The things one learns from the Washington Times

I was under the impression the controversy surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) had been considered from just about every imaginable angle. This naive assumption was quickly brushed aside earlier by Eliana Benador on the pages of the far-right Washington Times.

Benador, formerly an influential neoconservative public relations operative, put together a remarkably creative theory: Weiner married Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is Muslim, and who may have convinced Weiner to convert to Islam, all as part of a larger “socialist” plot.

It is … important, when looking at this situation, to remember that observant Muslims practice Taqiyya, an element of sharia that states there is a legal right and duty to distort the truth to promote the cause of Islam.

Given the defense articulated by the Imam, which would be offered only for a Muslim man, we must believe this opportunity to remove this Muslim woman from a union with an [sic] non-believer would be quickly taken. Therefore we must consider that Mr. Weiner *may* have converted to Islam, because if he did not, we have to consider the unlikely, that being that Ms. Abedin has abandoned her Muslim faith, even while she still practices.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this, you’re not alone. Apparently, Benador believes some imam offered Abedin advice in a newspaper article, which is evidence of Weiner’s secret conversion to Islam, which may be part of a conspiracy to “advance the cause of Islam in America.” Or something.

The same column goes on to describe a “pro-Muslim political agenda” involving George Soros — I’m not kidding — complete with an obligatory reference to Saul Alinksky.

As much as I enjoy fact-checking bizarre right-wing theories, there’s not much here to even scrutinize. There’s no reason to think Weiner abandoned Judaism, and that’s the lynchpin of the entire conspiracy.

The Washington Times, which apparently is still capable of public shame, removed the unintentionally-amusing column from its website (which is why I haven’t linked to it). Fortunately, Justin Elliott has a saved copy as it originally appeared this morning, in case anyone wants to read it.

If there is a moral to this story, it’s this: far-right media outlets will run just about anything. It’s why they’re not to be taken seriously.