ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Refined Race-Baiting At WorldNetDaily

The lesson WND learned from Google threatening to cut off ad revenue over its obsession with "black mobs": Be a little less blatant about it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/15/2016

Colin Flaherty

Back in 2012 and 2013, WorldNetDaily was on quite the race-baiting roll. Colin Flaherty was all over the website fearmongering about "black mob violence" -- even when no actual black people were involved -- and WND published his big book of race-baiting, "White Girl Bleed A Lot."

But the ride was about to end, courtesy of WND's desire not to lose revenue.

A February 2014 WND article described how Google "has threatened to block ads on the news site over its use of the term 'black mobs' in news stories and columns reporting on a two-year epidemic of racial attacks in the U.S." Here's how WND responded: "In response, WND is preemptively blocking Google ads in content in which that phrase appears in past and current stories, including this one. Other ad providers have agreed to step in and fill the gap."

That's right -- rather than fight the power, WND acquiesced by trying to keep the offending words from jeopardizing precious Google ad revenue.

And yet WND still managed to get it wrong -- as we noted at the time, there were still Google ad spaces on the page that article resides on. As of this writing, there were three Google-controlled ad spaces on the article -- two through AdSense and a third through DoubleClick.

The article was accompanied by a column by editor Joseph Farah defending Flaherty and pretending there was no race-baiting going on, insisting that WND simply "made the decision to begin tracking what appeared to be a rise in unprovoked black on non-black violence." Farah went on to huff:

Google is clearly assigning motives to our reporting on the basis of the linking of two words – black mobs. Euphemisms for two perfectly accurate words must now be found because Google has determined that the linking of these two words is hate speech. When one of the most powerful media companies in the world starts banning words and phrases and imposing its speech police standards on all those it does business with, we are headed down a dangerous, Orwellian slippery slope.

The term “black mobs” as used in WND is not a pejorative term.

It is not hate speech. In fact, it is the reporting of facts – facts that have been substantiated and reported by many other news sources since WND began reporting on the trend two years ago. WND Books’ “White Girl Bleed A Lot” is carried in bookstores across the nation and on What’s next – burning the books?

But if there wasn't a racial or pejorative motive behind it, why has Flaherty been so desperate to push the issue that he has included non-blacks and animals in the "black mobs" he writes about? And why doesn't WND give other crimes the kind of blanket coverage it has afforded Flaherty and his "black mob" obsession? Farah doesn't explain.

As the WND "news" article on this subject noted, the term "black mobs" had appeared in "more than 670 WND reports" up to that time. Can WND claim to have given that kind of coverage in the past two years to any other subject (other than birther conspiracies), let alone any other crime?

Farah might claim he's engaging in "the reporting of facts," but those facts are cherry-picked and taken out of context for no other apparent reason than to instill an irrational fear of black people in WND's predominately white audience.

In both the news article and Farah's column, the endorsement of Flaherty's race-baiting by "celebrated black scholar Thomas Sowell" is presented as evidence that this is somehow not race-baiting. That desperate appeal to authority is a logical fallacy that only serves to demonstrate how ethically and morally barren Flaherty's race-baiting crusade is.

As he's wont to do, Farah tries to turn things around and play the victim while puffing himself up as a First Amendment champion:

Google’s policy attempts to censor words and phrases that are truthful and accurate from First Amendment-protected media on the basis of political correctness and faulty algorithmic methodology.

In journalism, a craft I have practiced for more than 35 year at all levels and in all media as a reporter, top editor of major market daily newspapers, on the radio, in television and, more recently, as an Internet pioneer who created the first independent news source, there is great value in connecting the dots between hundreds of seemingly isolated incidents. That’s what we did. It was seen as a public service by many – including me.


We cannot and should not be forced to sanitize our compelling reporting on a subject of national importance because it is labeled thoughtlessly and falsely as “hate speech.” WND’s reporting on this phenomenon is neither motivated by hatred nor does it foster hatred. Ironically, the real hate speech and hate actions are what we are reporting on, what we are exposing. If Google takes this censorious action, it would be an act that would have a chilling effect not only on free speech but on responsible reporting about a crime wave affecting the entire nation.

Funny, the only "censorious actions" we've seen have all come from WND, which has continued to keep its readers ignorant of the fact that its Obama birther crusade has been discredited and given no meaningful recourse to those targeted by the lies WND publishes on a depressingly regular basis.

But the proof is in the pudding: WND capitulated to Google and dialed back its race-baiting. A month later Flaherty would stop writing bylined articles for WND. He would self-publish his next race-baiting book, "Don't Make The Black Kids Angry," through Amazon's CreateSpace, and the WND online store doesn't sell it.

