WorldNetDaily has been spending the past several days celebrating its 18th birthday -- a number more appropriate for a teenager attaining new age-related privileges, not a "news" organization. As can be expected, much of it is self-aggrandizing and circular self-promotion, i.e., the people quoted as saying nice things about WND in an April 30 article are mosly WND columnists.
But there are other clues that point to an ulterior motive behind this odd-anniversary promotion. For instance, an April 27 article by Cheryl Chumley recounting WND's self-proclaimed "firsts," which she insists proves that WND is "a reputable and responsible journalism venture."
WND editor Joseph Farah followed that up with a May 3 column that at first engaged in his usual manhood-measuring by insisting that "no other founder of any other online news agency boasts that kind of resume" that he has (he did this to us in 2008 when we dared point out WND's many faults, as a way to deflect any criticism of his work). Farah then states this:
In an Internet environment heavy on commentary, unedited blogging and unverified claims, WND stands virtually alone in pioneering the most rigorous standards of fact-checking, multiple sourcing, the seeking out of primary sources and old-fashioned reporting and editing techniques.
That, as ConWebWatch readers know all too well, is a a huge sack of lying crap. To name just one example proving Farah a liar: Jerome Corsi's utterly discredited claim that President Obama wears a ring that reads in Arabic "There is no god except Allah." Corsi sought no "primary sources" for this claim; he regurgitated from the even more discredited anti-Obama filmmaker Joel Gilbert. Corsi and Gilbert's story was so wrong that Corsi's fellow birthers were moved to push back.
Yet Corsi's ring stories remain live on the WND website, intact and uncorrected, as does Farah's column insisting that this was "an important story – maybe one of the biggest of the presidential election year."
On top of that, a few days before Farah's nattering about how WND employs "most rigorous standards of fact-checking," it ran a story repeating a claim we first corrected seven years ago -- that Obama's reference to a "civilian national security force" in a speech meant that he wanted to create a police state.
And we haven't even gotten to WND's fact-free birther crusade, about which it has yet to admit fault, let along correct the reams of false reporting it engaged in.
But Farah wasn't done lying, adding this things he claims WND engages in:
While WND strives for “fair and balanced” news coverage, it believes a higher value not emphasized strongly enough by competitors is the pursuit of the truth.
In our work, WND reporters and editors are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles.
More lies. Just take a look at the work of WND news editor Bob Unruh, which frequently tells only one side of the story and lets that side misleadingly frame the argument of the other side, which often never even bothering to contact anyone from that other side.
What makes Farah's declared commitment to telling the truth even more of a laugher is that a few years back, he proudly admitted that WND publishes misinformation.
Farah can't even keep logically consistent. He claims "WND is truly independent from party lines, pressure groups and political entanglements," then a few paragraphs later boasts about "the Judeo-Christian worldview we bring to our mission." Farah seems not to be aware that if a certain "worldview" is imposed as editorial policy, you are no longer "fair and balanced" or "truly independent from party lines, pressure groups and political entanglements."
All of this self-aggrandizing appears to be the result of WND finally realizing that its hypocritical birther crusade -- it won't hold Ted Cruz to the same "eligibility" standards it held Obama, which is why WND has gone almost completely silent on the issue -- and its singleminded zeal to destroy Obama has utterly destroyed any claim WND might have to be taken seriously as a "news" organization.
If WND genuinely wants to be taken seriously, it needs to walk the walk, not just engage in empty boasting. Here's a list of handy tips that Farah isn't apparently aware of despite all the media experience he likes to beat his critics with:
- Act like the "fair and balanced" news org you claim you are. Present both sides of the story, and don't present one side as the "correct" one.
- Correct your errors.
- Tell your readers the truth you've hidden from them all these years -- that the birther crusade was never based in reality and was nothing more than pandering to the anti-Obama base.
- Don't be spiteful to your critics. We've been blocked from following Farah and WND on Twitter, which shows just how thin-skinned they are.
That's just for starters. Any basic journalism textbook will have more. Farah professes to follow them, but his fruits tell a much different story.
Perhaps WND made a point of celebrating its 18th anniversary because it's in an adolescent state of mind -- defying authority and rules, paying lip service to tradition and Christianity but doing the exact opposite in reality.
If Farah wants to be taken seriously ever again, he needs to stop BSing WND's readers and start acting like a real journalist. That means telling the truth -- something with which he has so far been shockingly unfamiliar.