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Joe Kovacs vs. 'Real News'

The WorldNetDaily executive news editor says he joined WND to report "real news" -- you know, like anti-Obama conspiracy theories or what Rush Limbaugh says on his radio show.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/11/2012

In an April 29 article marking WorldNetDaily's 15th anniversary, WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs waxes rhapsodic about the kind of hard-hitting news he gets to cover at WND, as opposed to the "mainstream" media where he used to work:

I had finally found a news agency that cared about reporting the news. I mean the real news. The news that matters. Not the daily body count of who shot whom and what’s the weather guess. I was working with some of the finest journalists alive, and everyone there knew (and still knows) that we indeed have a team gifted and blessed with extraordinary talent.

I think readers both old and new instantly recognize they get more real journalism from WND than any other news source on the planet, whether it was from the middle of nowhere, or now headquartered in new offices in the nation’s capital.

It was, and still is, all about finding and reporting the most important, hard-hitting, relevant and interesting information on any given day. Because we don’t follow the drumbeat of the mainstream media, we’re free to focus on what’s important to real people, without the phony-baloney hype and agenda-driven reports that seem so ubiquitous in today’s news industry.

And what's Kovacs' main contribution to serving up "the real news, the news that matters" at WND? Transcribing what Rush Limbaugh says on his radio show.

A glance through Kovacs' WND article archive shows numerous articles dedicated to recapping Limbaugh's musings, in which Limbaugh is regularly described as a "radio giant" or a "top-rated radio host." Rarely does Kovacs provide any counterpoint to Limbaugh's views -- apparently, the "real news" as it comes from Limbaugh's mouth doesn't need to be fact-checked.

Joe Kovacs

Given the extent of his slavering over Limbaugh, it's no surprise that Kovacs was mostly AWOL during the controversy over Limbaugh's three-day tirade of misogyny against Sandra Fluke for daring to talk about birth control in public. His first article on the incident came on March 5, five days after Limbaugh first insulted Fluke, in which he uncritically reported on Limbaugh's "second apology" to Fluke for calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute," ignoring the fact that Limbaugh launched nearly four dozen other personal attacks on Fluke for which he did not apologize.

Apparently, reporting the "real news" doesn't mean reporting all of the news if it makes Limbaugh look bad. Indeed, Kovacs followed that up by uncritically reporting Limbaugh's claim that sponsors who quit advertising on his show over the controversy are "practically begging to come back." Limbaugh provided no evidence to back up his claim, and Kovacs apparently made no effort to obtain any. Still, Kovacs treats Limbaugh's claim as completely credible.

As WND's resident Limbaugh-phile, one probably has to assume that Kovacs was responsible for an embarrassing August 2011 article claiming that Limbaugh "said today" that "Tomorrow is Obama's birthday. ... Not that we've seen any proof of that." Actually, Limbaugh had said that a year earlier. WND quietly deleted the false, unbylined article without explanation or correction (though you'd have to assume there was some behind-the-scenes apologizing to Limbaugh).

Kovacs also provided his idea of "real news" the day after his WND testimonial. Suggesting that President Obama had something to do with the death of a medical examiner.

No, really. This is the beginning of Kovacs' April 30 article:

Medical examiners in Los Angeles are investigating the possible poisoning death of one of their own officials who may have worked on the case of Andrew Breitbart, the conservative firebrand who died March 1, the same day Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced probable cause for forgery in President Obama’s birth certificate.

Michael Cormier, a respected forensic technician for the Los Angeles County Coroner died under suspicious circumstances at his North Hollywood home April 20, the same day Breitbart’s cause of death was finally made public.

At no point does Kovacs even bother to establish that Corimer was involved in any way with Breitbart's autopsy, let alone any personal involvement by Obama in anything.

As it turns out, LA Weekly learned that Corimer played no role whatsoever in Breitbart's autopsy, meaning that Kovacs' entire article is a sick joke.

WND's fellow conspiracy obsessive, Jerome Corsi, then picked up this nothingburger story and tried to expand it by ranting about the purported disappearance of "the only eyewitness to the sudden death of media innovator and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart," hinting -- without any evidence whatsoever -- that Obama had something to do with this. Like Kovacs, he failed to mention that the medical examiner who died had nothing to do with Breitbart's autopsy.

But it turned out that Kovacs was not done embarrassing himself over this. Kovacs declared in a May 10 article that "Law-enforcement officials in California are now speaking out on the mysterious death of one of their own forensic technicians who died the day autopsy results were released for conservative powerhouse Andrew Breitbart." And what are they speaking out about? Kovacs' discredited suggestion that the man played any role in Breitbart's autopsy. Kovacs doesn't admit he peddled that claim, of course -- that would be acting too much like a real journalist.

Kovacs kept up the conspiracy-mongering in a May 17 article, headlined "Study: Obama economy wrecking NASCAR":

With President Obama at the wheel of the U.S. economy, the car-racing industry appears to be wrecking, with few signs of getting back on the right track.

That according to a new study examining the financial state of NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

Just one little problem: The facts don't back Kovacs up.

Kovacs was citing a study paid for by Race Fans 4 Freedom, which claims to be "an independent nonprofit dedicated to empowering race fans with the knowledge of what has made America the best and the ability to unite as a driving force for the future of our country." In other words, a right-wing group. Kovacs mentions nothing about the group's partisan leanings.

There is one word notably absent from the group's study: "Obama." That's right -- unlike Kovacs, the study never explicitly blames Obama.

Kovacs manages to further discredit himself by including a graphic from the study in his article:

Note that the decline in NASCAR attendance began in 2006 -- three years before Obama took office. It defies logic to blame Obama for that, but Kovacs decided to do that anyway.

Kovacs' biggest boner at WND was in pursuit of yet another anti-Obamaa conspiracy. In August 2010, WND published an article by Kovacs claiming that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's name came up "at least nine times on [Supreme Court] dockets involving Obama eligibility issues" stemming from her connection as Obama's former solicitor general.

But Kovacs got it completely wrong, as ConWebWatch documented at the time. Snopes detailed that none of those docket items has anything to do with "eligibility issues."

WND scrubbed the heck out of Kovacs' article, completely rewriting it and removing Kovacs' name. It now begins with an "editor's note" that severely understates the changes WND made: "An earlier version of this story incorrectly described a series of cases for which Elena Kagan represented the government as eligibility cases. Those cases, in fact, were a series of unrelated disputes pending before the Supreme Court and the references have been removed from this report." The article now lamely focuses on a single case cited in the original article.

Kovacs appears to have suffered no ill effects from his embarrassing, and arguably malicious, error -- indeed, he has been allowed to stick around long enough to pen his gushy tribute to WND.

What we learn from all of this is that Kovacs did not join WND to engage in disseminating "real news." He is a conspiratorial right-wing hack who wanted an outlet for his hack work, and WND -- which is in the midst of turning itself into an anti-Obama super PAC -- is nothing if not a home for conspiratorial right-wing hacks.

This shows that there seems to be another reason Kovacs ditched the "mainstream" media for WND: The mainstream media follows widely accepted journalistic and ethical standards. WND has no such encumbrances on its so-called journalism.

Put simply: WND is pretty much the only place Kovacs can get a job these days to practice his distorted, fringe version of "real news."

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