But the race-baiting itself didn't stop at WND; it just got less blatant. For a while, anyway. For instance:

  • Bob Unruh wrote a May 2014 article about how "a black teenager is facing charges as an adult for what authorities are describing as the revenge arson of the home of a white woman and her two children." As Flaherty so often did, Unruh asserted there was a "racial factor" to the crime but did not offer evidence to back it up. He does, however, promote Flaherty's book.
  • When tensions in Ferguson, Mo., exploded in the summer of 2014, WND tried to jump on that bandwagon, with Unruh rushing to race-bait by repeating a claim that "a New Black Panther Party member is advocating violence against law enforcement in response to the shooting of Michael Brown." Unruh also claimed that "Multiple Twitter posts said the looting was a negative for the community and should have been done in 'white' neighborhoods."

But in the wake of an February 2015 incident about teens storming a theater in Florida, however, WND decided it had to crank up the race-baiting. WND uses Twitter to promote its articles, and one tweet it sent on the incident was so important that it had to be announced in ALL CAPS: "IF I HAD A SON -- NEARLY 1000 BLACK TEENS STORM THEATER IN ORLANDO TO GET IN FOR FREE."

Funny thing about the purloined Florida TV station article WND is promoting here, though: It says "more than 200 juveniles" were involved in a disturbance at a local mall, of which only "about 100" rushed the theater -- not the "nearly 1000" the WND tweet claims. An earlier version of the article, which WND stole for its website, claimed that "about 800 teens" were involved. Which, last we checked, requires a lot of stretching to be considered "nearly 1000."

Also, the word "black" does not appear in that article, the original version that WND stole, or in the accompanying video report. WND did not explain how it divined that every single student involved in the incident -- whether 100 or "nearly 1000" -- was black. They have have simply assumed that if there was a large crowd of teens causing mayhem, they must obviously be black.

Further, the "If I Had A Son" tagline did not appear on the stolen WND version of the article -- it simply uses "WND Crime." Apparently, this reference to President Obama's statement about Trayvon Martin (and the title of Jack Cashill's WND-published, race-baiting book on the subject) is some sort of dog whistle to its more race-obsessed readers that this is another story about blacks behaving badly (despite, again, no evidence that this is indeed the case).

WND later did an article of its own on the incident -- making sure to tell us that the teens were engaged in "fierce black-mob attacks," putting that right in the headline -- then added a perverted twist, given the movie they purportedly wanted to see:

A mall in Ocoee, Florida, has been forced to impose a curfew after as many as 900 black teenagers, mostly girls, stormed a theater inside the mall so they could see the sexual bondage-themed film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” on Valentine’s Day.

But the article to which WND linked to back up its claim never stated the race of the teens involved -- nor does it state the name of the movie playing at the theater -- and WND doesn't detail how it determined that every single one of the teens involved were black.

As we've previously documented, law enforcement has reduced earlier estimates of the number of teens involved -- something the WND article doesn't reflect. The current accurate estimate is around 200 teens were involved, not the 900 WND continues to claim.

Despite no actual evidence the incident could be based on black people, WND brought Flaherty out of race-baiting purgatory to comment. And he delivers, even blaming the decline of malls in America on blacks:

Colin Flaherty, author of “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It,” said it’s just the latest example of mob violence hitting shopping malls all around the country, and the chaos is overwhelmingly perpetuated by black teenagers.

According to Flaherty, “This is similar to what happened in Jacksonville in Christmas 2013: 750 black people rushed a theater, then created havoc and violence in and out of the theater. The same kind of violence occurred in a mall in Salisbury, Maryland, not long ago. And there are so many more cases that I’ve documented again and again.”

“This kind of violence is why you see so many ‘struggling’ malls and why people are withdrawing from public spaces. Ordinary families simply don’t feel safe. And they probably shouldn’t feel safe, because the police seem more interested in shoving incidents like this under the rug than stopping them.”

Forget all you know about economics and things like shifting demographics, altered shopping and the rise of online retail: it's black people who are killing malls.

After that, WND developed a race-baiting retinue featuring Flaherty and Cashill, with occasional appearances by far-right black columnists Jesse Lee Peterson and Erik Rush, it hauled out to comment every time some race-baiting needed to be done.

In April 2015, WND took Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake out of context by claiming that a statement she made in the wake of rioting following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man, in police custody can only be interpreted as giving rioters permission to destroy property -- then had Cashill, Flaherty and Peterson comment on the statement.

