No, the sheriff did not compare constitutionalists to ISIS.
My conversation with Infowars reporter Mikael Thalen where I make it very clear Knezovich is not comparing all constitutionalists to ISIS.
A big part of this week's cover story is Knezovich's frustration
with Infowars and his complaint that they cut out important context to comments a deputy made when discussing the heavy duty MRAP vehicle
. In the full video that caused a firestorm about the MRAP, for example, a deputy clearly said it was unconstitutional to turn it against his own citizens. But Infowars didn't include that bit in their initial story about the video, focusing only on a deputy's comments explaining that heavy armor could be necessary because of "constitutionalists" stockpiling weapons and ammunitions. (For more on why the deputy may have said that, read this post
Infowars reporter Mikael Thalen contacted me on Facebook recently, I was very, very clear that, in his comment, Knezovich was only
speaking about people who wish for a revolution in this country, and will lie to get it. Not just anyone who critiques the government. He does
worry that anti-government rhetoric, like the kind from Rep. Matt Shea
, may inflame those revolutionary types.
And what do you know, Infowars' headline says exactly what didn't happen: "SHERIFF COMPARES CONSTITUTIONALISTS TO ISIS." Nope.
In the same
Infowars article, Rep. Matt Shea expressed outrage at Knezovich’s latest comments.
“I fought Islamic terrorists on the ground in Iraq face-to-face,” Shea said. “I lost a man – who was a Christian and who would have fit the Sheriff’s definition of a constitutionalist – under my command fighting Islamic terrorists.”
“It is outrageous to compare constitutionalists and Christians to ISIS! We believe in freedom. We believe in liberty. A value set that is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. ISIS is anathema to those things. I call on every Christian and constitutionalist in this country to demand an apology from this Sheriff for his outrageous comments and demand his immediate resignation.”
In our article, the Sheriff never mentions the word "Christian" once. And his ISIS comparison never used the word constitutionalists once either, specifically talking about those willing to lie to "hit the reset button" and revolt against the government. In fact, he's condemned extremists who've hijacked the word "constitutionalist
" for their own ends.
In one speech this year, Shea defined constitutionalists as "“Advocates of a system... where a government should be based on a constitution, in which power is distributed and limited by a system of laws that the rulers must obey" and said "anyone who tries to redefine this word as something different, that’s who is dangerous.”
Knezovich's ISIS comparison only applied to lying revolutionaries, without using the word "constitutionalist" once. Assuming Infowars is quoting Shea accurately, Shea is either misreading, intentionally or unintentionally, Knezovich's comments. Or he's redefining constitutionalists (and Christians) to mean "those folks that want to overthrow the government, period" and who "want to hit a reset button."