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Monday, August 3, 2009
What Is Farah Afraid Of?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 3 WorldNetDaily article asserts that WND's Joseph Farah had been approached to appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" to "discuss eligibility questions surrounding Barack Obama," but the appearance was canceled "when the guest insisted on sticking to facts and conducting a civil discourse with no shouting."

Actually, that's not quite true. The article goes on to note that WND's publicist, Maria Sliwa, presented the show with "a short list of criteria for Farah's appearance." Those were:

  • Though a sober and civil discourse is always welcome, shouting is not;
  • No other guests on during the segment with Mr. Farah;
  • Discussion to be limited to the facts of the story;
  • Accurate, approved description of Mr. Farah and news organization he represents;
  • Screen ID chyron to be approved by Mr. Farah.

At no point does WND offer evidence that the first and third demands were specifically deal-breakers. It's more likely that Farah's other control-freak demands were problematic.

What guest gets to demand who they will and will not appear with? Who gets to demand an "approved description" of themselves and their organization? Who gets to pre-approve on-screen text? WND offers no evidence that these are normal preconditions for Farah's TV guest appearances, or that Farah has a history of demanding -- and receiving -- such preferential treatment.

More importantly: Why is Farah afraid to appear on TV with anyone who might hold a different viewpoint from him? Is he that insecure? Is he that obsessive about his image that no one is permitted to publicly contradict him to his face?

No wonder Farah tries to pretend ConWebWatch doesn't exist -- it seems he's deathly afraid we'll get inside his little fact-free birther bubble and be confronted with the truth.

UPDATE: It appears that demand No. 2 was the sticking point. O'Reilly's birther segment featured -- presumably in place of Farah -- Christopher Ruddy of Newsmax, which has gone birther of late. Ruddy was joined by conservative radio host (and fellow birther) Mike Gallagher.

Why was Farah so afraid to appear with either of these guys, especially given that they agree with him?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:04 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 9:06 PM EDT
WND Shoots First, Asks Questions Later
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's not often you see someone who claims to be a journalist delcaring himself to be proud to report something he has no idea is true. But that's what WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is doing.

From an August 3 press release touting its publication of the purported Kenyan birth certificate of Barack Obama: is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity.

"We've had less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity," explains Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of the first news agency to publish the document. "Our goal, as always, is to seek the truth. This is not our document. It is evidence that has presented in a high-profile court case. And, thus, I believe we had a journalistic responsibility to publish it - just as I think every other news organization does."

Um, isn't that kind of backwards? Shouldn't Farah and WND have determined the document's validity before publishing it? Indeed, we're pretty sure that's what "every other news organization does." Last time we checked, publishing something that you can't prove is true is not compatible with "journalistic responsibility."

But WND is not "every other news organization" that is concerned about "journalistic responsibility." As we've documented, the truth doesn't matter to WND when there's an opportunity to smear Obama.

Further, Farah's claim of having the "less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" does not comport with what he and WND have stated about the issue.

Farah stated in a tweet posted at 4:25 p.m. on July 31: "Trust me for now: More coming next week on Birth-gate. You will be stunned. No more will anyone say there's 'no evidence.'" That's presumably a reference to the "Kenyan birth certificate."

WND's original article on the purported certificate was published at 11:55 a.m. on August 2. That means WND had nearly two days to "consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" before publication.

That would have also provided WND two days to consider publishing something it has no idea is factual. But as noted above, WND doesn't consider the truth when attacking Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EDT
WND Ignores Strategy of Disrupting Town Hall Meetings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 1 WorldNetDaily article reported that "incumbent Democrats ... are being forced to suspend meetings with their constituents, screaming protesters are being dragged out of events by police and officials are being greeted by protest signs and chants," touting it as a "rebellion" at the "grass roots."

Ignored by WND is the fact that the disruptions appear to be part of a coordinated strategy, even though that information was reported before WND's article was published.

As Think Progress has detailed, lobbyist-run anti-health care reform groups have issued strategy memos to tell people how to infiltrate Congress members' town hall meetings by being disruptive and preventing intelligent debate in order to artifically inflate opposition to reform.

These are the same kind of "confrontational political tactics" WND's writers denounced when they were associated with the likes of Saul Alinsky. Yet somehow they're acceptable when right-wingers use them. Funny, that.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EDT
Gladnick Hates Obama So Much He Loves Volvos
Topic: NewsBusters

How much do right-wingers hate President Obama? They're willing to embrace Volvos.

