WorldNetDaily has had to walk back stories and columns with embarrassing corrections at a surprising rate of late. This happened again with an anonymously written Feb. 9 article pushing an election fraud conspiracy theory, under the headline "Election-night mystery: Film shows van delivering ballots after deadline":
A video released by the Gateway Pundit shows a white van delivering dozens of boxes of ballots to be counted in Detroit's TCF Center hours after the deadline on election night in November.
At 3:23 a.m. on Nov. 4, the blog said, a white van registered to the city of Detroit entered the center. Two minutes later, three people were seen unloading more 50 boxes of ballots "just outside the counting room."
"The ballots were then wheeled away on carts into the ballot counting room," the publication reported, and the van left.
But an hour later, it was back, with more boxes of ballots.
The deliveries happened at the same time Joe Biden's vote totals suddenly surged in the state.
It's a pattern that's been reported in several of the swing states that ultimately decided the 2020 presidential race.
Later that day, WND felt compelled to add a lengthy correction to the top of the article and change the article's headline:
CORRECTION Feb. 9, 2021 at 10:11 p.m. ET: A fact-check by LeadStories on the Gateway Pundit video on which this story is based found that "while the article may very well be correct in identifying the objects taken from the van as ballots, it is not correct in asserting that those ballots were illegal. They were legal votes that had been cast before the 8 p.m. Election Day deadline. Note that the deadline is for casting votes not counting them. Absentee ballots can arrive at counting boards, such as the TCF Center, after 8 p.m. on Election Day.
"Lead Stories reached out to the secretary of state's office in Michigan to ask about the article's claims. A spokeswoman wrote back that what took place was 'standard and appropriate practice.' She pointed us to the office's website, which offers the following explanation:
"'In many larger jurisdictions, absentee ballots that arrived on Election Day were marked as received and put through security checks at clerk offices prior to being brought to absent voter counting boards. If a ballot arrived at a clerk's office at 8 p.m., it may not move through the process and be sent to the counting board for several hours. This is why, in cities including Detroit, ballots arrived at counting boards several hours after polling places had closed.'"
The headline of the WND article has thus been updated from "Election-night mystery: Film shows van delivering ballots after deadline" to "What's the story on the election-night 'after-hours' ballots?"
You'd think that being around for more than two decades would have taught WND something about basic fact-checking before publication so it didn't have to do these massive walkbacks after the fact.
It seems that WND's newfound consideration for accuracy is driven by its newly launched WND News Center, in which it's trying to get other websites to publish its articles.Nobody wants to publish false or fake stuff -- the kind of thing that was WND's stock in trade before this -- so that increases pressure on WND to get it right, something it has apparently not been concerned with before.
Now, if WND would correct the two biggest, most notoriously false stories it published -- Obama birtherism and Seth Rich conspiracy theories -- then its journalism might start to be taken seriously.