Joseph Farah's Pack of Lies
If the founder and editor of WorldNetDaily thinks he can get away with peddling falsehoods, why should anyone trust the rest of his website?
By Terry Krepel
What does it say about the credibility of a "news" organization when its leader has been caught in lie after lie?
That's the situation WorldNetDaily finds itself. Its founder and editor, Joseph Farah, has been using his weekday column to push lie after lie about President Obama and his administration. These are not particularly clever lies; they are boldly stated and easily debunked by anyone who knows how to do a basic Google search.
Farah's June 14 column purported to offer "38 reasons why Obama should not be re-elected," a list he claimed is "a work of collaboration by me and some friends of mine some of whom feared retribution for speaking so plainly." But as could be expected from the editor of a website with a lengthy history of peddling falsehoods about Obama, Farah's column is filled with lies and misleading claims. For instance:
WHEN he refused to disclose who donated money to his election campaign, as other candidates had done, people said it didn’t matter.
In fact, while the Federal Election Commission found that the 2008 Obama campaign failed to disclose a small fraction of its contributions, Farah offers no evidence the Obama "refused to disclose" contributions in a manner that violated federal law.
WHEN he said he favors sex education in kindergarten, including homosexual indoctrination, people said it didn’t matter.
In fact, Obama said he favors age-appropriate sex education, which for kindergartners means teaching them about "inappropriate touching." Farah's reference to "homosexual indoctrination" presumably means teaching something other than that gays are evil and deserve eternal damnation -- in other words, that they're human.
WHEN his personal background was either scrubbed or hidden and nothing could be found about him, people said it didn’t matter.
Farah offers no evidence to back up this claim, which is contradicted by the fact that his own reporter, Jerome Corsi, wrote a factually challenged book on Obama's personal background during the 2008 campaign.
WHEN the place of his birth was called into question, and he refused to produce a birth certificate, people said it didn’t matter.
WHEN he appointed a science czar, John Holdren, who believes in forced abortions, mass sterilizations and seizing babies from teen mothers, people said it didn’t matter.
In fact, Holdren doesn't support "forced abortions" and doesn't support "mass sterilizations." The part about "seizing babies from teen mothers" is taken from an alarmist WND article; the section in question discusses possible ways to encourage "responsible parenting" and discourage "illegitimate childbearing" -- which is something we thought WND wants to encourage as well. Regardless, there's no evidence Holdren "believes" in that either, beyond throwing it out as a suggestion.
WHEN he appointed Cass Sunstein as regulatory czar, who believes in “explicit consent,” harvesting human organs without family consent and allowing animals to be represented in court, while banning all hunting, people said it didn’t matter.
The claim about "harvesting human organs without family consent" refers to Sunstein's idea that one should opt out, rather than opt in, of organ donation, which he argues would "save many lives while also preserving freedom." And far from "banning all hunting," Sunstein has said that "I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense."
WHEN Anita Dunn, White House communications director, said Mao Zedong was her favorite philosopher and the person she turned to most for inspiration, people said it didn’t matter.
Farah is deliberately taking Dunn out of context. Dunn actually said that Mao, along with Mother Teresa, were "two of my favorite political philosophers ... that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices."
WHEN he traveled around the world criticizing America and never once talking of her greatness, people said it didn’t matter.
In fact, Obama has never gone on an apology tour. Further, Farah's claim that Obama "never once talk[ed] of [America's] greatness" is destroyed by what Obama said in one of his supposed "apology" speeches, in Cairo: "The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words -- within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum -- 'Out of many, one.'"
In fact, Obama did not take away student loans from the banks -- they can still make private student loans. Obama's policy -- which was approved by Congress and not mandated by fiat, as Farah suggests -- removes banks from the federal student loan program, from which banks made significant profits.
Farah lies to sell flag pins
This column served as the start of Farah's newly aggressive campaign of lies against Obama. He lied again in his July 27 column:
During his 2008 campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama took off an American flag pin he had been wearing on his lapel.
First: Obama did not "make a show" of removing it during the 2008 campaign -- a reporter noticed he wasn't wearing one and asked him about it.
Second: Obama never said he was trying to "change political fashion" -- that line came from an anchor in the TV news report Farah links to in order to back up his claim, not from Obama.
Why, it's a flag pin. Unless Farah can prove that this photo was taken before the above-referenced incident, this means Farah's own website has proven him a liar.
