Last week we noted how Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) reported on WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah being removed from the guest list of a Inauguration Day prayer breakfast. Since then, somebody's story has changed.
Media Matters' source for the story was Rev. Merrie Turner, organizer of the prayer breakfast. But Turner is suddenly singing a different tune.
A Jan. 15 WND article by Bob Unruh said that Turner has "repudiated" what she told to Media Matters:
“The misinformation resulted from a number of factors: a confusion over the exact status of guests combined with the fluidity of the program, erroneous assumptions, miscommunication, a train of questioning by Media Matters as to whether we would allow anyone to use the event as a platform to attack the president, my desire to clarify that the event was not about anyone doing so, and what appears to be the aim of Media Matters to attack and humiliate Joseph Farah.”
She explained, “Joseph Farah was asked for his help regarding the event. He graciously gave it. He never invited himself to the event. Nor did he ever ask or expect anything in return. We affirm that the event is to pray for America at a critical time and juncture, for the American presidency and government. We also want to clearly state and affirm that it would be an honor to have Joseph Farah be part.
“I am truly sorry for anything said or spoken, any confusion and miscommunication, and for any distress this may have caused Joseph Farah,” she said.
Media Matters responded to the WND article by pointing out that Turner "has made no effort to contact Media Matters with any complaint about the report or any requests for corrections or clarifications about her comments," and that Turner is refusing to respond to requests for clarification and even hung up on a Media Matters reporter.
What happened? Did Turner get caught telling the truth and then had to backpedal to salvage relationships with Farah allies? We don't know; we do know that WND has no interest in finding out.
Meanwhile, Farah used his Jan. 16 column to rehash Unruh's artile, bash Media Matters and its "libel" against him , and whine that "the Media Matters story was picked up uncritically by news outlets, especially ones labeling themselves as 'Christian.'"
Curiously missing from Farah's column: any mention of Media Matters' response to Turner's flip-flop, even though it was published several hours before Farah's column appeared.
Farah seems to have not considered the possibility that Turner is only telling him what he wants to hear to get himself out of trouble.
Also, Farah obviously does not know the definition of libel, even though he has worked in journalism for three decades. Here's a refresher for Farah:
Clark Jones was libeled.
Calling President Obama a "psychopath" is libel.
Accurately reporting what a source said before deciding he didn't actually say it, but never contacted the reporter to change his story or demand a correction, is not libel.
We hope that clears things up a little. Now, will Farah give up his persecution complex, start acting like the reporter he pretends to be and figure out which story Turner told is the truth?