Nobody Believes WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah frets that his website is being ignored -- but WND has so beclowned itself with promoting birtherism and conspiracy theories that the American public has no choice but to dismiss what it reads there.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah has spent a lot of time recently fretting over why the things his website reports are ignored by the American public.
Farah spent his July 23 column bragging about how WND was "the news agency that actually broke the news about HSBC’s money-laundering schemes," based on Jerome Corsi's reporting.
Farah is, of course, lying. While Corsi's first WND article on HSBC was published on Feb. 1, other news agencies were covering the scandal before that. Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Jan. 25 that HSBC "will co-operate with a probe by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and said it supports efforts to combat money laundering." Marketwatch reported a similar story the same day. The Wall Street Journal reported on it on Jan. 27. British papers the Telegraph and the Independent also reported on the story before WND did.
Corsi's contribution to the story in his Feb. 1 article -- in which he acknowledged earlier reporting on the Senate probe of HSBC -- was detailing the claims of ex-HSBC employee John Cruz, who provided WND with "1,000 pages of evidence" of alleged HSBC wrongdoing. Corsi insisted that Cruz "came to WND ... before the committee’s investigation of HSBC was reported."
It's unclear, however, whether Cruz made any effort to cooperate with the Senate subcommittee investigating HSBC. You'd think that if Cruz was such a credible source, the Senate would be eager to talk to him, but the Senate's report on HSBC makes no mention of Cruz.
Farah went on to complain that "Corsi was fired by another investment firm for his investigative reports into HSBC." This raises questions Farah probably doesn't want answered in public, like: Why was Corsi so poorly compensated as a WND "senior staff writer" that he had to get a second job? Is Joseph Farah really that cheap? Further, much of Corsi's work during the time he also worked at the investment firm carried a disclaimer that "The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author are his alone and do not necessarily reflect Gilford Securities Incorporated's views, opinions, positions or strategies," so it wasn't like they were exactly proud to have Corsi in their employ.
Farah went on to declare that Corsi "was right about HSBC," adding:
Could it be these press outlets and government officials don’t want to mention Corsi’s role in the fall of HSBC because of his long-standing association with the Barack Obama identity story?
Farah seems to have learned the wrong lesson here. It's not just that Corsi has been an unrepentant birther, he's been a birther who has repeatedly and deliberately refused to acknowledge any evidence that conflicts with his increasingly discredited birther conspiracy theories -- thus making him an untrustworthy reporter. To this day, WND and Corsi have yet to report on John Woodman's birther-busting book or birther lawyer Phil Berg's claim that Obama is not using a fake Social Security number, among numerous other inconvenient facts.
Corsi's track record of dishonest reporting and reveling in the most disgusting sleaze about Obama -- none of which, by the way, has ever been substantiated with any on-the-record verification whatsoever -- means that intelligent people have no other choice than to look at anything he writes, birther or not, with a skeptical eye, if not moving straight on to pointing and laughing. Corsi has so discredited himself that literally nothing he reports can be taken at face value -- even when he's on the right track, as he was with the HSBC story.
Further demonstrating that he hasn't learned his lesson, Farah used an Oct. 10 column to fret that the media was ignoring another Corsi scoop -- this time from discredited anti-Obama filmmaker Joel Gilbert) -- that a ring President Obama wears contains the words "There is no god except Allah" in Arabic. Farah declared that "this is an important story maybe one of the biggest of the presidential election year," and that "the abject lack of curiosity by the media both establishment and alternative is, shall we say, somewhat stunning."
In fact, as ConWebWatch detailed, one of Corsi's birther pals, Mara Zebest, discredited Corsi by the use of high-resolution photos (as opposed to the blurry, blown-up images Corsi used) which clearly show no Arabic writing on Obama's ring.
Rather than issue a correction, Corsi instead doubled down -- then ignored the revelation that Zebest was the one who debunked him.
Corsi and WND are apparently incapable of the common journalistic decency of correcting the false claims they make or even to report honestly on criticism of what they report -- preferring instead to blithely and selectively ignore facts that run counter to their Obama-hating agenda, sticking to them even when they have been utterly discredited.
That's the kind of behavior that makes people not believe WND -- even the birthers that have made up the core of its audience the past few years. Strangely, Farah seems not to have made the connection.
