Libelous allegations of 'fifth column conspiracies' from prominent progressives (updated)

A prominent liberal magazine has published lies about American Thinker, spinning an absurd "fifth column" conspiracy theory. In a remarkably irresponsible blog entry titled "TOM RIDGE'S ROBO-CALL AND FIFTH COLUMN CONSPIRACIES" posted to  "Tapped - a group blog of The American Prospect", Sarah Posner writes:

Last week, [Frank] Gaffney took to the pages of, which is owned by Reuven Koret, whose American Thinker site has been single-handedly responsible for some of the worst smears against Obama...

Imagine my surprise in learning that American Thinker, which I founded, is alleged to be owned or controlled  by a man whose name I barely recognize, according to a publication which claims to embody "liberal intelligence."

The American Prospect logo

This allegation is a complete fabrication, with no basis in fact. Mr. Koret has never had anything at all to do with American Thinker, much less having any property right or control.

I admit that it is true that Mr. Koret's name does show up if you do a google search of our archives: he was named in a footnote as a source in one of our thousands of articles. But that's it. There is no relationship between American Thinker and Mr. Koret. Period. Not now. Not ever in the past. He may be a nice man or a villain -- I don't know him or much about him, other than what I read in the The American Prospect. And of course I now know that this is not a source that can be trusted.

I am extremely curious to learn how Ms. Posner came to make such a claim, and how her editors allowed this falsehood to be published while supposedly exposing "conspiracies". To call this shoddy journalism would be a compliment. Alleging a fifth column conspiracy with such a glaring factual error is shameful and libelous.

The American Prospect was founded by Paul Starr  (Princeton professor and an architect of the politically disastrous HillaryCare plan -- also, coincidentally, an acquaintance of mine in graduate school at Harvard, where we both received PhDs in Sociology), Rober Kuttner and Robert Reich, President Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor. All three men are prominent academic "progressives."

Our email to the magazine at the addresses it lists was returned as undeliverable. No human being answered their phone, but I left a phone message for Mr. Kuttner, as he appears at the top of its masthead. I also left the following reader comment (the sixth one): 

Sarah Posner and The American Prospect have published a libelous falsehood about the ownership or control of American Thinker. Reuven Koret has no relationship with American Thinker. Now and in the past. Ms. Posner has simply made up a falsehood and spun a reckless and defamatory conspiracy theory.

Apparently nobody at TAP is responding to our email and phone call, so this will have to suffice for the moment as official notice and demand for a prominent retraction and apology.

"Liberal Intelligence" appears to have reached a new low of stupidity and recklessness.

Thomas Lifson, PhD
Editor and publisher
American Thinker

We will see if the magazine offers a prompt apology and prominent retraction at the start of business hours.

Incidentally, there is a second false claim in the blog, following the ellipsis above:

... worst smears against Obama, including reporter Ed Lasky's that Obama is Muslim....

Ed Lasky has never written that Barack Obama is a Muslim. The custom for weblogs is to link to source documents with a hyperlink. This is evidently not the practice at this publication manifesting "liberal intelligence."

Alleging a fifth column conspiracy is ugly indeed. Doing so with malicious falsehoods is beneath contempt.

Update: Sarah Posner issues corrections, inconsistently handled, with no hint of apology for her two libels.

AT Ownership:

She corrects the text:

Gaffney took to the pages of, which is owned by Reuven Koret and frequently reprints articles from the American Thinker site...

Then at the end of her initial post she writes:

Correction: The American Thinkner [sic] is not owned by Reuven Koret, as this post originally stated.

Ed Lasky

She repeats the libel in the text of her original entry:

...from the American Thinker site, which has been singlehandedly responsible for some of the worst smears against Obama, including reporter Ed Lasky's that Obama is Muslim...

The then she adds an update below the original item, in which she admits her text above is still incorrect:

Update: The American Thinker protests this post on two fronts: first, that I claimed that The American Thinker was engaged in a fifth column conspiracy. I did not assert that The American Thinker is part of any fifth column conspiracy; rather, I was discussing a film that suggests there is a fifth column of Muslims which aims to institute sharia law in the United States. In addition to discussing the film, I highlighted other allegations and innuendo that Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, a "pal" of terrorists, or otherwise "anti-American."

Second, The American Thinker further protests that Lasky has never written that Obama is a Muslim. I stand corrected on that; he's never written that Obama is Muslim, but has his advisors of being anti-Israel, has written that his Muslim outreach staff meets with terrorist supporters, and that he has "a range of foreign policy advisers who have been criticized for views that all too often seem accommodating to terrorists and regimes that support terror."


  • Why correct the text in one case, and not in the other? How does "liberal intelligence" explain this? Perhaps there are some subtleties that elude me.

  • Why no apology? Is Ms. Posner rude, or does TAP have a policy of never apologizing for errors? Or can a progressive never apologize to a conservative?

  • What led her to allege as fact that Koret owns American Thinker? Is she slyly offering a rationalization in her one instance of correcting the text?

Making up facts about relationships among people, falsely accusing them of writing things, and doing so under a headline about fifth column conspiracies (plural) without apology, showcases a disturbing arrogance wedded to recklessness. All the while terming the object of your lies "responsible for some of the worst smears...."  Shoddy stuff from a publication with pretensions it can't live up to.

Keep in mind that these are supposed to be the leading lights of progressive thought.

Thomas Lifso
n is editor and publisher of American Thinker.
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