Opinion

JZ Knight’s attack on Freedom Foundation predictably disingenuous

You’d think a person who earns a living persuading people she’s able to channel the spirit of someone who’s been dead for 35,000 years would recognize she has a slight credibility problem and leave well enough alone.

But JZ Knight doesn’t embarrass easily.

Predictably, Knight’s Aug. 2 op-ed assault on our organization (“Freedom Foundation uses tactics of intimidation”) was a masterpiece of misdirection that tried – and failed – to discredit the accuser rather than disprove the charge.

Referring to a collection of videotapes made public in 2012 by the Freedom Foundation on which Knight is shown engaged in obscenity-laced attacks on Mexicans, Catholics, Jews, gays and other minorities, she dismissively notes they were “heavily edited.”

The implication is that her despicable comments were somehow doctored or taken out of context. But in fact, the videos were only edited for length because there is more than 17 hours’ worth of jaw-dropping material from which to choose.

If Knight is genuinely interested in the truth, why doesn’t she just release the material in its entirety rather than paying an army of lawyers to keep all of it under wraps? Our aim is to let people know what she actually said while hers is to keep it from them.

She also claims to have won a $600,000 court judgment over the release of the tapes, but what she neglects to mention is that she didn’t win that judgment against us. In the only settled case between Knight and the Freedom Foundation, a judge rejected her claims and ordered her to pay our legal costs.

We’re fully confident her current lawsuit against us will end no differently.

Her pleas of victimhood aside, the Freedom Foundation is in the business of fiercely defending free markets and the First Amendment rights of all Americans. As such, we ordinarily couldn’t care less what Knight says or how many followers she has, but we do have a compelling interest in exposing who’s pulling the strings in local politics.

To its credit, the Washington State Democratic Party condemned Knight and declined a $60,000 donation from her when the incendiary tapes first came to light in 2012. But party leaders were strangely silent when she subsequently wrote a check for a similar amount to the Thurston County Democrats this spring.

The Freedom Foundation was compelled to expose this double standard.

Knight would have you believe our disagreement with her is an attempt to restrict her freedom and stifle her political speech. She couldn’t be more wrong. Our goal is simply to pull back the veil and show the power broker of the Thurston County Democrats for who she is. We’d do the same if local Republicans were heavily underwritten by an unrepentant bigot.

That Knight would attempt to divert attention from her own transgressions – and those of the party that unapologetically embraces her – by misrepresenting the motives of the organization that exposed the incontrovertible bond they share should come as no surprise whatsoever.

Thankfully, her track record does more to unravel her credibility than we ever could.

Jeff Rhodes is managing editor of the Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based free-market think tank.

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