Whether it’s about the Chinese coronavirus, the Russia hoax or anything else in the news, there’s so much “information” floating around in the media that it’s almost impossible to know what’s true. Yet, trust me, there are millions of people plugged into THE NEW YORK TIMES, the WASHINGTON POST, CNN, late-night “comedy” shows and Facebook memes who believe they are extremely well-informed, always right, and much smarter than you. It doesn’t even do any good to talk to them.

Check out Scott Adams for an analysis of how the mind works to reject facts that don’t support one’s narrative. We all do this to some extent, as it’s human nature, but some do it a LOT more than others; it’s called “confirmation bias.”

To a large extent I blame the reporters, who should show enough intellectual curiosity and humility to look for ways to disprove their own opinions and their own “facts” before they unleash them on the public. My theory is that they’re afraid to look, afraid of being proven wrong, like the atheist who subconsciously is terrified to expose himself to religion and perhaps be compelled to change his mind, or, conversely, the believer who is terrified to expose himself to anything outside the walls of his church. Political ideology and/or party identification can be just as powerful a self-imposed limitation.

It’s extremely anxiety-producing to be proven wrong. For if you’re wrong about one thing, who knows what else you’re wrong about? For example, if you live in an imaginary world where Trump is always wrong, and everybody you know and respect believes Trump is always wrong, it will knock you sideways to have to admit he was right about even one tiny thing. So when it does turn out Trump was right about something, the apology is never made and the mistake never acknowledged, let alone corrected. The misinformation lives on in the Internet, forever, co-existing with the truth.

I’ve just described the liberal, Trump-hating mindset, but online rumors and “fake news” come from both left and right. About a week ago, my staff came across an email, circulated by some on the right, claiming that the father of John Kerry’s son-in-law is a mullah in Iran. Now, whether this is true or not, we could tell you plenty about John Kerry that would make anyone in his right mind want to keep him far from the seat of power. (Fortunately, he now is, but questions have arisen about his family’s relationship with Hunter Biden and the Biden family business dealings. That's for another time.)

Anyway, we were curious about that story and decided to look into it. There are some basic facts we can put together: Kerry’s son-in-law is named Behrouz Nahed; he goes by the first name Brian. He is a neurosurgeon. According to TRUE PUNDIT, he is an Iranian national. They also say that, according to some reports, his best man at his 2009 wedding to Vanessa Kerry, also a doctor, was the son of Muhammad Javid Zarif, Irans’ Minister of Foreign Affairs. Zarif was Kerry’s counterpart in negotiations for the Iran deal. Whoa.

BUT, the best man story is challenged in a piece from 2015 in THE HILL, which also says Dr. Nahed is an American citizen, born in America. Somebody’s wrong. The preponderance of the evidence would suggest it’s TRUE PUNDIT that is wrong, and that Nahed was born in New York.

Even a conservative website like THE BLAZE has debunked the “best man” rumor.

STILL, even though Muhammad Javid Zarif’s son was apparently not best man for Kerry’s son-in-law, there’s something else we found on TruthOrFiction.com that is every bit as concerning, at least to us: Kerry himself did already have a longstanding personal relationship with Zarif that predated the talks for the Iranian nuclear deal. This relationship is detailed in a 2012 book by Hoorman Majd. I do wonder about that; it is just too close for comfort.

A piece from 2013 in the DAILY CALLER goes into some detail about Dr. Nahed, who has “extensive family ties” in Iran. “Since its inception,” the story reads, “the FBI has vetted U.S. officials involved in national security, and it generally won’t grant clearances to individuals who are married to nationals of an enemy nation or have family members living in that country, for fear of divided loyalties, or, more simply, blackmail.”

Both of Dr. Nahed’s parents reportedly live in Los Angeles. His father is a pulmonologist. But shortly after Vanessa and Behrouz tied the knot, they reportedly went to Iran to visit the other relatives who live there.

Though Nahed’s father is not a mullah, the family and social connections still create such an obvious conflict of interest that Kerry should never have been involved in negotiations with Iran. I would think the conflict is so great that he should never have been approved for any cabinet-level position, let alone Secretary of State. The DAILY CALLER piece goes into just some of the problems with this.

Here’s another really good commentary, also from 2013.

