In his April 13 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah does the only thing he knows how to do when confronted by the fact that his "news" organization has gotten facts wrong: act petulant and attack his accuser.
This time, the person on the receiving end is Salon's Justin Elliott. His offense: asking if Donald Trump was correct to claim that President Obama has spent millions of dollars to fight lawsuits over his birth certificate. As we've noted, WND has proven only that the Obama campaign paid money to a law firm but not that all of the money -- or even any of it -- went toward fighting birther-related lawsuits.
First, Farah claimed that Elliott gave him "all of one hour and 26 minutes to respond" to the query before publishing his article -- an utterly hypocritical assertion given that WND frequently fails to even bother obtaining both sides to many of the "news" articles it runs, let alone give that side sufficient time to respond.
Farah then asserted that "Obama has used the cover of his taxpayer-supported office to devote far more than $2 million in financial resources to cover up whatever he's hiding on his birth certificate" -- but as before, he offers no evidence to back up this claim. Then, after noting that Elliott reported that "this figure is based on shoddy reporting by a discredited birther website and lacks any evidence to back it up," he asserts: "Never once in his article does Elliott explain how WND has been 'discredited' or why reporter Chelsea Schilling's series is 'shoddy.' So much for "backing up the lead," as we say in the news business."
In fact, Elliott did exactly that in his Salon article:
The implication of the WND stories -- though not explicitly stated -- is that because Perkins Coie worked on a birther suit, and because the Obama campaign paid Perkins Coie $1.7 million, therefore the campaign paid $1.7 million fighting birther suits. That's an obvious logical fallacy.
Indeed, just last month Roll Call published a look at the Obama campaign's post-election legal spending -- now totaling $2.8 million, most of it to Perkins Coie. DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan told the paper: "The campaign has incurred ordinary legal expenses related to the wind-down of its operations and other legal services which all campaigns incur and which are proportional to the unprecedented size of this campaign."
So, having ignored and misrepresented the issue, it was insult time, his usual response to criticism. Farah smeared Elliott as a "sissified, left-wing blogger" who is "pretending to do journalism," published his bio from his previous employer, and compared it to that of Chelsea Schilling, who wrote the original WND articles, laughably embellished by Farah "because she's too modest to tell you herself." Farah writes that Schilling is "one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met" and "is like a daughter to me."
What Farah won't tell you: Schilling has a mile-long rap sheet of falsehoods and misinformation in her work for WND.
What Farah also won't tell you: how pissy he got when Elliott asked why WND made Jack Cashill's false claim about a picture of Obama's grandparents simply disappear instead of publishing a formal correction. Farah called Ellott a "worm" during that exchange.
Farah asked readers to compare the two bios (despite the obvious bias in one of them), adding: "Which one would you rather have dinner with? Which one would you most trust to babysit your kids? Which one would you most likely hire if you had the choice? Which one seems more trustworthy?"
Trustworthy? That pretty much rules out Farah and Schilling, doesn't it?
Farah concludes by stating that "we stand by Schilling's three reports – every word of them." At no point did he or Schilling provide evidence that every cent of the money the Obama campaign paid to a law firm went toward birther claims -- then or now.