WorldNetDaily's Whitewashed Poster Boys
The people WND is portraying as champions of its favorite causes have histories of abuse, racism, and more that it doesn't want you to know about.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily seems to have a knack for picking as poster boys for its right-wing agenda people whose unsavory backgrounds it must hide from readers in order not to tarnish the victim aura it creates around them. As ConWebWatch has already detailed:
Sadly, those are far from the only examples. Meet three more.
A June 10 WND article by Joe Kovacs touted "the stunning claim Barack Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha State." The claim was made by Tim Adams, "senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008." Kovacs added that "People started to pay attention this week after he was briefly interviewed by James Edwards, host of a weekly radio show on WLRM Radio in Memphis, Tenn.
Unmentioned by Kovacs: Edwards' radio show is called "The Political Cesspool," whose website states, "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White." Further, Adams made his claim to Edwards while he was broadcasting from the national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The CofCC is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a "white supremacist" "hate group," and by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology.
Perhaps WND didn't see that as being a problem -- after all, Jerome Corsi has appeared on Edwards' show before and was scheduled to again until abruptly canceling in the wake of the show's nature getting publicized.
After writing a follow-up article that again failed to mention Adams' racist ties, Kovacs pussyfooted around it in a June 20 article, noting that "Since WND's original report, Adams has come under fire from some critics online who suggested Adams may hold an anti-black philosophy and that his assertions were possibly racially motivated." Kovacs then not only portrayed Adams as not racist -- even though at no point does Adams directly address the issue during the interview -- he quoted Adams suggesting that others pursuing the eligibility question are racist:
Adams, though, said it's people still asking Obama to prove his eligibility who tend to have race-based sentiments against the commander in chief.
WND, of course, is the leading promoter of birtherism. Which means Adams is, in effect, calling WND racist.
Kovacs was more forceful in his defense of Adams in a June 28 article, portraying him as "the victim of a vicious smear campaign," which includes the allegation that he's a "racist." But Kovacs never addressed the core evidence to support that allegation.
Instead, he tried to go the diversion route, obsessing over Keith Olbermann's use of a plural in recounting Adams' racist ties instead of tackling the core issue:
"Oops! You're quoting white supremacists about a black president," Olbermann said. "Well done, WorldNetDaily!"
Kovacs' effort to divorce Adams from Edwards by claiming that Edwards' website didn't describe Adams as "pro-white" is as laughable as it is lame. AOf course, at no point in the article did Kovacs ask Adams to explain why he was at a CofCC convention (or even note that he was there in the first place) or why he chose to be interviewed by a "pro-white" radio host. He also noted that "if anyone is racist against blacks on this issue, Adams says it is those who suggest Obama is not eligible to hold office" -- but he doesn't ask Adams if he thinks the birther kings at WND are racist.
Kovacs parroted once again Adams' story that he was a "senior election clerk" who "had a secretary, private office, two assistants and about 50 temp workers" working under him, and that he had access to "numerous government databases" and "unfettered Internet access, something else the workers didn't possess," but he ignored anyone who contradicted Adams' story. Like Glen Takahashi, whom Kovacs cited as verifying that Adams was a senior elections clerk. Blogger Dave Weigel wrote:
I checked with Glen Takahashi, the administrator of the Honolulu City Clerk's office, and while he verified that Adams worked there, he explained gently making it clear he did not want to "call anyone a liar" -- that Adams never actually had access to information about Barack Obama.
That would seem to undermine Adams' story, but Kovacs doesn't want his readers to know about it. He notes that "Some of Adams' critics have derided him online as being just "a temp" at the elections office," but not that one of them is Adams' supervisor.
WND still considers Adams to be credible -- and is still hiding his past. A Jan. 24 article by Jerome Corsi touted an affidavit Adams signed "swearing he was told by his supervisors in Hawaii that no long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate existed for Barack Obama Jr. in Hawaii and that neither Queens Medical Center nor Kapi'olani Medical Center in Honolulu had any record of Obama having been born in their medical facilities."
Adams' affidavit is virtually meaningless because he is offering only hearsay evidence. Further, there's no evidence Obama was a registered voter in Hawaii in 2008 -- indeed, he cast his ballot in Illinois that year -- so Adams would have no access to such information. And of course, Corsi failed to acknowledge Adams' racist ties.
Adams is not the only birther activist whose background WND has had to whitewash. From an Oct. 28 WND article by Brian Fitzpatrick:
Filing a complaint about President Obama's eligibility has led retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Walter Fitzpatrick III into some very deep waters.
So Brian Fitzpatrick has essentially claimed that Walter Fitzpatrick was jailed for questioning Obama's "eligibility." Only that's not the case.
