Pence's Press Secretary Is Daughter Of Right-Wing Conspiracy Site's Founder

Pence's Press Secretary Is Daughter Of Right-Wing Conspiracy Site's Founder
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In September, it was reported that Alyssa Farah, an adviser to the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, had been named press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence.

What most reports of the promotion didn't note: Farah's father is Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WorldNetDaily, the right-wing website notorious for its conspiracy theories — most famously the discredited notion that President Obama wasn't born in the United States and has no valid birth certificate. More recently, WND has been pushing conspiracy theories about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

Curiously, the elder Farah has never publicly touted this great achievement by his daughter at his own website — something you'd think he would be proud to tout. (He is, however, currently running a campaign encouraging Americans to thank Pence's boss, President Trump, for his "tireless efforts to change America for the better.")

Alyssa Farah's career path did not follow that of her conspiratorial father, though it was in many ways just as right-wing. She first served as communications director for the College Republicans National Committee and Young Americans for Liberty — which grew out of Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign — before becoming communications director for Republican Rep. Mark Meadows; her House Freedom Caucus gig was added onto that.

She's a graduate of Patrick Henry College, a conservative Christian school in Virginia outside Washington, D.C., that caters to homeschoolers. It was founded by Michael Farris, who earlier this year became the president and CEO of the anti-gay legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. Patrick Henry had a crisis a few years back involving how the school treated students who were victims of sexual assault (a story WND ignored, by the way).

Alyssa Farah wrote some articles for her dad at WND during her college years and for a couple years after, and they weren't exactly stellar by most journalistic standards (though quite acceptable by WND's lower standards):

  • An April 2008 article creatively reinterpreted a debate over Internet content filters on public-access computers as being solely about pornography.
  • A February 2010 article falsely claimed that a New York Times article on a controversial speaker at the conservative confab CPAC said that the speech "turned racist"; in fact, the Times reported that the speech used "racial stereotypes."
  • A June 2010 article repeated misleading right-wing attacks on Elena Kagan after her nomination as a Supreme Court justice.
  • A March 2013 article went the anti-vaxxer route, as Farah — billed at this point as a "special Washington correspondent for WND" — fearmongered about the "thousands of adverse reactions" and "serious side effects" of the cancer-preventing human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil. She also understated the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Alyssa Farah has undeniable right-wing credentials, a family connection to politics that are even further to the right, plus a little experience generating fake news — all of which would seem to make her the perfect person to be Mike Pence's press secretary.

(UPDATE: A representative for Alyssa Farah reached out to state that she was only briefly homeschooled, so a reference to that has been removed.)

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