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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Corsi's Defense: Fake But Accurate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi peddles another dubious document in an Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily article, this time claiming that "when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama visited Kenya on a "fact-finding" trip in 2006, he was carrying out part of a secret election strategy that also included exploiting divisive tribal tensions and ultimately taking advantage of rioting that left 1,000 dead."

Corsi links to a "strategy document" and asserts that he "has confirmed the authenticity of the strategy memo." But the link Corsi provides to the memo goes to a page on a public message board called Network 54. The page -- an expanded version of a document he previously cited as evidence that Obama gave "nearly $1 million" to Raila Odinga -- is entirely in HTML, which means that it cannot possibly be an original document, which he claims was "reported to have been smuggled out of ODM offices by Christian former-ODM officials."

It is impossible to authenticate an HTML document that began life as a "smuggled" hard-copy piece of paper. Corsi offers no evidence that the HTML page is authentic, nor does he explain who posted it or why it was posted on a public bulletin board.

Further, given that the original version of the "strategy memo" Corsi posted is clearly a fake re-creation, he can't claim authenticity for that version either.

As in his previous Obama-Odinga articles, all sources are anonymous. Remember what Corsi's boss, Joseph Farah, has to say about anonymous sources: that they're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

Corsi does take a stab at refuting evidence that an email purportedly written by Obama -- contrary to Corsi's claim that it shows Obama "backed ruthless foreign thug" Odinga -- showed that, according to Politico's Ben Smith, it "appear[s] not to have been written by a native English speaker." Corsi asserts that "a second similar e-mail WND published ... should not occasion any linguistic quibbles."

In fact, it does. The text of the second email read, "Thanks for contacting me about Mr Lippert through email. Contact him through" The message is missing a period after "Mr" -- that missing period is standard British English -- and the email address lacks a "@" symbol. Further, as with his other documents, Corsi offers no evidence of the authentication he claims.

Corsi is essentially saying is that his documents are fake but accurate. Remember too that WND was on the side of the folks who who raised doubts about documents used by CBS to back up claims about President Bush's National Guard service. Indeed, an October 2007 article by WND columnist Craige McMillan declared that media outlets should adopt a consumer bill of rights, one suggested provision of which is, "'Fake but accurate' reporting has no place in our news room."

Apparently, it has a place in WorldNetDaily's newsroom.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:34 AM EDT

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