WorldNetDaily is absolutely livid about a Esquire parody blog post claiming that WND is pulling Jerome Corsi's anti-Obama birther book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" out of stores.
A May 18 WND article assailed the blog post as "a completely fabricated news story" that is prompting editor Joseph Farah to descend even further into conspiracy mode by blaming the Obama White House for it:
WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah confirmed he never spoke to Esquire. "Never uttered these words or anything remotely resembling them to anyone. It is a complete fabrication."
He said, "The book is selling briskly. I am 100 percent behind it. This has all the earmarkings of a White House dirty trick – but, of course, only the Nixon administration was capable of dirty tricks like that, according to our watchdog media."
Farah said the Esquire attack is "a prima facie example of libel and attempt at restraint of trade."
"This is an astonishingly reckless report by a company that has demonstrated its total disregard for the truth," said Farah. "I don't know who Esquire's anonymous sources are, but I can only guess that their address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
Farah surmised Esquire will claim the article is parody, but he points out that news organizations around the world were contacting him within minutes of its posting on the Internet, with some of them in doubt as to the veracity of the report.
The article includes fictional quotes from Farah and Corsi – neither of whom ever spoke to Esquire or were asked for comment.
"We are exploring our legal options right now," said Farah. "There is no question of damages from this irresponsible attack. This book was released yesterday. Our author is in day two of a media tour. This report is playing havoc with a bestselling book – and there is little question that is the intent."
Of course, WND doesn't really have many legal options here. The Esquire post was tagged as "humor," and it clearly went beyond the bounds of absurdity by claiming Corsi also wrote a book on "the Great 'Moon Landing' Cover-Up" and its so-called undercover "source at WND" as a foul-mouthed lout. (We assume that the only WND employee permitted to engaged in foul-mouthed tirades is Farah himself.)
Esquire has since appended an editor's note to the blog post:
We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well, no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That's why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all.
WND has suffered from a longtime inability to distinguish satire from reality. In 2005, it treated as fact an April Fool's Day post on a Hollywood gossip site that CBS "was rushing into production a TV movie about the Terri Schiavo case," and then-columnist Doug Powers even rushed into print his outrage in a WND column. WND issued a vague mea culpa a few days later, and Powers' column disappeared without a trace.