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Terry Krepel Headshot

WorldNetDaily Can't Stop Whitewashing Orly Taitz

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In August, I detailed how WorldNetDaily is telling only part of the Orly Taitz story -- the anti-Obama birther lawyer with whom WND has long had a symbiotic relationship -- in order to hide from its readers the increasingly questionable job of lawyering she's doing.

WND is still keeping up the ruse -- and, it would appear, doing so under orders from Taitz.

In mid-September, the Washington Independent's David Weigel reported that Larry Sinclair -- best known for his claims that he did drugs and had sex with Barack Obama -- filed an affidavit claiming that Taitz told him to testify at a court hearing "that three (3) member (sic) of Obama's church were murder (sic)," adding that Taitz told him that "You testifying that three (3) members of Obama's church were murdered will help me establish that expedited delivery is necessary because people wind up dead over Obama."

(WND uncritically promoted Sinclair's claims in early 2008, publishing them before making any effort to investigate them -- an ethically unsound pattern WND has regularly followed in its reporting on Obama -- and never bothering to report that Sinclair's claims have been utterly discredited. Nevertheless, WND's behavior seems to believe that it would anything Sinclair has to say with respect and credulousness.)

Sinclair's affidavit also contained references to "Lucas," whom Weigel stated is Lucas Smith, who, through Taitz, filed an affidavit -- which WND had been touting at the time -- swearing "under threat of perjury" that a "Kenyan birth certificate" Smith claims to have is authentic, despite the fact that it has been discredited by none other than WND itself.

An unbylined Sept. 17 WND article reported Sinclair's allegation -- but only after first allowing Taitz to claim without challenge that "doubters should be questioning Obama, not her" and dismissing attacks on Taitz as merely "various accusations" that "have been cluttering the blogosphere in recent weeks."

It's not until the 13th paragraph -- after the non-news of rehashing yet again the purported eligibility case against Obama -- that WND actually got around to the actual news of detailing Sinclair's allegation that Taitz suborned perjury. WND, shockingly, noted that Sinclair's "allegations that Obama shared cocaine with him were undermined by a reported failed lie detector test" -- an act of incredulousness WND did not display in originally reporting Sinclair's claim. WND then quoted Taitz dismissing the claim because "a person cannot just come from the street and file a declaration or an affidavit. ... It has to be filed by a party to the action. Either I, as an attorney for the plaintiffs, or attorney for the defendants, assistant U.S. attorney, would file something."

Significantly, at no point did WND quote Taitz denying the allegation itself. WND also reported a similar claim "purportedly" from Smith, "the individual who has reported obtaining a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama," that Taitz asked him to "lie under oath about information that I had no knowledge of at the time I was in Africa." WND offered no direct refutation of that claim by Taitz, either, nor did it report that it had discredited Smith's certificate.

WND then quoted Taitz saying, "There was a rumor that there was some complaint filed with the [California] bar and I was disbarred. None of it is true." While it may not be true that Taitz has been disbarred, it is indisputably true that a complaint against her has been filed in the California bar. WND has yet to report on that complaint -- nor has it ever mentioned a second bar complaint that was filed -- and failed to correct Taitz in the article.

The entire article reads like something WND was shamed into writing, built around a Taitz blog post and padded with standard WND anti-Obama boilerplate. WND makes no attempt whatsoever to verify the claims Taitz makes.

The key takeaway from this article is Taitz's admonition that "doubters should be questioning Obama, not her." That's been WND's modus operandi regarding Taitz -- remember that fawning profile of her? -- and WND has apparently taken this to heart as its marching orders going forward.

A few days after that story appeared, Connie Rhodes -- An Army captain whom Taitz was representing in a lawsuit seeking to block her deployment to Iraq because Obama has purportedly not demonstrated himself to be an American citizen and thus qualified to be commander in chief, a case WND had also touted -- sent a letter to the judge in her case denouncing Taitz for filing motions in court without her knowledge or approval. Rhodes goes on to request that the motion be withdrawn and state that she no longer wished Taitz "to file any future motions or represent me in any way in this court," and Rhodes also states that she "plans to file a complaint with the California State Bar due to her reprehensible and unprofessional actions." Taitz responded by suggesting that Rhodes' letter is a forgery, even though Talking Points Memo reported that it appears to be legitimate.

