WorldNetDaily's Birther Bribery
WND's Jerome Corsi instigated Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio's "cold case posse" investigation of birther claims. Are Corsi and WND also trying to buy a favorable result by writing fawning articles about Arpaio and even erasing him from a story about a lawsuit against his department?
By Terry Krepel
On Aug. 17, 2011, WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi gave an hour-long-plus birther presentation to the Arizona group Surprise Tea Party. It's posted on YouTube.
Corsi rehashed his usual evidence that President Obama's birth certificate is a forgery and promoted his conspiracy that Donald Trump was secretly working for Obama, as Media Matters noted. He even pontificated about Obama's paternity: After an audience member asked Corsi if he was concerned that Obama looks "a lot like Malcolm X." Corsi responded that "there's no proof that he is Malcolm X's son," and he "always thought the father was Indonesian," because Obama's "characteristics are more Indonesian."
Despite Corsi's central role in peddling dubious and discredited birther claims, this presentation appears to have been what led to Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio launching an investigation into Obama's "eligibility" to be president.
Four days after his presentation, WND published an article by Corsi stating that "WND has received an advance copy of the letter the Surprise Tea Party in Surprise, Ariz., plans to deliver tomorrow to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his downtown Phoenix office, asking the lawman to investigate Barack Obama’s alleged proof of natural-born citizenship." The article includes pictures of Corsi posing with Surprise Tea Party members, but it's not until the final paragraph that Corsi notes that he gave a birther presentation to the group.
Corsi writes that the tea party's letter was accompanied by "a petition containing 242 signatures that were obtained at an evening meeting of the group last week," but he didn't note that this signature-gathering was apparently in conjunction with his presentation.
The petition worked: Corsi reported on Sept. 16 that Arpaio "has constituted a special law enforcement posse to investigate allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the birth certificate Barack Obama released to the public April 27 might be a forgery." Corsi followed up two days later with an interview with Arpaio, in which he claimed that "This investigation does not involve politics." Never mind, of course, that birtherism is completely driven by politics; as ConWebWatch detailed, all this birther stuff is nothing more than WND editor Joseph Farah running his Vincent Foster conspiracy playbook against Obama in an attempt to delegitimize his presidency.
Corsi was apparently the first to line up and testify; a Nov. 1 article stated that Corsi "spent 18 hours over a two-day period in Arizona briefing the Cold Case Posse on a wide range of evidence regarding Obama’s eligibility." The article added:
“The posse wants to see the entire microfilm roll containing Obama’s birth certificate, not just a microfilm copy of Obama’s long-form birth certificate in isolation,” Corsi explained. “An individual microfilm copy could be forged, but forging the entire microfilm reel on which Obama’s birth certificate is in sequence would be almost impossible.”
Curiously, neither Corsi nor WND has offered any evidence that anyone other than birther conspiracists like Corsi has testified before the posse. That suggests any result the posse returns will be skewed from a refusal to examine all of the evidence.
That, however, may be exactly what Corsi and WND wants -- and they're doing everything they can to ensure that result.
Corsi and WND's coverage of Arpaio and the investigation has been so fawning and biased that it appears to be an effort to guarantee that the probe generates a result favorable to Corsi and unfavorable to Obama -- in other words, a form of bribery. On top of that, Corsi is violating journalistic ethics by playing both sides of the fence -- writing about an investigation he not only instigated but participated in.
In a Nov. 15 article, Corsi dutifully regurgitated Arpaio's concern about "the major media’s virtual silence about his decision to investigate Barack Obama’s eligibility to run for re-election." Corsi also quotes Arpaio claiming that "now I have the Obama supporters sending me death threats," without offering any evidence to substantiate the claim. Corsi repeated the death-threat accusation in a Dec. 8 article, this time quoting one purported threat without offering anything to confirm its veracity.
When an effort began to remove the sheriff from office, Corsi made sure to do his best to discredit the effort and smear the person leading the campaign. On Jan. 3, Corsi asserted that the leader of the effort, Randy Parraz, is a "transplanted radical attorney-activist " who "has made his career applying Saul Alinsky-style community organizer tactics for radical leftist movements in the U.S. and Canada." The next day, Corsi claimed that Parraz "staged a poorly attended protest Wednesday morning at the sheriff’s downtown Phoenix office." On Jan. 9, Corsi stated that "A protest against Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer organized by transplanted attorney-activist Randy Parraz yielded exactly one protestor."
