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Obama Amnesia

Two months ago, WorldNetDaily reported that Barack Obama's birth certificate is "authentic." Now, WND is pretending it never said that.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/27/2008

How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? It's disowning its own reporting in order to hurl new attacks at him.

As ConWebWatch detailed, during the summer, WND was repeating allegations from the far-right website Israel Insider that a birth certificate for Obama posted on Obama's "Fight the Smears" website was "fraudulent." Then, surprisingly, an Aug. 23 WND article by Drew Zahn reported:

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.

Zahn further reported that, as a result, a lawsuit filed against the Obama campaign by Philip J. Berg, an attorney and Hillary Clinton supporter, claiming that Obama is a non-citizen of the U.S. and thus ineligible to run for president "relies on discredited claims."

The question that remained to be answered was whether Zahn's article would settle the question once and for all. Would WND respond to future claims alleging birth certificate fakery by citing its own investigation, or would it uncritically report those claims as if it had never debunked them?

WND has chosen the latter.

This was hinted at when WND staff writer Jerome Corsi, while plugging his factually challenged book "The Obama Nation" on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show in September, asserted that the idea that Obama's birth certificate is faked has "some credibility to it."

Drew Zahn

Then, on Oct. 4, a WND article by Zahn touted the lawsuit by "prominent Pennsylvania Democrat and attorney Philip J. Berg" demanding that Obama "produce authorized proof of citizenship." Zahn wrote: "Despite assertions by the Washington Post, [sic] and other organizations that Obama has produced a certified Hawaiian birth certificate, Berg told WND he remains '99.99 percent sure' that the certificate is a fake and he wants a court, not a website, to determine its validity."

At no point did Zahn mention that WND is among those organizations stating that "Obama has produced a certified Hawaiian birth certificate" -- even more stunning given that Zahn wrote the article containing WND's debunking.

Thus, with the phenomenon of a reporter essentially denying the existence of his own previous reporting for partisan purposes, WND's descent into (further) dishonesty accelerates.

This was followed by an Oct. 16 article by Chelsea Schilling reporting on "a second lawsuit challenging Barack Obama's 'natural born' citizenship." Again, no mention of WND's debunking of the original Berg lawsuit. Another Zahn article uncritically repeated more claims by Berg.

Meanwhile, WND staff writer Jerome Corsi -- fresh off a trip to Kenya, returning to peddle fake documents smearing Obama by trying to link him to Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga -- was "dispatched to Hawaii to uncover the truth of the senator's place of birth." An Oct. 26 article by Corsi trumpeted an anonymous, unsubstantiated claim that the state of Hawaii "has placed the candidate's birth certificate under seal, and instructed the state's Department of Health to make sure no one in the press obtains access to the original document under any circumstances."

WND's columnists contributed to the dishonesty as well, adding their own conspiratorial twist. From Hal Lindsey's Oct. 17 column:

Besides, says it examined the Obama birth certificate and claims it is genuine.

But is owned by the Annenberg Foundation, which links to Bill Ayers, which links to Barack Obama, both of whom held seats on that board – which then calls's objectivity into question.

Craige McMillan similarly wrote in an Oct. 23 column:

As for and it's assurances that the short form "certification" of birth is real, that organization is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Obama's former sugar daddy, the Annenberg Foundation. Come to think of it, isn't the Annenberg Foundation the same organization that unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers used to "spread the wealth around"?

McMillan went on to smear Obama supporters as "inbred East Coast fools."

In fact, Walter Annenberg, the source of the funding behind and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge on which both Ayers and Obama served, was a prominent Republican supporter.

One thing is missing from all of these articles and columns -- any mention of the fact that WND declared Obama's birth certificate to be "authentic."

While the blame for this situation falls entirely on WND as a whole -- after all, the website for much of 2008 has been little more than an Obama hate machine, so it's no real surprise it would accuse Obama of something it previously cleared him of -- special attention must be paid to Drew Zahn, who reported the original debunking that he how pretends doesn't exist.

Either Zahn is so stupid he can't remember what he originally wrote about the Berg lawsuit, or he is so dishonest that he would lie to his readers about his own employer demonstrating that Berg's lawsuit had no merit. He may be doing the latter at the direction of WND's upper management -- that is, editor Joseph Farah and managing editor David Kupelian -- but that then raises the question of Zahn's journalistic ethics even more. What kind of a journalist would willingly acquiesce to such blatant dishonesty?

Zahn has peddled some of those misleading and false Obama attacks as well:

  • A Sept. 6 article by Zahn carried the false headline, "Dems trash U.S. flags at DNC convention." The article claimed that "Following their national convention in Denver last week, Democratic organizers heaped up thousands of unused U.S. flags, allegedly to throw them away." While Zahn includes a denial from Democratic officials, it falls short of what those officials actually have said, allowing Zahn to portray the allegations as true when they're not. In fact, according to Democratic convention officials, the flags were put into the bags for storage purposes.
  • In an Oct. 10 article, Zahn uncritically accepted the premise of the creator of an anti-Obama ad that Obama was "mocking the Bible" during a 2006 speech. Zahn made no effort to explain the full context of Obama's statements, and he selectively quoted from the Obama campaign's criticism of the ad to avoid mentioning statements damning its creator. In fact, as Obama's campaign stated, the speech "actually celebrates the role of people of faith in public life and offers nuanced thoughts on the intersection of religion and politics."
  • An Oct. 20 article by Zahn reported on the arrest of a Republican activist in California for alleged voter fraud but reported only the man's defense, curiously omitting the evidence against him. Zahn uncriticially reported claims that the man was within his rights to claim his "childhood home" as his legal residence, but failed to report law enforcement claims that the address he put down as his legal address in California was not where he resided, or offer any evidence that the "childhood home" is, in fact, the "legal residence" he declared. Zahn also buried the much more serious charge against the activist, Mark Jacoby -- that, according to the Los Angeles Times, registrants were they were tricked by Jacoby's firm, Young Political Majors, into switching parties to Republican while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters -- by portraying it as a distraction from Republican voter registration fraud allegations against ACORN.

According to Zahn's personal website, he "considers himself a 'casual professional,' meaning one who adheres to professional standards of honesty and integrity, but who also maintains approachable, flexible, and personable relationships with clients and coworkers." Unfortunately, his standard of professionalism appears to have become a little too casual, completely jettisoning the "professional standards of honesty and integrity" he professes to have as a "passionate evangelical Christian."

If he has any of that "honesty and integrity" left, Zahn must make some choices. He can publicly renounce his original debunking of the birth certificate, or he can affirm it and renounce his reporting on it since then that contradicts the original article. He can continue to sell his soul to the forces of journalistic dishonesty and malice and further destroy his reputation as a "Christian editor," or he can take what dignity he has left and leave his employment at WorldNetDaily.

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