As we noted, Jack Cashill's April 7 WorldNetDaily column pushed the ludicrous conspiracy theory that a young Barack Obama had been Photoshopped into a picture of his grandparents; in fact, he had been Photoshopped out of the original picture to create a stupid conpsiracy theory that Cashill fell for hook, line and sinker.
Well, references to that photo and the related conspiracy have been excised from Cashill's column -- but WND has posted no notice that the column has been changed and corrected.
Editing of false claims without notice is pretty standard in the ConWeb, unless the error was so egregious that it went public (like when WND treated an April Fool's story about a Terri Schiavo TV movie as real) and/or presumedly brought lawsuit threats (as Aaron Klein knows).
Salon's Justin Elliott made the mistake of innocently asking WND editor Joseph Farah if it would inform readers that Cashill's column was altered, as well as the evidence behind a previous WND claim that Obama has spent $2 million on fighting legal actions over his "eligibilty" to be president (which Elliott had previously debunked). Elliott got a taste of the thin-skinned wrath Farah shells out when he and/or his website is caught violating basic journalistic standards, like scrubbing a story without issuing a formal correction:
When I pointed this out, Farah fired back (emphasis added):Jack Cashill is an OPINION columnist. Admittedly, we publish some misinformation by columnists, as does your publication and every other journal that contains opinion. Bill Press seldom gets anything right in his column, but because we believe in providing the broadest spectrum of OPINION anywhere in the news business, we tolerate that kind of thing. Yes, Cashill’s column contained an egregious error, which we corrected almost immediately, which is far more than I expect you to do in what I assume is a NEWS piece you wrote.
I asked Farah if it is standard practice at WND to remove major sections of stories without any correction. To which he responded:How long have you been in this business, punk? My guess is you were in diapers when I was running major metropolitan newspapers. You call what you wrote a news story? You aren’t fit to carry Chelsea Schilling’s laptop.
(Chelsea Schilling is the WND staffer who wrote the stories on which Trump's "$2 million" falsehood is based.)
Notice that Farah never answer Elliott's question about whether WND has a formal correction policy -- perhaps because it doesn't. Anyone who was "running major metropolitan newspapers" as Farah claims to have done would know that those very same papers have a procedure for correcting false claims and alerting their readers to the correction -- something Farah's current operation does not have.
Further, not only has Elliott more than qualified to carry Schilling's laptop (who, by the way, is still listed on the WND masthead as a "staff writer" even though she hasn't written a bylined article in months), she should probably be carrying his laptop given her long record of false and misleading claims (none of which, of course, have been corrected).
Farah's insulting of Elliott is also par for the course -- remember, Farah denigrated me as a "talent-challenged slug" for writing truths about WND that he would rather not have people know about.
Elliott also notes that he got an email from Cashill telling his side of the deletion:
The original photo was apparently released by the Obama campaign in April 2008. The experts with whom I consulted after the fact were not convinced that the original was legitimate, but they were confident that the photo of the couple together in the video had been reverse-doctored. The person who sent me the video did so in good faith, and I suspect that the person who created it did so in good faith as well, but my readers depend on me to be right. So out it went. That strikes me as responsible journalism, especially since I only added it incidentally as a symbol of the mystery surrounding the Obama campaign.
Of course, actual "responsible journalism" would have involved alerting his readers that the incorrect content was removed, a concept Cashill seems as unfamiliar with as Farah, even though he too has a publishing background -- in Cashill's case, executive editor of a Kansas City business magazine -- that almost assuredly has made use of a corrections policy that requires informing readers of incorrect claims.