In a Jan. 16 column, Corsi did his best to paint Arpaio as the noble victim of a conspiracy against him led by none other than President Obama:
What is shaping up is an epic political battle in which the Obama White House has decided to launch a full-scale assault against local Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In other words, the timing of this investigation vis-a-vis the birther probe is largely a problem of Arpaio's making, not Holder's.
Corsi also tries to dismiss accusations that Arpaio's office botched hundreds of sex-crime investigations, calling it an "old story" and insisting that "the city of Phoenix has five times the uninvestigated sex crimes Sheriff Arpaio’s office supposedly mishandled." At no point, however, does Corsi address the substance of the charges or explain why it's relevant that other jurisdictions have more supposedly mishandled crimes that Arpaio's office.
Corsi again denounced an effort to remove Arpaio from office, once more attacking Parraz as having a "leftist Saul Alinsky background." And as before, Corsi didn't explain the relevance of such an accusation -- he clearly has no other purpose than to hurl an ad hominem attack at Parraz.
Corsi even falsely attacks the Hispanic group La Raza, for no apparent reason:
La Raza even today retains its founding political agenda that major portions of the American Southwest should be returned to Mexico and/or allowed to form a mystical nation of indigenous Indians and Latinos, called “Atzlan.”
In fact, La Raza explicitly rejects the idea of returning the southwestern U.S. to Mexico.
But Corsi still wasn't done painting Arpaio as a victim, or slobbering over him:
What the White House appears to hate is that Arpaio is an elected law enforcement officer who remains enormously popular in Maricopa County, precisely because he has the courage to stand up to their Saul Alinsky bullying tactics.
How can someone so in the tank for Arpaio, as Corsi is, be expected to report fairly and accurately about him? He can't.
Nevertheless, Corsi has continued to fluff Arpaio in WND "news" articles:
WND's Arpaio sycophancy is so extreme that it essentially rewrote history in obscuring the involvement of Arpaio's office in a lawsuit involving homeschoolers.
A Feb. 4 article by Bob Unruh detailed how "The Home School Legal Defense Association has filed a petition asking the justices to review the case of John and Tiffany Loudermilk," who they say gave in to a search of their home "after social workers used an anonymous tip to threaten to handcuff them and seize their five children, and then summoned deputies to do that."
As is Unruh's style, he lavishes attention on the Loudermilks' side of the story, completely ignoring the authorities side of the story. But aside from a references to the Loudermilks' "Maricopa County home," Unruh has hidden the fact that the Arpaio-led Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is one of the targets of the lawsuit, which is titled Loudermilk v. Arpaio.
Unruh writes: "Named as defendants are Deputies Joshua Ray, Joseph Sousa, Richard Gagnon and Michael Danner, social workers Rhonda Cash and Jenna Cramer, and Assistant Attorney General Julie Rhodes." But Arpaio is a defendant too. Why did Unruh leave him off that list, even though he listed Arpaio as a defendant in an April 2010 WND article on the case?
That blatant omission smacks of WND continuing to curry favor with Arpaio by whitewashing his misdeeds.
WND raises money for Arpaio
Meanwhile, WND has been engaging in a more direct form of bribery by raising money to help fund the posse investigation. A Dec. 26 column by Joseph Farah begs readers to donate to the fund, declaring it "probably America’s last chance to salvage the integrity of the Constitution for all time." Farah's column has been sent out at least eight times since the beginning of the year to WND's email subscribers as a solicitation to donate.
The email links to a page at WND's online store where you can donate to "fund independent investigations of Obama's eligibility," adding: "A portion of all contributions will go to support WND’s efforts, with another portion going to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse, set to issue its report in February 2012." WND has sent out at least three email solicitations promoting this fund since the beginning of the year.
Of course, WND investigations of Obama's eligibility are clearly politically motivated and anything but "independent," and there's little evidence that the Arpaio investigation has any independence either, given WND's enthusiasm for funding it. WND, notoriously secret about money, also provides no details on exactly what that funding split will be.
In short: WND has done its best to buy its preferred result from Arpaio and his "cold case posse." The only question is whether anyone can explain why that's not attempted bribery.