WorldNetDaily founder and editor Joseph Farah reportedly wrote in a recent email exchange with Salon's Justin Elliott, "Admittedly, we publish some misinformation by columnists." Indeed, Farah is right: WorldNetDaily columnists -- and reporters -- have published numerous falsehoods and smears as well as some of the most absurd anti-Obama conspiracy theories and falsehoods.
WND Founder Farah Admits, "We Publish Some Misinformation By Columnists"
Farah: "Admittedly, We Publish Some Misinformation By Columnists." In an April 11 post on Salon's War Room blog, Justin Elliot published part of an email exchange between him and Farah. Responding to Elliott's article debunking WND's article on President Obama spending $2 million to fight birther lawsuits, Farah admitted that WND "publish[es] some misinformation by columnists." From Salon:
Unfortunately for [WND columnist Jack] Cashill the supposed "genuine" image -- the one without Obama -- was itself a sloppy photoshop job that still included part of Obama's knee between his grandparents. This was pointed out by Media Matters about eight hours after Cashill's column was published on WND.
At that point WND simply scrubbed the first two paragraphs of the story, without so much as an update, let alone a correction. These lines were now gone:
In his definitive 2010 biography of Barack Obama, "The Bridge," New Yorker editor David Remnick features a photograph of a dapper young Barack Obama sitting between his grandparents on a Central Park bench.
The bench is real. The grandparents are real. The wall behind them is real. Barack Obama is not. He has been conspicuously photo-shopped in. Who did this and why remains as much a mystery as Obama's extended stay in New York.
When I pointed this out, Farah fired back (emphasis added):
Jack Cashill is an OPINION columnist. Admittedly, we publish some misinformation by columnists, as does your publication and every other journal that contains opinion. Bill Press seldom gets anything right in his column, but because we believe in providing the broadest spectrum of OPINION anywhere in the news business, we tolerate that kind of thing. Yes, Cashill's column contained an egregious error, which we corrected almost immediately, which is far more than I expect you to do in what I assume is a NEWS piece you wrote. [Salon, 4/11/11]
Indeed, WND Columnists Have A Long History Of Misinformation, Smears, And Falsehoods
WND Among The Strongest Promoters Of Birthers. WorldNetDaily has been among the strongest and most consistent proponents of the discredited smear that Obama was not born in America. WND has posted numerous articles about Obama's birth certificate, funded nationwide "Where's the Birth Certificate?" billboards, and has offered a reward to anyone "who can provide persuasive evidence of involvement or presence at that birth -- whether it took place in Hawaii or elsewhere." [WND, accessed 4/11/11; Media Matters, 7/23/09]
WND Promoted Fake Obama Kenyan Birth Certificate. On August 2, 2009, WND promoted a forged Kenyan birth certificate provided by birther Orly Taitz. WND reported that it was "able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." The certificate, however, was labeled "Republic of Kenya," despite Kenya's not becoming a republic until three years after Obama's birth. [WND, 8/9/09; Media Matters, 8/3/09, 8/3/09]
WND's Porter: If We Don't Stop Obama "Dictatorship ... We'll Lose Our Lives." In a June 16, 2009, WND column, radio host Janet Porter wrote that the "[Obama] dictatorship must be stopped. And it must be stopped now. If we don't, we'll lose more than our strongest ally in the Middle East and the free market -- we'll lose our lives." [WND, 6/16/09]
Porter Claimed Obama's Attempt To "Indoctrinat[e]" Children With Back-To-School Speech Was "Thwarted." On September 8, 2009, Porter baselessly claimed that Obama was forced to rewrite his back-to-school address to the nation's children after "America demanded a rewrite" of the speech. Porter further claimed: "The indoctrination of the captive audience in public schools was going to be subjected to helping President Obama secure his radical agenda ... but instead of recruiting 'Obama Youth,' with written pledges, that agenda has been thwarted for another more opportune time -- like when people aren't watching as closely." As Media Matters has noted, the White House said that Obama's speech was not altered. [WND, 9/8/09; Media Matters, 9/8/09]
