Jerome Corsi Hits Rock Bottom
Not only did the WorldNetDaily writer's anti-Clinton book flop, he had to abandon his pet issue of birtherism to save Donald Trump's campaign and he aligned himself with the sleaziest political operative in the country, Roger Stone.
By Terry Krepel
Let's review how he got here. In 2004, when his public profile was limited to vulgar insults on right-wing message boards, Corsi burst onto the scene by falsely distorting John Kerry's military record with a book co-written with John O'Neill, who just couldn't stop lying about the book's contents and his own background. However unreliable the book, it served its purpose by undermining Kerry's presidential bid, so WorldNetDaily hired him.
In 2008, Corsi -- with WND's full backing -- tried to make Democrat-bashing lightning strike twice with the falsehood-ridden smear book "The Obama Nation," which he promoted on white nationalist radio shows. He also became a birther and flew to Kenya for some purported investigative reporting, which resulted only with a run-in with authorities there and a handful of documents designed to smear Obama but were obviously fake.
Corsi spent the first few years of Barack Obama's presidency leading WND's birther brigade, which resulted in an appearance in a sloppily made WND-produced film on the subject and a campaign demanding Obama release his "long-form" birth certificate that built up to the release of another Corsi book, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Unfortunately for Corsi, Obama released his long-form certificate -- a month before the book's release date, in part because Donald Trump picked up the issue (with Corsi and WND editor Joseph Farah feeding him birther stories behind the scenes).
This first led to a doomed lawsuit against Esquire magazine for printing a parody article claiming that the book was being canceled because Farah came to his senses and admitted it was all a ruse (WND didn't see the humor in that) and, then, a new plan. Corsi decided that the long-form certificate was a fake because the PDF file of it contained unusual layers (which were, in fact, easily explained by the use of a typical office scanner), then played a key role in sleazing into existence a "cold case posse" to examine the "eligibility" issue under the auspices of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio -- then became a member of it. The results of the posse's initial investigation were announced with Corsi present, then immediately debunked; it was clear the posse was rigged and incompetent, and it ignored all evidence that ignored its predetermined conclusion that the birth certificate was fake.
Having been roundly embarrassed on the birther front, Corsi decided to crank up the sleaze. First, he promoted malicious, never-proven rumors that Obama is secretly gay; then, he teamed up with conspiratorial filmmaker Joel Gilbert to push his latest movie, which claimed that Obama's mother posed for nude photos. That too was swiftly discredited -- as were many other aspects of Gilbert's film -- but Corsi never saw fit to tell WND's readers that.
Despite this, Corsi still considered Gilbert a trustworthy source. So, the month before the election, Corsi pushed another Gilbert-sourced claim, that a ring Obama wears has Arabic writing on it. That was so ridiculous that even Corsi's fellow birthers felt compelled to discredit it.
Thus, Corsi ended the 2012 campaign a lot like right-wing Dick Morris did -- utterly discredited after having made a series of wild, false claims.
Corsi's failed anti-Clinton book
Which brings us to the 2016 campaign. Corsi warmed up for it by publishing a book pushing another wild conspiracy theory: that Adolf Hitler didn't commit suicide at the end of World War II but, rather, fled to South America.
WND made it clear that, just as it tried (and failed) to destroy Obama in the previous two election cycles, destroying Hillary would be the top obsession of its 2016 election coverage. In December 2015, WND announced the so-called "Hillary Clinton Investigative Justice Project" -- "with the express purpose of bringing the Clintons to justice" -- and that Corsi would be a key part of that, focusing on the Clinton Foundation, which Corsi called "a personal piggy bank" for the Clintons.
This effort would be built around the claims of Charles Ortel, whose attacks on the Clinton Foundation Corsi had been repeating since early 2015. Corsi presented him as a "Wall Street financial analyst and investor" who conducted an "in-depth investigation" into the Clinton Foundation, but whose most recent claims to fame were serving as a columnist for the right-wing Washington Times and making appearances on Sun News, the Canadian version of Fox News. (Ortel actually put his Sun News appearances on his LinkedIn profile.)
The fact that Ortel's main outlet for his claims is Corsi -- discredited and determined to attack the Clintons by any means necessary -- would seem to be a large mark against the veracity of those claims.
Nevertheless, Corsi turned Ortel's accusations into a WND-published book, "Partners in Crime." But a funny thing happened on the way to Corsi trying to make bank by manufacturing another political scandal: the book flopped.
In a year where right-wing anti-Clinton books regularly hit the New York Times bestseller list, Corsi's book was nowhere to be found there. Just a week after its August release, "Partners in Crime" was ranked a dismal 11,703rd at Amazon. ConWebWatch spot-checked its Amazon ranking throughout the fall:
That's a bad showing for a political book for which timing is everything. WND was undoubtedly counting on a better showing, and the book's failure will not help its precarious financial situation.
The fact that Corsi dedicated his book to a convicted felon probably didn't help either. The dedication is to right-wing activist Dinesh D'Souza, who was punished for committing election fraud; Corsi said in a WND video that "Barack Obama tried to imprison Dinesh D'Souza for a technical violation of the FEC laws" -- an offense that, "if a Democrat had done the offense, would have been overlooked with a minor hand slap and a fine" -- in order "to politically silence him." In fact, even though D'Souza pleaded guilty to the offense, the judge who sentenced him noted that he had taken no responsibility for his actions and also found no evidence to substantiate D'Souza's claim that he's a political prisoner, adding that "the defendant’s claim of selective prosecution, legally speaking, is 'all hat, no cattle.'"