So why is Farah engaged in peddling these easily discredited lies? Because he wants you to send him some money:
One great way to remind ourselves and others how important it is to ensure Obama doesn’t get another four years in office is to start wearing the same symbol he disdained in 2008 and ever since.
In other words, Farah is lying in order to sell some flag pins. How shameless and utterly craven.
At the end of his July 31 column, in which he accused Obama of having "mocked" the Bible -- in fact, Obama simply pointed out the undisputed fact that people interpret it differently and that in an exclusively Christian society it would be difficult to agree on "whose Christianity" to teach -- Farah asserts, "No one has seen Obama attend a church service or attend a Bible study since he got to the White House."
Again, Farah is simply lying through his teeth. Here's Obama going to church in January 2010.
And September 2010.
And December 2011.
And January 2012.
And March 2012.
And April 2012.
In short: The vast majority of the American public has seen Obama go to church. The fact that Farah missed this tells us all we need to know about WND's newsgathering capabilities. Or it just makes Farah a sloppy liar.
Farah even lies about himself
Despite getting caught telling such sloppy lies, Farah continued to do it. In his Aug. 8 column, Farah repeated his falsehood from two months earlier that Anita Dunn "fawn[s] over the greatest mass murderer in history, Mao Zedong. (She calls him one of her two 'favorite political philosophers.')"
Farah's mendacity is so ingrained and pervasive that he'll even lie about himself. Farah started his Aug. 30 column with a falsehood: that the Southern Poverty Law Center "inspir[ed] a shooting attack on the Family Research Council in Washington." In fact, nobody -- not even the FRC's Tony Perkins -- has provided any evidence whatsoever to prove that.
The rest of Farah's column is devoted to whining about a new SPLC piece on WND, which Farah claims "mixes misinformation, innuendo and outright lies to paint a picture of an extremist organization rather than what it admits is one of the most popular news organizations on the Internet." Farah then tried to rebut some of the article's alleged falsehoods, telling new lies in the process. For instance:
One of my board members is credited with joining me in an effort to revive the Sacramento Union, the daily newspaper I once ran, in 2004. Neither one of us was involved in any such effort.
The SPLC cites ConWebWatch for this claim, apparently taken from a 2007 article citing a Sacramento Business Journal article stating that "WorldNetDaily.com execs and contributors Richard Botkin and Farah" are on the advisory board if the Union revival.
In other words, Farah is lying through his teeth. Again.
Farah also complains:
SPLC attempts to link me with R.J. Rushdoony, whom it identifies as the “father of Christian Reconstructionism.” Yet, reconstructionists, including the late Rushdoony, all know or knew I do not subscribe to their theological views.
Farah seems to be trying to split hairs here. He doesn't explain what "theological views" of Rushdoony he does not "subscribe to," but it's clear that Farah moves in reconstructionist circles -- the two were both (and Farah may still be) members of the secretive right-wing group the Council for National Policy, and WND board member Wayne Johnson is also on the board of the Rushdoony-founded Chalcedon Foundation. And as ConWebWatch has documented, Farah does hold some reconstructionist views, like opposition to public education and the death penalty for moral crimes such as adultery.
The article contends an organization I founded, Western Journalism Center, “was hit with a $2 million libel suit for promoting a ‘report’ suggesting that White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster had been the victim of foul play, rather than suicide. (The suit was later dismissed.)” No such lawsuit was ever filed though the Bill Clinton White House did, in fact, order a highly publicized Internal Revenue Service audit of WJC as a result of the investigation.
The SPLC's wording on this is imprecise, which Farah is trying to take advantage of. The specific allegation appears to be that a WJC-published article by Christopher Ruddy claimed that the Park Police had staged the scene of Foster's death, which resulted in a lawsuit by one of the Park Police officers named in Ruddy's article. That is sourced to Dan Moldea's book "A Washington Tragedy: How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited A Political Firestorm."Farah denounced Moldea's book in a 1998 column as a "journalistic con job" and, even worse, boring -- but he did not challenge Moldea's depiction of the lawsuit.
SPLC claims I was “scheduled to be a featured guest at a 2007 conference run by Vision Forum Ministries, an ultraconservative outfit whose director Doug Phillips is the son of Constitution Party co-founder Howard Phillips.” I have never been invited to speak at such an event!
The Vision Forum Ministries page on the conference (which appears to have been canceled) would seem to prove him wrong.