So, after looking at numerous sources, we’d say this rumor is “iffy.” The central claim is not true –- Vanessa Kerry’s husband Behrouz Nahed is not the son of a mullah. His parents are physicians who work in California. And we don’t know for sure about the identify of Nahed’s best man, though we’ve seen no evidence that his father is the Iranian minister of foreign affairs. (This would not be surprising, however, given that Kerry and the Iranian minister had a social relationship.) But regardless of who the best man was, the family and social connections should have posed a huge problem for Kerry in his bid to be Secretary of State. Heck, we even turned up something else that would have been worthy of exploring: Kerry's previously existing personal relationship, going back a decade, with the Iranian minister of foreign affairs, the man with whom he was negotiating on behalf of the United States (or supposedly on our behalf)!

I don’t know why these online rumors have to be so exaggerated when the truth is plenty bad enough. “Fact-checkers” often don’t deal with the underlying truth when it’s so easy simply to debunk the exaggerated claim, generating headlines like this

(We tend not to use FactCheck.org around here; too often we find ourselves fact-checking the fact-checkers. There’s only so much time in the day to be pushing boulders uphill.)

It’s the same with rumors about COVID-19. What we’re learning about its origins –- almost certainly from within the biolab in Wuhan –- and the PRC’s deadly deceit is so disturbing that there’s no need to exaggerate it into an even wilder story. Let’s stick to the facts as we learn them. We want to remain a solid, trusted source for truth; we would certainly report the wilder story, but only if and when the facts supported it.

We'd never even heard this rumor about Kerry and his Iranian son-in-law till now, which just goes to show how the media have covered for the former Secretary of State and exercised a shameless double standard. Imagine the uproar if, say, Jared Kushner were, say, Russian, and there were rumors that his best man was the son of some high-up Russian state official? The screaming would never stop.

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Comments 1-25 of 31

  • Sheridan Sims

    05/11/2020 01:19 PM

    I have also read so much on the internet about Dr. Fausci that I wonder why in the world President Trump would be listening to his advice. Is there a connection with him and Bill Gates? It seems as if that is so. Very troubling to me.

  • Liz Wilson

    05/10/2020 05:55 PM

    Thank you! Wish people would be more careful about these "rumors" and not spread the half truths. Makes us just as bad as the dems when we do that. You are right, spread the truth, it is more damaging anyway!

  • Nadine Zerbe

    05/10/2020 05:52 PM

    Thank you for reporting honestly!!! I love knowing you can be trusted and you support our President!!!

  • M Wilson

    05/06/2020 12:37 PM

    May 6, 2020
    Dear Senator Merkley,

    Mother’s Day is approaching which should be a special day reserved for the celebration of our Mothers. I would like to tell you a story about my Mother who is locked in her assisted living home without any personal contact with family members. This lock down is not her choice but for her protection. Governor Brown has ruled that all elderly in Oregon’s nursing homes be locked in their room until further notice. To a 91-year-old woman without any personal contact with family members is a cruel treatment. My Mother has asked me what she has done wrong to deserve this kind of treatment from the State. Mother you did not doing anything wrong this is for your protection.
    My Mother’s story begins out of the days of America’s Depression when there was no work for her father in Nebraska. Her father loaded his family up and decided to move to Oregon in hope of a brighter future. Someone had told him that there was work in Oregon. He loaded his wife, my mother, and her brother with all their belongings on the back of the truck and headed to Oregon. When the family arrived in Oregon, life was difficult. My Mother grew up in a time where people struggled with finding work to support their families. My Mother speaks of a year the family moved 7 times in Oregon to find work and each time she would gather up her dolls and doll bed to make sure they were put on the family truck. The word “can’t” was not in their vocabulary. People during this period of American history had a spirit that propelled this country out of the depth of depression.
    My Mother is a beautiful loving woman who married and raised a family in Oregon. She always put her family before herself. A woman very prideful of her husband and children. She would do without herself so her children could have a better life. My Mother has many fond memories of her life and as she sits by herself in her room she reflects on those memories. She will say how she is soon to be 92 and with loss of eyesight she can no longer do the needlepoint, crochet, and hardanger embroidery. She talks about how she misses her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Governor Brown’s orders has stripped away her desire to continue to go forward. A word that I thought I would never hear from my Mother’s lips. She will say, I do not understand why I “can’t” go outside and enjoy this beautiful day. All I can say is, Mother this is all for your protection and I pray that God ends this soon.
    Thank God for our Mothers without their sacrifices we would not be here.
    Recent remembrance: A Mother in Meridian, Idaho was arrested and jailed for taking her children to a park on a beautiful day for violation of lock down. A Mother in Frisco, Texas arrested and jailed for opening her hair salon during lock down to help support her children.
    Mother’s Day May 10, 2020

    Sincerely
    M. Wilson

  • Floyd A Unger

    05/05/2020 02:14 PM

    Kerry has always been scary to me.

