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WorldNetDaily, Serial Liar

Building on its long history of lying about Democratic presidential candidates, WND is now making up things about Barack Obama.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/7/2008

If a news organization repeatedly reported falsehoods, would you read it? Of course not.

Yet, somehow, WorldNetDaily remains in business despite a long history of lying to its readers. WND's favorite targets of lies are Democratic presidential candidates.

In 2000, it published a series of 20 attack articles by Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays that (it brags) cost Al Gore the election because they allegedly caused him to lose Tennessee, a state that, had he won, would have made the Florida turmoil moot. But the article contained false claims about a Gore supporter, Clark Jones -- a fact it was finally forced to admit more than seven years later to settle a libel and defamation lawsuit from Jones. Not only did WND admit that "no witness verifies the truth" of what was said about Jones, "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context."

If just one sample claim in these 20 articles is so egregiously false, there's no reason not to assume that other claims in the article about Gore and others are equally mendacious. After all, as ConWebWatch detailed, WND made no effort to fact-check the articles before purchasing the rights to publish them -- what some might call an act of journalistic negligence, because the time to have verified the articles' claims should have been before they were published, rather than seven years after.

If WND were genuinely concerned about maintaining a reputation as a source of truthful information, it would have announced upon settlement of the Jones lawsuit that it was checking all other claims made in the Thompson-Hays articles to see if they are accurate, followed by a declaration that such shoddy reporting would never appear in WND again. Instead, WND couldn't even be bothered to properly apologize to Jones (let alone Gore); the statement says only that WND "regret[s] whatever harm occurred" to him and that it "wishes him well." It also would have made no effort to keep the settlement's provisions confidential -- perhaps it was too ashamed to disclose how much money it had to pay Jones (it can be presumed that it was a not-insignificant amount) -- and would make public the donors to and finances of its legal defense fund.

In 2004, WND uncritically repeated unverified rumors about a John Kerry affair and never apologized when they were proven false. It peddled every misleading or completely false claim made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- then hired Jerome Corsi, co-author of the book that first promoted those claims, as a reporter. WND published a Kerry attack book by the discredited conservative activist David Bossie, about whom WND itself asserted a few years earlier was "either extremely incompetent or was intentionally trying to sabotage investigations" in his previous role as an anti-Clinton investigator for a House committee. And WND editor Joseph Farah himself falsely claimed that money donated to a group by Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, went to "radical causes"; in fact, it was earmarked toward specific environmental projects.

WND started off the 2008 presidential season by targeting Hillary Clinton -- repeating dubious claims against her from a pair of discredited figures, documented liar Kathleen Willey and convicted felon Peter Paul. But as Barack Obama surged in the primaries, WND reacted by uncritically repeating never-verified claims by career criminal Larry Sinclair that he and Obama did drugs and had sex. This came, by the way, just a few days after settling the Clark Jones lawsuit, so one would think that verifying information it published to see if it was true in order to avoid future legal action would have been foremost on Farah's mind. Apparently not.

After Sinclair's claims fizzled -- he later discredited himself even further in a press conference a few months later -- WND settled for manufacturing controversy about Obama, mostly through reporter Aaron Klein's repeated attempts at guilt by association.

Klein followed that up by a further manufactured controversy -- an interview he and conservative radio host John Batchelor conducted with a member of the militant group Hamas, who appeared to endorse Obama. Klein has refused to disclose the circumstances surrounding the interview -- why a member of Hamas would submit to questions from two people on the record as highly critical of Hamas, or whether he knew he was playing into his hosts' anti-Obama agenda by expressing support for Obama.

WND has now moved from manufacturing controversy for Obama and embracing discredited sources to simply making up stuff about him. Because these are easily disproven and could have been accurately reported had WND chosen to do so, we shall presume active negligence and declare them lies.

Let's look at some of these falsehoods:

Lie No. 1: Obama distorted the Holocaust

In a July 15 article, Klein asserted that Obama forwarded a "a discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself details, the controversy is over which Obama relative helped to liberate which concentration camp during World War II. Obama said nothing about the Holocaust, and Klein makes no claim that he did -- yet he chose to describe what was a misstatement at worst as a "distortion of the Holocaust."

This makes Klein a liar and, thus, even more untrustworthy on his Obama reporting than his obsessive guilt-by-association attacks and manufactured controversies already have.

Lie No. 2: Obama wants to create a police state apparatus

In a July 15 column, Farah sounded the alarm bells about a statement Barack Obama made in a July 2 speech -- "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." Farah went into freak-out mode:

Now, since I've never heard anyone inside or out of government use the phrase "civilian national security force" before, I was more than a little curious about what he has in mind.


If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?

I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

Now, maybe he was misquoted by the Congressional Quarterly and the Chicago Tribune. I guess it's possible. If so, you would think he would want to set the record straight. Maybe he misspoke. That has certainly happened before. Again, why wouldn't the rest of my colleagues show some curiosity about such a major and, frankly, bone-chilling proposition?

Are we talking about creating a police state here?


Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that?

If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?

So far, despite our attempts to find out, the Obama campaign is not talking.


Who will Obama appoint to administer this new "civilian national security force"? Where will the money come from? Where in the Constitution does he see justification for the federal government creating such a domestic army?

The questions are endless.

