Getting High On His Own Supply
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah demonstrates the peril of relying on WorldNetDaily for news.
By Terry Krepel
The movie "Scarface" warned us about becoming addicted to what you're trying to sell -- it's rule number two in being a drug kingpin.
It works that way in journalism, too. Case in point: Joseph Farah, editor and CEO (kingpin, if you will) of WorldNetDaily. The content of some of his recent weekday columns seems to indicate that his creation is the only place he gets his news. And given the overall slant and distortion that WND has to offer, that's a very bad thing.
Farah's news delusion is getting worse. Take, for example, Farah's August 12 column on Sandy Berger, the former national security adviser who is accused of taking classified documents from the National Archives.
"Since the blockbuster revelation about Berger stuffing the documents in his pants and jacket perhaps even his socks, according to one news service there has been nary a new development," Farah writes.
Actually, there has -- namely, that Berger has been cleared of withholding material from the 9/11 Commission and that no original materials are missing. A pretty significant development, right? But Farah has no clue about this development because WND never reported it. And Farah should also know that the thing about Berger stuffing documents into his pants and socks -- which WND did report -- has no substantiation beyond rumors.
There was another related development about a prominent official who, unlike Berger, actually did leak classified information related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a federal investigation. The perpetrator was, however, a Republican congressman, Richard Shelby. WND did no original reporting on this, either.
"How can America pretend to be taking national security seriously while tolerating this kind of breach?" Farah asks in his column. Perhaps he needs to ask Richard Shelby that question.
Farah's real obsession, though, is John Kerry, whom by all indications he hates with a passion bordering on the obsessive. And it is here that he has sunk the furthest into delusions brought on by what passes for "news" at WND.
This is a guy who, in the recent past, has called Kerry "a privileged rich boy," "traitorous," "rotten to the core," and, of course, "truly dangerous ... truly contemptuous ... truly egomaniacal ... truly without character ... truly transparent as a political huckster and charlatan." He has called Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, "mentally unbalanced," adding: "Let me make this simple: This woman is nuts. She's certifiable."
Farah wants you to believe, as he suggests in his Aug. 16 column, that Kerry has not made his military records public. But a quick perusal of Kerry's campaign site shows that, by golly, there they are -- his official naval records, his after-action combat reports, and his division's command history.
Farah's Aug. 18 column demonstrates even further that as far as all things Kerry are concerned -- specifically, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- telling the truth is to be avoided at all costs.
The column ostensibly goes after Annenberg's FactCheck.org for saying things about the Swift Boat Veterans that Farah didn't want to hear, and Farah responds with half-truths and outright lies.
Take, for example, the undisputed fact that the biggest donor to the Swift Boat Veterans group is, as FactCheck.org put it, "the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas." Farah objects: "By citing the political persuasion of a key funding source for the ads, clearly the report is setting out to cast aspersions on the accuracy and truth of the 60-second commercial itself."
Farah, however, has used that very same tactic in the past. Back in 1998, he wrote a column in which he pointed out that "a major Democratic Party donor is one of the principal backers" of Salon.com, which he linked to Salon being "well-known for supporting -- or at least excusing -- virtually anything the Clinton administration does." And in 2001, another Farah column notes that a Saudi prince owns a chunk of AOL Time Warner and other media companies: "Here's a guy who wants influence and has demonstrated his desire to use it. How will that influence be manifested in western media holdings?" Now that the spotlight has been turned on an enterprise Farah wholeheartedly supports, where the money comes from is irrelevant.
Farah then whacks FactCheck.org for not citing "any specific refutation of the facts by any Kerry crewmen" -- followed by Farah's own assertions for which not only does he not offer any evidence for, the available evidence repudiates.
"Nowhere in the report, of course, does it point out that the point man in the group, the chief spokesman, the author of the No. 1 best-selling book in the nation, "Unfit for Command," John O'Neill, is a long-time Democrat," Farah writes. That's because he's not. O'Neill said so himself -- he described himself in one TV interview as "not a Republican or Democrat."
But it looks like O'Neill's not telling the truth, either. He is on record as donating more than $14,000 to federal candidates and campaigns -- all Republicans.
Farah writes that FactCheck.org's statement that "None of those in the attack ad by the swiftboat group actually served on Kerry's boat" is "perhaps the single most deceptive claim in the report and the one that betrays the agenda behind it. It suggests strongly that none of Kerry's crewmen support the ad. Some do. Some don't."
Again, Farah's massaging facts to make Kerry look bad, making the kind of deceptive claim he deplored a mere sentence before. Ten of the 11 surviving crew members of the swift boats Kerry commanded back Kerry -- a little different count than "some." Of what Farah calls "250 Vietnam vets who knew him best in his glorious war months," only one of them ever served under Kerry's command, and some, like O'Neill, never served with Kerry at all.
And even as Farah excoriates FactCheck.org for having an agenda, Farah has an agenda that he betrays -- clearly reflected in WND's "news" coverage -- when he describes "a 35-year record of lies, deceit, dishonesty, deception and fraud perpetrated by the man who desires to become the next president of the United States."
To this already bulging, steaming pile of lies, spin and deception, Farah uses the final paragraph of his column to throw on one more: "And, oh, by the way: I'm not a Republican. I don't support Bush. I didn't vote for him in 2000 and I am on record as not supporting his re-election."
The words are factually accurate -- it's almost a standard disclaimer for him. But, to paraphrase a certain political party's talking points about a certain candidate, there's what Farah says, and then there's what Farah does. For proof, we can do a simple story count of comparative issues:
That's Farah's biggest delusion of all. He can pretend all he wants that he doesn't support Bush (maybe one or two of his readers will even believe him), but his use of WorldNetDaily as a distribution vehicle for anything and everything negative about Kerry and the almost total lack of similar scrutiny of Bush -- his name's at the top of the masthead, so the direction must be coming from him -- has no other goal, implicit or otherwise, than to drive voters away from Kerry and increasing the potential for a Bush victory. Farah is a Bush supporter, even if he won't say the words.
That is Joseph Farah's world of delusion, in his mind and what he inflicts on his readers. If he starts asking us to say hello to his little friend, watch out.