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Sunday, August 7, 2011
WND Makes Another Embarrassingly False Article Quietly Disappear
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember how WorldNetDaily has made false statements in articles -- and even entire false articles -- disappear without explanation or even a correction, contrary to how a real news organization would act? Well, it's done it again.

An Aug. 4 WND article repeated statements by Rush Limbaugh marking President Obama's birthday:

"Tomorrow is Obama's birthday," he said today. "Not that we've seen any proof of that."

He continued, "But tomorrow is Obama's birthday and they're trying to rally Obama's base by sending out fundraising letters.

"What? What? … What, Snerdley, what? We haven't seen any proof of that. They tell us Aug. 4 is the birthday. We haven't seen any proof of it. Sorry. It is what it is," he said.

Just one little problem: that's actually what Limbaugh said last year, not this past week.

After MSNBC's Rachel Maddow picked up the story as portrayed by WND, she was huffily excoriated by NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard for presenting last year's Obama-bashing as this year's, declaring it a "bald-faced lie" and ranting, "Why are media members today allowed to lie with total impunity?" (Funny -- we could say the same thing about Sheppard.)

Maddow apologized on the next night's show, explaining that she made the mistake of trusting a WND article.

This is a highly embarrassing error for WND to commit, especially since WND editor Joseph Farah co-wrote one of Limbaugh's books and WND regularly devotes articles to Limbaugh's radio pontifications. This tells us that people at WND don't listen to Limbaugh's show as closely as they want their readers to think. 

As per its usual style of violating journalistic ethics in handling errors, WND simply deleted the article without telling readers it was deleted and issuing a public correction; it still resides in Google cache for now. Somehow, we suspect Farah issued a private apology to Limbaugh.

Of course, Maddow's apology wasn't good enough for Sheppard, for he ranted again in an Aug. 6 post:

However, is the far-left MSNBC now relying on far-right publications for its research? Are there really no resources at a division of Comcast, General Electric, and NBC to do some basic fact-checking beyond a website that those associated vehemently disagree with at every turn?

And are YouTube video descriptions considered credible enough for MSNBCer's to cite dates from?

Doesn't give you much confidence in the veracity of any of their reporting.

Is Sheppard agreeing with Maddow that nobody should be foolish enough to trust WND? If so, why isn't NewsBusters forcefully making this case to its readers? Perhaps for the same reason it won't criticize a conservative publication for publishing unflattering information about a conservative presidential candidate.

Sheppard goes on to complain that Maddow "felt the need to attack Limbaugh by accusing him of racism" by playing other Limbaugh sound bites, but Sheppard doesn't dispute the characterization, so he must agree that Maddow's clips accurately depicted Limbaugh's racial insensitivity.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 7, 2011 12:59 AM EDT

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