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Update: News To Them

WorldNetDaily finally gets around to noting Jerome Corsi's history of bigotry -- then immediately whitewashes it. Plus: Accuracy in Media gets inaccurate, the election ends but lying about John Kerry continues, WorldNetDaily can't even copy a press release without messing it up, and more.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/11/2005

From the it's news-to-them department: A Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily story on discredited bigot Jerome Corsi's plans to move to Massachusetts to run against John Kerry for his Senate seat marks the very first acknowledgment in a WND story of something the rest of the world knew months ago: that Corsi is indeed a bigot.

The story quotes state Democratic chairman Phil Johnston as telling the Boston Herald, the paper from which WND cribbed its story: "I know Massachusetts will not welcome a candidate whose calling card is a disturbing track record of slandering Catholics, the pope, Jews and Vietnam veterans. ... Carpetbaggers spreading lies and smears are not welcome in our state.''

Then the whitewashing begins -- Corsi is a WND columnist and author, after all, and it couldn't let such allegations reach its readers unvarnished, lest they figure out that the Kerry-hating machine WND had become during the 2004 presidential election was not interested in anything that deviated from that script. Maintaining Corsi's credibility was undoubtedly a part of that, which is why Corsi's bigotry went unreported at WND until now; and it certainly couldn't be allowed to impact the cash flow he is undoubtedly expected to generate with his new book. The article refuses to detail the actual epithets he hurled around, offering only his defense:

Corsi has apologized for comments he posted on on various subjects, but he insisted they were "not meant as serious expressions of my views and opinions," but "meant to be satirical and provocative. ... It's like saying Shakespeare is responsible for something one of his characters said."

Somehow, we can't picture the Bard calling Catholic priests boy-buggerers, the Democratic Party "the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA," Hillary Clinton a "FAT HOG" and dropping references to "John F*ing Commie Kerry," "Mullah Ali'Gore-ah" and "Chubby Chelsea."

And if Corsi is comparing himself to Shakespeare, his apparent belief that trashing someone in a book qualifies him for public office is the least of his problems.

* * *

When you have a history of promoting bogus online polls as meaningful, the last thing you should do is questioning the reliability of someone else's poll.

But that's what WorldNetDaily did in a Jan. 19 story by Sarah Kupelian. In criticizing an Associated Press poll stating that 59 percent of respondents support Roe vs. Wade, Kupelian writes: "AP's poll results were obtained by giving survey respondents grossly inaccurate and misleading information about Roe v. Wade."

Given WND's newfound concern over "grossly inaccurate and misleading information" in polls, perhaps it would like to revisit its own poll-reporting history. During the 2004 presidential election, WND was guilty of regularly promoting an unreliable online poll showing President Bush winning re-election in nearly every state. It has also promoted the results generated by a Republican-leaning pollster and cherrypicked other poll results to promote conservative views.

And a Feb. 9 story on Hillary Clinton dredges up a November 1999 WND hit piece about a alleged New York Post "survey of readers" that ranked her sixth (and Bill Clinton second) on a list naming "the most evil person of the millennium." In trying to denigrate a new poll showing favorable results for Clinton, WND treats the bogus "evil" survey as something that wasn't hacked, noting: "Now just five years later, New Yorkers apparently have a different view of the woman they elected as U.S. senator in 2002." (So eager is WND to slime that it couldn't get a basic fact as the year she was elected correct.)

When WND atones for its past -- and present-- biased behavior in poll reporting, maybe then it will be considered a credible source when it complains that a poll is "grossly inaccurate and misleading."

* * *

The conflict-of-interest nondisclosure issue continues apace at WorldNetDaily. A Jan. 31 story written by Joseph Farah himself about Rush Limbaugh's criticism of President Bush's immigration policy (gee, why didn't we heard anything about this before the election?) fails to mention that Farah collaborated with Limbaugh on his 1994 book "See, I Told You So." -- something Farah used to disclose.