An August 2 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick decries how "a well running Volvo engine was destroyed as part of the Cash for Clunkers program." That's right: Gladnick supports a vehicle driven by people he hates -- you know, tree-hugging, latte-sipping, Volvo-driving liberal elitists -- in order to spite Obama.

But then, Gladnick is in full Obama Derangement Syndrome mode. He's making the argument that a cash-for-clunkers program is a failure because "has run out of money and the government computers for handling these transactions are all down." Funny, we thought that a progrem so successful that it has quickly run out of money and crashed the website that runs it is the opposite of failure.

Oh, and Gladnick also believes that anonymous commenters on YouTube, even foreign ones, are a source of wisdom -- at least, when they're criticizing Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EDT
WND Posts Dubious Kenyan Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 2 WorldNetDaily article reports that "California attorney Orly Taitz, who has filed a number of lawsuits demanding proof of Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president, has released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth and has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court for its authentication."

WND is curiously stingy on details. As such, this purported certificate is shrouded in more mystery than the official Hawaii birth certificate that WND can't decide is a forgery (despite declaring it to be authentic).

According to the article, "Taitz told WND that the document came from an anonymous source who doesn't want his name known because 'he's afraid for his life.'" This is the latest instance of many in which WND has allowed a critic of Obama to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, despite WND editor Joseph Farah's historic criticism of such anonymity. And WND's record of lies about Obama in general and the birth certificate in particular disqualify it from any credibility in asking its readers for trust.

As we've noted, WND has collaborated with Taitz in the past and refused to tell its readers about Taitz's dubious legal history. Did WND obtain the certificate by whatever means and is laundering it through Taitz? Who knows? We certainly can't trust WND to tell the full truth.

But there's another problem with this certificate. It states that it was issued by the "Republic of Kenya" on Feb. 17, 1964. As others have pointed out, Kenya was not a republic in February 1964; granted independence in December 1963, it was not declared a republic until December 1964.

Also, the Mombasa hospital in question has stated that it checked its records for the day Obama was born and found no record of him.

Further, as Media Matters notes: In order to believe Taitz and WND, one would have to assume that this document was requested 45 years ago -- two and a half years after Obama's birth -- preserved that entire time, withheld through the entire election and transition period, and yet somehow ended up in the hands of someone sympathetic to Orly Taitz.

These are authenticity issues WND does not address. Will it be as secretive about this purported certificate as it is other aspects of its Obama birth certificate coverage?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 AM EDT
Suddenly, WND Loves Andrew Sullivan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is not used to touting Andrew Sullivan.

For instance, a June 6 column by Star Parker makes sure to label Sullivan as a "homosexual journalist and activist," then attacks him for supporting the idea that "children in America's public schools will be properly educated to see all forms of sexual behavior as acceptable." Kevin McCullough labeled Sullivan as a "homosexual blogger." Judith Reisman denounced Sullivan as a "homosexual advocate."

But when Sullivan's views dovetail with WND's, the latter is unashamed to promote it. In May, WND's Bob Unruh touted how Sullivan, "supporter of the homosexual lifestyle choice," criticized hate-crimes laws.

Now, WND is promoting Sullivan again, in an August 2 article noting that Sullivan "joined the rising chorus of voices across the political spectrum calling for Barack Obama to release his original, long-form birth certificate to put aside growing doubts about his eligibility for the presidency."

A couple things are missing from the article, however. While it describes Sullivan as "One of the most influential bloggers, pundits and columnists in America," it curiously fails to mention that he's gay.

WND also curiously fails to mention another birth certificate Sullivan wants to see released -- that of Trig Palin. Despite as many questions raised about the parentage of Trig, Sarah Palin has long refused to release Trig's birth certificate. Indeed, a search of WND's archives shows that it has never reported on those questions.

Hundreds of stories on Obama's birth certificate, none on Trig's. Double standard much, WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 11:18 PM EDT
Sunday, August 2, 2009
CNS Columnist Baselessly Defends McCaughey

In her July 30 column, Judie Brown writes of anti-health care reform activist Betsy McCaughey:

What is perhaps most interesting about Dr. McCaughey, who earned her doctorate in constitutional history, is that those who favor Obama’s health-care reform are vilifying her right and left. Though we know that this is the way advocates of death and human disrespect operate, it is nevertheless disturbing. She has been called a liar, a spinner of tall tales and other terms of endearment, but the information she is providing is readily available from unbiased sources, such as the text of the health-care “reform” bill itself. 