Erik Rush: Jennings Is A "Radical Homosexual Druggie." In an October 1, 2009, WND column, Erik Rush wrote that Obama administration official Kevin Jennings is "a radical homosexual who ... has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, and written unapologetically about his own drug use." Rush added, "One has to ask oneself why it is that Obama repeatedly chooses some of the most wildly inappropriate individuals one could conceive of to serve in high-level positions. A radical homosexual druggie for his 'safe schools czar'? It's practically inconceivable." Rush continued, "Obama, being a creature of the farthest left, has no qualms whatever about allowing activist homosexuals -- or people who are soft on drugs -- to set the moral agenda for this country; the more dysfunctional and enslaved to sensualism we are, the more easily manipulated we will be. And going after the children, as we have learned, is nothing new." [WND, 10/1/09; Media Matters, 10/1/09]
Farah Claimed Obama "Publicly Supports Ethnic Cleansing In The Middle East Against Jews." In a December 1, 2009, column, Farah claimed that Obama "publicly supports ethnic cleansing in the Middle East against Jews" and demanded "Israel...lay down and be carved up by those whose history of political involvement places them as the political disciples of Adolf Hitler's Nazis." [WND, 10/1/11]
WND Columnist Ringer Theorized Obama Deliberately Provoking Civil Unrest To Establish Dictatorship. In an April 2, 2009, WND column, Robert Ringer wrote:
But if BHO truly has his mind set on establishing a dictatorship -- and it is my personal belief that he does -- it's too risky for him to wait for a runaway inflation as an excuse to call a state of emergency. He knows that as long as there is a semblance of a free market in place, producers will continue to push back against the economy-killing effects of his policies.
Thus, he needs another excuse to declare a state of emergency. In previous articles, I've mentioned a nuke exchange between Iran and Israel as one possibility. Another is civil unrest due to unemployment rates that could reach 25 percent or more in the not-too-distant future. [WND, 4/2/09]
Mychal Massie Dubiously Claimed "25 Percent" Of The Military Would Decline To Re-Enlist If DADT Were Repealed. In a February 9, 2010, column, Mychal Massie claimed: "A reader who is in a position to know told me that the 'last survey among military folks [revealed] that 25 percent won't re-up if [Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed]. This means that to allow [the] 2 percent of those out there who choose this lifestyle into the military, we'd lose 25 percent of the experienced military folks who have morals.' " Massie's claim is refuted by the experiences of several other countries that lifted their bans on gays and lesbians serving but saw no such re-enlistment reductions, even when earlier polling had predicted such reductions. [WND, 2/9/10; Media Matters, 2/10/10]
Cashill Baselessly Speculated Barack Sr. Isn't Obama's Father, Might Be An "American Black." In a January 10 column, Jack Cashill baselessly speculated that Barack Obama Sr. isn't really the father of President Obama, because Obama's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was smiling while "standing right next to the African guy who allegedly knocked up his 17-year-old daughter and is now abandoning them. As the father of two daughters, this doesn't smell right at all." Cashill further speculated that Obama was actually "the illegitimate son of an American black." [WND, 1/20/11]
Cashill Has Pushed Discredited Theory That Ayers Wrote Obama's Memoir. In an April 1 WND column, Cashill suggested that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. As Media Matters has noted, the theory that Ayers wrote Dreams has long been discredited. [WND, 4/1/11; Media Matters, 3/29/11]
WND's Misinformation Is Not Confined To Columnists
Corsi Baselessly Speculated That Obama Would Create Censorship Dept. As President. In a September 7, 2008, WND article, senior staff reporter and Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi responded to the Obama campaign's rebuttal of his book by baselessly claiming, "By placing 'Unfit for Publication' as the title of the mock-book, does the Obama rebuttal mean to suggest an Obama administration might have a censorship department in which a book critical of a President Obama might be banned from publication?" [WND, 9/7/08]
