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Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Farah Misleads on Obama Ads At WND (Among Other Things)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Sept. 21 WorldNetDaily column is a defense of ads for Obama's Fight the Smears website appearing at WND after "dozens of WND readers" expressed their concern and were "accusing me of everything from ineptitude to selling out." But Farah misleads about the nature of the ads -- and other things as well.

As the screen shots Farah included in his column show, the Fight the Smears ads aren't placed directly with WND but through Google AdSense (which we also use), which places ads based on the content of a specific web page. Because WND writes about (and attacks) Obama a lot, the Fight the Smears ads show up a lot as well. WND has merely chosen not to block them from appearing. AdSense's revenue model is based not on placement but on click-throughs. WND makes no money on these ads if its readers -- who, as a whole, are not inclined to support anything that even remotely benefits Obama -- don't click on them.

In other words, it's not as loftily principled as Farah portrays, and it is more about selling out.

There is a lack of principles on Farah's part here -- not for accepting the Obama ads but, rather, for using Google AdSense. As we've pointed out, Farah has repeatedly attacked Google, even calling the company "immoral" and that it "may not be able to discern right from wrong." Why is Farah working with an "immoral" ad partner? How does Farah explain how his "principles" led him to partner with such a company?

In other words, it's totally about selling out.

Farah also claimed that "WND hosted lots of ads for both John McCain and Barack Obama – even though your humble and ever-independent editor and founder wrote a book called 'None of the Above' and was outspoken in his criticism of both candidates."Farah doesn't mention that his own managing editor, David Kupelian, endorsed McCain -- a reflection of WND's overall coverage of the campaign, which tilted heavily in McCain's favor.

Farah goes on to write:

I mentioned last week in this space that WND offers what I believe to be the broadest spectrum of commentary in any news forum anywhere – on the Net or off. Not one person has challenged that characterization. Do you know why? Because it is indisputably true. Name one news source or commentary source on the Net or off that provides space or time to the views of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Joseph Farah and Bill Press, Nat Hentoff and Ellen Ratner?

Actually, we have challenged it. Out of the three dozen or so regular columnists, only Press and Ratner can be described as liberal; the rest range from conservative to right-wing Christian to libertarian. The presence of Ratner and Press -- who rarely get promoted by WND the way it does its right wing columnists -- appear to be for the sole purpose of Farah claiming that WND offers "the broadest spectrum of commentary." Press and Ratner are outliers; WND's actual "spectrum of commentary" runs from conservative to far-right. It can't actually be described as "broad" when it's so heavily weighted to one side.

Farah also indulges in a little promotion of WND's book division, which he says "revolutionized the publishing industry in this country and opened the doors for best-selling books by Michael Savage and Mark Levin and Glenn Beck." How is publishing books by right-wing authors a revolution of any kind? And didn't Regnery beat WND to that punch by, oh, a decade or two?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT

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