  • Dawn Neuschwander

    05/04/2020 08:04 PM

    Dear Mike,
    I couldn't agree more with your article on Kerry! He should never have held that office. About Covid, let's look at some facts in MN! The hospitals and clinics have no covid patients and no other patients because they all think if they come in contact with this flu they will drop dead! Hospitals are laying off doctors and nurses in numbers! Who spread the lie that you can not survive this flu?? I know people who have it and they are recuperating just like from any flu virus!! Why can we shop in 100's at Walmart and the grocery store but we can't shop at Maurices where on most days there would be 3 people?? Or have a funeral?? Or go to the hairshop??Something bigger is going on here, ??keep the narrative going so we can PUSH mail in voting statewide!! Swing MN elections!! Why are employees forced to wear masks now but not in Jan.,Feb.,March & April ??? Dem governors are Nazis!! What do the people do?? Form militias??

  • David Arthur Kosinski

    05/04/2020 07:06 PM

    Good work.

    As I wrote you, roughly nine months or so ago; Joel Barker, the noted business consultant and futurist, calls this almost automatic human tendency the "Paradigm Trap."

    Even scientists fall prey to it! As you say, facts that don't fit your world view (Scientific or political) aren't recognized, by one; as your paradigm almost acts like a filter, screening the out....almost as if they're invisible. They just aren't recognized because they just don't fit with the way you " believe things are."

    As with any malady, the important first step towards recognizing this tendency - and not falling into this Paradigm Trap - is to just be aware that this almost-unconcious human tendency exists...just to be aware.

    Good stuff, Brother!

  • Ray Henschen

    05/04/2020 05:59 PM

    All my children and their spouses are liberals...to one degree or another. One daughter says she’s a socialist. And they all have $millions and n n t worth.
    Two live in LA and another in Boston. And all of their friends are liberal. Whenever we have a political disagreement, they always use a liberal “fact check” site to shoot me down. I usually use another “fact check” site to shoot down their “fact check” site. Always fun and games with them!
    You are right that they don’t want to know that Pres Trump is right about anything!
    Most of my children steer away for political commentary with the exception of the older daughter. She’s an RN and a lawyer. She is very intelligent. She always makes sure everyone knows that she is very intelligent. She writes a book when she makes her argument. I can usually debunk her argument in a couple sentences and a contrarian article off the internet.
    It used to bother me. Now I just have fun with it.
    Your research is the best I’ve seen! Thank you!

  • KeoniBoy

    05/04/2020 04:31 PM

    JK's ethics and morality issues go as far back as the 60s, and his involvement with the SE Asia war, when his attitudes, words, and actions took a conveniently expedient, and self-serving turn. Sound familiar?

  • Cathy Wilkerson

    05/04/2020 04:27 PM

    As for the media, they are a total embarrassment for this whole country. I don’t know when they decided to make up news instead of reporting it!! When I was growing up my family watched Walter Cronkite and local news. They never chose sides. It’s sad to see how bias they are and the hate they spew each and everyday. There are so many that believe all their crap. As for Biden, it will be a sad day in America if he takes the WH!

  • Janet Pingston

    05/04/2020 03:46 PM

    The press repeats the fact that the Chinese virus is natural (In bats) and therefore
    not chemically engineered. But how did this natural ( in bats ) virus turn into human
    to human transmission. I believe there is a sciencific process for this. (not smart enough
    to remember the name of the procedure) . in other words. The procedure to take a natural
    bat virus and turn into human to human contact can be a bio weapon. Lets ask the bat lady.

  • Janice Oberlander

    05/04/2020 03:33 PM

    Received a You Tube video of Pastor Danny Jones of North Lake Baptist Church, Gainsville, Ga.
    You Tube video has already been removed but found his message under another heading. He describes events leading up to our current pandemic, people involved etc. and how this pandemic was planned as part of the New World order to learn how to control the masses! Would like to know your thoughts??

