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Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Who Cares About Cliff Kincaid's Birth Certificate?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An August 4 Accuracy in Media press release announced that AIM's Cliff Kincaid "has released a copy of his own birth certificate, in order to demonstrate what needs to be done to resolve the growing controversy over the alleged birth certificate of President Barack Obama."

Ummm ... so what? Did Kincaid or AIM similarly demand that Sarah Palin release Trig's birth certificate to prove that she was Trig's mother? Not that we could find.

Besides, Kincaid would be a hateful, paranoid goofball no matter where he was born.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:58 PM EDT
Even Farah Thinks Kenyan Certificate Is Bogus -- So Why Did WND Publish It?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah, in his August 4 WorldNetDaily column, is hurling more deceptions over WND's publishing of a purported Kenyan birth certificate for Barack Obama.

He states:

No one at WND – not me, not Jerome Corsi, not any columnists, not any reporters – have defended the authenticity of the Kenyan birth certificate. No one here has made a judgment that it is real. What we did was report a fact – that California attorney Orly Taitz has filed a motion in federal court to determine its authenticity.

Farah is being highly disingenuous. By publishing the certificate, WND confers a certain level of legitimacy on something that he cannot (and does not) claim  to be factual. There are enough people in the world who will believe -- any WND caveat aside -- that if it's on the Internet, it must be true. WND's sluggish efforts in revealing facts discrediting the certificate don't help.

Farah goes on to assert: "It did occur to me that the fastest and most efficient way to determine authenticity was to show it publicly – and let the scrutiny begin." That, of course, runs counter to most news organizations that try to determine authenticity before publication.

Farah then claims: "The first I saw of this document was Sunday night when Orly Taitz put it on her website." That's impossible, since WND published it Sunday morning. Further, Farah asserted in a tweet the previous Friday: "Trust me for now: More coming next week on Birth-gate. You will be stunned. No more will anyone say there's 'no evidence.'" That's presumably a reference to the "Kenyan birth certificate." Which means Farah certainly had knowledge, if not actual pictures, of the certificate nearly two days before WND published it. That should have given it more than enough time to try and authenticate it -- that is, if WND actually cared about the truth.

Farah then misleadingly casts doubt on the authenticity of Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate: "the people who claim it is won't get any help from the state of Hawaii, which has steadfastly refused to confirm it is official Hawaiian issuance." Farah links to an August 2 WND article by Jerome Corsi which, as we've noted, contains no supporting evidence for the claim that Hawaii officials "refused to authenticate" the certificate -- only Corsi's assertion to that effect.

Most interesting, however is this claim by Farah: "The Kenyan document could be real. I haven't seen a single disqualifying error pointed out in the last 24 hours. But I still strongly suspect it is not."

Call us crazy -- or just adherents to longstanding, sound journalistic practice -- but if Farah could not authenticate the document he doubts is authentic (and, indeed, made no apparent effort to do so), WND had no business publishing it. Farah and WND acted irresponsibly in doing so.

Yet, as we've long documented, when it when it comes to Obama and WND, gross irresponsibility is Job 1. Farah is using WND to try and destroy Obama, and if it takes some dubious documents (which even he refuses to vouch for) to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a duly elected president whom he hates with a burning passion, so be it.

This is just another in the parade of lies WND has trotted out to smear Obama and delegitimize an elected president. And Farah wouldn't have it any other way.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 PM EDT
Examiner Columnist Embraces Baseless Birther Claim
Topic: Washington Examiner

Diana West writes in an August 2 Washinton Examiner column:

Unheeded, the "natural born" controversy will roil indefinitely, further fired by the vagaries of Hawaiian law -- specifically, Section 338-17.8, titled "Certificates for children born out of State" - which makes state birth documentation available to children born out of state, even born out of the country.
 
Read it for yourself. I found it through a recent article at WorldNetDaily.com, the Internet publication following this story like Woodward on Watergate, which linked to the Hawaiian state statute itself - a point that the MSM will no doubt bat down as just another "Internet rumor."

In fact, as we've noted, the Western Journalism Center-- founded by WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah -- has discredited that claim, pointing out that while Hawaii law does indeed provide for birth certificate for children not born in Hawaii, it does not provide them with birth certificates that say that these children were born in Hawaii. 

