THE BLOG
09/03/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

WorldNetDaily Shoots First, Ask Questions Later

It's not often you see someone who claims to be a journalist declaring himself to be proud to report something he has no idea is true. But that's what WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is doing.

From an August 3 press release (yes, WND has its own PR agents) touting its publication of the purported (and increasingly discredited) Kenyan birth certificate of Barack Obama:

WorldNetDaily.com is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity.

"We've had less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity," explains Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of the first news agency to publish the document. "Our goal, as always, is to seek the truth. This is not our document. It is evidence that has presented in a high-profile court case. And, thus, I believe we had a journalistic responsibility to publish it - just as I think every other news organization does."

Um, isn't that kind of backwards? Shouldn't Farah and WND have determined the document's validity before publishing it? In fact, we're pretty sure that's exactly what "every other news organization does." And the last time we checked, publishing something that you can't prove is true is not compatible with "journalistic responsibility."

But WND is not "every other news organization" that is concerned about "journalistic responsibility." Indeed, the truth doesn"t matter to WND when there's an opportunity to smear Obama.

Further, Farah's claim of having "less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" does not comport with what he and WND timeline on the issue.

Farah stated in a tweet posted at 4:25 p.m. on July 31: "Trust me for now: More coming next week on Birth-gate. You will be stunned. No more will anyone say there's 'no evidence.'" That's presumably a reference to the "Kenyan birth certificate."

WND's original article on the purported certificate was published at 11:55 a.m. on August 2. That means WND had nearly two days to "consider its authenticity or non-authenticity" before publication.

That would have also provided WND two days to consider publishing something it has no idea is factual. But as noted above, WND doesn't consider the truth when attacking Obama.

(A version of this post was published at ConWebBlog.)