Farah clearly didn't look very hard to find an answer to those questions. From a July 8 Military Times Q-and-A (as noted by Sadly, No!):

I should add, by the way, that part of the change that I want when it comes to Army and Marine structures is the mix of training that we’re providing and mix of personnel that are in these forces. One of the things I have been so impressed with is the heroic job that our men and women in uniform have done basically on the fly having to train themselves on the spot to function as engineers or function as social workers or function as translators or political consultants. There’s just been a whole bunch of work that has been done that we haven’t prepared people for. They learn on the job, but if anything Iraq should have given us a template for the kinds of skill sets that we’re going to have to provide to our military. And that’s true in Iraq. That’s true in Afghanistan. That also means, by the way, that we’re going to have to, I believe, reconfigure our civilian national security force. In a way that just hasn’t been done.

I mean, we still have a national security apparatus on the civilian side in the way the State Department is structured and [Agency for International Development] and all these various agencies. That hearkens back to the Cold War. And we need that wing of our national security apparatus to carry its weight. When we talk about reinventing our military, we should reinvent that apparatus as well. We need to be able to deploy teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military.


A: Absolutely, but the only problem with soft power is the term itself makes people think it’s not as strong as hard power. And my point is that if we’ve got a State Department or personnel that have been trained just to be behind walls, and they have not been equipped to get out there alongside our military and engage, then we don’t have the kind of national security apparatus that is needed. That has to be planned for; it has to be paid for. Those personnel have to be trained. And they all have to be integrated and that is something that we have not accomplished yet, but that’s going to be what’s increasingly important in our future to make sure that our military has the support that it needs to do what it does the best, which is fight wars.

Given that this Q-and-A was posted a full week before Farah wrote his false accusations, it would seem that Farah is either incompetent or lazy.

We'll go with the latter. Despite such evidence to contradict his scaremongering, Farah expanded on his lie in a July 21 column, falsely referencing "Barack Obama's secret $439 billion plan for a mysterious initiative called the 'civilian national security force.'" Farah went on to lie: "We don't know any more about this plan than we did when Obama announced it July 2 in a speech," going on to claim that it's "some kind of domestic Big Brother program as the chilling words first suggested to me."

Farah played dumb, making no reference to the Military Times interview; while he notes that "a few have suggested" Obama was talking about "a greatly increased commitment to the Foreign Service," Farah quickly dismisses it in order to launch into his conspiracy theory.

Farah included among the alleged "questions raised by this nebulous proposal": "Why do Obama campaign officials not respond to WND's repeated requests for more information about his initiative?" Could it be because WND has an established track record of telling lies about Obama and smearing him at every opportunity while John McCain receives relatively benign treatment?

Farah concluded: "The only thing that will force Obama to come clean on this plan is public pressure." Or maybe if Farah stopped lying about Obama.

Lie No. 3 Obama's only energy plan is keeping tires inflated

A July 30 WorldNetDaily article -- headlined "Obama energy policy: 'Inflate your tires' " -- states the following:

"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated – simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling – if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"

That's his energy plan? Inflate your tires? Get more tune-ups?

WND Editor Joseph Farah, organizer of a campaign to step up the pressure on Congress to drop its moratorium on offshore drilling and reverse its decisions to ban exploration for oil in Alaska's ANWR reserves before adjournment at the end of September, says Obama's apparent naiveté illustrates why the country has no time to waste.

"My goodness, it's time to educate America's so-called leaders about the law of supply and demand," he says. "I don't care if they really understand it. But let's make sure Congress acts before it's too late. Energy prices are robbing our country of jobs, seriously hurting real Americans' ability to make ends meet, driving up prices for every other product and service imaginable. This is no time to be talking about tire pressure. Let's put some pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."

In featuring only that statement and a video of Obama making only that statement, Farah fails to mention that in that same speech, Obama made numerous other energy-related proposals. And Obama also has a detailed energy plan on his website.

Lie No. 4: Obama supports cash reparations

A July 30 WorldNetDaily article claimed the following regarding a speech by Barack Obama to "UNITY '08, an event for journalists who claim membership in various minorities":

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds," he said.

The issue of reparations to African-Americans for the historic slave trade or Native Americans for the "invasion" by Europeans periodically has been raised. Several years ago a lawsuit was filed claiming damages for labor at a current value of $1.4 trillion.

This was followed by baseless speculation from pair of right-wing columnists (though not identified as such): One asked, "Is 'serious investments' code for 'reparations'? And how expensive and devastating would Obama's income redistribution policy be?" while the other even more baselessly speculated that Obama "even include reparations for al-Qaida soldiers, since, after all, they've been held in violation of their 'rights.'"

Curiously missing from the article was an account of Obama's full remarks in context, in which he made clear what he meant by "reparations" just after he said "the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds":

QUESTION: When it comes to reparations, would you take it a step further, in terms of apologizing for slavery or offering reparations to various groups?

OBAMA: You know, I have said in the past, and I'll repeat again, that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed. And I think that strategies that invest in lifting people out of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but that have broad applicability and allow us to build coalitions to actually get these things done, that, I think, is the best strategy.

WND's opt-in poll that day misled further by asking, "What do you think about Obama's promotion of 'reparations' to blacks and Native Americans?" despite the fact that "promotion" is not what he did.

How can a self-proclaimed news organization possibly stay in business when it lies -- regularly and transparently, to the point that such falsehoods can only be considered intentional -- to its readers? We would love to see how Joseph Farah accounts for lying to readers in WorldNetDaily's business plan.

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