Yesterday, Jim Hoft put up a post on his Right Network blog announcing that he would be leaving the site to start a new "Gateway Pundit Blog" at thegatewaypundit.com. In typical Hoft fashion, he managed to botch the announcement:
At his new site, Hoft explains that he will "write more about this latest move in the coming days," but doesn't explain the reason for the split. (Right Network did not respond to Media Matters' request for comment.)
It wouldn't appear to make sense for Right Network to get rid of Hoft, since he seemingly has been a traffic boon for them. Still, Hoft's popularity remains an ongoing source of bewilderment. Despite regularly concocting phony stories and botching facts, Hoft remains a wildly popular and influential conservative blogger.
One thing is for sure, though: if Hoft wasn't fired from Right Network, he certainly should have been.
Similar to his time writing for FirstThings.com, Hoft's tenure at Right Network was marked by an almost remarkable capacity for failure. Here's a brief recap of three of his worst moments.
In January of this year, Hoft displayed his investigative reporting chops by alleging, with help from a tip from "Chad," that the White House had encouraged attendees to applaud President Obama's memorial speech for the victims of the Tucson shooting.
After posting a transcript of comments from then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressing surprise at the amount of applause during Obama's speech, Hoft responded by asking "Oh really? Then why was it printed on the Jumbotron?" and included the following screenshot:
The answer to Hoft's question of why it was "printed on the jumbotron" was that the text was live closed captioning provided for hearing impaired attendees of the event.
Hoft wasn't just good at fabricating controversies out of thin air. He also continued to hone his well-practiced skill of promoting satirical stories as if they were real news.
In the wake of Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate, Hoft threw his lot in with the Jerome Corsis and Alex Joneses of the world by declaring that the document produced by the White House was a forgery.
Apparently scrambling for confirmation of this ridiculous conspiracy theory, last month Hoft posted an article on his blog from the San Diego Reader under the headline, "Bummer. San Diego High School Rescinds Obama Invite After Discovering His Long-form Birth Certificate Is A Fake." The "story" alleged that a group of students had performed a close analysis of Obama's long-form and determined that it was a forgery.
Among the many hints that this story was satire was the fact that it was filed in the Reader's "On the QT" section, which describes itself - on the page of the article itself - as "Almost Factual News." Other warning signs included the comment from the "commencement ceremony chair" that closed the article, decrying the "two jerkfaces" who exposed the forgery:
"Our commitment to ethics really sets us apart at High Tech High," says fellow senior and commencement ceremony chair Rishika Daryanani. "This case is no exception. Thanks to these two jerkfaces, now we have to disinvite America's first black president and maybe get him kicked out of office, too. Thanks a lot, guys. Maybe we can get Donald Trump to fill in."
If that was too subtle for Hoft, the story about a "family-friendly" water park acquiring the rights to a famous song from Team America to soundtrack its "Red, White & Shamu' Extravaganza, 'Osama Bin Eaten'" appearing adjacent to the birth certificate story probably should have set off a few warning bells.
One thing that becomes clear if you read Hoft regularly is that while his incompetence is regularly comical, his reflexive hatred for all things liberal and progressive can lead him to some odious places.
In the wake of CBS reporter Lara Logan's sexual assault and beating in Egypt, Hoft blamed Logan's "liberal belief system" for almost "get[ting] her killed." He asked, "why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday?" (Answer: she was doing her job as a reporter.)
After being criticized by Media Matters, Hoft announced that his "post stands" and said that "these warped individuals must have missed that day of school when they talked about playing with fire."
While Hoft was roundly criticized by liberal sites for his comments, to their credit, the conservative RedState called him out. RedState contributor Leon Wolf wrote that Hoft's post was "appalling and should be apologized for without qualifications."
But rather than apologize, as recently as four days ago, Hoft wrote "once again time proved me right" because another female journalist had been attacked in Tahrir Square, confirming his thesis that "political correctness made the state-run media, including the female reporters covering the revolution, blind to the dangers in Cairo and Tahrir Square."
So, Hoft will bring his writing to its third home in less than a year. If there's anything we've learned from his time at Right Network, it's that while his URL may change, he never will.