Obama Hate Central
Led by WorldNetDaily, the ConWeb proudly demonstrates its contempt for Barack Obama.
By Terry Krepel
In a Jan. 8 column, Joseph Farah proclaimed his website, WorldNetDaily, to be "Obama Watch Central," insisting that "WND will be at the forefront of chronicling the continuing subterfuge we can expect from the incoming administration as well as Congress and the Supreme Court." Farah then adds: "Does this mean WND won't be 'fair' to Obama? No."
Feel free to take a break for a hearty laugh.
As ConWebWatch has documented, WND's coverage of Obama has been one long parade of unfairness, lies and barely disguised hate, as well as repeatedly publishing cranks who call Obama a Nazi.
Far from "Obama Watch Central," WND has demonstrated itself to be Obama Hate Central. And as Obama was taking office on Jan. 20 WND led the ConWeb in virulent attacking him.
The prime example of just how deep WND's hatred toward Obama runs is a Jan. 19 column by Farah imploring his readers to pray for the failure of Obama's presidency:
Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.
Farah's screed is an apparent echo of the same sentiment by radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Farah is far from the only writer whose hatred of Obama practically oozes off the computer screen. Reporter Aaron Klein hasn't let the fact that the election is over get in the way of his attempts to play guilt-by-association by trying to link Obama to various unsavory types such as terrorists and communists, as he did during the presidential campaign.
A Dec. 5 article by Klein mined a blog post by a former Weatherman member to baselessly present speculation that Obama "is 'feigning' a centrist position on some issues so he can ultimately push through a radical agenda" as indisputable fact. In a Dec. 7 article, Klein tried to resurrect the false secret-Muslim smear by quoting an Egyptian cleric's alleged plea urging Obama to convert to Islam. That gave Klein yet another excuse to pretend that what Obama did as a child religion-wise somehow undercuts his claims to be a Christian today. In fact, 35 of the article's 45 paragraphs are dedicated to this rehash. In a Dec. 21 article, Klein tarred labor secretary-designee Rep. Hilda Solis as having "close ties to U.S. communist and socialist organizations" because ... she once sent a representative to a gathering of socialists 12 years ago, and because socialists have allegedly said nice things about her.
Klein used a Jan. 19 article once once again raised the specter of "anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi" and his alleged connections to Obama. But nowhere did Klein mention that Khalidi has ties to prominent Republicans including Obama's former opponent, John McCain. As ConWebWatch detailed, Klein avoided telling his readers about the Khalidi-McCain connection until someone else reported it, and then desperately tried to spin it away.
Klein oozed contempt yet again in a Jan. 20 article on Obama's inauguration speech. Attacking the inclusive language Obama used, Klein repeatedly out of context took a previous Obama comment that America is "no longer a Christian nation" to assert that Obama plans "to reorient the U.S. away from its traditional Judeo-Christian values." But Klein himself contradicts this point later in the article by finally noting Obama's words in full context: "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
Klein does not explain why it's somehow offensive to him for Obama to acknowledge the simple, undeniable fact that there are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists who are also American citizens.
A Jan. 16 "news" article by Drew Zahn on a newly introduced bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms, is disparagingly headlined "Hail King Obama: President for life." But WND reported on similar efforts in 2006 -- even naming the same congressman who introduced the current bill as a supporter -- without raising the specter of "King Bush."
WND columnist Ellis Washington -- who has not been shy about likening Obama to Nazis -- threw an additional smear into the mix in a Jan. 17 column, claiming that "I see Barack Obama mimicking the fascist and socialist policies of President Wilson," later going on to reference "the fascist and socialist legacy of Wilson, FDR, LBJ, [and] Carter." George W. Bush, meanwhile, merely has "utopian tendencies."
Another WND columnist who likened Obama to Nazis, Erik Rush, declared his contempt in the headline of his Jan. 22 column: "Mussolini inspired optimism, too."
And Jack Cashill is still clinging to his conpsiracy theory that William Ayers ghost-wrote Barack Obama's first book. His Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column asserted that an article that Obama purportedly wrote in 1983 containing grammatical errors "should put an end to the charade that Barack Obama wrote his 1995 memoir 'Dreams From My Father' unaided," adding that "Ayers had the means, the motive and the ability to jump start Obama's literary career, and Obama needed all the help he could get." Missing, of course -- as has been missing all along -- is any actual evidence that isn't speculative or circumstantial.
WND hasn't let the inauguration get in the way of its bogus obsession over Obama's birth certificate. A Jan. 18 article by Bob Unruh failed to acknowledge the simple fact that WND's own reporting found it to be authentic, still pretending that there are legitimate questions about Obama's "eligibility" not raised by people who aren't Obama-haters like themselves.