  • Viviana Mejia

    05/04/2020 03:00 PM

    The town hall meeting to me regarding Covid 19 was a sad night to see and hear President Trump tying to explain the Covid 19 situation it seems he's now going along with the scare tactics CULT TEAM Fauci, Bill Gates, WHO, and CDC ect.. ect... Because I don't understand why Trump is not sticking to his guns from the beginning calling the crises a hoax there is proof that that amount of people dying is not from Covid 19 but from another illnesses that patients already had according to Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi from California in a news press conference in a video on YouTube they explain the facts of the data between actual Covid 19 deaths and patients who died from other illnesses that are being label on their death certificate Covid 19 which is not the case, false documentations by the hospitals are fudging the numbers to convince the public more people are dying from Covid 19 when it's false data , Dr Erickson and Dr. Massihi are not the only doctors explaining the TRUTH using science only base on facts in which YouTube removed their video which must've caught a lot of people's attention and is currently back on I encourage everyone to watch Dr. Erickson's news press conference and base it against what main stream media is being told to report and come to your own conclusions base on true science. I feel either President Trump is either getting deliberate false data of actual Covid 19 deaths or he is part of the deception team from keeping Americans from the TRUTH.

  • Rexford Oliver Ames

    05/04/2020 02:48 PM

    Have I become one? Yes, I have my beliefs. "Help to Understand" has been my motto for many, many years. The hard part is to " Listen". Especially if is garbage , from my perspective! I have learned to trust " Me"! Another term used is: "Listen to your gut". It usually helps you to do the right thing for the right reasons. Tempered with perimeters! Do no harm, If at all possible! Walk away for a bit, gain your balance then , do the right thing for you and / or someone else!
    At 77 years of age and I'm not at all really, really good with this philosophy of my decision process, in my life, however, I never stop working on it.
    Social Distancing may sound like a good thing however, It should only be for the short term. This virus isn't going away. The Medical establishment, The F.D.A. and their partners the Pharma will have a " Shot" to help some to avoid the results of this one but, that has been an ongoing process for many, many years.
    Old school: It is what it is and will always be: Politicians will always use anything to further their agenda. You must decide those alleged Issues!

  • JP Blickenstaff

    05/04/2020 02:39 PM

    Hi Governor. above you called the dem-media, the Mainstream Media. Better called the Left-stream media.

  • Rita Randolph

    05/04/2020 02:37 PM

    As far as I can tell, Hussain only told the truth once: when he said he would change our nation. Why would an entity with such low moral character care whether Kerry had a conflict of interest?

  • Carmen Price

    05/04/2020 02:27 PM

    Governor,
    Read this..........YES, CALIF GOV. GAVIN NEWSOME IS NANCY PELOSI'S NEPHEW.

    AND YES, ADAM SHIFF'S SISTER IS MARRIED TO GEORGE SOROS’ SON.

    AND YES, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER IS MARRIED TO A MULLAH'S SON In

    IRAN................and Yes, Hillary's daughter Chelsea IS married to George Soros' nephew.

    IF YOU HAD A HUNCH THE NEWS SYSTEM WAS SOMEWHAT RIGGED AND YOU

    COULDN'T PUT YOUR FINGER ON IT, THIS MIGHT HELP YOU SOLVE THE PUZZLE.

    ABC News executive producer Ian CAMERON is married to SUSAN RICE, Obama's former National Security Adviser.

    CBS President DAVID RHODES is the brother of BEN RHODES, Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.

    ABC News correspondent CLAIRE SHIPMAN is married to former Obama White House Press Secretary JAY CARNEY.

    ABC News and Univision reporter MATTHEW JAFFE is married to KATIE HOGAN, Obama's former Deputy Press Secretary.

    ABC President BEN SHERWOOD is the brother of Obama's former Special Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood.

    CNN President VIRGINIA MOSELEY is married to former Hillary Clinton's Deputy Secretary TOM NIDES.

    Trump has been right all along. Fake News is generated by this incestuous relationship.

    SO, YOU THINK THERE MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIAS IN THE NEWS?..

    Now, do you still wonder why they hate Trump, he is the outsider! (Please keep this going)

    Thought you might like this info.
    Regards,
    Carmen Price
    Reno, NV

  • Pat J Green

    05/04/2020 02:26 PM

    Here is my believe in so called news from eaither the left or the right and both sides are really into lying or at the least expanding on the truth just to make it fit there own story. If it don't fit with what the word of God has to say about anything I just don't pay it no mind.