Brown ignores the fact that McCaughey is being called a liar and a spinner of tall tales because that's what she is. As we've detailed, McCaughey has claimed that senior citizens will beforced to undergo mandatory "end of life" counseling when, in fact, such counseling is voluntary. PolitiFact called the claim a "Pants on Fire" falsehood.

Brown's touting of McCaughey's academic credentials doesn't change the fact that McCaughey has lied.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 AM EDT
Farah's Latest Birther Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his July 30 WorldNetDaily column:

To listen to the propaganda press, you would believe that certification of live birth settles the matter of where Obama was born. "He's got a birth certificate!" they exclaim. "It's right here. You can see it on the Internet."

However, that document proves nothing about where Obama was born. Nothing! Neither do any of the statements offered by Hawaiian officials who claim to have inspected his birth documents. Nor do the newspaper ads published in 1961.

Why? Because you could easily secure one of these documents for a foreign birth. One parent could simply fill out a form, saying the birth took place in Hawaii, and the certification was issued – no questions asked.

That's right -- in Farah's topsy-turvy world, all the evidence proving where Obama was born doesn't prove where Obama was born. He doesn't want you to think there's any evidence proving Obama's Hawaiian birth -- after all, he's got bumper stickers and videos he wants to sell you, and he loses money if word gets out that he's a liar.

Further, WND has offered no evidence whatsoever that anyone ever has gotten a state-issued birth certificate claiming someone was born in Hawaii when they weren't. Even the Farah-founded Western Journalism doesn't believe that.

Farah goes on to assert:

I offer up cold, hard facts – undeniable truths. I don't tell you Obama was born in Kenya.

That's a lie. Farah and WND have repeatedly -- and falsely -- claimed that Obama's grandmother said Obama was born in Kenya. That's just one of the many lies Farah and WND have told about Obama's birth -- and about Obama in general.

Simply put: Farah has lied about Obama so much, he wouldn't know a "cold, hard fact" if it slapped him upside the head.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Saturday, August 1, 2009
WND Repeats False Health Care Reform Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has embraced the right-wing culture of misinformation regarding health care reform.

A July 31 WND article by Bob Unruh cites Nina May of the right-wing group Renaissance Women to claim that "Those 65 and older will be required to undergo mandatory 'end of life' counseling to determine if they are worthy to continue to not only live, but take much needed resources from those who are younger and more worthy to receive them." Unruh added:

WND reported earlier when Betsy McCaughey, the former New York state officer, told former presidential candidate Fred Thompson during an interview on his radio program the health care plan includes consultations for seniors on how to die.

"One of the most shocking things is page 425, where the Congress would make it mandatory absolutely that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session," she said. "They will tell [them] how to end their life sooner."

McCaughey's claim is false -- originally reported by Unruh in a July 22 article -- as is May's echo of it. PolitiFact called the claim a "Pants on Fire" falsehood, which Unruh didn't see fit to tell his readers about. Indeed, McCaughey has been forced to walk back the claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 AM EDT
Will The Long Form Be Enough for WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been screaming for months that it wants President Obama to release his "long-form" birth certificate. But if he did so, would that satisfy Joseph Farah and Co.?

Indications are the answer is no.

A July 29 WND article casts doubt on the veracity of any birth certificate issued by the state of Hawaii in 1961 -- effectively laying the groundwork that Obama's long-form certificate, should one actually exist and should he decide to release it, is as insufficient as the official Hawaii-issued his campaign released last year at confirming that he was indeed born in Hawaii.

That would seem to confirm what White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at the July 27 press briefing -- that there's nothing Obama could do to satisfy the birthers.

And Farah himself has, for all intents and purposes, said that his goal is not to obtain proof of citizenship but to hound Obama out of office. In his July 30 column, he snarled: "Our country is being transformed rapidly by an administration that is of highly questionable legality." Does that sound like a man who would be mollified by a "long-form" birth certificate?

For Farah, being a birther is a means to an end -- trying to hound Obama out of office the way he tried to hound President Clinton out of office in the '90s.

Besides, if Obama actually did release the long-form certificate, a key part of Farah's merchandising business would dry up. So Farah has a financial incentive to stoke the story -- the more gullible folks to sell trinkets to, the better.

