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Tuesday, March 10, 2009
WND vs. Snopes
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As editor Joseph Farah himself has demonstrated, WorldNetDaily's reaction to information they don't like is to attempt to discredit and destroy the source of that information.

A March 9 WND article by Drew Zahn attacking the credibility of the urban legend-debunking site and accusing it of a "political or social bias" follows that pattern. Why attack Snopes? It contradicts WND by declaring Barack Obama to be a natural-born American, and it called out Farah for making baselessly alarmist claims.

To counter Snopes on the birth certificate issue, Zahn uncritically quotes false and misleading claims by Orly Taitz, who has filed numerous lawsuits over the issue, claiming that "His paternal grandmother in Kenya and the ambassador of Kenya made statements that he was born in Kenya." In fact, the claim about Obama's grandmother is based on a conversation selectively edited to make it appear as if she made the claim, and WND itself has reported that Kenyan Ambassador Peter Ogego says he was misquoted on the issue and that he never said Obama was born in Kenya.

Zahn also uncritically repeats Taitz's baseless attack on, asserting that it "claim[ed] to have examined Obama's birth certificate and found it valid. Neither the state of Hawaii, nor Obama has ever released such birth certificate." In fact, FactCheck claimed to have examained the certificate of live birth released by the Obama campaign. Unsurprisingly, Zahn fails to note that WND itself delcared that certificate to be valid.

Zahn goes on to parrot Farah's 2007 attack on Snopes -- but since it's a one-sided account, Zahn doesn't bother to tell the full truth.

As we reported at the time, WND published an alarmist article by Farah on the purported hazards of compact flourescent light bulbs, focusing on the case of a woman who claimed she faced a $2,000 clean-up bill after a bulb broke. Farah failed to mention evidence that a four-figure cleanup of a broken CFL is overkill. Snopes cited Farah's article as an example of a fallacious claim. That got Farah's dander up, and he insisted that it was "ludicrous" for Snopes to claim he suggested that "An environmental clean-up crew needs to be called in to deal with the mercury dispersed by one broken CFL bulb" (despite Farah's enthusiastic promotion of the woman's alarmist claims to that effect) and that "Everything in the story is 100 percent accurate and truthful – and not a word of the original story has been altered" (ignoring the fact that he selectively quoted from the original article, thus introducing factual misrepresentation into his own by telling only one side of the story).

Zahn bizarrely reframes the issue, asserting that "Snopes was investigating claims that the Environmental Protection Agency was covering over safety concerns with compact fluorescent light bulbs" and that Snopes somehow erred by citing the EPA guidelines on how to dispose of a broken CFL. At no pointdid Farah then, or Zahn now, offer evidence to contradict those EPA guidelines.

Farah concluded that 2007 column by laughably asserting that, unlike Snopes and Wikipedia, WND has the "traits" of "honesty, integrity and standards." Zahn demonstrates yet again, through failing to fact-check those whose views he's promoting, that WND has none of those traits.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EDT

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