Lost in the pissing match between WorldNetDaily and Salon over the claim that President Obama has spent millions of dollars to fight birther lawsuits is exactly what claims were made. WND editor Joseph Farah said "we stand by [reporter Chelsea] Schilling's three reports – every word of them." But what exactly is Farah standing by?
At issue are three articles by Schilling. The first, on April 22, 2009, asserts that "President Obama may be using campaign funds to stomp out eligibility lawsuits brought by Americans, as his campaign has paid more than $1 million to his top lawyer since the election." The only evidence Schilling offers is that Obama's campaign paid that amount to a law firm between October 2008 and March 2009, and that one lawyer in the firm represented Obama in some birther lawsuits. At no point does Schilling prove what she strongly suggested in her lead paragraph -- that all of that million-plus was spent on "eligibility" lawsuits.
The second article, from Aug. 10, 2009, carried a similar lead but a bigger number: "President Obama may be using his political action committee funds to stomp out eligibility lawsuits brought by Americans, as he has paid more than $1.35 million to his top lawyer since the election." But Schilling falsely portrays all of the money as going to a single lawyer; in fact, Schilling offers the exact same evidence as before -- that the Obama campaign paid money to a law firm. Again, Schilling offers no evidence that all of the money went to a single lawyer or that it was all spent on birther lawsuits.
The third article, from Oct. 27, 2009, repeated the false claim with a new number: "President Obama has paid nearly $1.7 million to his top eligibility lawyer since the election." Again, Schilling offers only that the money was paid to a law firm, not to Obama's "top eligibility lawyer," and again, there's no evidence that all of the money went to a single lawyer or that it was all spent on birther lawsuits.
Farah is standing by something the evidence doesn't support. He has nothing to back up the claim that every single penny Obama's campaign paid to a law firm went toward defending birther lawsuits, yet he won't clarify or renounce the claim. Instead, he smeared a Salon writer who challenged what his website reported as a "sissified, left-wing blogger," while he defended the reporter who made misleading and unsupported claims as "one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met" and "like a daughter to me."
That sums up the kind of petty, thin-skinned, misguided person Farah is.