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

Spanning the Apologetic Globe

WorldNetDaily should take time out from slamming a Boston paper for insufficiently admitting its errors to correct the errors of one of its own authors. Plus, more WND stuff: Gloryhounding on Iraqi prisoner abuse, its idea of a "balanced" view of Democrats, and more.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/24/2004

WorldNetDaily believes that the Boston Globe hasn't been apologetic enough.

See, WND's way of deflecting attention from the Iraqi prison abuse scandal has been to focus on photos that purportedly show U.S. troops raping Iraqi women that actually come from a porn site, and it caught the Globe red-handed running them as possible proof of abuse a week after WND ran a story saying that the photos were being used as fodder for anti-American propaganda in parts of the Arab world.

Or, as reporter Sherrie Gossett put it, "Boston residents got more than they bargained for this morning when their copy of the Globe came complete with graphic photographic images depicting U.S. troops gang-raping Iraqi women."

It's not quite as clear-cut as Gossett wants you to think, however. According to the Boston Phoenix, what the Globe actually ran was a picture of people at a press conference held by two Boston activist politicians looking at the photos, not the photos themselves. The content of the photos was clear in one early edition of the paper, but the overall picture was shrunk for later editions to obscure the offensive content.

As Dan Kennedy of the Phoenix writes: "A screw-up? Yes. A really bad screw-up? Absolutely! But not the one that right-wingers wish the Globe had made."

Gossett also penned an opinion piece for WND on the issue slamming the Globe for allegedly being loath to admit the photos came from a porn site for not being skeptical enough to do its own investigation of their source, despite the fact that the reporter included skepticism of the photos in her article about the politicians' press conference. Gossett also seems to imply that she wants the Globe to say uncle and utter the word "WorldNetDaily" as the source of the original information, shades of what WND a couple years back when it didn't get the credit it thought it deserved.

Joseph Farah seems to feel the same way in a May 20 column. First, he distorts the issue by saying that the Globe "published some of the same photos," then goes on to state: "There have been no resignations. No one was fired. The paper steadfastly refuses to admit the origin of the photos, even though the reporter involved, several editors and the paper's ombudsman have all received proof the photos came from a porn site."

So, we see how Farah believes a publisher should react when confronted by inaccuracies committed by one of his employees -- they must be publicly corrected or someone must lose their job.

* * *

Joseph Farah, meet Ben Shapiro.

Actually, Farah ought to know who the 20-year-old Shapiro is by now -- not only does WND print his column, WND Books is publishing Shapiro's authorial debut, "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth." But we have to wonder who's brainwashing who.

It appears Shapiro gets some things wrong about his school, UCLA. According to an article in the UCLA student newspaper, the Daily Bruin (as noted by World O'Crap): "At least twice, Shapiro states that Student Media (which operates UCLA student publications) receives funding from mandatory tuition or fees, which is false. He also misquotes prominent UCLA figures, including the chancellor and UCLA Hillel Director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, and mischaracterizes the terms of his dismissal from the Daily Bruin."

The factual errors aren't even the good part here; it's how he reacted to them. When the Daily Bruin tried to confront him with its evidence, Shapiro canceled a scheduled in-person interview and asked to be interviewed by phone instead. Then, he "canceled the phone interview after being presented with the errors through e-mail and would only comment in a statement by e-mail."

It gets even better, according to the Daily Bruin: After refusing to respond to phone messages, Shapiro responded in a later e-mail "that he would not be able to talk for 'the next several weeks'" due to the publicity campaign for his book. And "a spokesperson familiar with Shapiro's book declined to comment before speaking with a legal team."

Gee ... sounds like WND's very own Shapiro is being at least as evasive as the Globe when confronted with errors. Does this mean Ben will get canned, per Farah's no-tolerance-of-weasels rule?

As with other things where conservatives are accused of behavior they condemned in liberals, don't count on it.

* * *

While we're on the subject of things WND should apologize for: Yet another story treating whatever Jesse Lee Peterson has to say as tablets from the mountain, yet another failure to disclose that WND has published a book Peterson wrote and schedules his speaking appearances.

* * *

WND continues to try and gloryhound its way into the Iraqi prisoner-abuse scandal. A May 22 story by Paul Sperry claims that "WorldNetDaily had reported parts of the story weeks earlier" than Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker. He's correct; an April 2 story by Sperry did indeed note that "Several U.S. guards at a Baghdad prison recently were criminally charged with abusing detainees."

But that great revelation did not show up until the 18th paragraph of a story which Sperry starts by focusing on how a "softer approach" by the U.S. hasn't won the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis.

Sperry doesn't say, however, why he did nothing more on the abuse angle for more than a month, until after Hersh's articles came out.

* * *

It's time for a new issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine. The subject, as stated in WND's all-caps style: "THE PARTY OF TREASON." That, of course would be the Democrats. The magazine promises "a stunning expose of how the Democrat Party has progressively embraced corruption in almost every form.

A May 11 news article-slash-press release ticks off a few of the articles contained therein:

  • "Fascism, corruption and my Democratic Party"
  • "Dems embrace gangsta culture"
  • "How Democrats steal elections"
  • "Terrorists cheer Kerry's rhetoric"
  • "Giving aid and comfort to the enemy"

That we expect from WND. We don't expect (or maybe we do) WND to claim this is a " balanced and comprehensive" examination of the issues, which it does. Somehow, in all the talk about treason and evil, we're just not seeing where the balance is.

We also suspect that balance will come closer to actual existence in June's Whistleblower, which promises to take a look at Republicans, which the article claims is "not embracing evil and corruption as completely as the Democrat Party..." A point in the GOP's favor, apparently, as the article states: "The arguments for voting for the incumbent, despite his flaws, are powerful and compelling..."

"Balanced and comprehensive" my Aunt Fanny. But then, when has WND ever deliberately offered that to its readers?

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 2000-04 Terry Krepel