Update: This Story Really Bites
CNSNews.com's "exclusive" report details a frivolous lawsuit against someone it despises. Plus: Jerome Corsi apologizes again for his bigotry, another WorldNetDaily job opening, and more.
By Terry Krepel
You know the old journalistic adage that "dog bites man" isn't news? CNSNews.com is trying to prove it wrong.
An "exclusive" story trumpeted on its web site March 2 detailed a case in which a dog did indeed bite a man. Why does CNS think such a story has any news value whatsoever? The dog is owned by conservative piñata George Soros, described as "the billionaire liberal financier who spent more than $23 million of his own money trying to defeat President Bush last year."
Like the rest of the ConWeb, CNS has been quick to criticize Soros for his copious donations to liberal causes even though it, as part of the Media Research Center, has received close to a million dollars over the years from its own generous billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife -- who, unsurprisingly, has received no similar scrutiny for CNS.
The story, by managing editor David Thibault, details the $6 million lawsuit the victim's lawyer, Herman Kaufman, filed against Soros. Isn't $6 million for a dog bite one of those frivolous lawsuits that would be stopped under President Bush's tort reform proposal? The kind that represents what CNS quoted someone else in its Media Research Center office calling "a crisis that is crippling business and costing jobs" just a day earlier?
Kaufman later described the indignity he suffered by being forced to talk to a mere paralegal representing Soros. "To me it's an insult that I have to talk to a paralegal," he complained. "I mean I don't have any lack of respect for these people. [But] don't put a paralegal on the phone with me, because they haven't got the authority to do squat."
Thibault also relates that when Soros' insurer, as a response to Kaufman's $6 million suit, offered $5,000 to settle, Kaufman "later countered with $45,000, and then lowered his price again." Such a utter collapse in original lawsuit value vs. counteroffer is a clear indication of just how frivolous the lawsuit is, but Thibault lets it pass without comment.
CNS updated the story the next day but somehow failed to mention the $6 million figure of Kaufman's lawsuit.
No, the news here isn't that dog bites man -- it's that CNS found a frivolous lawsuit it refused to criticize.
WorldNetDaily has forwarded a more explicit explanation of -- and apology for -- Jerome Corsi's bigoted remarks.
Despite the fact that the allegation against Corsi became public last August, shortly after the release of the discredited anti-John Kerry tome "Unfit for Command," which he co-wrote (and WND heavily promoted), WND paid notice to the remarks only in late January, when Corsi -- whose new book, "Atomic Iran," is being published later this month by WND Books -- announced his intention to move to Massachusetts for challenge Kerry for his Senate seat. And even then, WND was extremely vague, saying that Corsi "apologized for comments he posted on FreeRepublic.com on various subjects." Corsi also compared himself to Shakespeare in that apology.
A Feb. 23 WND article by Art Moore on a threatened lawsuit against Corsi over his new book is apparently a bad-news dumping ground, since Moore also addresses the bigotry issue in much greater detail than WND did in January:
He acknowledges an issue likely to come up amid publicity for the book and his political aspirations is allegations made by opponents last year of bigotry against Catholics, the pope and Muslims, based on some of his posts to the Internet site FreeRepublic.com.
If this wasn't an issue, WorldNetDaily wouldn't be writing about it. Still unexplained by Corsi, however, is exactly how calling Catholic priests boy-buggerers, the Democratic Party "the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA," Hillary Clinton a "FAT HOG" and dropping references to "John F*ing Commie Kerry," "Mullah Ali'Gore-ah" and "Chubby Chelsea" qualifies as "satire" or who exactly he attempting to "satirize." His fellow Free Republic posters, perhaps?
* * *
WorldNetDaily is looking for a new company executive.
No, Joseph Farah isn't leaving; as the job description in a Feb. 28 article states, Farah "is looking to replicate himself with a strong executive to take charge of finances, administration and technology" to fill the position of vice president of operations. It's WND's second job opening posted this year.
Presumably, "replication" really means that somebody else has to do the boring stuff while Farah gets to do all the fun media appearances, like his radio show. Another Feb. 28 article trumpeted that his show "begins broadcasting today from new studios in Dallas built specifically for the growing talk program" by Farah's newly created syndicator, Golden Broadcasters. Despite those new Dallas studios, however, "Farah will continue broadcasting from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C." Doesn't that defeat the purpose of building a studio in Dallas?
As ConWebWatch has previously noted, Farah was dumped by his previous syndicator, Radio America, in favor of G. Gordon Liddy (who himself was dumped by Westwood One in favor of Joe Scarborough's new radio show). An "adviser and founding sponsor" to Farah's new network is Craig Smith, a precious-metals trader and occasional WND columnist and source.
The first desirable attribute, ahead of "solid business credentials" and "strong personnel management skills": the ideal candidate "will be in harmony with WorldNetDaily's unique journalistic mission."
So, if Farah's really going for full replication here, does that mean the ideal candidate must be willing to lie about his political opponents, too?
* * *
The Move America Forward anti-United Nations ad remains on WorldNetDaily's front page -- and Move America Forward officials quoted in more WND stories.
As ConWebWatch previously reported, the MAF ad -- at least, we think that's what it is; the graphic is located on WND's ad server -- appeared in mid-January, and the following two weeks brought four mentions of MAF in WND "news" stories.
February and early March have brought more MAF mentions in WND articles: on Feb. 14 and 15 regarding an anti-war display, Feb. 21 and Feb. 24 pieces exclusively to anti-U.N. allegations made by MAF; and another U.N.-bashing piece on March 1 that quotes MAF low in the story. All the U.N.-related articles include at the end a "Related special offer: Get the U.N. out of the U.S.!" linked to MAF's petition.
WND has yet to detail the business relationship between it and MAF, how it translates into WND's "news" coverage of MAF, and how this type of political promotion by WND meshes with federal laws regarding political advertising.
* * *
NewsMax is getting a little cheekier of late with its Associated Press headlines.
Because the supplier of NewsMax's wire copy tends to frown on extracurricular things being done to their stories (like, oh, slanting them), NewsMax has had to behave, expressing its bias only on the front-page link to the story, but even that had stopped of late.
A couple of recent stories seem to be breaking that mold of fairness. A March 3 AP story has the headline "Utah Denies Driver's Licenses for Illegals, Activists Outraged." The headline link from the NewsMax front page puts it a little differently: "Utah: No Licenses for Illegals! Activists: 'Waaaaah!'"
NewsMax didn't even bother with the pretense of fairness with the headline on a March 1 AP story: "Judge Rules Against Far-Left EMILY's List FEC Complaint." The article says nothing about EMILY's List being "far-left"; in fact, it says only that the group "supports women Democratic candidates who favor abortion rights."
* * *
Clueless commentary of the month: In joining the conservative dogpile on Colorado professor Ward Churchill for calling some 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns," NewsMax columnist Barry Farber states in a Feb. 14 column (posted Feb. 12) that "Professor Churchill cheap-shot his way into prominence" by "[s]aying something outrageous to get attention," adding: "Getting yourself on every talk show in the English language by calling the 9/11 victims 'little Eichmanns' is nothing but a deliberate wardrobe malfunction of the mind."
Churchill made the statement back in 2001, and it wasn't until the conservative outrage machine stumbled across it more than three years later that Churchill became a TV talking head to defend himself. The world at large would never have heard of Churchill were it not for people like Farber.