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Tuesday, February 5, 2008
WND Still Misleads on Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh about the libel lawsuit against it by Tennessee businessman Clark Jones repeats (without credit, of course) some of the news we first reported months ago, then goes downhill and self-serving from there.

Unruh notes that the lawsuit is scheduled for trial in March and concedes that the articles by Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays that drew the lawsuit were "researched and [written] under the sponsorship of the Center for Public Integrity" -- things we first reported last November, and which WND has never reported until now.

Unruh then turns the article into a self-serving exercise -- telling only WND's side of the story, painting WND as a First Amendment martyr and focusing narrowly on the side issue of identifying confidential sources when the main claim of Jones' lawsuit is libel. Indeed, Unruh recites the claims WND made against Jones -- that he was a "suspected drug dealer" who "reportedly intervened in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into narcotics trafficking" -- without even bothering to note, as it has previously, that Jones has denied the claim.

Further, Jones does not mention, as we detailed, the claims of shoddy journalism against Thompson and Hays -- that the reporters declined Jones' request to have a court reporter present during their interview and that Jones has submitted expert testimony that claimed the articles, in the words of one expert, "grossly violated the basic standards of care advocated by professional journalism organizations and practice in reputable newsrooms."

Unruh is equally uncurious about what he does report as well; he noted that WND "does not even know the identity of confidential sources used by the reporters" without offering an explanation why that is the case. Indeed, as we noted, court documents show that WND apparently did no fact-checking on Thompson and Hays' articles -- which makes it difficult for WND to claim the truth as a defense when it can't say with any certainty what the truth is.

This article would seem to demostrate that WND remains tolerant of the type of biased, shoddy reporting that resulted in Jones' lawsuit in the first place.

It's also worth noting that WND has never posted any legal documents on its website or any other evidence that would support claims made in its articles about the lawsuit. However, we have, so judge for yourself.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 3:12 PM EST

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