WorldNetDaily, if it's known for anything outside far-right circles, is perhaps best known for being the leading champion of the birther movement. It helped Donald Trump behind the scenes in his pushing the birther issue in 2011 (and likely beyond).
But now, WND doesn't want to own its birther legacy -- perhaps because Joseph Farah and crew know that it's no longer defensible. And it certainly doesn't want to talk about its indisputable birther ties with Trump.
WND's coverage of the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -- in which Trump's birtherism came up -- is an example of WND fleeing from the legacy it owns. WND's main story on the debate, by Chelsea Schilling and Garth Kant, waits until the 57th paragraph to bring up the birther discussion, and even then it's a straight rendering of it:
Clinton blasted Trump for the “racist” concerns he had about President Obama’s birth certificate.
But Trump said, “I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate.”
He said the question was originally raised by Clinton’s own staffers and associates, including Sydney Blumenthal. He said Clinton was unsuccessful in getting a resolution.
Trump said he “did a great job and great service for the country” and didn’t need to explain any longer because he wanted to get on with fighting ISIS.
Clinton blasted: “Just listen to what you heard. He tried to put the whole racist, birther lie to bed. But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has started his campaign activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted. He persisted year after year, because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold, apparently believed it or wanted to believe it. …
“He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.
“But I like to remember what Michelle Obama said in her amazing speech at our Democratic National Convention: When they go low, we go high. And Barack Obama went high, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to bring him down.”
Schilling and Kant weirdly don't contest Clinton's assertion that birtherism -- again, the main focus of WND for much of the past eight years -- is racist. Then again, nor do they disclose that WND was advising Trump behind the scenes on how to be a birther.
Their boss, Joseph Farah -- who was among the WND staffers who personally advised Trump on birther conspiracies -- followed up with a column painfully conceding that Clinton won the debate ... but no mention whatsoever of the debate's birther discussion.
Then, WND's Jerome Corsi -- another staffer who personally advised Trump on birther stuff -- spent an article spinning hard for Trump, uncritically touting anonymous "staff members and insiders who spoke to WND" insisting that Trump "successfully executed a plan to hold back on aggressive attacks on opponent Hillary Clinton, focusing, instead, on projecting a presidential bearing." Corsi's only mention of the debate's birther discussion came almost as an aside: "Moreover, Trump noted, Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 started the birther controversy by releasing to media an anonymous letter alleging Obama was not born in Hawaii, as well as the first photos of Obama in Kenya wearing traditional Muslim garb."
Corsi got the first part wrong; the UK Telegraph article to which he links to back up his claim that Clinton "started the birther controversy" in 2008 specifically states -- in the very first paragraph -- that "perennial local candidate and litigant" Andy Martin was pushing proto-birther claims in 2004. Nor does the Telegraph article state that the Clinton campaign released the "anonymous letter alleging Obama was not born in Hawaii" -- it states the letter was "circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton," not the campaign.
It's also strange that Corsi is also complaining about the Clinton campaign releasing the photo of "Obama in Kenya wearing traditional Muslim garb" (again, the article to which Corsi links notes that the Clinton campaign denied distributing the photo), given that WND has used that photo over the years to illustrate its anti-Obama "journalism" -- Corsi himself declared in 2008 that the photo "raised questions about Obama’s links to Kenya, which has Muslim neighbors on several fronts, and was home to Obama’s father." And as recently as July, WND was touting how "Bill O’Reilly shared photos of Barack Obama in traditional Islamic dress on his program."
Like his WND cohorts, Corsi doesn't disclose the critical role he played in helping Trump push birtherism.
The shocker here is that it appears WND has a sense of shame after all. Too bad it didn't have this eight years ago -- too bad for both us and the future of WND.