Farah knows that being a birther is not about the truth -- it's simply good business.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Friday, July 31, 2009
WND Promotes Anonymous Video Claiming Obama Is Antichrist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 30 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs touts an anonymous YouTube video claiming that the Bible depicts Barack Obama as the Antichrist:

"When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for 'lightning' is 'astrape', and the Hebrew equivalent is 'Baraq,'" said YouTube contributor "ppsimmons," a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity. "I thought that was fascinating." 

As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on "heaven," and found that it can refer not just to God's dwelling place, but also "the heights" or "high places."

He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."

"I wondered what the word 'heights' is," said ppsimmons, "and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it's 'Bamah.'"

Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'"

"Gosh, was Jesus giving us a clue or was this just a freak coincidence?" thought the filmmaker at the time of his research.

Here's the video:


Kovacs goes on to quote the poster: "I'm not proclaiming he is the antichrist, or that I'm some kind of a Hebrew expert, but the word associations are indisputable. The Hebrew word for lightning is 'Baraq' and the word for heights or high places is 'Bamah.'"

Yeah, sure.

As might be expected, this anonymous person's claim has some problems. As Richard Bartholomew writes:

The “U” slips in as a Hebrew “vav” construction, supposedly to link “lightning” and “heaven” to together.

Of course, this is yet another farrago of nonsense; as with Walid Shoebat’s crackpot exegesis of the Book of Revelation, this kind of re-interpretation is not warranted by any problem in the text, and it does violence to the context – Jesus in Luke 10:17-20 is clearly celebrating Satan’s fall in response to his disciples’ reports of their successes as exorcists.

In fact, the Greek word used in the verse from Luke translated as ”Heaven” is “ouranos” (or “ouranou”, to keep the correct case ending). If one wanted to render this into Hebrew or Aramaic (which is not, by the way, “the most ancient form of Hebrew”), it would be more appropriate to use “shamayim” than “bamah”, notwithstanding Isaiah 14:14 (where the context has Satan rising to somewhere beyond the “bamah”, anyway). Another difficulty is that the verb “fall” has been dropped from ppsimmon’s final version: it’s obvious that Satan is being compared metaphorically to the physical phenomenon of lightning, as Satan supposedly falls from the sky. Or did Jesus mean to say “I saw Satan fall like Barack Obama”? What would that mean? As for the “vav” construction, those are attached to certain verbs rather than nouns, and they are not used to indicate the preposition “from”.

Kovacs, who purports to be a Bible expert to the point where he has written a book claiming to reveal "The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told" were in the Bible, makes no effort to challenge the YouTube poster's claims -- even though, as Bartholomew demonstrates, a Bible scholar like Kovacs purports to be would presumably know where the person went wrong.

This, by the way, is just the latest report in which WND has granted anonymity to a person attacking Obama. As with most previous reports, Kovacs does not disclose why he granted the video's creator anonymity.

WND editor Joseph Farah has previously dismissed anomymous sources as providing "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

WND's increased use of anonymous sources to attack Obama can be seen as a sign that it's willing to throw anything and everything -- no matter how specious -- at the president.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2009 10:43 AM EDT
AIM Endorses Obama Smears
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media published a July 30 column by right-wing blogger Pamela Meister that repeatedly smears President Obama. Presented as an entry to his "diary," Meister denigrates the president by claiming that he thinks the police officer who arrested Henry Louis Gates is "whitey" and Gates' "oppressor," asserts that "Rahm and ACORN on the case" of a black police officer who defended the arresting officer "ready to give her the Joe the Plumber treatment" and that Obama deliberately caused a controversy over Gates to "take the heat out of the healthcare kitchen."

AIM claims at the end of Meister's column that "Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff," but that's disingenuous. AIM does not contain content that is generated automatically via a feed; every word on the AIM website is there because somebody decided to put it there. That means Meister's smears do, in fact, "reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff."

Simply put: If Meister's column didn't reflect AIM's views, AIM would not have posted it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2009 9:28 AM EDT
Faux Outrage Fail
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscott -- apparently taking cues from his fellow conservatives at -- tried to gin up some outrage over a remark by Vice President Joe Biden that really wasn't all that outrageous.

In a Wall Street Journal interview published July 25, Biden, in a discussion of Russia, said: "I can see Putin sitting in Moscow saying, 'Jesus Christ, Iran gets the nuclear weapon, who goes first?' Moscow, not Washington."

