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WorldNetDaily's Shill Game, Part 2

Presenting advertising as news is just standard operating procedure as WND promotes Jerome Corsi's new book.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/21/2005

WorldNetDaily's publicity machine for columnist Jerome Corsi's new book, "Atomic Iran," is in full swing, and you know what that means -- lots of "news" stories that in reality are just plugs for the book.

Such appropriation of WND's editorial operation for advertising the output for its book division is standard operating procedure, as ConWebWatch has documented. Its release of Katherine Harris' book was accompanied by fawning coverage of Harris' race for Congress, and "news" stories accompanied a book by then-WND employee Paul Sperry even though it advanced a viewpoint critical of the Iraq war that WND would never have promoted otherwise. Given that Corsi's book is the inaugural title in the relaunch of WND Books with new partner Cumberland House, such ethically questionable promotion was a given.

Corsi did at least let on that such promotion was going to happen in connection to "Atomic Iran." He told the Los Angeles Times in December: "We'll devise a strategy to bring the manuscript to the media; we'll have websites to be developed. ... "I see a similar movement building to the one built around the Swift Boats. I think there's a similar large reservoir of sentiment among the nearly 900,000 Iranians living in America that a regime change in Iran is necessary to bring freedom to Iran." The article was summarized at WND and reproduced on the web site of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, for which Corsi is, conveniently, an adviser.

Since then, Corsi has often been quoted in WND stories related to Iran -- but Corsi's business relationship with WND is usually not disclosed in the story itself. For instance, a Feb. 5 story beating up on Sen. Joseph Biden for allegedly claiming that the world needed to address was Iran's "emotional needs" -- even though the term is a paraphrase used in a column by Boston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway, who offers no supporting evidence that Biden ever actually said those words -- Corsi is quoted but described only as "author of 'Unfit for Command' and 'Atomic Iran.'" It's not until after the end of the story, under a "special offer" heading, is it noted that WND Books is publishing "Atomic Iran."

A March 14 article, written by Art Moore, notes only that Corsi is the "author of a new book that charges American politicians are being bought by pro-Tehran lobbyists," and again, it's not until the "special offer" after the end of the story that notes that "WND Books is the publisher of 'Atomic Iran,'" adding that "WND readers who order now will receive some of the very first copies available!"

"Atomic Iran" is also part of a lobbying effort to overthrow the Iranian government. A March 18 WND story -- which, again, fails to note that "Atomic Iran" is a WND book until the "special offer" at the end of the story -- states that the book is part of the "information efforts" of a newly formed group called the Iran Freedom Foundation. But the IFF site points out that Corsi is a much more than that: the IFF web site describes Corsi as "principle founder [sic]" and "a primary spokesperson" and that the group "derives important documentation and direction" from the book. WND describes Corsi only as a "spokesman" for the group. So, it appears the IFF is little more than a marketing tool to sell Corsi's book, but don't expect WND to make that point clear (let alone its connection to Corsi) in the inevitable future stories that will reference the IFF.

In addition, WND serves up the usual promotional blather as "news." A March 17 story on a Department of Homeland Security report on "the possibility of a nuclear attack on a major U.S. metropolitan area" is spun as "support[ing] the contention of a new book by best-selling author Jerome Corsi." The article adds that "[i]n the book, Corsi details the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour horror of a nuclear explosion in the heart of Manhattan."

A threatened defamation lawsuit against Corsi related to the book is spun positively in a Feb. 23 story. However, it's not explained what exactly the difference is between the claim made by investment banker and Iranian-American activist Hassan Nemazee's claim that Corsi cast him "as an agent of the mullahs who control Iran" and Corsi's denial in claiming that Nemazee was "part of the pro-mullah lobby who worked with the Iranian-American Council, a group whose policy was to establish relations with the mullahs." Corsi has also heavily intimated that Nemazee, a major fund-raiser for John Kerry's presidential campaign, bribed Kerry to take a more positive stance toward Iran.

Despite all the attention WND has lavished on Corsi, it's only within the past couple months that WND has addressed Corsi's history of bigotry in the form of anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim remarks and statements of hateful contempt toward Democrats posted at the right-wing bulletin board Free Republic -- words WND was careful to ignore during the 2004 presidential campaign following the release of the anti-Kerry book that Corsi co-wrote, "Unfit for Command." WND's willful refusal to report the facts about Corsi was part of its heavily biased anti-Kerry reporting during the election season.

As ConWebWatch has previously noted, WND first addressed the remarks in late January, when it noted in an the vaguest terms possible that Corsi apologized for his comments on "various subjects." In February, Corsi offered a more detailed apology on "an issue likely to come up amid publicity for the book and his political aspirations," saying, "I apologize to anyone who took them as a direct expression of my beliefs." But if he was not making "a direct expression of my beliefs" when he called Islam "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion" or Muslims "ragheads" and "boy-bumpers" or making derogatory references to Kerry, Hillary "FAT HOG" Clinton and "Chubby" Chelsea Clinton, why express them at all?

And if we shouldn't have taken him seriously when he said those words, why should we take him seriously now -- or ever?

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