In an Aug. 4 Newsmax column, Pamela Geller goes deep into birther territory, rehashing discredited and irrelevant conspiracies regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Geller spends a needlessly large amount of space on the case of Jay McKinnon, who in July 2008 posted what he claimed to be Obama's birth certificate on the Daily Kos website that, according to Geller, "even to the layman’s eye, it was obvious that the Kos COLB had been altered." Geller touted how the Israel Insider website broke the news that McKinnon "implicated himself in the production of palpably fake Hawaii birth certificate images."
Missing from Geller's account is McKinnon's side of the story. In an interview posted on Daily Kos, McKinnon said that he posted the fake certificate to serve as a magnet for conspiracy theorists (like Geller). McKinnon also discussed Israel Insider, a right-wing, anti-Obama blog with ties to WorldNetDaily's similarly right-wing, anti-Obama reporter Aaron Klein:
Opendna: Reuven Koret, publisher of Isreal Insider, has written that you admitted to forgery.
Jay McKinnon: Reuven Koret wrote me a number of emails before he published his article. Using a kind of Good Cop/Bad Cop style he alternatively offered to keep my statements off the record, and threatened to report me to DHS and CSIS and reveal my identity before an audience larger than DailyKos. When I asked for his questions, he sent me five which required that I both admit to a crime and suggested I implicate other innocent people (including Markos Moulitsas and unidentified members of the Obama Campaign staff) in a conspiracy. I regarded his overtures as a form of journalistic blackmail, in which I either told him what he wanted to hear or he would libel me on his website.
I informed him that I believed his article was based on libel and provided him with this statement: "I believe there is overwhelming evidence that Senator Obama is a natural born US Citizen, and I have no evidence to contradict that belief."
Evidently that wasn’t what he wanted to hear because a few days he published his article omitting that quote.
Opendna: What do you think of Reuven Koret?
Jay McKinnon: He appears to write under his own name and is skillful at his craft: smearing his ideological opponents. I would not call him a journalist, investigative or otherwise. An internet pundit, maybe. Probably just a blogger who thinks writing scurrilous things about Senator Obama is good for site traffic.
Geller then went on to claim that the birth certificate posted on Obama's campaign websiteis a "horrible forgery," according to the analysis of "Techdude."Geller summarized "Techdude's" credentials:
He is an active member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the American College of Forensic Examiners, the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, the International Information Systems Forensics Association — the list goes on.
He is also board certified as a forensic computer examiner, a certificated legal investigator, and a licensed private investigator. He has been performing computer based forensic investigations since 1993 (although back then it did not even have a formal name yet) and he has performed countless investigations since then.
Only, not so much. Not only has "Techdude's" analysis of the birth certificate been discredited, his credentials apparently have been as well.
Geller also references other baseless Obama conspiracies, such as "the passport on which he traveled to Pakistan in 1981." To her credit, though, she does dismiss the Kenyan birth certificate that WorldNetDaily desperately wants to believe is real as an "obvious forgery."
Geller then complains about the "veritable birth certificate circus" for distracting right-wingers and blames not ringleaders like herself for this situation but ... Obama:
Let’s not cloud the issue. Obama’s COLB was altered. He should produce the vault copy. Then the opposition can get on with the business of stopping his destruction of the economy and his weakening of American hegemony as he pursues his disastrous foreign policy.
Geller never seems to comprehend the possibility that the "circus" could easily end when circus clowns like herself choosing to stop telling lies.
Newsmax's Walsh Repeats Health Reform Falsehoods Topic: Newsmax
An August 4 Newsmax column by James Walsh repeats discredited falsehoods about health care reform.
Walsh writes that the reform bills "include provisions for mandatory 'end-of-life counseling' or 'advanced care planning consultation' for all seniors (defined as anyone 65 years of age or older) to be scheduled every five years." In fact, such consultation is not mandatory.
Walsh also claims that "The proposed legislation would require all hospitals, health clinics, and medical staff to provide for abortions." In fact, as the Washington Post reported, abortion is not explicitly mentioned in any of the major health-care bills under consideration in Congress; therefore, there cannot be an abortion mandate of the kind Walsh claims exists.
Walsh also engages in a host of smears of immigrants (for wanting an American lifestyle) and of Obama for purportedly favoring eugenics:
Immigrants, legal and illegal, need to realize that the U.S. lifestyle that attracted them may not survive in the new Obama America. Immigrants could find themselves in a totalitarian nation. Globalist Democrats see abortion as a population-control measure, and leftist “progressives” ensconced in the Obama administration see it as a tool in social engineering, adopting the disgraced eugenics of the past.
WND Still Defending Keynan Birth Certificate Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the face of mounting evidence that the "Kenyan birth certificate" it published is a fraud, WorldNetDaily is placing much more effort on defending its authenticity.
While an Aug. 4 article notes the Washington Independent's detailing of how the document is apparently a altered version of an Australian birth certificate, WND quickly sets that aside, devoting more text to detail how a website linked to lawyer Orly Taitz "provided replies to the point-by-point criticisms."
Except that it didn't. That particular website's responses are largely unsupported or speculative, it does not address the Australian certificate, and it makes a previously discredited claim even more false by asserting that Obama's grandmother made a "sworn statement that she was present at Obama's birth in Kenya." As we've detailed, she did no such thing, let alone make a "sworn statement" to that effect.
WND curiously fails to obtain an updated response from Taitz regarding the certificate, or to report statements she has made in other venues. Salon.com reports that on her blog, Taitz asserted that the "Bomford report" -- the Australian birth certificate -- "was created to try to discredit my efforts." As the Washington Independent pointed out, "The Bomford birth certificate, not 'report,' was created in 1964 and posted online several years ago."
(WND also fails to alert its readers that, according to Salon, "both Google and Firefox identify Taitz's site as an attack site that contains malware.")
The article also repeats a previous claim that "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." But WND has yet to post any of those "birth certificates from Kenya" it claims to have obtained so that its readers may compare for themselves.
New Article: The Birther Factory Topic: WorldNetDaily
To WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, the Obama birth certificate is the new Vince Foster. Is Farah trying to keep the birther story alive so he can make money on it? Read more >>
Barack Obama hates white people – especially white men. Sorry folks, but the truth will set you free!
Barack Obama is Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus! He embodies the aspirations of every left-wing black group that wants to tear down this country and take power away from the "oppressive" white man. He's not an obvious race hustler like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but Obama is a smooth pathological liar – with a wicked heart.
Both Obama and his friend Henry Louis Gates are racist. Keep in mind also that Gates' attorney, Charles Ogletree, was Barack Obama's law professor at Harvard. We're dealing with liberal-elite, cunning black intellectuals.
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, August 4 WorldNetDaily column
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.
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.
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 longdocumented, 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.
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"?
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.
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."
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"
"An Israeli security official"
"informed security sources"
"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.
Corsi Tries, Fails to Discredit Obama's Hawaii Birth Certificate Topic: WorldNetDaily
As the purported Kenyan birth certificate it released increasinglyappears 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."
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 gonebirther 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?
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 truthdoesn'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.
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 writersdenounced when they were associated with the likes of Saul Alinsky. Yet somehow they're acceptable when right-wingers use them. Funny, that.