We've detailed how WorldNetDaily refuses to acknowledge evidence of fraud in petitions seeking to overturn Houston's non-discrimination ordinance. That tradition continues in a Jan. 28 WND article by John Griffing.
Griffing is purporting to report on a trial over the petitions, and the bias is evident from the get-go. The headline of the article reads, "Big-city mayor calling own citizens 'criminals'" -- a blatant lie. The first paragraph makes it clear that one of the anti-gay ministers trying to overturn the non-discrimination ordinance is merely accusing Houston Mayor Annise Parker (who, in grand WND tradition, Griffing makes sure to inform us is a lesbian)of saying that. At no point does Griffing directly quote Parker making such a claim.
WND does have a problem of falsely quoting Parker, repeatedly asserting that she claimed the ordinance is "all about me."
Griffing can't be bothered to directly quote -- or even to identify by name -- any of the attorneys for the city cross-examining the anti-gay ministers trying to overturn the ordinance, but he gives one of those ministers, former WND columnist Dave Welch, plenty of space:
Welch told the court there may have been a mistake over the course of collecting tens of thousands of signatures.
“One petition page is far from being ‘rife with’ fraud. … These are citizens doing this, and someone may add on a signature not realizing something may not be notarized. It is a matter of investigative intent and process, and I have no issue with the process,” he said.
But when city attorneys started going through multiple pages of signed petitions, asking Welch to determine forgery, fraud or accident, he responded.
“I am not going to ascribe motives or intent to the individuals who collected these signatures,” he said. “Do you want me to keep repeating myself? This is a matter of process and enthusiasm of people getting out and getting signatures. A referendum drive like this has not been done in the city for many years.”
But nowhere in his article does Griffing explain what the petition issues are. World Magazine, a conservative Christian outlet, does a much better job than WND at doing so:
The definition of “signature” and where it should be located on the sworn affidavit portion of the petition represented two of the city’s major points of contention and most potent means of eliminating signatures. Before submitting their petition pages, each circulator was required to present them to a notary public, before whom the circulator would sign a sworn oath stating all of the signatures had been collected in his or her presence. The bottom portion of the petition page was reserved for that documentation and the notary’s signature and seal.
Welch testified he created the petition page by copying relevant elements gleaned from the Houston City Charter provided in a link on the city’s official website.
That proved problematic.
Welch left out a line in the notary verification portion of the document he said appeared “superfluous.” Harrison insinuated the line was for the circulator’s signature. Without a notary-certified circulator signature, the entire petition sheet with all its signatures was unacceptable, he said. That charge alone invalidated 1,268 petition pages containing 6,443 signatures.
In other words, there are clear issues with the petitions, not to mention the evidence of forged signatures. But Griffing has decided to put right-wing ideology over reporting the facts -- just the way WND likes it.