The author suggested that Isis victims and their parents could be actors, and that the videos were ‘staged by the US government’
By JENN SELBY
Monday 06 October 2014
Naomi Wolf stirred controversy over the weekend, after she posted a series of comments on Facebook, in which she questioned the authenticity of the Isis beheading videos and suggested that they “had been staged by the US government”.
She went on to query whether Isis (also known as the Islamic State) “victims and their parents were actors”, while in a separate, deleted post, she asked a New York Times journalist to verify that the murder of Americans and two Britons had actually happened, political commentary site Vox.com reported.
Furthermore, the best-selling author, who has worked as the former advisor to Al Gore and Bill Clinton in the past, mused that sending American soldiers to west Africa to help stop the spread of Ebola was all a ruse to justify a military takeover of the region.
She wrote: “The US benefits from … us being SO DAMN SCARED so that our intelligence agencies can take away the last of our freedoms on behalf of corporate interests the way intelligence agencies in the West are doing all over … Britain, Canada, Australia, next NZ … so there you are.”
Her posts were predictably met with some criticism online.
Vox.com journalist Max Fisher branded her ideas “wild-eyed conspiracy theories” that could be harmful to an impressionable audience given her “record of respectability”.
“It is important for readers who may encounter Wolf’s ideas to understand the distinction between her earlier work, which rose on its merits, and her newer conspiracy theories, which are unhinged, damaging and dangerous,” he wrote.
“For the record … sigh … internetland, I am not ‘calling into question the authenticity of the ISIS videos’,”Wolf responded, again on Facebook.
“I don’t KNOW if they are authentic or not – no one can – because no one that I am aware of has found a second source for them. I am not making ANY assertions or drawing ANY conclusions.
“I am just … engaging in journalism which requires two independent sources before you can post or publish something as true. I wonder why this bears so much repeating … it used to be something all journalists abided by.”
In a separate, longer post, Wolf further challenged her branding as a conspiracy theorist.
“I see some blogs are badly distorting the nature of what I said … Why do I often not take political narratives at face value as they are dictated to the press?
“A) Because I am a journalist and verifying skeptically is supposed be our job but more importantly b) because I worked for two Presidential campaigns, one formally and one informally, as a political consultant, and because I was a spouse of a White House speechwriter for many years.
“As a political consultant and also a longtime close-up observer of how news and statements come out of the White House and Presidential campaigns, I know that FIRST the communications team involved has to start with something handed to them that they had nothing to do with …
“And THEN the creative, talented people in the campaigns’ or nation’s communications shop are asked to construct a narrative about it and talking points and find ‘heroes’ that help the narrative along, and the narrative often finally sounds like nothing to do with the actual deal. (In fact best that way.)
“And that uplifting campaign speech or press conference or initiative or photo op often involves finding individuals with great stories to tell that have nothing to do with the deal.
“So all the people who are attacking me right now for ‘conspiracy theories’ have no idea what they are talking about … people who assume the dominant narrative MUST BE TRUE and the dominant reasons MUST BE REAL are not experienced in how that world works.”
This isn’t the first time Wolf has come under scrutiny for her “creative interpretation of events”.
Most memorably, New York Magazine commissioned an article in which they alleged that Wolf was convinced that Edward Snowden and his girlfriend were government plants because the National Security Agency whistleblower was “too well-spoken”.