ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 35: Joseph Farah's Current Bitterness

Why is the WorldNetDaily editor hating on Al Gore's new cable channel? Perhaps because Gore's doing what Farah only fantasized about -- or maybe it's that lawsuit about which he won't tell his readers the full truth.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/5/2005

Why is Joseph Farah so bitter?

In an Aug. 3 column, the WorldNetDaily editor dumps all over Al Gore for reasons real and imagined (mostly imagined). The ostensible reason for Farah's tirade is the launch of the Gore-led cable TV channel, Current, which Farah has dubbed "Algorezeera." Why? This is what Farah says:

When the former vice president embarked on his acquisition of a TV cable network, he assured the public there would be no partisanship, no ideological agenda behind the effort.

In the first 24 hours, viewers of Current were treated with reports on:
  • the search for human egg donors;
  • how to commit suicide by throwing yourself in front of a train;
  • the positive side of prostitution and pimping;
No partisanship here. No ideological agenda. In fact, no thought, no judgment, no standards of any kind.

This is pretty much what I expected from Algorezeera, when he billed the plan as "a 24-hour-a-day news network that looks like MTV."

We're not sure why a "search for human egg donors" would offend Farah; we also suspect that there's a lot more to the segments on "how to commit suicide by throwing yourself in front of a train" and "the positive side of prostitution and pimping" than Farah is telling us. And with good reason: The Contra Costa Times describes the segment on suicide that Farah presumably is talking about as something other than the how-to guide Farah wants you to think it is:

At the top and bottom of every hour runs Current Google, stories based on the most popular online searches around the world. In Japan, for instance, that's group suicide, a concept where suicidal people are meeting online to find people to die with.

In a poignant segment, Current cameras followed a producer to Tokyo to meet up with a graduate student and middle-aged engineer considering suicide.

Additionally, since each Current segment is just a few minutes long, it appears that Farah only found a mere 15 minutes or so worth of offensive (to him) material in a 24-hour period, which would seem like a pretty good performance for any cable TV network.

Perhaps Farah is a tad jealous of Gore. Remember, Farah was publicly contemplating competing with Gore to buy the Canadian news channel that became Current, as ConWebWatch previously noted. An October 2003 fit of WND puffery portrayed Farah's pipe dream this way: "'If every one of our readers donated just $15, we would have enough money to buy -- for cash -- that network out from under Al Gore,' said Farah, pushing buttons on his calculator wildly."

Farah then attacks Gore for not being an objective programmer, even though he has offered no evidence to the contrary other than the questionable examples above. "Is Al Gore really capable of programming a TV news network that is 'non-ideological'?" Farah asked. "In fact, I would question whether anyone can truly divorce themselves from their own worldview in the presentation of the news." That large elephant sitting in the room next to Farah is WND's own less-than-objective (and less-than-truthful) worldview of news.

Continuing to ignore that worldview elephant, Farah adds that "Al Gore has one deeply rooted in religious fervor and fanaticism -- much like his colleagues over at Al-Jazeera." Beyond the Al-Jazeera guilt-by-association slur -- Farah has offered no evidence that Gore and Al-Jazeera have anything in common beyond operating TV channels, meaning that if Farah had purchased the channel Gore now has, he too would be a "colleague" of Al-Jazeera -- Farah certainly knows whereof he speaks regarding worldviews "deeply rooted in religious fervor and fanaticism." This is, after all, a man who wants to execute adulterers and bring back the Hollywood blacklist, and his web site is currently promoting the claims of evangelical author Jim Rutz, who claims that he "has found 52 countries where God has brought people back from the dead, mostly in the last 20 years."

After a few excerpts from Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" for scary effect, Farah finally get to the reason why he doesn't like Gore: it's personal. According to Farah:

For five years now, WND has battled a $165 million defamation lawsuit brought by Al Gore's top fund-raiser in his home state. The case was brought after WND published an 18-part investigative series on political corruption in Tennessee – a series many believe cost Gore his home state in the 2000 election and thus the presidency. We've already lived through a second presidential election cycle while fighting this lawsuit and we have every expectation of living through a third in 2008 while still defending ourselves from Al Gore's cronies.

This lawsuit is nothing more than retribution for Gore's inability to carry his own home state in the 2000 election. It would be dropped in a flat second if he wanted it dropped. Anyone who would support such a lawsuit has a fundamental problem with a vigorous press doing investigative reporting into presidential candidates and their past.

Farah offers no evidence for the claim that Gore is personally controlling the person behind the lawsuit, Clark Jones. In fact, information about the lawsuit is surprisingly scant -- especially from sources not named WorldNetDaily, which is predictably dismissive of it. In fact, a search of both Google and Nexis turned up only one non-WND source offering details about the lawsuit, and that was a 2002 posting by the United States Justice Foundation, which was representing WND in the lawsuit. It's not clear whether the USJF still is representing WND; the 2002 posting is the most recent regarding the case on its web site. WND's legal defense fund donation page doesn't list who is currently representing it, but Farah named the USJF as its representative in a 2004 article. The USJF, you might recall, was the group that continually faced crippling sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits against Planned Parenthood affiliates.

(Funny, we don't recall reading in any of those WND articles about the USJF's travails that WND ever disclosed that it was a USJF client, not just in the Jones lawsuit but in WND's fight to obtain a permanent Senate Press Gallery pass. Not that it has made any serious use of that pass in recent history; WND's only presence, such as it is, in the White House press corps these days is Les Kinsolving, and he was there long before he ever started working for WND.)

Given this dearth of unbiased information about the lawsuit, ConWebWatch issues a challenge to Farah: Since very few of WorldNetDaily's readers have access to the court records of Hardin County, Tennessee, where the lawsuit was filed (and where we assume it still resides), WND should prove that it has aspirations beyond promoting its editor's worldview (or is it a grudge?) and post all court filings in the case -- not just the ones that make WND look good or Jones look bad -- on the WorldNetDaily web site. This way, readers can judge for themselves how ethically WND behaved or whether Jones has a case.

That is, unless Farah is too bitter to share the unvarnished truth with his readers.

Out There archive
Send this page to:
Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-05 Terry Krepel