The rule of law was upheld in a Houston petition case -- but you wouldn't know that by reading WorldNetDaily.
Last week, a judge ruled that a right-wing petition initiative to overturn Houston's anti-discrimination ordinance did not contain enough valid signatures after the petitions were found to include numerous errors by petition circulators and forgeries that disqualified signatures. The judge noted that the disqualifying errors included pages where the circulator's affidavit was not notarized or where the circulator notarized his or own affidavit, signatures added after the circulator signed the verification, and signatures that appear more than once.
It fell to Bob Unruh to write about the ruling for WND. Given that Unruh has peddled falsehoods about the Houston case in the past, it wasn't going to go well for anyone interested in a fair and balanced story.
And it didn't. Three of the first four paragraphs of Unruh's April 17 article are devoted to a side issue that had nothing to do with the final ruling: an attempt by city officials to subpoena communications by some pastors in the case that was ultimately dropped.
It's not until the fifth paragraph that Unruh gets around to admitting that the judge ruled there were not enough valid signatures -- then immediately spent several paragraphs repeating talking points from petition supporters about how the signatures in question were valid.
At no point does Unruh bother to quote from the judge's ruling or explain why those signatures and petitions were disqualifed. He did, however, find space to allow petition supporters (including homophobic former WND columnist Dave Welch) to claim the judge “was supported in his election by the LGBT community.”
Unruh's article ends with the address and phone number of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, whom Unruh makes sure to let us know is "openly lesbian."
While Unruh's article is a journalistic dumpster fire, his boss, Joseph Farah, manages to take it even further in his April 19 column:
Not every state or community permits up-and-down votes of the people on issues of controversy. But the city of Houston, Texas, has such a provision that allows voters to act when they aren’t satisfied with the work of their city council.
Such was the case recently when Mayor Annise Parker, a “progressive” lesbian activist, persuaded the city council to enact a law that extended the most vigorous civil rights protections to “transgendereds” as a protected class, including ensuring that they got to choose the public restrooms of their choice.
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Shortly afterward, pastors throughout Houston organized to undo the action with a city-wide vote. They gathered all the signatures that were needed, but they were disqualified by the city attorney, an apparatchik of the mayor. The Houston pastors appealed the decision to Judge Robert Schaffer last Friday. Once again, one “progressive” judge took the matter out of the hands of the people and placed it in the hands of the city’s ruling elite.
The coalition of pastors has promised an appeal. But you get the idea.
Like Unruh, Farah can't be bothered to explain why exactly those signatures and petition pages were disqualified. Instead, he rants that the judge's ruling "killed 'voter rights' in Houston."
In other words, Farah is advocating that the law be ignored so his anti-gay agenda can advance. He's mad that the rule of law was enforced, and the fact that he won't tell the truth about what happened tells us that he's more than aware of that -- and he's willing to pervert journalistic principles, with his pliant underling Unruh, to make sure his readers don't get the truth.
While Farah rants that "progressives" don't want justice and equality enforced, it's more than clear he's actually talking about himself.