Tapscott proclaimed himself, in a blog post that same day, to be offended at Biden's "incredible use of 'Jesus Christ' as a curse word," adding:

This is not merely a gaffe or "insensitivity." Taking in vain the name of the man billions of Christians for two millenia have accepted as the creator and Savior of the entire world is either a consciously chosen insult or the kind of unthinking idiocy that disqualifies this guy from being one heartbeat away from the presidency.

How many more stupid comments does it take before his handlers in the White House realize it's time for this dunce to retire?

Tapscott later appended an apology to Biden for calling him a dunce.

Tapscott refrained from direct insults in a July 28 column, but he still managed to escalate the rhetoric, declaring Biden's words to be "hate speech":

Hate speech is hate speech, whether it is aimed at Christians, Muslims, Gays, or African-Americans. Whether or not it should prosecuted or, as Thomas Jefferson argued, left undisturbed as a monument to tolerance and the strength of rational argument is a different issue. Here, it is sufficient to note that hate speech is speech meant to demean, ridicule, and discredit all who are associated with its target.

So where is the outrage about Biden's hate speech against Christians? We've not heard a peep of protest from the Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Nothing from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Nothing from the United Methodist Church.


Biden's uncorrected cursing is indicative of the slow strangling by the unrelenting forces of political correctness of the religious tolerance that is Christianity's greatest gift to America.

We've reached a point in which the nation's second highest official can without fear insult and degrade the name revered by millions of Americans, but woe unto him who says a word even remotely critical of the PC flavors of the day.

It's worth noting that in neither article did Tapscott provide the full context in which Biden used the exclamation so readers could judge for themselves.

Also worth noting: Tapscott's later column drew a large number of comments, many of whom dismissed his claim. Given that the Examiner is little more than a conservative hangoug these days, that can only be seen as a big thumbs-down to Tapscott's manufactured outrage.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
WND Falsely Claims It Was Called Racist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For most of the day on July 30, WorldNetDaily carried on its front page the headline "WND labeled racist by AFP":

But the AFP article to which WND links does no such thing:

WASHINGTON — A small group of fringe conservatives, many fundamentally opposed to the notion of an African-American as president, are challenging President Barack Obama's eligibility for the US presidency.

On blogs and even before US courts, the so-called "Birthers" are using the Constitution, with its stipulation that presidents be US natural born citizens, to argue Obama should not be in the White House.

Despite proof that Obama was born in the US state of Hawaii, including a birth certificate affirming that fact, rumors continue to spread, fueled by a group that critics say includes right-wing militants, racists and Holocaust deniers.

"These are people who are fundamentally either racist or extreme right-wingers. That's where the whole movement is coming from," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which studies extremist groups.

The movement is composed of "people who very much do not want Barack Obama to be president, largely because he is black, certainly because he is liberal," he added.

On sites like, where a petition questioning Obama's place of birth has attracted more than 400,000 electronic "signatories," the so-called Birthers are daily raising "new doubts about the story of Obama's birth."

While AFP correctly points out that there are those in the birther movement who are opposed to a black man in the White House, at no point does the article specifically assert that WND has a racist intent, let alone "label" WND as "racist," as the WND headline asserts.

To the contrary, WND has generally avoided any overtly racist implications in its birther crusade, to the point of refusing to acknowledge that some of its fellow compatriots are racists. But as the leader in the birther movement, WND's silence and apparent ends-justify-the-means attitude runs the risk of effectively condoning racism as a legitimate argument against Obama's presidency.

Instead of playing the victim by hurling false accusations, WND should confront the issue in a direct and honest manner by explicitly denouncing the racists in the birther ranks. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EDT
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Newsmax Repeats False Health Reform Claim
Topic: Newsmax

In a July 28 Newsmax article, Dan Weil uncritically repeats claims attacking health care reform made by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein in a Washington Post op-ed. Among the claims by Feldstein Weil repeated was an assertion that a surcharge on the wealthy to pay for health care reform "will drive the top tax rate to 45 percent from 35 percent today."

In fact, Feldstein's suggestion that all taxpayers in the 35 percent bracket will pay the highest surcharge rate is false. The 35 percent rate currently begins at $372,950, while the highest surcharge applies only to incomes over $1 million.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:13 PM EDT

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