Cashill insisted the mayor wasn't taken out of context, and that "the protesters have so thoroughly ingested the anti-white propaganda educators and the media have fed them over the years that they feel comfortable in blaming Freddie Gray’s death on white people.” Flaherty invoked "black mob violence" again. Peterson asserted "angry black thugs" were targeting "unsuspecting whites."

Unruh's Dec. 27 WND article is more explicitly racebait-y than WND has in a while. The unsubtle headline: "Coming To Your Suburb: The Ghettos."

Unruh waited until the 16th paragraph to use the word "black" in describing those from the "ghettos" who are coming to defile "predominantly white suburban neighborhoods" -- an apparent attempt to evade the PC police at Google AdSense -- but the dog whistle is all too clear in his opening paragraph: "The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is secretly relocating Section 8 subsidized housing families from the inner city into suburban homes – and some critics are charging it is part of a plan to deliberately cause damage to the communities there." And right at the top is a picture of President Obama, who is apparently considered representative of the "ghetto" at WND.

Unsurprisingly, Unruh omitted key details of what's happening in Baltimore. As actual reporters have pointed out, there is high demand for affordable housing in the Baltimore region, and suburban areas have done little to create it, failing to do even simple things like prohibiting landlords from discriminating against Section 8 vouchers.

Unruh also ignored that, as those actual reporters also noted, Baltimore was a hotbed of "government-sanctioned residential segregation," and the lingering effects of that and other segregation efforts like redlining have made Baltimore one of the most segregated urban areas in the country.

In his apparent quest to make sure Baltimore stays that way, Unruh turns to WND's coterie of race-baiters. First up is Peterson, who ranted that blacks should stay in the ghettos where they belong and defends whites who want to live in a race-segregated community: "The Obama administration is now redistributing poor inner city families to American suburbs. ... This idea of taking the power away from white people by passing these type of laws and then forcing it on them is evil and is not going to turn out for the good."

Peterson continued, sounding like a serious segregationist: "These blacks aren’t separated from whites because of 'segregation' ... They’re separated from whites because they’re having children out of wedlock, they’re reliant on the government to pay their rent, food, medical, everything, and so they lock themselves into these government sponsored neighborhoods."

Unruh then added Flaherty, the old reliable race-baiter, to the mix to peddle the unambiguously racist "there goes the neighborhood" argument:

“Children from Section 8 housing don’t just overload schools, they overload schools with children with less interest in learning,” Flaherty said. “Less interest in behaving in class rooms. Less interest in listening to teachers. And greater tendencies for violence, drugs and defiance.

“This is not theory. This is the experience of every neighborhood that has suffered Section 8 housing being inserted into their community.”

He's echoed by Cashill, who according to Unruh said that "Section 8 housing essentially subsidizes degeneracy and encourages the destruction of neighborhoods."

Unruh then expands the race-baiting argument to complain that Section 8 housing brings in -- gasp! -- non-conservatives:

While Peterson's arguments focus on the damage Section 8 vouchers can present to established suburbs and smaller municipalities, others are equally concerned by the intentional political demographic shift that will occur in these areas, most notably by flooding more conservative suburbs and satellite communities with the urban poor, a demographic that consistently votes for Democrats.

In a 2015 article for WND, Aaron Klein described the increased use of Section 8 housing vouchers and other federal programs such as the Fair Housing Act by the Obama administration to "... integrate more minorities into townships across America, which could drastically impact local elections..."

Unruh didn't permit anyone respond to the race-baiting arguments of Peterson, Flaherty and Cashill, yet again making a mockery of his boss Joseph Farah's laughable insistence that his reporters "are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles."

Race-baiting fail

Sometimes, however, WND's race-baiting completely implodes. In a Nov. 11 WND article, Douglas Ernst was proclaiming that reports of racial tension at the University of Missouri were all based on "unsubstantiated rumors." and that regarding an incident involving a swastika made with feces, "no evidence such an event ever happened."

The next day, however, Ernst wrote an article admitting his earlier article was completely false. He didn't actually say that, of course -- that would be too honest -- but, rather, he asserts that "It took media pressure and a Freedom of Information Act request" to release information on the incident he claimed didn't happen, and that the question was now whether campus officials adequately responded to it.

At no point did Ernst state that just the day before he was accusing the swastika story of being an "unsubstantiated rumor," and his earlier story proclaiming the purported hoax remains uncorrected; however, it now has an added link to Ernst's later story as a "related story," failing to detail that the way it's "related" is that it completely discredits his original story.

That sort of failure aside, WND has learned one big lesson from its tangle with Google AdSense: make the race-baiting less blatant, and it won't affect the ad revenue. Sadly, it has not learned to balance its reporting.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2016 Terry Krepel