When oh when will Joseph Farah and Co. ever tell its readers the full truth about John Kerry and his wife?
By Terry Krepel
As the saying goes: In war, the first casualty is the truth.
Joseph Farah and his WorldNetDaily are at war against John Kerry’s presidential campaign -- and they have demonstrated a willingness to deceive and lie to its readers about it.
This call for battle comes from the top, starting with Farah’s own words. He has called Kerry "a privileged rich boy," "traitorous," "rotten to the core," and let's not forget "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."
As an opinion writer, Farah is free to state what he believes. But his attitude has not been confined to WND's commentary pages. It has spilled over into WND's "news" coverage, where it is clear that, like its Clinton reportage, it will run everything negative and nothing positive about the Kerrys, even if it has to make it up.
This started in February, when WND devoted four stories to rumors of an alleged Kerry affair when there was no shred of evidence beyond Drudge Report gossip to buoy it. We saw it in another February story accusing Kerry of helping a defense contractor who was later convicted of illegally donating to his campaign, which didn't report that the contractor in question also gave illegal contributions to four other congressmen, three of them Republicans.
It has continued in its coverage of donations to a non-profit group by the Heinz endowments, which Heinz Kerry controls. Farah has repeatedly lied, in news reports and in his weekday column, about the nature of the Heinz donations to the Tides Center. He has called the group "Teresa Heinz Kerry's nonprofit Tides Center," even though she is not on its board of directors.
He has told the lie -- even put it in a "news" story and made subscribers to his G2 Bulletin pay for it -- that "Teresa Heinz Kerry was behind the funding of radical causes including Act-Up, Islamist jihadists, anarchists who disrupted the Seattle World Trade Organization meeting and communist front groups" when not only there is no evidence that Heinz money has gone directly to those groups, the documented evidence is that Heinz money given to the Tides Center has been specifically earmarked for environmental projects in Pennsylvania.
WND has published the book "The Many Faces of John Kerry," written by David Bossie, a conservative partisan who is perhaps best known for being forced to resign as a congressional investigator after doctoring tapes of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell's prison conversations to delete exculpatory evidence.
Farah has said the following about Bossie's book: "If you know someone preparing to vote for John Kerry, you need to put this book in their hands as quickly as possible. This book has the potential to save the nation from disaster."
Back in 1998, when WND at least sort of pretended toward actual journalism, it ran a scathing criticism of Bossie detailing his anti-Clinton shenanigans in the 1990s including allegations of stalking a Whitewater witness and attempts to steal documents related to various Clinton scandals. Writer David Bresnahan states in his lead that sources on the committee Bossie served on wondered whether he "was either extremely incompetent or was intentionally trying to sabotage investigations."
How times change -- the man whom WorldNetDaily reported was considered "extremely incompetent" has written two books that WND’s book division has happily published: the Kerry tome and, unsurprisingly, yet another attack on Clinton.
That WND would align with such a man try looking for any mention of Bossie’s checkered past in any recent WND story -- is another indicator of the extremes to which it is going to attack Kerry.
Yet another indicator is its attempt to revive discredited allegations that Kerry re-enacted his war exploits on 8mm film while serving in Vietnam. A July 28 story, citing the Drudge Report as a source -- Drudge also promoted the Kerry-affair rumors that WND ran without question, so you’d think WND would know better by now -- quotes three people, all with Kerry-bashing credentials and two with books to plug, attacking the footage.
Nowhere is it stated in the unbylined story that any of the critics have actually seen the footage. Also nowhere to be seen is the report of someone who actually has seen the footage Bill Keller of the New York Times. He too ridiculed the movies until he watched them.
Keller called the Kerry footage "not self-aggrandizing. Mr. Kerry is hardly in the film, and never strikes so much as a heroic pose. These are the souvenirs of a 25-year-old guy sent to an exotic place on an otherworldly mission, who bought an 8-millimeter camera in the PX and shot a few hours of travelogue, most of it pretty boring if you didn't live through it." But reading the WND story, you wouldn't know that Kerry’s motives were anything but sinister and self-serving.
A WND story by Art Moore the next day makes a pinprick at balance, in that it mentions Keller's piece and notes that "Keller said he changed his mind about Kerry's motives for taking the film footage," but that's only a sentence fragment in paragraph 10 in a 23-paragraph story which continues: "but a former swift-boat crewmate who witnessed some of the future presidential nominee's filming insists it wasn't a normal thing to do." It’s also given less prominence that Keller's pre-viewing criticism appearing in the second paragraph -- that Kerry was "pulling out a movie camera after a shootout in the Mekong Delta and re-enacting the exploit, as if preening for campaign commercials to come."
And even then, basic journalistic fairness to Kerry is not what Moore has in mind by bringing in Keller; he only wants to extend the RNC-talking-point "flip-flop" meme by pulling a quote that Kerry said “I have no intention” of using the footage for campaign purposes.
WND's pattern of deception continues in the story of Teresa Heinz Kerry telling a journalist to "shove it." A WND story and a Farah column portrayed the journalist as a "reporter," though he actually was the editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and never told its readers, in that story or a follow-up story Aug. 2 regurgitating a column the editor wrote, who owns that paper -- Richard Mellon Scaife, from whom Farah accepted $330,000 while running a non-profit group in the 1990s whose only apparent function was to finance Clinton investigations. WND also never told its readers about the Tribune-Review's history of animosity toward and slanted reporting on Heinz Kerry and her husband, which would give some context on why she said what she did and put the lie to Farah's Teresa-is-nuts assertion.
ConWebWatch tries to watch its language, and calling someone a liar is strong stuff. But given Farah's and WorldNetDaily’s history of distortion, contradiction of established facts and suppression of opposing views about the Kerry campaign, "liar" seems to be the only appropriate word.