Two months ago, WorldNetDaily reported that Barack Obama's birth certificate is "authentic." Now, WND is pretending it never said that.
By Terry Krepel
How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? It's disowning its own reporting in order to hurl new attacks at him.
As ConWebWatch detailed, during the summer, WND was repeating allegations from the far-right website Israel Insider that a birth certificate for Obama posted on Obama's "Fight the Smears" website was "fraudulent." Then, surprisingly, an Aug. 23 WND article by Drew Zahn reported:
A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.
Zahn further reported that, as a result, a lawsuit filed against the Obama campaign by Philip J. Berg, an attorney and Hillary Clinton supporter, claiming that Obama is a non-citizen of the U.S. and thus ineligible to run for president "relies on discredited claims."
The question that remained to be answered was whether Zahn's article would settle the question once and for all. Would WND respond to future claims alleging birth certificate fakery by citing its own investigation, or would it uncritically report those claims as if it had never debunked them?
WND has chosen the latter.
This was hinted at when WND staff writer Jerome Corsi, while plugging his factually challenged book "The Obama Nation" on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show in September, asserted that the idea that Obama's birth certificate is faked has "some credibility to it."
At no point did Zahn mention that WND is among those organizations stating that "Obama has produced a certified Hawaiian birth certificate" -- even more stunning given that Zahn wrote the article containing WND's debunking.
Thus, with the phenomenon of a reporter essentially denying the existence of his own previous reporting for partisan purposes, WND's descent into (further) dishonesty accelerates.
This was followed by an Oct. 16 article by Chelsea Schilling reporting on "a second lawsuit challenging Barack Obama's 'natural born' citizenship." Again, no mention of WND's debunking of the original Berg lawsuit. Another Zahn article uncritically repeated more claims by Berg.
Meanwhile, WND staff writer Jerome Corsi -- fresh off a trip to Kenya, returning to peddle fake documents smearing Obama by trying to link him to Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga -- was "dispatched to Hawaii to uncover the truth of the senator's place of birth." An Oct. 26 article by Corsi trumpeted an anonymous, unsubstantiated claim that the state of Hawaii "has placed the candidate's birth certificate under seal, and instructed the state's Department of Health to make sure no one in the press obtains access to the original document under any circumstances."
WND's columnists contributed to the dishonesty as well, adding their own conspiratorial twist. From Hal Lindsey's Oct. 17 column:
Besides, FactCheck.org says it examined the Obama birth certificate and claims it is genuine.
Craige McMillan similarly wrote in an Oct. 23 column:
As for factcheck.org and it's assurances that the short form "certification" of birth is real, that organization is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Obama's former sugar daddy, the Annenberg Foundation. Come to think of it, isn't the Annenberg Foundation the same organization that unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers used to "spread the wealth around"?
McMillan went on to smear Obama supporters as "inbred East Coast fools."
In fact, Walter Annenberg, the source of the funding behind FactCheck.org and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge on which both Ayers and Obama served, was a prominent Republican supporter.
While the blame for this situation falls entirely on WND as a whole -- after all, the website for much of 2008 has been little more than an Obama hate machine, so it's no real surprise it would accuse Obama of something it previously cleared him of -- special attention must be paid to Drew Zahn, who reported the original debunking that he how pretends doesn't exist.
Either Zahn is so stupid he can't remember what he originally wrote about the Berg lawsuit, or he is so dishonest that he would lie to his readers about his own employer demonstrating that Berg's lawsuit had no merit. He may be doing the latter at the direction of WND's upper management -- that is, editor Joseph Farah and managing editor David Kupelian -- but that then raises the question of Zahn's journalistic ethics even more. What kind of a journalist would willingly acquiesce to such blatant dishonesty?
Zahn has peddled some of those misleading and false Obama attacks as well:
According to Zahn's personal website, he "considers himself a 'casual professional,' meaning one who adheres to professional standards of honesty and integrity, but who also maintains approachable, flexible, and personable relationships with clients and coworkers." Unfortunately, his standard of professionalism appears to have become a little too casual, completely jettisoning the "professional standards of honesty and integrity" he professes to have as a "passionate evangelical Christian."
If he has any of that "honesty and integrity" left, Zahn must make some choices. He can publicly renounce his original debunking of the birth certificate, or he can affirm it and renounce his reporting on it since then that contradicts the original article. He can continue to sell his soul to the forces of journalistic dishonesty and malice and further destroy his reputation as a "Christian editor," or he can take what dignity he has left and leave his employment at WorldNetDaily.