The book tanked so badly that WND resorted to begging its readers to buy it in bulk to hand out to family and friends.
Alas, it seems that America has had enough of Corsi's shoddy, conspiracy-laden work.
Corsi and Stone, sleaze merchants
Of course, if Corsi's pseudo-reportage didn't do the trick, he could always fall back on mud-slinging.
Corsi formed an alliance with notoriously sleazy political dirty trickster -- and adviser to Donald Trump -- Roger Stone. In a September 2015 WND interview, Stone cited Corsi as one of the "many brave journalists who have documented and written the stunning facts about the Clintons." A month later, Corsi was touting the new book by Stone and co-author Robert Morrow, which alleged that "former President Bill Clinton is a serial rapist and that the former first lady and secretary of state has worked behind the scenes to silence the victims."
Needless to say, Corsi censored any mention of Stone's swinger lifestyle, in which he and his wife advertised for people to have sex with or Morrow's creepy sexual fantasies about Hillary. Like WND managing editor David Kupelian, Corsi too is throwing any self-proclaimed morality out the window in his lust to destroy the Clintons.
Corsi's obsession with Hillary's purportedly failing health was likely inspired and encouraged by Stone as well, since he also treads that ground. Corsi uncritically published other pronouncements by Stone as well, so he is clearly a trusted Corsi source despite his record of sleaze.
Corsi has done some deflection work for the Trump campaign, insisting that Hillary, not Trump, is the one with all the questionable ties to Russia. So much so, in fact, that he has written four articles on the subject. In the first article, he tried to whitewash one of the Trump campaign's most damning connections -- that former campaign manager Paul Manafort received millions as a lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine by insisting that "opponents have failed to document he ever received $12.7 million in approximately 22 previously undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party as supposedly documented by ''black ledger' entries revealed by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau."
Corsi also signed on to tout the story of Danney Williams, who was pushed by Clinton conspirators in the 1990s as Bill Clinton's illegitimate son and has now resurfaced with the help of not only Stone but the discredited Joel Gilbert.
Just one problem with that: a 1999 DNA test conducted by the Star tabloid found no genetic link between Clinton and Williams. Accuracy in Media promoted the results, first reported by the Drudge Report.
Ah, but Corsi has a response to that too. In a separate article, he hunted down the then-editor of the Star, who now insists that he saw no lab report from the 1999 test, despite him being quoted at the time as saying "There was no match, nothing even close," and that the Star never published a story about test. Corsi also claims that "the results made public came from the less reliable method known as a 'polymerase chain reaction' test, or PRC, that experts do not consider sufficiently robust to determine paternity."
The next day, Corsi served up the "bombshell": Williams' claim that he is "asking Monica Lewinsky for help in proving his parentage by providing DNA from the infamous blue dress." As befits an unethical reporter who's really colluding with his sources, Corsi does his best to sell Williams' case and doesn't bother to report what actually happened at this PR stunt of a press conference.
For that, we have to turn to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who pointed out that Williams was "looking to Gilbert for instruction" and "seems unclear on his motives." In other words, Williams is being manipulated and exploited by Gilbert (and, presumably, Stone as well) for an unspecified benefit for Williams for humiliating himself as Gilbert's puppet. Milbank also noted that Gilbert "was hired by Stone’s pro-Trump super PAC to design a “Super Trump” billboard for Times Square in September."
You lay down with dogs like Stone, you get sleaze.
One unintentionally hilarious side effect of Corsi's embrace of Trump and all things right-wing is that he has been forced to drop his signature issue of the past eight years: birtherism.
ConWebWatch has already noted how Corsi gingerly handled the question of Trump accusing Ted Cruz -- his first choice for president -- of not being an eligible by uncritically citing research into the issue he had criticized a few years earlier because it supported the case that Obama was eligible, then in an interview with Fox News' Alan Colmes tried to weasel out of having ignored Cruz's eligibility issues until Trump brought it up.
Then, in September, Trump -- whom Corsi had advised on birther issues years earlier -- tried to shut down discussion of his birtherism by flatly declaring that Obama was "born in the United States, period." Corsi couldn't change the subject fast enough.
Right Wing Watch reported that radio host Rusty Humphries asked Corsi about Trump's abandonment of birtherism, to which Corsi responded: "Rusty, you know, I really don’t even want to get into it anymore, and Donald Trump, he didn’t need my help to say what he wants to say, so let Donald on his own. I mean, I support Donald Trump, I’ve been writing about it and I’m much more interested in pursuing my book, 'Partners in Crime,' let Donald say whatever he wants to say. I’m not weighing in." Corsi huffily added, "I'm not getting into it. I'm done with the topic until Obama's out of office. You will find out the truth eventually." He defensively complained that the media only wanted to talk about "the birther" is when the issue hurts Trump, and "they can all go to you-know-where."
At this rate, you-know-where is the place that Corsi's long record of sleaze and lies will land him.