Inventing The News
WorldNetDaily works behind the scenes to feed its birther obsession by creating affidavits and whispering in Donald Trump's ear -- which WND writes about without disclosing its role in creating them.
By Terry Krepel
News organizations are supposed to report the news, not create it -- but creating the news is exactly what WorldNetDaily is doing. WND is working behind the scenes to create stories designed to advance its Obama birth certificate obsession, which it then writes about on its website without informing its readers about those hidden machinations.
An April 6 WND article by Joe Kovacs highlighted the latest claim by Tim Adams, the former Hawaii elections clerk whose background of hanging out with racists Kovacs has repeatedly whitewashed. This time, Adams claimed that "the president and his aides have been 'caught fibbing' about Obama's background, and the 'embarrassing' situation is making it difficult to fess up to the truth." As he has before, Kovacs is covering up for Adams.
Kovacs wrote that Adams made his claim "in a two-hour interview with a group looking to disprove claims made by so-called birthers." But Kovacs failed to mention the most significant claim Adams made during that same interview -- that people connected with WND created an affidavit Adams signed in January.
RC: Well, you, you were certainly able to say what, what you wanted to say. Now, now you, you did mention, I believe, and we'll get to your, the affidavit that you filed. First, I think we're able to move on to that. You filed, you filed an affidavit that appeared in WorldNetDaily. First of all, was, was this sworn under, under oath to any officer of the court? Under penalty of perjury?
When WND's Jerome Corsi reported on the affidavit in a Jan. 24 WND article, he made no mention of the crucial fact that his employer provided the affidavit to Adams.
Besides, Adams' affidavit is nothing but hearsay. At no point in the two-page affidavit does Adams relate any firsthand knowledge regarding Obama's birth certificate; he referenced only what he was told by unnamed "senior officers in the City and County of Honolulu Elections Division." Further, it was presumably beyond the scope of his job as a temporary "senior elections clerk" for four months in 2008 to be searching for Obama's birth certificate, since Obama was not a registered voter in Hawaii in 2008 (he cast his ballot in Illinois).
As he has repeatedly before, Kovacs ignored the charges of racism against Adams, starting with the fact that Adams first made his claim about Obama's birth certificate on the radio show of self-described "pro-White" host James Edwards, who was broadcasting from the 2010 National Conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a descendent of the openly racist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that the Anti-Defamation League describes as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology.
But Adams has said more racially charged things that WND has never mentioned -- for instance, repeatedly referring to Hawaii as a "ghetto paradise" on his MySpace blog.
This and other statements -- such as calling the hateful Westboro Baptist Church a "blessing" and sarcastically describing Obama as a "chosen messiah" who "is gettin whipped like a Hebrew slave child by a white woman from Alaska" -- were covered during the radio interview Kovacs cited, but he mentioned none of it in his article.
As Kovacs was whitewashing Adams, Donald Trump was gaining attention to his presidential prospects by going full birther, an idea WND heartily embraced:
Trump's birtherism sounds as if it was ripped out of the pages of WND. Indeed, Trump is making the same exact dubious claims WND has.
For instance, Trump has claimed that Obama has “spent over $2 million in legal fees to keep this [birther issue] quiet and to keep this silent.” Salon’s Justin Elliott reported that WND has repeatedly made this claim, but the only evidence WND has offered to back it up is that the Obama campaign paid that approximate amount in fees to the law firm Perkins Coie; at no point does WND prove that all of that money went toward birther lawsuits. WND is assuming that all of that money went to fighting birther lawsuits; in fact, Democratic National Committee national press secretary Hari Sevugan has stated that the money spent by the Obama campaign on post-election legal fees are " ordinary legal expenses related to the wind-down of its operations and other legal services which all campaigns incur and which are proportional to the unprecedented size of this campaign."
In a brief telephone interview with PolitiFact, Corsi said he has spoken to Trump and that the statement about Obama's grandmother was, in fact, based on her taped conversation with McRae. Corsi pointed us toward an article he wrote for the conservative WorldNetDaily, in which he says that he spoke to two unnamed Kenyans familiar with Sarah Obama's dialect, and that they claimed she was clear in saying that she witnessed Obama's birth in Kenya. Futhermore, Corsi said they told him it appeared her later efforts to recant appeared to be heavily coached by those around her.
(In a letter to PolitiFact, McRae stood by his claim that the grandmother said that Obama was born in Kenya. He also wrote that “I have copies of Barack Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate” and that “I do not consider him president, would not give any allegiance to him or demonstrate any regard for him or any document he signs, until he is man enough to step forward and prove his grandmother a liar.”)
Trump's birther script is close enough to WND's that it raises the question of coordination between the two. And, unsurprisingly, that is exactly what's happening.
Politico's Ben Smith reported on April 14:
My colleague Kendra Marr reports that WorldNetDaily's birth certificate aficionado Joseph Farah has been on the phone with Donald Trump every day this week.
Strangely, Farah has seen fit to promote the grandmother claim when it suits him. Huffily responding in an April 18 column to Media Matters' debunking of several of WND's birther claims, Farah insisted that "Sarah Hussein Obama does indeed seem to suggest he was" born in Kenya, adding that "it is of some interest given the highly unlikely scenario that the grandmother traveled to Hawaii to witness the birth of a grandson to an American woman, when her financially struggling son, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., had already produced offspring with a Kenyan wife."
Needless to say, Farah has not seen fit to disclose his collaboration with Trump to his WND readers, even as he and his employees eagerly promote Trump's birtherism, even in his April 12 column in which he declared he was "eternally grateful" to Trump for "doing God's work."
No doubt Farah is also eternally grateful to Trump for giving him the opportunity to make more money by peddling more birther tchotchkes to his readers.
UPDATE 4/23/11: The pattern continues. On April 20, the Drudge Report posted an article claiming that Jerome Corsi's "high stakes publishing project" -- better known as his Obama-bashing birther book, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" -- went to press, quoting "a source close to the publisher"calling the book "utterly devastating."
WND immediately followed up with an article touting Drudge's promotion of the book, even repeating the anonymous quote that came from "a source close to the publisher." This was followed by an article claiming that Corsi's book has "skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot among all books on Amazon.com" in the wake of Drudge's promotion, again referencing the "source close to the publisher" quote.
And who is this leaky publisher of Corsi's book? WorldNetDaily.
WND's enthusiastic embrace of Drudge's article strongly suggests that the leak of information about Corsi's book to Drudge was not just approved by WND officials -- including editor and CEO Joseph Farah -- but is part of the marketing strategy for the book.
To sum up: WND is reporting on a story that it, by all appearances, leaked.
(Parts of this article originally appeared at Media Matters.)