Joseph Farah's Birther Revisionism
The WorldNetDaily editor has not only lied about his website's birther coverage, he and Alan Keyes want you to believe that they're not questioning Barack Obama's citizenship.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily has been trying to change the language on on its birther activism over the past several months, trying to get you to think it's not questioning whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S. -- despite the fact that it's been a central component of WND's coverage.
WND editor Joseph Farah is leading the charge. In his Aug. 6, 2009, column, he asserted: "Once again, I am not making accusations about where Obama was born."
Of course, Farah did just that at least twice in the month before that column appeared:
On top of Farah lying about not making "accusations about where Obama was born," the accusation he did make about Obama's grandmother saying Barack Obama was born in Kenya is false. As ConWebWatch has detailed, that claim comes from an anti-Obama Anabaptist minister, Ron McRae, who seized on translation issues during his interview of the grandmother to make the claim.
Telling a lie about where someone said Obama was born is, in fact, making an accusation about where Obama was born.
His "evidence" is a document that could never and will never suffice. It's called a certification of live birth. It is not a birth certificate. It does not prove even the first question we ask for proof of natural born citizenship: Was the subject born in the United States?
But since certifications of live birth are generated from the original birth certificate, Farah is also saying that the original "long-form" birth certificate, because it could have been based on fraudulent information, is not acceptable evidence of Obama's birth either -- even though that's what he's been demanding for months.
Farah compounded his lie in a Nov. 21, 2009, column by asserting: "Of course, no one at WND to my knowledge has ever said Obama wasn't born in the U.S. or suggested he was born in Kenya."
Really? Publishing a purported "Kenyan birth certificate" without performing the basic journalistic duty of trying to authenticate it beforehand is not suggesting Obama was born in Kenya? WND columnist Craige McMillan's repeatedly calling Obama an "illegal alien" -- to cite just one example -- is not an assertion that Obama was not born in the U.S.? (McMillan's March 11 column kept up what Farah claims he's not doing by calling Obama "Kenya's most prominent citizen.")
Does Farah really believe his readers are that stupid? Apparently so.
Farah has since tried a slightly different approach: that birthers aren't questioning Obama's citizenship, just his eligibility to be president. Farah wrote in his Feb. 8 WND column about an article in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill noting Obama's statement at the national Prayer Breakfast that "Surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith or, for that matter, my citizenship":
Here's how the Hill played the story Thursday: "'Birthers' who question whether Obama is a U.S. citizen have raised questions about his birth certificate since the 2008 campaign. Even after proof has been offered of Obama's birth in Hawaii, some critics have questioned its legitimacy. Most mainstream politicians have dismissed questions about whether Obama is a citizen."
Farah is lying when he says birthers like himself do not question Obama's "citizenship." In fact, just five days before Farah's column, a Feb. 4 WND article by Chelsea Schilling references "the growing ranks of officials and prominent commentators who say they are unsure of whether President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen." She also quoted a Tennessee gubernatorial candidate as saying, "I don't know whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States or not."
Nevertheless, Farah wrote a Feb. 15 column as a letter to Newsweek demanding a retraction for its "blatantly defamatory" listing of Farah as among those who say Obama "wasn't born in the good old US of A, hence isn't a natural-born citizen and therefore cannot legally be president":
While I have written tens of thousands of words about the subject of Barack Obama's eligibility and talked for dozens of hours on the public airwaves and given hundreds of interviews on this subject, never have I stated that Obama was not born in the United States.
That's just outright bamboozlement. He may or may not be on record as having "stated" those exact words, but Farah, by himself and via his WND subordinates, has been among the leading promoters of the idea that Obama is not a citizen.
Farah is not the only birther at WND to try to decouple citizenship from "eligibility." Alan Keyes wrote in his April 2 column:
Obama pairs those concerned that he is a socialist with others, who he says (speaking with purposely deceitful inaccuracy) "question whether he is a citizen." Yet when accurately stated and understood, the real issue is not whether he is a citizen, but whether, in accordance with the terms of the U.S. Constitution, he is or ever could be president of the United States.
Meanwhile, the attempt at revisionism is spreading into WND's news coverage.
An April 5 WND article by Bob Unruh focuses on an active-duty Army lieutenant colonel who has somehow been convinced by birthers to throw away his military career by refusing to obey orders "until he knows that President Obama is in the Oval Office as a constitutionally eligible president." Unruh writes that a counseling document issued by the Army regarding the officer "wasn't completely accurate" in referring to the officer's contention that Obama is not "native born": "It's not 'native-born' that is in question for Obama; it is the constitutionally mandated 'natural born citizen.' Although the term is not defined in the Constitution, legal scholars believe it is best understood to mean a U.S. child of U.S. citizen parents."
Farah's and Keyes' efforts to decouple citizenship from eligibility is bizarre and futile, not to mention completely dishonest -- questioning whether Obama is a "natural born citizen," by definition, questions Obama's citizenship. If Farah and Keyes are not questioning Obama's citizenship, any challenge they make regarding his eligibility is specious at best.
Will Farah and Keyes unambiguously concede that Obama is a citizen of the United States? Because that's exactly what they're doing in claiming that citizenship is not the issue. Or is birtherism too big a business for them to forthrightly state the truth?