WND has never reported that development.

Meanwhile, WND was eager to downplay -- and fail to fully report -- Taitz's involvement in another birther case. An Oct. 2 article by Chelsea Schilling featured the involvement of fellow birther lawyer Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation in that case, stating that "Forty-six of the plaintiffs are represented by Orly Taitz" and "two - Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson - are represented by Gary Kreep."

Schilling failed to report that Drake and Robinson used to be represented by Taitz, but dropped her after determining she was "in over her head." Schilling also didn't report that Taitz for a while refused to sign papers transferring Drake and Markham's representation from her to Kreep, then filed papers stating Drake and Robinson's desire to be removed from the lawsuit, which is not what they wanted.

By contrast to Schilling, who benignly wrote that "Taitz and Kreep have expressed significant differences of opinion in how the case should be handled," the OC Weekly reported on the feuding between Taitz and Kreep:

[Judge David] Carter, very much taking the tone of a teacher scolding children, called a 15-minute recess and told Taitz and Kreep to work it out. When court resumed, Taitz lit into Kreep with a litany of ways that she said he had botched the suit against Obama. Carter wasn't pleased. "I think what I'm going to do is force you two together [in one lawsuit]," Carter said. "I don't know if I can legally do this, you can take it to the 9th Circuit if you like and delay it longer." He then made the two bickering lawyers move their chairs next to one another. "I'm very visual," he said. "I need to see you two as one."

(Needless to say, Schilling also made sure not to report that Drake has prayed for Obama's death, which makes him a less-than-objective plaintiff.)

An Oct. 5 follow-up article by Bob Unruh largely repeated Schilling's claims without offering the full truth -- which, in this case, according to the OC Weekly, meant more specious and bizarre arguments:

Carter seemed genuinely perplexed by the issue of standing. A plaintiff claiming harm must prove that that harm is not "speculative and hypothetical." Again and again, he asked Taitz and Kreep to explain why that wasn't the case for their plaintiffs. After returning from a twenty minute recess, Taitz was armed with a compelling answer: Because she came from the USSR!

Taitz's question to the court: "Have you ever heard of a lawyer being able to challenge Stalin?" She then launched into the story of how her great uncle was sent to a labor camp in Siberia, and lawyers weren't able to free him. Her great aunt, stricken with grief, slit her own wrists but was rescued by a neighbor. After years and years in Siberia, Taitz's uncle returned to his family, only to die soon after. The moral of the story? "That's what happens when citizens don't have the power to enforce their constitutional rights given by God and given by the Constitution."

It was the biggest applause line of the day.

An Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on Judge Land's $20,000 fine against Taitz for her antics in the Rhodes case is the closest thing to criticism that WND has offered of her, but Unruh still pulled punches and hid relevant information.

Unruh's emphasis in the first part of his article was on the judge "mocking her concern over Obama's background," waiting until the 14th paragraph to get to the meat of the judge's order, that "Taitz 'personally attacks' opposing parties and 'disrespects' the judiciary, 'recklessly' accusing the judge of violating ethics rules."
Unruh referenced Rhodes, "a reserve military officer ... who questioned Obama's eligibility to hold office." But Unruh failed to note that Rhodes dropped Taitz as her attorney.

Unruh repeated boilerplate from previous articles that "Taitz also has another case pending in California. She represents several dozen defendants, and attorney Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation represents two others." But Unruh didn't report that the defendants now with Kreep were originally represented by Taitz until they determined that she was "in over her head," and that Taitz for a while refused to sign papers transferring their representation from her to Kreep.

This denial of reality continued in an unbylined Oct. 23 article detailing Taitz's legal response to the $20,000 fine.

The article kicked off by overbroadly stating that Taitz was fined "for her work on the case," not mentioning that the issue is that "her work on the case" sucks. It later quoted four paragraphs from Judge Land's order fining Taitz -- but only a section of sarcastic remarks making the point that Taitz has not demonstrated that her clients have standing to sue Obama or the federal government over the issue of eligibility. Nowhere did it mention the specific acts Taitz committed that led to the sanction -- even though WND had done so on Oct. 13 -- nor did the article link to Land's order itself (only to the website of the courthouse where Land works; the Oct. 13 article did the same thing).