After a lot of conspiracy-mongering about purported "corruption in the county courts and sheriff's office," as exemplified by the claim that "state law places a two-year limit on the term of a grand jury foreman, but Monroe County grand jury foreman Gary Pettway has occupied the office for 27 years" -- really, that's the only actual alleged offense cited -- Brian Fitzpatrick finally hinted at the truth in the 18th paragraph of his article: "In April, Fitzpatrick attempted to execute a citizen's arrest of Pettway at the county courthouse, resulting in his own arrest for allegedly inciting a riot."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press told the story that WND wouldn't -- specifically, that the jailing of Walter Fitzpatrick had nothing at all to do with his birther tendencies:
Fitzpatrick is charged along with Darren W. Huff, 40, a former militia member from Dallas, Ga., accused of inciting a riot at the Monroe County Courthouse in April while coming to Fitzpatrick's defense after Fitzpatrick's intrusion on the closed grand jury session.
Ironically, Brian Fitzpatrick linked to this very same AP article -- but only for the purpose of repeating the claim by a local district attorney who "said in a previous court filing that rulings in such challenges of grand juror qualifications show there is 'no limit on the number of two-year terms for which a foreman may be reappointed.'" The rest of the article was completely ignored.
Also unmentioned by WND: Walter Fitzpatrick has a lengthy list of contacts with law enforcement, ranging from numerous instances of alleged domestic violence and harassment to restraining orders and various other judgments filed against him. Fitzpatrick was also court-martialed and convicted of failing to properly supervise the spending of his ship's "morale, welfare and recreation" money, effectively ending his Navy career.
Yet somehow, this is a man whom WorldNetDaily considers a sane and reasonable advocate for making the case against Barack Obama's "eligibility" to be president.
A Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick painted a sympathetic portrait of a radio station owner who, he says, is guilty of merely broadcasting "a commentary acknowledging the smudges on the character of Martin Luther King, Jr.":
Death threats. Character assassination. Public repudiation. Demands to quit the local school board. Infringement on his right to bear arms. A pressure campaign against his advertisers. All for daring to broadcast a commentary acknowledging the smudges on the character of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fitzpatrick is suggesting that Reese's media empire is more mighty than it actually is. KELS is a low-power radio station broadcasting at 100 watts, which has a broadcasting radius of around three miles. As for the Greeley Gazette, it appears to be little more than a self-published free publication available at a handful of locations around the city, with a related website.
Fitzpatrick wrote of the "smudges" on King's "character":
The controversial five-minute commentary raises a set of historically accurate but rarely acknowledged facts about King, including his repeated sexual infidelities and plagiarism. The commentary refers to King as an "America-hating communist," a charge that is disputed. It also describes King as a "sexual degenerate."
In fact, the entire commentary is derived from a "racist organization." As the Greeley Tribune reported, the commentary Reese read, called "The Beast As Saint," was pulled from a website using King's name that is actually operated by the neo-Nazi group Stormfront. It's disingenous for Fitzpatrick to assert that Reese "removed any mention of the website" from his commentary when the entire commentary is from that same website.
And as you might expect for a rant plucked from a racist website, the factual accuracy of Reese's commentary is somewhat less than "historically accurate." From a letter signed by several Greeley-area pastors:
As suggested, we did our own research and found the website he referenced is owned by Stormfront, the Internet’s largest forum for racists, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. Our research also showed that Dr. King’s doctoral thesis was heavily plagiarized and there are in fact conflicting accounts about his infidelity.
Fitzpatrick, of course, made no mention of the pastors' letter.
Fitzpatrick went on to quote one writer for Reese's newspaper fluffing his employer:
Greeley Gazette writer Jack Minor noted that Reese has been broadcasting the commentary for three years, but encountered no complaints until this year.
What's left out: the fact that Reese was so dumb as to run his commentary for three years without realizing it came from a racist neo-Nazi website. Fitzpatrick also doesn't question why any writer would want to work for an editor so clearly unable to do basic research.
While Fitzpatrick makes a big deal about the purported death threats, he also notes that "Reese declined to describe the threats in detail." Unmentioned: The Greeley police apparently have no record of any death threats against Reese.
It appears Fitzpatrick interviewed only Reese and his supporters for his article. There's no evidence he made any effort to contact any of his critics.
Oh, and one more thing Fitzpatrick didn't report: According to the Greeley Gazette, "In 2008, [Reese] pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography in a plea bargain. He served slightly less than two years in prison for the conviction."
Since Fitzpatrick's article was first published, Reese was stripped of his concealed-weapon permit and had a restraining order placed against him by the owner of another local radio station who claims Reese threatened a "shoot-out" over allegations of stealing advertisers. Fitzpatrick and WND have so far not seen fit to write a follow-up.