Will West bat that down as just another "Internet rumor"?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
WND Tepidly, Deceptively Defends Kenyan Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 3 WorldNetDaily article on reaction to WND's previous release of a document purporting to be a Kenyan birth certificate for Barack Obama concedes apparent problems with the certificate's authenticity but misleadingly defends it in other areas.

Responding to claims that the document is inauthentic because it purports to have been issued by the "Republic of Kenya" at a time when Kenya was not officially a republic, the article responds: "Kenya's official independence was in 1963, and any number of labels could have been applied to government documents during that time period," adding, "The 1963 independence is corroborated by several other information sources."

That's a disingenous defense. Nobody disputes that Kenya gained its independence in 1963. WND offers no specific evidence that Kenya was issuing documents describing Kenya as a republic between the time of its independence in December 1963 and official declaration as a "republic" in December 1964. WND cites only murky claims from a state-run Chinese news agency,  the "African history" page on About.com, and "an online source" that is actually an online dictionary whose sourcing is unclear.

Further, as Media Matters points out, Kenya had an official status between December 1963 and December 1964: the Dominion of Kenya.

Further, WND's noting that Kenya's constitution was "adopted in 1963, amended in 1999" ignores the fact that it was also amended in 1964 -- the CIA's World Factbook specifically states that the constitution was "amended as a republic 1964."

Still, the article repeats the claim that the document "bears none of the obvious traits of a hoax."

The article goes on to state that Orly Taitz, who is introducing the purported certificate as evidence in one of her birther cases, "told WND she's been discussing the document with several individuals who apparently 'are willing to investigate.'"

But as we've previously noted, WND claimed in a press release that "WorldNetDaily.com is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity." So who's doing the investigating, Taitz or WND? Or are they working together?

This raises further questions about the apparently close, symbiotic relationship between WND and Taitz -- one that WND has failed to fully disclose to its readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
NewsBusters Promotes Misleading Anti-Obama Video
Topic: NewsBusters

An August 2 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard touts a video compilation of President Obama purportedly claiming that he supports, in Sheppard's words, "the elimination of private health insurance." Sheppard added: "Will these new revelations about what Obama really wants make it to a news outlet near you?"

But the video Sheppard touts is misleading because it leave out the full context of what Obama said. In fact, Obama never claimed he wanted to "eliminate private health insurance." Obama was speaking about transitioning the country away from a system of primarily "employer coverage" in favor of "a much more portable system."

Sheppard seems to concede the misleading nature of the video in an update that provides "a more complete transcript of Obama's relevant statement." But Sheppard refused to explicitly tell his readers that the video is misleading.

UPDATE: In an August 4 post, Sheppard touted the misleading video again, refusing to admit that it's misleading, even though the "more complete transcript" he again adds clearly contradicts the video's claim that Obama wants to, in Sheppard's words, "eliminate private health insurance."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 4:37 PM EDT
More Anonymous Claims By Aaron Klein
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 31 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein claims that U.S.-trained Palestinian police forces "couldn't even secure a few stages at a music festival – marking the latest in a series of largely unreported, massive failures of the new elite police unit of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization." Klein cites the following as sources of information and quotes:

  • "One Fatah militant"
  • "An Israeli security source"
  • "witnesses"
  • "An Israeli security official"
  • "informed security sources"
  • "security officials"
  • "a security official"

Every source Klein cites is anonymous; there are no named sources in his article.

This is the latest in a trend of anonymously-sourced articles by Klein and others at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Corsi Tries, Fails to Discredit Obama's Hawaii Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As the purported Kenyan birth certificate it released increasingly appears to be a forgery -- heck, even "Ron Polarik" said so -- WorldNetDaily is still of two minds on the authenticity of the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign.

Even though WND declared it to be authentic a year ago, Jerome Corsi spends a August 2 WND article trying to discredit it.

Corsi begins by asserting that "the Hawaii Department of Health refused to authenticate either of the two versions of President Obama's short-form Certificate of Live Birth, or COLB, posted online – neither the image produced by the Obama campaign nor the images released by FactCheck.org." But he provides no evidence that this, in fact, occurred -- Corsi states that it came 'in response to a direct question from WND," but Corsi does not provide that "direct question" nor directly quote what any official said in response to it.

