Joseph Farah vs. WorldNetDaily
If the WND founder is so committed to his "None of the Above" campaign opposing both Barack Obama and John McCain, why is his website's news coverage attacking only Obama while promoting McCain's campaign talking points?
By Terry Krepel
Joseph Farah has been bellowing it loud and proud: Don't vote for Barack Obama or John McCain.
He's written an entire book (essentially self-published, since it came out through WND's book division) on the subject, called "None of the Above," which asserts that "Only a revolta total rejection of business as usualstands a chance of correcting our nation’s downhill slide."
In a fit of false modesty, Farah declared in an Aug. 2 column:
I didn't do it to make money. If you want to make money on a book, you don't write one that will be outdated Nov. 5. You don't give yourself a time window of only four months to make sales. And you don't target a market of Americans probably limited to no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of the public.
Actually, writing a book to take advantage of a presidential campaign is exactly what you do if you want to make money -- otherwise, there wouldn't be so many books coming out that are tied to the 2008 election. Farah is a businessman who runs a book-publishing division, after all, and he's not doing that out of the goodness of his heart. Does Farah really expect people to believe that he does not hope to make some money off his book?
Farah has defended his "none of the above" position against the complaints of fellow right-wingers such at G. Gordon Liddy, Janet Parshall and Janet Folger, all of whom have argued that conservatives must vote for McCain, if only to stop Obama. In response to WND columnist Folger's claim that Farah "isn't just wrong. He is dangerously, devastatingly and dead wrong" because an Obama election will mean "another 50 million dead" as Obama will purportedly upon election "wipe out every single pro-life advance we have made in three and a half decades in all 50 states" (while by contrast McCain "has a 25-year pro-life voting record and he's not ashamed of it"), Farah insisted that "McCain's track record is not that of a consistent pro-lifer -- at least not by my definition," adding, "McCain is an enemy of the Constitution. He is an enemy -- the worst kind -- of life itself."
In response to radio host Parshall's claim that Farah has "advocated the antithetical position to what we know to be biblical truth," Farah responded that "it is nothing short of idol worship for Christians to deify the Republican Party and its nominees for the presidency as somehow beyond reproach by discerning believers or to lift them up to the equivalent of Holy Writ."
Farah has dedicated at least two columns to detailing how McCain is worse than Obama. In one of those, an Aug. 19 column, he declares his Machiavellian motivation for opposing McCain:
Don't get me wrong: I believe four years of Barack Obama will be terrible for America in the short term. But the suffering we will experience as a result of his governance could prove to be very positive in the long term. Why? For the same reason the Jimmy Carter years were terrible in the short term and positive in the long term.
Farah's McCain-bashing and his "none of the above" message, however, are contradicted by the editorial policies of is that his own website.
As ConWebWatch has detailed, criticism of McCain at WND is strictly limited to the opinion section; the news side has repeatedly attacked Obama in its "reporting" but has barely laid a glove on McCain. That streak continues: WND has done essentially no substantive news-side criticism of McCain since he clinched the Republican nomination in February.
Meanwhile, the attacks on Obama have continued:
WND has also promoted the claim that the birth certificate for Obama released by his campaign is a fake, claiming as recently as Aug. 8 that "analysts working separately have determined the birth certificate posted on the Daily Kos website and later on Sen. Barack Obama's 'Fight the Smears' campaign website is fraudulent." Which made it all the more surprising that WND reported on Aug. 23 that "A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there."
Israel Insider -- a far-right, anti-Obama website not unlike WND -- is still pushing the fake-birth-certificate story. Will WND demonstrate a bit of journalistic integrity and call out Israel Insider by specifically debunking its claims about the birth certificate? Or will it bury this story as an inconvenient distraction from its anti-Obama agenda and simply stop reporting on it, pretending it no longer exists even as its fellow right-wingers (like Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid) continue to promote the false claim? Time will tell.
At WND's online store, two anti-Obama books are available. One is by staff writer Jerome Corsi that has proven to be less than factual, -- the very first claim from the book reported by WND, that "Obama admitted using drugs in his autobiography but never revealed if or when he stopped," was demonstrably false. The other, published by WND itself and written by Brad O'Leary, looks to be even farther from actual facts than Corsi's, hurling false claims such as Obama "Blocked emergency medical aid for babies who survived abortion" and baseless speculation such as Obama "Would raise tax rates to a Hoover-like 60 percent" and "Will transform the U.S. Treasury into the United Nations’ ATM."
But WND sells no books critical of McCain, even though several are available.
Meanwhile, WND news pages were pushing McCain campaign talking points:
News articles arguably critical of McCain at WND in recent months have been few and far between, and those that do exist are light on actual criticism. The only ones we could find were an Aug. 27 article complained that "Republicans seeking to put more teeth in the party's immigration platform ran into opposition from delegates who largely argued they didn't want to conflict with Sen. John McCain's positions.," and an Aug. 24 article noting that Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, once proposed McCain as a vice-presidential possibility for Democrat John Kerry in 2004.
Then there's WND's newest bumper sticker: "Better an imperfect Republican than a perfect socialist." he WND store page for the sticker tries hard to put a positive spin on it: "If you're not convinced McCain is right for the job, but think anyone would be better than Obama, this bumper sticker is perfect for expressing that position." (Bold and underlined type in the original.) WND also sells a rather lame "McCain Not Able" sticker, but its sales pitch is less than enthusiastic, limited to generic statements like "Express your political position with this clever bumper sticker."
And, finally, the piece d'resistance -- the endorsement of McCain by WND managing editor David Kupelian.
In a July 2 column, Kupelian declared that "John McCain really needs to be elected president in November" for three reasons: to "end the tyranny of the Supreme Court" since "McCain will appoint conservatives like Roberts and Alito"; because "McCain understands that losing in Iraq is unthinkable" while Obama "is a weak and inexperienced leader and would undo all that has been accomplished at such great cost in blood and treasure"; and because -- citing none other than Karl Rove as a credible source -- McCain "has demonstrated both the strong character and the core American values we want and need in a president." Kupelian concluded:
Friends, please don't bother e-mailing me about all the wrong things McCain has done over the years. I've been a newsman for most of the past 25-plus years. I've heard it all, and then some. Our nation has never had a perfect chief executive, and we frankly don't require one. What we absolutely do need, as Rove put it, is one with "character, integrity and essential decency."
It would seem that Farah's own website -- and his own managing editor -- are working at cross purposes against him. Farah founded WND and is its president, CEO, editor and (near as we can tell) majority owner. Can he not enforce a message consistent with his own beliefs across his website? If not, what's the point in having your own website in the first place? If Farah believes in his campaign as much as he claims to, his own website wouldn't be contradicting him on a daily basis.
How can Farah claim to support "none of the above" when the website he owns and operates has clearly declared a preference? He can't -- but he has a book to sell and an ego to satiate, so he'll continue to claim it anyway.