National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent is the newest weekly columnist for the discredited birther conspiracy website WorldNetDaily. Asked how this will affect his relationship with The Washington Times, Nugent side-stepped the question, telling Media Matters, "I am so busy going places I never pay attention to leaving."
After contributing 184 opinion pieces to the Times since May 2010, according to a Nexis search, he has not authored a piece for the paper since January 1 -- a rare but not unheard-of lapse for the verbose rocker.
An un-bylined February 6 WorldNetDaily article states that Nugent is "an exclusive WND columnist," and features praise from CEO Joseph Farah:
Exuding a love of liberty, guns and America that elicits either delight or dismay - depending on your perspective - the outspoken rock showman, humanitarian and TV host Ted Nugent debuts today as an exclusive WND columnist.
Nugent's column, entitled "The Ted Offensive," will appear on the news site each Thursday.
"Ted Nugent rocks," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND. "And I don't mean just as a music star. He rocks as an outspoken entertainer who is so politically incorrect. We're honored that he would choose WND to sound off about what's on his mind every week."
In his first column for WND, Nugent lashed out against Obama, Biden, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for supporting an assault weapons ban, calling them "socialists and Marxists" who "don't care about mass murder" but instead want "their boots on our necks." He accuses Obama of using "Rule 10 and 12" of Saul Alinsky's "12 Rules For Radicals" to promote the ban.
WND regularly publishes a wide array of conspiracy theories, particularly ones related to President Obama's birth certificate. The WND "Superstore" sells an array of birther paraphernalia, including Jerome Corsi's WND-published tome "Where's the Birth Certificate?" and his follow-up e-book, "Where's the REAL Birth Certificate?"
"We knew all along that the brilliant minds at WND deserved me," said Nugent when reached by email to discuss how he had landed the WND gig, "but now that our sacred hunting season is winding down, I decided the time was right to unleash the ultimate self-evident truth logic beast upon an unsuspecting public. America needs me now more than ever."
Nugent said that he was attracted to the website's audience of "bold, straight talk truth-logic celebrants with whom I share honest American common sense."
Asked if he will continue to author regular columns for the Times, Nugent said that he will "still contribute my writings to various websites, blogs and publications, but my WND columns will be the first weekly endeavor." He did not specifically address whether he will continue writing for the paper.
The Times' response to whether Nugent will continue to write for the paper has been similarly vague. In a series of emails with Media Matters, Washington Times executive editor David Jackson said that while the paper has been seeking "new voices" for its Opinion section and that this would "bring some changes and additions to the usual lineup," to his knowledge "no one has been fired or quit." He also sought to distinguish Nugent's role at the paper from other regular contributors, writing:
By my definition, we have very few columnists, by which I mean people we promote such as Charlie Hurt and Joe Curl and [Wesley Pruden], for that matter, who run regularly on predictable schedules. But we have many contributors, who appear occasionally, not necessarily on a guaranteed day, when they have something thoughtful to contribute. Whether they are columnists or contributors, we expect them to give us an exclusive piece, at least against our nearest competitors -- an expectation that I'm sure other media organizations have as well.
Nugent has much stronger ties to the Times than Jackson suggests. The paper's website identifies Nugent as a staff member:
He is one of two individuals to be featured on the Times' Opinion section drop-down menu:
And he has his own landing page within the site's Opinion section featuring his work:
Nugent had previously been criticized for Times columns that urged the suspension of the voting privileges of "any American who is on welfare" and stated, "I'm beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War." Last year he also accused the "Obama gang" of treason, and drew Secret Service scrutiny after he told an NRA crowd that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
Now Nugent will be bringing that rhetoric to WND. "There is no shortage of cockroaches that need spotlighting," he explained to Media Matters, "and it is a target rich environment for we the people to do our job."