  • Kay DeWitt

    05/04/2020 02:16 PM

    I STAND CORRECTED..I stated in my previous email that the reader's comment was the fourth one on the comments posted when, actually, it was the SECOND one.....I WILL PASTE BELOW THAT COMMENT:

    Gail Denham
    05/04/2020 01:22 PM
    You've no doubt heard about the hateful tweet that a NY council member posted about Samaritan's Purse org. - and their presence in NY - where they have a hospital treating covid patients. Because the council member is a proclaimed gay and also HIV - he calls Franklin Graham a "hate-filled "...blah blah - and nowhere is there a thank you in his tweet. Now he says Samaritan's Purse muse leave. Good grief.

  • Jerry Korba

    05/04/2020 02:14 PM

    The outlets we have for news is in spin mode is usually brought to the people with its agenda in mind. The outlets are just a talk show with the host doing what the writer tells them what to say. The host may ask a question that wants the person to predict the future or give away negotiating questions, the public does not have enough info on foreign policies or trade to have an opinion and neither do the hosts for the most part they get there make up on or their hair styled and read the teleprompter some actually have an idea as to what's really happening and some can't say anything against what their guest say if they disagree with them with the exception of a few. If one disagrees with the producer she gets fired how can you trust an outlet like that.

  • Kay DeWitt

    05/04/2020 02:11 PM

    LITERALLY SECONDS AFTER I WROTE MY PREVIOUS COMMENT, AND SENT IT, I DECIDED TO READ THE COMMENTS THAT HAD ALREADY BEEN POSTED, AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW THE FOURTH ONE POSTED CONFIRMED WHAT I JUST HAD STATED!!!!

  • Karen Miller

    05/04/2020 02:08 PM

    This article brings to mind a recent conversation with my sister (a Trump hater). I told her there was no point in trying to change my mind about Trump. I said, "You know, I hate to admit it, but I guess I'm closeminded." I had a friend post an anti-Trump article and she said,"The people that need to read this won't." I knew I was one of those that had to read it. I did. I couldn't even figure out why she thought it would. Now I know I have confirmation bias....so much better than being closeminded!

  • Gwen Collins

    05/04/2020 02:07 PM

    What would we do without you!

  • Fredricka Cecile

    05/04/2020 02:05 PM

    I don't listen to nbc, cbs,abc or even pbs. Note they are in little caps. Also the funny men? who make fun of our President. I don't do fact check.
    I do read what you have to say and appreciate you taking time to write the truth. I just want the truth so I can make my decision not them make it for me.
    It use to be they reported the news and let you make the decision. Now they have to talk it to death. honesty has gone out of the news we receive. we really have to look at what is the truth. For your information I would listen to Trump new briefing even if it were 2 hours or an hour. Got from the Horses mouth.
    Thank you for what you do.

  • Kay DeWitt

    05/04/2020 02:01 PM

    As is true so many times, there is one statement, in your newsletter, that grabs me the most and, BECAUSE it does, it authors my comment.....In THIS newsletter, that statement was: "It’s extremely anxiety-producing to be proven wrong. For if you’re wrong about one thing, who knows what else you’re wrong about?"

    I have known people who always HAVE to be right, because they are very insecure people! However, for a Christian who only lives to please the Lord, rather than man, it is NOT "extremely anxiety-producing to BE proven wrong" and, in fact, because this type of Christian also LOVES the truth, when he is proven wrong...about what he assumed to BE truth....he is grateful FOR being corrected!

    IN ADDITION, the sold out Christian..who is devoted to He who IS true....and to the Bible that IS truth..... gets used to people trying TO prove him wrong and the only kind of "anxiety" this produces is that which comes from knowing that a person who does not agree with you....that Jesus said unless a man be born again, he cannot inherit the Kingdom of God....is heading for a Christ-less eternity in hell! " Oh how that word "hell" alone turns off so many people who will, immediately, tell you that you are wrong...that there is no such thing AS hell because (to quote Jamie Bakker, Jim Bakker's son) "hell is right here!" And it matters not to Jamie that JESUS spoke more about hell than he did heaven! And, as well, Jamie does not believe that homosexuality is a sin, and, again, it matters not that JESUS said it WAS! So when people like Jamie (Jay) Bakker say that JESUS is wrong, how can anyone suffer anxiety when someone disagrees with him!
    Jay Bakker claims to be a Christian and he pastors his own church which he named Revolution Church!.....So...so...so sadl Please pray that the LORD will prove TO Jay Bakker that he is wrong, BEFORE Jay closes his eyes for the last time!