Corsi then attempts to discredit the certificate released by the Obama campaign by repeating old conspiracy theories, claiming it was "displaying no signs of having been folded or of carrying an official State of Hawaii embossed seal." He also claims of a date apparently stamped on the back of the certificate: "When magnified and reversed, the date 'JUN 8 2007' appears to be legible."

In fact, the "8" actually looks like a "6" -- which is indeed the date stamped on the back of the certificate presented by FactCheck.org. Yet Corsi concedes that this "suggests the FactCheck.org document could be the source of the image released earlier by the Obama campaign."

Corsi also falsely plays guilt-by-association with FactCheck.org, calling it "an organization funded by the same left-leaning Annenberg Foundation that also employed Barack Obama and former Weatherman radical bomber Bill Ayers." In fact, Obama and Ayers were not "employed" by the "Annenberg Foundation"; rather, they worked for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was funded in part by an Annenberg Foundation grant that was contingent on being matched by private donations and public money. Annenberg provided only one-third of the funding for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Other than having also received money from the Annenberg Foundation, FactCheck.org has no links to Obama, Ayers or the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. But Corsi doesn't want you to know that. Oh, andas we've previously noted, Walter Annenberg, whose money this is, was a Republican.

Corsi delves into irrelevant assertions, such as noting that "The printing on the document clearly appeared done by a laser printer, not by any printing device available in 1961," and that it "suggests the document was not generated by a 1961 computer." But nobody has ever claimed that it was a 1961-vintage certificate.

Corsi's pedantry does not disprove that this is a document issued by the state of Hawaii. Further, the way Corsi phrased his claim that Hawaii "refused to authenticate" the document raises questions about what exactly was asked and how exactly it was answered. Consider that yet another thing WND is hiding.

Further, curiously absent from Corsi's report is any acknowledgment of WND's original reporting that the certificate released by Obama's campaign is "authentic."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Monday, August 3, 2009
What Is Farah Afraid Of?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 3 WorldNetDaily article asserts that WND's Joseph Farah had been approached to appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" to "discuss eligibility questions surrounding Barack Obama," but the appearance was canceled "when the guest insisted on sticking to facts and conducting a civil discourse with no shouting."

Actually, that's not quite true. The article goes on to note that WND's publicist, Maria Sliwa, presented the show with "a short list of criteria for Farah's appearance." Those were:

  • Though a sober and civil discourse is always welcome, shouting is not;
  • No other guests on during the segment with Mr. Farah;
  • Discussion to be limited to the facts of the story;
  • Accurate, approved description of Mr. Farah and news organization he represents;
  • Screen ID chyron to be approved by Mr. Farah.

At no point does WND offer evidence that the first and third demands were specifically deal-breakers. It's more likely that Farah's other control-freak demands were problematic.

What guest gets to demand who they will and will not appear with? Who gets to demand an "approved description" of themselves and their organization? Who gets to pre-approve on-screen text? WND offers no evidence that these are normal preconditions for Farah's TV guest appearances, or that Farah has a history of demanding -- and receiving -- such preferential treatment.

More importantly: Why is Farah afraid to appear on TV with anyone who might hold a different viewpoint from him? Is he that insecure? Is he that obsessive about his image that no one is permitted to publicly contradict him to his face?

No wonder Farah tries to pretend ConWebWatch doesn't exist -- it seems he's deathly afraid we'll get inside his little fact-free birther bubble and be confronted with the truth.

UPDATE: It appears that demand No. 2 was the sticking point. O'Reilly's birther segment featured -- presumably in place of Farah -- Christopher Ruddy of Newsmax, which has gone birther of late. Ruddy was joined by conservative radio host (and fellow birther) Mike Gallagher.

Why was Farah so afraid to appear with either of these guys, especially given that they agree with him?


Posted by Terry K. at 5:04 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 9:06 PM EDT
WND Shoots First, Asks Questions Later
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's not often you see someone who claims to be a journalist delcaring himself to be proud to report something he has no idea is true. But that's what WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is doing.

From an August 3 press release touting its publication of the purported Kenyan birth certificate of Barack Obama:

WorldNetDaily.com is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity.

"We've had less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity," explains Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of the first news agency to publish the document. "Our goal, as always, is to seek the truth. This is not our document. It is evidence that has presented in a high-profile court case. And, thus, I believe we had a journalistic responsibility to publish it - just as I think every other news organization does."