Nevertheless, Farah was doing even more fretting over a non-Corsi story. He wrote in his Oct. 7 column:
Last Thursday, WND broke the stunning news that Barack Obama’s administration offered a secret election-eve deal to Iran that would result in reduced sanctions in exchange for a phony diplomatic coup designed to bolster his vote Nov. 6.
Of course, by his mere association with WND -- where he has been writing since July -- Kahlili (a pseudonym) can't be trusted. The source for his big supposed scoop comes from "a source affiliated with high Iranian officials ... who remains anonymous for security reasons." What does that mean? Why reason has he provided for readers to trust his anonymous sources, a common tactic used by WND writers (i.e. Aaron Klein) to forward smears against the website's enemies, like President Obama? Farah asserts that Kahlili's report has "credible sourcing," but where's the proof?
Further, Kahlili's fearmongering claims are treated with skepticism by actual Middle East analysts; the Washington Post noted that some observers "compared Kahlili with Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who helped convince the George W. Bush administration that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." Indeed, he's best known for his discredited claim that Iran was planning nuclear suicide bombings with "a thousand suitcase bombs spread around Europe and the U.S."
Unsatisfied that his whining got none of the media coverage he desired, Farah tried it again in his Oct. 11 column, hyperbolically insisting that Kahlili was reporting a " breathtaking story, based on impeccable Iranian sources, that Barack Obama sent an emissary to Qatar to meet with a representative of the ayatollah to offer a secret deal one that would help Obama win his re-election bid." Farah grumbled: "To say the least, this kind of reporting is expensive and risky. How did the rest of the media respond? With another collective yawn." Again, Farah provided no evidence that Kahlili or his sources could, or should, be trusted.
Farah then unsurprisingly slipped into conspiracy mode:
Could it be that important national security stories are taking a backseat to the fluff and celebrity gossip spewed out by the media on an hourly basis?
Again, Farah ignores the obvious: that WND has so beclowned and discredited itself with its near-pathological obsession with smearing President Obama with all manner of sleaze and untruths that nobody believes what's published there.
When the New York Times reported 11 days later that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, WND tried to take credit for it. But the Times' claim -- which the White House has denied -- is not what WND's Reza Kahlili claimed, which was that a full-fledged deal exists.
Of course, Farah devoted another column to promoting Kahlili's story, asserting that "The media are asleep at the switch on what could prove to be the biggest story of the presidential campaign" issuing his usual complaint that "Even alternative media and talk radio are largely ignoring the critical details of the breakthrough reporting by Reza Kahlili for WND." Again, no mention that there's a perfectly good reason people ignore Farah's website.
Then, WND gave us yet another reason to ignore the story.
An Oct. 23 article touted how "A former CIA analyst says a WND report that revealed Iranian sources confirming a deal between the Obama administration and a representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over that nation’s nuclear program means the issue could not be used to 'bludgeon' challenger Mitt Romney":
Larry Johnson, an ex-CIA analyst, said yesterday during an interview on the John Batchelor Show the revelation has pulled the rug from underneath any Obama campaign plans to take advantage of the situation.
If Larry Johnson's name sounds familiar, it should. He's best known for feverishly promoting the existence of what is infamously known as the "whitey tape" -- a supposed recording of Michelle Obama railing against "whitey." Just one problem: No such tape has ever surfaced. Johnson has peddled strange explanations about why the purported tape has never been released, always absolving himself.
We can presume that neither Batchelor nor Kahlili -- who was a guest along with Johnson on Batchelor's show -- asked Johnson about this alleged tape during his appearance. After all, that would have discredited Johnson and, by association, Kahlili -- and right-winger Batchelor was not about to do that.
Meanwhile, a follow-up article by Kahlili quoted more anonymous, unverifiable sources making related claims. Kahlili claimed that his "highly placed" source said that "after the WND revelation of the secret meeting, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was incensed." Kahlili added in yet another attempt to take credit for the Times' reporting: "The Iranian supreme leader demanded the Americans explain about the leak, which prompted the White House to leak a soft version of the story to the New York Times and deny the facts."
What facts? Kahlili has provided nothing that can be independently verified, and he has a history of making crackpot claims. WND has given its readers no reason whatsoever to trust anything Kahlili says.
Perhaps if Joseph Farah had insisted on Corsi, Kahlili, and his other reporters living up to standard journalistic practices instead of allowing them to act like pathological right-wing hacks, WND would have been taken more seriously. Instead, Farah has no one but himself to blame for the status of his website as the Weekly World News of the right-wing fringe.