WorldNetDaily reporter Leo Hohmann is one of the most rabidly anti-Muslim writers in the right-wing media. His reporting for WND is obsessed with painting all Muslims as terrorists and potential terrorists, he complains when Muslim extremists who perpetrate violent acts are noted to have mental illness, and his employer recently published his book portraying the resettlement of Muslim refugees in the U.S. as a form of "civilization jihad."
Last year, Hohmann latched onto a case in which three juveniles were accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl. Right-wing bloggers got crucial details of the case wrong, falsely claiming that Syrian refugees gang-raped the girl at knifepoint. Hohmann may have gotten those details wrong as well, but he wrote a WND article complaining that the media was focusing on "a few details" while "ignoring or downplaying the broader truth of the story -- that Muslim migrants stripped down and humiliated a vulnerable little girl."
Hohmann went on to complain that the juvenile suspects, ages 7, 10 and 14, were released to the custody of their parents and the court records were sealed, despite the fact that such things are standard procedure in juvenile proceedings. And when the U.S. attorney for the Idaho district, Wendy Olson, warned about spreading falsehoods about the incident, an incensed Hohmann quoted WND-linked right-wing attorney Daniel Horowitz huffing that Olson "should be arrested for making terrorist threats against American citizens."
Some Idaho residents, however, have not been pleased with anti-Muslim activists playing fast and loose with the facts. Earlier this month, Jim Jones, a former Idaho attorney general and former state Supreme Court chief justice, issued a press release as part of a speech at a local service club criticizing right-wing reporters who "have engaged in fear-mongering in order to portray refugees, and particularly those from Syria, as a danger to our country." He added: "Breitbart News, World Net Daily and others have played fast and loose with the truth and should not be regarded as credible. They have unfairly attacked the College of Southern Idaho refugee program, Twin Falls government officials, and Chobani, which has been a wonderful addition to the community. We should not tolerate this type of conduct by outsiders."
Needless to say, Hohmann didn't take that very well. A WND article served as a platform for Hohmann to retaliate and smear local officials as "corrupt" and bash local media for not hating Muslims as much as he does:
Hohmann said his reporting stood in contrast to the reporting of local media, which "chose to get their so-called 'facts' from corrupt local officials, who were either intimidated or in the pocket of Obama officials like Idaho U.S. attorney Wendy Olson."
"As if it weren't derelict enough for a newspaper to rely on the word of public officials, these so-called 'journalists' in Idaho and in nearby Spokane, Washington, had the audacity to go a step further and attack those of us who were doing our journalistic jobs and questioning the authorities, calling our reporting 'conspiracy theories,'" he said.
"It seems clear to me, when looking back, that the establishment media in Idaho and Washington were the ones engaged in conspiracy reporting by their reckless disregard for the truth and their callous treatment of the victim and her family. They chose to bow to the pressure of bullies like the Obama-appointed Wendy Olson," he said.
"It was Olson who issued a threat to prosecute anyone who made statements about the perpetrators that she considered false or inflammatory. She later walked back from that statement after some powerful condemnations from First Amendment advocates."
Hohmann does not back up his claim that local officials are "corrupt," which seems to open him and WND up to possible libel action. Hohmann curiously omitted the part of Jones' statement that referenced Chobani, the yogurt maker with a plant in Twin Falls, Idaho -- presumably because Hohmann has been busted for false reporting on it by none other than Snopes, which pointed out that Hohmann used "a confusing number of metrics and purported statistics" to fearmonger about "Muslims from Syria" coming to work at the plant in an article he wrote last January.
Hohmann does have a new book to promote, though, and he and WND seem to be operating on the principles that hatred of Muslims sells and any publicity is good publicity.