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Your Lyin' Eyes

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Joseph Farah still wants you to believe that WorldNetDaily isn't conservative.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/20/2004

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has become Groucho Marx, only not as (intentionally) funny, through his repeated assertions that WND is not a "conservative" news site.

He takes offense yet again in a Sept. 17 column following an appearance on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," in which Farah corrected Scarborough after the host called WND "conservative."

"That correction has prompted a deluge of derisive letters," Farah writes. "Typically, these writers say they decided to visit WorldNetDaily for the first time after hearing me on the MSNBC show and decided based on their casual, cursory visit that the site is conservative."

Gee, can't imagine why. Could it be WND's continual haranguing of John Kerry and the near-complete lack of similar scrutiny of George W. Bush? Its kneejerk defense of conservatives, even imprisoned ones? The overwhelming conservative slant of the "news" stories it posts and its list of columnists? Its use of a White House "correspondent" who is little more than a partisan conservative shill?

Farah refuses to acknowledge that those "derisive" writers have a point. He offers no evidence that WND isn't conservative other than to recite WND's mission statement, with lofty, inspirational terms such as "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" and "uncompromising disseminator of news." Farah presumably believes that answers all questions because the statement doesn't use the word "conservative."

"Yet, WND has been faithful to that mission," Farah writes, which doesn't answer the question of how an "uncompromising disseminator of news" can be so obviously biased.

He then compares said mission statement to that of media watchdog group Media Matters for America, which countered Farah's assertion by noting (as ConWebWatch did) a Sept. 7 WND story trumpeting its latest rankings, including that of top conservative news site (full disclosure: I am an employee of Media Matters for America, but it has no involvement in ConWebWatch), and declares WND's mission more noble.

Farah concludes: "Why is it a big deal to me that I might be misidentified as a 'conservative'? Because it's not accurate. Because it's not true. And, at WorldNetDaily, we actually value accuracy and truth."

Really? Then how does Farah explain WND's reporting on, for example, Teresa Heinz Kerry's charitable contributions? It's not truthful or accurate to refer to "Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Center," as Farah has repeatedly done. Nor is it truthful or accurate to insist that Heinz donations to the Tides Center has been earmarked for a laundry list of "radical, anti-American groups," as WND has also insisted. No correction has been forthcoming from WND or Farah. Wouldn't a news organization that values accuracy and truth admit its mistake and correct the record?

Earlier this year, WND ran four stories on infidelity rumors about John Kerry, none of which involved truth or accuracy; they were lifted straight from the Drudge Report, also not known for truth and accuracy. Since Farah has declared that WND values "accuracy and truth," will WND retract those stories and publicly apologize?

Other things a news organization that values accuracy and truth would do that WND hasn't:

  • Detail the inconsistencies in the accounts of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to the extent WND has attacked the controversial memos promoted by CBS regarding George W. Bush's National Guard service.
  • Covered Bush's National Guard to the extent of its coverage of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. WND has written well over 60 Swift Boat-related news stories compared to a tiny fraction of that about Bush's military service, about which similar questions of truthfulness have arisen (as ConWebWatch has noted).
  • Tell its readers of its interest in the subjects it covers (much like I did above); mentions in WND stories of people like, for instance, Jesse Lee Peterson usually fail to mention that he is a member of WND's speakers bureau and WND has published a book he wrote.

Yet the strongest evidence contradicting Farah's words came the same day his column appeared, on WND's own news page. The lead story that morning was a Kerry-bashing story parroting Republican talking points that Kerry is a flip-flopper. The second-highest story that day was the criticism by the Bush campaign of a new TV ad. And above the nameplate all day was a promotion-disguised-as-a-news-story of a conspiratorial anti-Clinton documentary by Jack Cashill, best known for writing a seven-part series for WND trying to prove that James Kopp didn't kill an doctor who performs abortions (and for being rather silent a few months later when Kopp pleaded guilty to shooting him).

And the lead story on WND the evening of Sept. 17 was an article by Art Moore uncritically describing the latest ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Farah doesn't want us to believe our own eyes. We know better. Which brings to mind another Groucho quote that hints at would it might take for Farah to see past his own spin:

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.

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