The article stated that Rhodes "later decided not to appeal Land's adverse rulings in her case, a decision Taitz attributed to 'duress' from her commanders" -- again ignoring the fact that Rhodes dropped Taitz as her attorney over her misconduct. Further, no evidence is offered to support Taitz's "duress" allegation; given Taitz's history of making hyperbolic statements, chances are there's no evidence at all.

The article again repeated that "Taitz also has another case pending in California. She represents several dozen defendants, and attorney Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation represents two others" while not mention that those two clients were formerly Taitz's or the bitter dispute over them.

WND's whitewashing continued in an Oct. 29 article by Unruh on the dismissal of the California lawsuit in which two of Taitz's clients dropped her for Kreep. As expected, Unruh buried the important stuff -- when he bothered to write about it at all.

The article began not by detailing the ruling but by rehashing a non-issue -- that "one of the newest law clerks" for the judge in the case, David Carter, formerly worked for what Unruh describes as "the law firm that has been paid nearly $1.7 million to defend Obama from eligibility challenges." At no point does Unruh establish a link between the law clerk and the judge's ruling, making this a distraction and a waste of time.

Unruh followed WND policy by being unwilling to concede that the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign is legitimate. He added that "Taitz earlier submitted to Carter a copy of what purported to be a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama, asking for permission to verify its authenticity." Unruh failed to mention that his employer has found both previously released "Kenyan birth certificates" to be fake, nor did Unruh explain why Taitz needs a court's permission to verify the certificate's authenticity, or even whether Taitz admitted WND's debunking of the certificates into evidence -- which would presumably preclude the need for any verification efforts Taitz might undertake. And,of course, there's no mention of the animosity between Taitz and Kreep.

Once he finally got around to discussing Carter's actual ruling -- to which he did not link, though he could have easily done so -- Unruh focused narrowly on the procedural arguments Carter makes, completely ignoring Carter's statements about Taitz. As the Washington Independent points out, Carter highlights the usual issues with Taitz's lawyering:

Interpreting the Constitution is a serious and crucial task with which the federal courts of this nation have been entrusted under Article III. However, that very same Constitution puts limits on the reach of the federal courts. One of those limits is that the Constitution defines processes through which the President can be removed from office. The Constitution does not include a role for the Court in that process. Plaintiffs have encouraged the Court to ignore these mandates of the Constitution; to disregard the limits on its power put in place by the Constitution; and to effectively overthrow a sitting president who was popularly elected by We the People‚ sixty-nine million of the people. Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction. Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic. Quite the contrary, this Court considers commitment to that constitutional role to be the ultimate reflection of patriotism.

More significantly, Carter is taking seriously the accusations that Taitz suborned perjury:

[T]he Court has received several sworn affidavits that Taitz asked potential witnesses that she planned to call before this Court to perjure themselves. This Court is deeply concerned that Taitz may have suborned perjury through witnesses she intended to bring before this Court. While the Court seeks to ensure that all interested parties have had the opportunity to be heard, the Court cannot condone the conduct of Plaintiffs' counsel in her efforts to influence this Court.

That's the story: Carter considers Taitz's alleged suborning of perjury to be a legitimate issue. Any other news organization would have found this newsworthy; WND didn't.

Such failure to report basic, factual information is not accidental, or is it incompetence. It is a deliberate effort on the the part of WorldNetDaily to decieve its readers.

Why would WND do this? Because it has a lot invested -- the reputations of the website and its employees, from Joseph Farah on down, not to mention a money-generating side business -- in the birther conspiracy, and in Taitz. If Taitz is discredited, the birther conspiracy is too ... and so are Farah and WND.

Therefore, WND must hide the truth about Taitz from its readers. They can't know the increasingly shaky foundations upon which its signature conspiracy rests.

They can't know about the California bar complaints against Taitz. Or fellow birther lawyer Philip Berg's lawsuit against her. Or all the facts behind Judge Land's $20,000 fine.

In short: If Taitz goes down, so does WorldNetDaily. That's what Farah and Co. are afraid of. Why else would they lie by omission to their own readers?

Taitz, obviously, wouldn't have it any other way.