An italic-littered Jan. 20 WND column by Alan Keyes and fellow birth certificate obsessive John Haskins keeps up the fight by claiming, "Now steps onto the stage of world history a man apparently quite conscious that the Supreme Law of the United States prevents him from being president of the United States," adding their contempt for Obama's supporters: "Like the sophisticated, educated elites in Weimar, Germany, they long to live under what they presume will be a benevolent dictatorship."
While Keyes and Haskins sneer at the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign as merely an "exhibition ... via the Internet" -- despite the fact that FactCheck.org has "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate" and pronounced it to be real -- nowhere do they acknowledge that the website where their commentary appears similarly verified its authenticity.
WND is not the only ConWeb outlet proudly displaying its contempt for Obama. The Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog has also been chockablock with Obama-hate hiding behind a thin scrim of "media criticism":
NewsBusters writers have also made a habit of blaming things on Obama that aren't his fault. Associate editor Noel Sheppard, in a piece for the Washington Examiner, was quick to blame Barack Obama's victory for a stock market drop immediately following the election -- asserting "there's no question this represented Wall Street's vote of no confidence in Obama's economic plans for the future" -- while failing to acknowledge that there was economic news that even the Fox Business Channel agreed played a decisive factor in the decline. Sheppard followed up with a Nov. 30 NewsBusters post proclaiming it to be Obama's fault that "the market is still down eleven percent since Election Day," again failing to note the pertinent post-election economic data.
Sheppard was at it again on Jan. 20, suggesting that the day's stock market decline was related to Obama's inauguration. While Sheppard noted that "stocks normally do very poorly the first year of a new president's first term," he was also eager to point out "how the selloff accelerated after Obama finished his Inaugural address." At no point does Sheppard mention events in the financial world that actually drove the decline: According to the Washington Post, "Disillusioned investors fled financial companies as fresh evidence mounted that the industry's problems are larger than previously understood, larger than the response so far mustered by the government and perhaps larger than the resources remaining in its rescue program."
MRC chief Brent Bozell felt the need to bash Elizabeth Alexander, whom Obama commissioned to write an original poem for the inauguration. In a Jan. 15 column, Bozell slammed Alexander's poetry as having appeal "only for a snobbish elite," mostly because she once used the words "genitals" and "buttocks" in the same poem and "wrote that the Rodney King police-brutality case in 1991 was somehow akin to blacks in professional sports." Bozell apparently prefers the opposite to Alexander's poetry, which he described as "assembly-line verses crammed into a Hallmark card."
Bozell also promoted a false claim about the cost of the inauguration, writing in a Jan. 21 column: "For the record, the 'lavish'  Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million." In fact, as Media Matters' Eric Boehlert detailed, the estimated cost of the Obama inaugural includes security and other ancillary costs, while the figure for Bush's inaugural doesn't.
At MRC "news" division CNSNews.com, editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey was apparently taking cues from WorldNetDaily's Klein by taking Obama out of context in his Jan. 21 column, claiming that Obama made a "declaration" in his inauguration speech that "We are a nation of ... non-believers." Jeffrey also referred to "the 'non-believers' to whom Obama paid tribute in the heart of his speech." Jeffrey failed to offer to his readers the full context of Obama's remark: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."
Like Klein, Jeffrey does not explain why he finds it offensive that Obama is acknowledging the simple, undeniable that there are people other than Christians who hold American citizenship.
Meanwhile, what Newsmax lacked in WND-esque vitriol it made up for in right-wing bias gussied up as analysis.
A Jan. 15 Newsmax article by Kenneth Timmerman cites several "tax experts" who claim that treasury secretary-designee Tim Geithner should withdraw because of an issue over non-payment of taxes (which he has since paid) while employed by the International Monetary Fund. But his "experts" -- from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Maryland Taxpayers Association and the National Taxpayers Union -- are all right-wingers, and Timmerman identifies only the CEI and Heritage reps as "conservative."
Similarly, a Jan. 18 article credited only to "Newsmax Staff" asserted that, according to "financial experts," Barack Obama's proposed stimulus package "is little more than a checklist for funding the pricey social-services agenda that he promised during his campaign" and is a "Trojan horse of pork and welfare spending" that "will ultimately worsen the recession and drive the nation deeper into debt." Again, all the "experts" cited are right-wingers, but this time none are identifed as such. And a Jan. 19 article by Jim Meyers aimed for all the negative Obama spin he could muster: "Barack Obama has yet to be sworn in as president, but he’s already been bedeviled by a series of miscues and unfortunate revelations."