WND Repeated False Claim That Castro "Endorsed" Obama And Clinton. An August 31, 2007, WND article accurately reported that Fidel Castro called a potential Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama presidential ticket "seemingly invincible" but falsely claimed that Castro "endorsed" the then-candidates. In fact, in his column in the Cuban newspaper Granma, Castro criticized both candidates for the "error" of favoring democracy in Cuba. [WND, 8/31/07; Media Matters, 8/30/07]
WND Ran With Baseless Claim That Obama Endorsed Kenyan President Odinga. An October 21, 2008, WND article cited dubious emails to claim that Obama "campaigned for" "radical Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga" during a 2006 trip. The alleged emails from then-Sen. Obama were described by Politico's Ben Smith as "general nuttiness" due to dubious characteristics of the emails, such as indications that they were not written by a native English speaker and the inclusion of an email address missing the character "@." [WND, 10/21/08; Media Matters, 10/22/08]
WND Article Falsely Claimed Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan "Advised Obama Transition." A November 6, 2009, WND article by Corsi featured the false headline, "Shooter advised Obama transition." Later in the article, however, Corsi admitted that there was no evidence that the George Washington University task force that Hasan participated in "played any formal role in the official Obama transition." [WND, 11/6/09]
Klein Baselessly Claims "Obama Encouraged Palestinian 'Resistance.' " In a March 31 article, WND reporter Aaron Klein baselessly claimed that "the Obama administration has encouraged 'resistance' by Palestinians to protest Israel's presence in eastern Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian Authority official claimed to WND." Klein continued: "The senior PA official, speaking from Ramallah on condition of anonymity, said that in recent meetings with U.S. envoys to the region, the American diplomats supported and encouraged the concept of Palestinian protests to pressure Israel into evacuating eastern sections of Jerusalem." [WND, 3/31/10]
WND Article Falsely Claimed Rev. Jim Wallis "Labeled" U.S. "Destroyer Of Human Life." A March 15, 2010, article by Klein falsely claimed that Rev. Jim Wallis, a member of Obama's faith council, "labeled the U.S. 'the great captor and destroyer of human life.' " In fact, Wallis referred to "the powers of the world" that "demand unconditional allegiance and obedience" when he wrote that, for the Christian community, "the modern state is the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life." [WND, 3/15/10; Rev. Jim Wallis, Agenda for Biblical People, accessed 4/12/11]
WND Article Falsely Claimed Obama Appointee "Linked Christians With Violence." A February 7 WND article claimed that former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who Obama appointed to his Council of Governors, "linked Christians [with] violence." In fact, the report by a Missouri state agency to which the post referred did not reference Christianity, but rather noted ties between the radical "Christian Identity" movement -- identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a "racist and anti-Semitic religious sect" linked to several terrorist attacks -- and the militia movement. [WND, 2/7/10; Missouri Information Analysis Center, 2/20/09]
WND Article Falsely Claimed Kagan Defended Obama From Birthers. On August 4, 2010, WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs claimed that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan "has actually been playing a role for some time in the dispute over whether Obama is legally qualified to be in the White House," adding that "[a] simple search of the high court's own website reveals Kagan's name coming up at least nine times on dockets involving Obama eligibility issues." In fact, this claim is based on an email chain which was proven to be false. The article has since been removed from the WND website. [Media Matters, 8/9/10]
WND Ran With Dubious Estimate That Obama's India Trip Cost Taxpayers $200 Million Per Day. On November 3, 2010, WND promoted the dubious claim that Obama's trip to India cost taxpayers "a whopping $200 million per day." Following the story, FactCheck.org called the claim "highly doubtful," adding that "there's no evidence to support such a huge figure." [WND, 11/3/10; Media Matters, 11/3/10]