And a Feb. 3 story by Ron Strom on a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" in Grants Pass, Ore., that "has outraged many in Grants Pass" fails to note that WND's editorial offices are located in that very same town -- the only likely reason it bothered to devote its resources to the issue in the first place.

* * *

Also continuing apace at WorldNetDaily is press release-generated "journalism." A Feb. 5 story on a NBC correspondent, Linda Fasulo, accused by Accuracy in Media of accepting foundation money to write a book about the United Nations hews closely to the AIM press release that inspired it.

It left out one detail though -- and in the story's lead, too. It claims that the NBC correspondent "denies a conflict of interest" in accepting the money to write the book. But that point is never elaborated on in the rest of the story. Even those with an elementary grasp of journalism knows the question that should be answered next -- to whom did she deny it? The WND story never tells us, though it faithfully copies from the press release that AIM's Cliff Kincaid "has received no answer from e-mails to Fasulo," which seems to contradict the claim that she "denied" anything.

The answer is actually in the press release; the report of Fasulo's denial came from the conservative New York Sun.

What has WND come to that it can't even copy a press release without messing up something?

* * *

Speaking of Accuracy in Media, it starts off a February 1 "AIM Report" by being less than accurate. Well, to be perfectly accurate, it started with a lie.

In purporting to detail yet another example of that ol' debbil librul media, the report starts by saying that "officials of the United Nations ... started a campaign blaming the U.S. for being 'stingy' and 'slow' to respond to the Asian tsunami disaster."

Wrong. As ConWebWatch has previously detailed, the U.N. official from whom the "stingy" claim originated, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs Jan Egeland, was referring about Western countries as a whole and never singled out the United States; to foreign aid budgets in general and not the tsunami disaster specifically, and the fear that richer countries would spend all of their foreign aid allocations for the year on tsunami relief, leaving little or no money for the other emergencies that typically happen.

That little lie puts the rest of AIM's article on a wobbly foundation. You'd think that when you put the word "accuracy" in your name, you'd put more effort into being, y'know, accurate.

* * *

A Feb. 3 NewsMax article detailed how "[p]artisan Democrats actually booed President Bush twice last night during his State of the Union Address as he detailed his plan to save Social Security," calling it an "ugly episode" and noting that "Bush continued on, however, pretending to be oblivious to the interruption."

Why, you'd think that booing by the political opposition during a president's State of the Union address was a new thing -- indeed, following the address, TV talking heads have described it as "unprecedented." But that's not the case at all: As Media Matters has pointed out, Republicans regularly booed during President Clinton's State of the Union addresses.

But NewsMax apparently was a little hard of hearing back then. Its archives include nothing that references Clinton's January 1998 speech, during which "Clinton's proposal to expand Medicare to allow Americans as young as 55 to buy into the system drew shouts of 'no' and some boos from Republicans during his speech," according to the Chicago Tribune. The only archive entry for Jan. 27, 1998, the date of Clinton's speech, are three copies of a press release by NewsMax CEO Christopher Ruddy defending his conspiracy-heavy reporting on the death on Clinton aide Vincent Foster, which even Ann Coulter dismissed as a "conservative hoax book" that was "discredited" by conservatives.

* * *

Time for a new round of Then and Now:

"'I combine two elements: irreverent humor and serious discussion of issues," Limbaugh ... told Media Week. 'People tune in for both. But the key is having credibility. This has led to critics saying I am just an entertainer. I'm proud to be an entertainer. This is showbiz. At the same time, I believe everything I say.'"

-- Phil Brennan, in fawning profile of Rush Limbaugh,
NewsMax, Aug. 12, 2003

"When caught committing falsehoods, Moore has demurred that he is a mere entertainer, a spinner of tales, jokes and opinions who should never be held to the ethical and accuracy standards of a responsible reporter or historian."

-- Lowell Ponte, in hatchet job on Michael Moore,
NewsMax, Feb. 2

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