Um, isn't that kind of backwards? Shouldn't Farah and WND have determined the document's validity before publishing it? Indeed, we're pretty sure that's what "every other news organization does." Last time we checked, publishing something that you can't prove is true is not compatible with "journalistic responsibility."

But WND is not "every other news organization" that is concerned about "journalistic responsibility." As we've documented, the truth doesn't matter to WND when there's an opportunity to smear Obama.

Further, Farah's claim of having the "less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" does not comport with what he and WND have stated about the issue.

Farah stated in a tweet posted at 4:25 p.m. on July 31: "Trust me for now: More coming next week on Birth-gate. You will be stunned. No more will anyone say there's 'no evidence.'" That's presumably a reference to the "Kenyan birth certificate."

WND's original article on the purported certificate was published at 11:55 a.m. on August 2. That means WND had nearly two days to "consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" before publication.

That would have also provided WND two days to consider publishing something it has no idea is factual. But as noted above, WND doesn't consider the truth when attacking Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EDT
WND Ignores Strategy of Disrupting Town Hall Meetings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 1 WorldNetDaily article reported that "incumbent Democrats ... are being forced to suspend meetings with their constituents, screaming protesters are being dragged out of events by police and officials are being greeted by protest signs and chants," touting it as a "rebellion" at the "grass roots."

Ignored by WND is the fact that the disruptions appear to be part of a coordinated strategy, even though that information was reported before WND's article was published.

As Think Progress has detailed, lobbyist-run anti-health care reform groups have issued strategy memos to tell people how to infiltrate Congress members' town hall meetings by being disruptive and preventing intelligent debate in order to artifically inflate opposition to reform.

These are the same kind of "confrontational political tactics" WND's writers denounced when they were associated with the likes of Saul Alinsky. Yet somehow they're acceptable when right-wingers use them. Funny, that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EDT
Gladnick Hates Obama So Much He Loves Volvos
Topic: NewsBusters

How much do right-wingers hate President Obama? They're willing to embrace Volvos.

An August 2 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick decries how "a well running Volvo engine was destroyed as part of the Cash for Clunkers program." That's right: Gladnick supports a vehicle driven by people he hates -- you know, tree-hugging, latte-sipping, Volvo-driving liberal elitists -- in order to spite Obama.

But then, Gladnick is in full Obama Derangement Syndrome mode. He's making the argument that a cash-for-clunkers program is a failure because "has run out of money and the government computers for handling these transactions are all down." Funny, we thought that a progrem so successful that it has quickly run out of money and crashed the website that runs it is the opposite of failure.

Oh, and Gladnick also believes that anonymous commenters on YouTube, even foreign ones, are a source of wisdom -- at least, when they're criticizing Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EDT
WND Posts Dubious Kenyan Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 2 WorldNetDaily article reports that "California attorney Orly Taitz, who has filed a number of lawsuits demanding proof of Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president, has released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth and has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court for its authentication."

WND is curiously stingy on details. As such, this purported certificate is shrouded in more mystery than the official Hawaii birth certificate that WND can't decide is a forgery (despite declaring it to be authentic).

According to the article, "Taitz told WND that the document came from an anonymous source who doesn't want his name known because 'he's afraid for his life.'" This is the latest instance of many in which WND has allowed a critic of Obama to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, despite WND editor Joseph Farah's historic criticism of such anonymity. And WND's record of lies about Obama in general and the birth certificate in particular disqualify it from any credibility in asking its readers for trust.

As we've noted, WND has collaborated with Taitz in the past and refused to tell its readers about Taitz's dubious legal history. Did WND obtain the certificate by whatever means and is laundering it through Taitz? Who knows? We certainly can't trust WND to tell the full truth.

But there's another problem with this certificate. It states that it was issued by the "Republic of Kenya" on Feb. 17, 1964. As others have pointed out, Kenya was not a republic in February 1964; granted independence in December 1963, it was not declared a republic until December 1964.

Also, the Mombasa hospital in question has stated that it checked its records for the day Obama was born and found no record of him.

Further, as Media Matters notes: In order to believe Taitz and WND, one would have to assume that this document was requested 45 years ago -- two and a half years after Obama's birth -- preserved that entire time, withheld through the entire election and transition period, and yet somehow ended up in the hands of someone sympathetic to Orly Taitz.

