Remember when alert readers ‘patrolling’ the border found an ‘Islamic prayer rug’ that was actually an Adidas shirt? The lesson apparently didn’t sink in, because West Texas Sheriff Gary Painter was back on television Monday to continue spreading the right wing fantasy that the Islamic State has infiltrators sneaking across the Rio Grande.

Painter, interviewed by Fox News’ Elizabeth Hasselbeck, reiterated the warning he first said on CNN on Sept. 5, saying ISIS will be sent “to hell” if they show up. He also referenced again the report he received a few weeks ago that warned of ISIS activity in the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, area.

[…] Painter also discussed border security in the Fox News interview, saying the U.S. and Mexico border is “wide open” because there are parts of the Rio Grande River that are dried up and “coyotes,” or human smugglers, are helping people cross the border for money. He added “Quran books” and “Muslim clothing” have been found near the border.

Assuming that someone actually did find a book printed in Arabic near the border, it’s doubtful that Painter would know whether he was looking at a copy of the Qur’an, a volume of the Hadith, or a collector’s edition of Arabian Nights. If I presented him with a lineup of my Arabic-language tomes, I expect Painter would almost certainly be unable to pick out the Qur’an from my collection of Naguib Mahfouz novels.

Fearmongering liars depend on widespread ignorance to get away with this kind of garbage. More to the point, however, they depend on unquestioning credulity from avatars of ignorance like Hasselbeck who cannot (or will not) ask basic, obvious, perfectly-logical questions for fear of being perceived as ‘liberal.’

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. At the very least, Painter’s claims deserve better evidence than unsourced, unverified rumors transmitted by self-appointed border-patrolling ammosexuals through fringe websites.

To let such statements pass without even the most basic fact-checking of any kind is the very height of irresponsible pseudo-journalism. Painter might as well be telling us that his lunatic militia buddies have found Sasquatch tracks, or the landing site of a flying saucer, while Hasselbeck grins and nods and demands “transparency” about an imaginary stand-down order in Benghazi.