Farah also writes:
SPLC makes the completely unfounded accusation that “WND shilled for a publication titled ‘The Antichrist Identity’ that claimed President Obama is a crypto-Communist ‘apostle’ of the ‘New World Order’ who is setting up the planet for a takeover by ‘Jewish Masonic’ elites who will reduce the population by 5.5 billion and ‘enslave all of mankind under the thumb of a Jewish master race led by a world messiah of Jewish ancestry who is to rule from Jerusalem.’” This is a complete fabrication made up out of whole cloth.
The SPLC points out that the publishers of "The Antichrist Identity" rented WND's mailing list to promote it, so it's not entirely untrue to call that "shilling." Besides, WND is no stranger to portraying Obama is the Antichrist, so it's unlikely that they saw the book as so extreme they should not accept money to rent out its mailing list to promote it.
Farah also repeats his disingenuous claim that WND has a wide variety of opinion because it published a couple of token liberals:
Yes, there are “ultra-conservative” views expressed at WND. But, of course, SPLC neglects to mention there are also ultra-liberal views expressed at WND in what is the broadest spectrum of political opinion to be found anywhere in the world.
In fact, of the three dozen or so columnists WND regularly publishes, Press and Ratner are the only liberals, apparently kept around only so Farah can claim that WND has "the broadest spectrum of political opinion to be found anywhere in the world." They're never promoted the way the "ultra-conservative" columnists are -- of which there are many more -- usually buried at the bottom of the commentary page while all the conservatives and right-wingers get better placement.
That presumably gives WND license to publish Pat Buchanan, known for his racially charged work, and to engage in a race-baiting campaign by publishing Colin Flaherty's articles depicting blacks as mob-prone thugs.
After all these disingenuous lies and misrepresentations, Farah still claims that "SPLC is a dangerous, repulsive group of liars and frauds with only two things in mind making money through direct-mail scare tactics and recklessly putting targets on the backs of 'enemies,' like me, whom it demonizes with false accusations and misrepresentations."
Farah, it seems, truly does lack a conscience. If he is so amoral as to tell lie after lie to his readers, why should anyone trust anything else WND has to say?
Lies spread across WND
Indeed, Farah's disregard for facts is spilling over into the rest of his organization.
An Aug. 24 article by Bob Unruh carried the headline, "Is your smartphone donating to Obama's campaign?" The implication, of course, is that Obama is stealing money from you through your smartphone -- a shocking allegation if it were in any way true.
Needless to say, it's not -- and not even Unruh accused Obama of theft. Rather, it's about potential scams perpetrated by gaining access to personal information stored in smartphones. Unruh's only mention of Obama doesn't come until the 17th paragraph of his article, and it's limited to noting that "Barack Obama’s campaign already uses a campaign app to identify registered Democrats by first name, last initial and age."
How did WND's headline writer take that minor mention and concoct the idea that Obama was stealing money from smartphone users? Maybe Obama should file a libel lawsuit against WND so we can all find out.
An Aug. 30 WND article by Aaron Klein on a court blocking a new voter ID law in Texas carries the head line "Texas voter ID ruling based on 'faked' data." As with the previous article, not even Klein argues that "faked" data was cited in the case.
Rather, Klein spends his article attacking the Brennan Center for Justice, who he claims "was heavily instrumental in opposing the voter ID law in Texas, including providing key data to the Justice Department and to the organizations behind the lawsuit against the law." Klein asserts that the Brennan Center is a "radical group that has a history of biased research," but at no point does Klein address the quality of the data allegedly used in the Texas case, let alone claim that it was "faked."
Instead, as part of documenting the Brennan Center's alleged "history of questionable research," Klein rehashes a decade-old attack in which the right-wing Weekly Standard claimed that the Brennan Center "deliberately faked" in support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.
Klein didn't mention, however, that the Weekly Standard's Brennan-bashing has been dismissed as a partisan attack. The Brookings Institution's Thomas Mann wrote:
Sound familiar? Harsh and unsubstantiated personal attacks from seemingly independent voices. Highly selective and contentious bits of information packaged to conjure up a vast conspiracy. Amazing strategic and rhetorical consistency in the nominally uncoordinated campaign to discredit a very inconvenient body of research. And confidence that the media will lend the charges credibility, if only by framing stories in the familiar "he said, she said" crossfire.
Of course, WND isn't terribly interested in fairness or telling the truth. Or even following established journalistic standards.
Given this record of perfidy, anything that WND publishes should be viewed skeptically at best and should probably be ignored completely.