These are authenticity issues WND does not address. Will it be as secretive about this purported certificate as it is other aspects of its Obama birth certificate coverage?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 AM EDT
Suddenly, WND Loves Andrew Sullivan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is not used to touting Andrew Sullivan.

For instance, a June 6 column by Star Parker makes sure to label Sullivan as a "homosexual journalist and activist," then attacks him for supporting the idea that "children in America's public schools will be properly educated to see all forms of sexual behavior as acceptable." Kevin McCullough labeled Sullivan as a "homosexual blogger." Judith Reisman denounced Sullivan as a "homosexual advocate."

But when Sullivan's views dovetail with WND's, the latter is unashamed to promote it. In May, WND's Bob Unruh touted how Sullivan, "supporter of the homosexual lifestyle choice," criticized hate-crimes laws.

Now, WND is promoting Sullivan again, in an August 2 article noting that Sullivan "joined the rising chorus of voices across the political spectrum calling for Barack Obama to release his original, long-form birth certificate to put aside growing doubts about his eligibility for the presidency."

A couple things are missing from the article, however. While it describes Sullivan as "One of the most influential bloggers, pundits and columnists in America," it curiously fails to mention that he's gay.

WND also curiously fails to mention another birth certificate Sullivan wants to see released -- that of Trig Palin. Despite as many questions raised about the parentage of Trig, Sarah Palin has long refused to release Trig's birth certificate. Indeed, a search of WND's archives shows that it has never reported on those questions.

Hundreds of stories on Obama's birth certificate, none on Trig's. Double standard much, WND?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 11:18 PM EDT
Sunday, August 2, 2009
CNS Columnist Baselessly Defends McCaughey
Topic: CNSNews.com

In her July 30 CNSNews.com column, Judie Brown writes of anti-health care reform activist Betsy McCaughey:

What is perhaps most interesting about Dr. McCaughey, who earned her doctorate in constitutional history, is that those who favor Obama’s health-care reform are vilifying her right and left. Though we know that this is the way advocates of death and human disrespect operate, it is nevertheless disturbing. She has been called a liar, a spinner of tall tales and other terms of endearment, but the information she is providing is readily available from unbiased sources, such as the text of the health-care “reform” bill itself. 

Brown ignores the fact that McCaughey is being called a liar and a spinner of tall tales because that's what she is. As we've detailed, McCaughey has claimed that senior citizens will beforced to undergo mandatory "end of life" counseling when, in fact, such counseling is voluntary. PolitiFact called the claim a "Pants on Fire" falsehood.

Brown's touting of McCaughey's academic credentials doesn't change the fact that McCaughey has lied.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 AM EDT
Farah's Latest Birther Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his July 30 WorldNetDaily column:

To listen to the propaganda press, you would believe that certification of live birth settles the matter of where Obama was born. "He's got a birth certificate!" they exclaim. "It's right here. You can see it on the Internet."

However, that document proves nothing about where Obama was born. Nothing! Neither do any of the statements offered by Hawaiian officials who claim to have inspected his birth documents. Nor do the newspaper ads published in 1961.

Why? Because you could easily secure one of these documents for a foreign birth. One parent could simply fill out a form, saying the birth took place in Hawaii, and the certification was issued – no questions asked.

That's right -- in Farah's topsy-turvy world, all the evidence proving where Obama was born doesn't prove where Obama was born. He doesn't want you to think there's any evidence proving Obama's Hawaiian birth -- after all, he's got bumper stickers and videos he wants to sell you, and he loses money if word gets out that he's a liar.

Further, WND has offered no evidence whatsoever that anyone ever has gotten a state-issued birth certificate claiming someone was born in Hawaii when they weren't. Even the Farah-founded Western Journalism doesn't believe that.

Farah goes on to assert:

I offer up cold, hard facts – undeniable truths. I don't tell you Obama was born in Kenya.

That's a lie. Farah and WND have repeatedly -- and falsely -- claimed that Obama's grandmother said Obama was born in Kenya. That's just one of the many lies Farah and WND have told about Obama's birth -- and about Obama in general.

Simply put: Farah has lied about Obama so much, he wouldn't know a "cold, hard fact" if it slapped him upside the head.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT

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