Newsmax's columnists were a little harsher:
But Newsmax aimed its harshest rhetoric not at Obama but at the person he replaced. In a pair of "editorials," Newsmax excoriated outgoing President Bush, claiming that "Bush’s legacy to his successor is two unresolved wars, a global image that is deeply tarnished, and the greatest economic crisis in modern times. Conservatives who backed Bush in two successive elections have little to show for their efforts. Bush, in fact, has decimated the Republican brand." The second editorial added: "A broad range of conservative thinkers, surveying the political and economic fallout of the two Bush terms, are openly voicing their concerns that it may take years for the Republican party and the nation to repair the damage Bush policies have inflicted."
Some of this criticism is not entirely surprising -- Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy was editorializing in favor of a troop withdrawal from Iraq as early as 2005 -- but the strong tone of it is, given that Newsmax has overall been one of Bush's biggest supporters. It declared after 9/11 that "Real Americans support [Bush] 100 percent," and after Bush's 2004 re-election with a bare-majority 51 percent of the vote, Ruddy proclaimed, "Yesterday the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush." And Newsmax did it with nary a mention of the "liberal media" trope the folks at the MRC love to take refuge in.
Still, the rest of the ConWeb has a ways to go before it achieves WND's level of anti-Obama bile.
How bad is it over there? It has reached the point where Farah will lie about one of WND's very few instances of actually showing fairness to Obama in order to perpetuate his own Obama-hate.
In his Dec. 20 column, Farah began truthfully by noting: "From Media Matters to Keith Olbermann to Democratic members of Congress, they are all eagerly attributing to WND a definitive finding that Barack Hussein Obama's website displays an actual copy of his birth certificate." But then the lies begin when he states: "There's just one problem. Nothing could be further from the truth." He continued: "WND did offer up to forgery experts the facsimile of a partial birth certificate posted on his website. None of them could report conclusively that the electronic image was authentic or that it was a forgery."
That is a lie. From the August 23 WND article (emphasis added):
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.
After Farah's lie was noted on ConWebBlog and the Huffington Post, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used that information to name Farah the "Worst Person in the World" on the Jan. 5 edition of "Countdown."
Farah, unsurprisingly, didn't take that well -- but he didn't concede his lie, either. In his Jan. 13 column -- after first denigrating Olbermann by attacking his supposedly low viewership -- Farah changed his story ever so slightly, now claiming that the August WND report "appeared to suggest an image of Barack Obama's birth certificate on his website was found conclusively to be genuine," adding that "At that time of that report, the best information WND had suggested the image of Obama's birth certificate was genuine."
Of course, that report did much more than "suggest" it -- it definitive stated that its forgery experts found the document to be authentic. It's less of a lie than Farah's original claim, but it's still a lie.
Farah then tried to change the subject: "However, the veracity of that image was never the major issue of contention. Rather, the major issue is where is the rest of the birth certificate the part that explains where the baby was born, who the delivery doctor was, etc." Yet WND has spent considerable time covering something that is not a "major issue," while hiding its own previous coverage. For instance, a Dec. 1 WND article by Bob Unruh is devoted to so-called "imaging guru" Ron Polarik's claims that the certificate is "criminally fraudulent." At no point did Unruh mention WND's own reporting that the certificate is authentic. And on Jan. 8, WND promoted an "Obama commercial they don't want you to see," which asserts that the certificate is "an obvious forgery."
But now that Farah got caught in a lie, he has decided that the lie doesn't matter because it's not about a "major issue." But this revisionism ignores the fact that it is very much a "major issue."
If that certificate is indeed "authentic" -- that is, found to have been issued by the state of Hawaii, derived from the "full" certificate Farah is panting over, with all of the information needed to meet requirements of residency for purposes such as obtaining a passport, which presumably also meets the requirements for establishing that Obama is a "natural born citizen" -- then demanding release of the "full" birth certificate is moot.
But Farah and WND don't want to do that -- they hate Obama too much.
If Farah and WND were truly interested in fairness, they would acknowledge and publicly retract their mistakes when they are pointed out, instead of smearing their critics and perpetuating litigation aimed at forcing WND to do what it should have done on its own: tell the truth.
Rather than perpetuate the facade of being a "vigilant watchdog on government waste, fraud, abuse and corruption," Farah and WND should just come clean and admit what being "Obama Watch Central" really means.
(1/25/2009 Update: Adds WND "Hail King Obama" headline.)