muslim Brother (sic) members in Saudi Arabia --
FAULKNER: Muslim Brotherhood.
HARF: But he was always a spokesman or a journalist, and so -- he's been tied up with a lot of people --
LISA BOOTH (CO-HOST): Didn't his tweets sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood?
FAULKNER: I just put it out there because it is in the constellation of things that are being talked about.
HARF: Some people are using that, though, to discredit him. I'm not saying you are, some are, and I don't like that.
FAULKNER: No -- putting it in the mix. Lisa?
BOOTH: I think some of his tweets showed sympathy to the Muslim Brotherhood as well.