WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah has a notoriously thin skin, regularly lashing out at anyone who dares to criticize him or his "news" organization -- which usually results in him making ludicrous claims about the journalistic prowess of WND. Farah put both tendencies on display again in two recent column.
In his Nov. 20 column, Farah lashed out at Max Blumenthal, who had written in a Huffington Post blog item that Sarah Palin, in a speech earlier this month, "cited an urban legend as a 'disturbing trend,' claiming the Treasury Department had moved the phrase 'In God We Trust' from presidential dollar coins. (The rumor most likely originated with a 2006 story on the far-right website WorldNetDaily.)" Farah promptly took umbrage:
Actually, it wasn't "a rumor." It was, what we call in the news business, a fact.
A year later, Congress, alerted to the plan by the original WND story, stopped the plan dead in its tracks, as WND also reported.
That doesn't constitute an "urban legend." That constitutes reporting that led to a policy change.
But Farah appears to be deliberately misinterpreting the claim. It's clear from the context of Blumenthal's post (and the Politico article he cites in support of the claim) that Palin portrayed the moving of "In God We Trust" on the presidential series of dollar coins from the face or tail of the coin to the edge as something that is happening right now, rather than something that was proposed and later rejected. That false portrayal is the "urban legend" Blumenthal is referencing. Further, Blumenthal points that out: "In fact, a suggested alteration in its position on the coin was shot down in 2007 after pressure from Democratic Senator Robert Byrd."
Farah failed to mention Blumenthal's additional reporting, nor did he offer any evidence that WND played any significant role in the policy change.
But never mind that -- Farah's in a mood to trash anyone who doesn't praise WND, with all the maturity we've come to expect from him. He repeatedly calls the Huffington Post "the Huffington Puffington Post," smears it as a "pseudo-news organization," and takes a gratuitious swipe at "Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann at MSLSD." He further sneers that this is a "case of political activists posing as journalists calling real journalists political activists."
Farah wasn't done peddling his delusions. He went on to insist:
WND can truthfully boast it carries the widest ideological spectrum of political commentary anywhere on the Internet or in any newspaper or, for that matter, in any news-opinion forum.
It's true that WND carries noted conservative columnists such as Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan and David Limbaugh. But, unlike the Huffington Puffington Post or any other online or offline publication, it also carries noted liberals such as Bill Press and Nat Hentoff and Ellen Ratner.
Is that "far right"? Or is that "fair and balanced"?
What Farah won't admit in public: This balance he claims is mere window dressing. Bill Press and Ellen Rather are the only liberals appearing among the 50 or so weekly columnists WND currently claims. They are permitted solely so Farah can make this claim. All the rest are conservative, libertarian (Nat Hentoff is a civil libertarian who is anti-abortion, not a liberal) or conservative Christian.
On any given day, liberal opinions by WND columnists are outnumbered at least 7-to-1 by conservative ones. That's not "fair and balanced." Yet Farah claims, "I'm not afraid of other viewpoints.
The next day, Farah was at it again. The target in his Nov. 21 column is an Anti-Defamation League report, "Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies." After noting that the ADL states that "Some even compared the Obama administration's intentions to Nazi eugenics programs," Farah proudly notes, "Well, to the aforementioned, I plead guilty."
But then, after defending his pro-Jewish bona fides by stating that is "asked to speak to more Jewish audiences, including many chapters of the B'nai Brith, both in the U.S. and Canada, than Christian audiences" and that his "coverage and analysis of the Middle East has been hailed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as thousands of other prominent Jewish leaders in Israel and the U.S.," he writes, "If that's the new definition of anti-Semitism in America, I guess I am one."
But the ADL is not accusing Farah or WND of anti-Semitism -- indeed, the word is nowhere to be found in the report's introduction or its section on the birthers, where WND figures prominently. The focus of the ADL report is on anti-government conspiracies, which WND is undoubtedly guilty of propagating.
Nevertheless, Farah takes this opportunity to lie about himself and WND: "Of course, no one at WND to my knowledge has ever said Obama wasn't born in the U.S. or suggested he was born in Kenya."
Really? Publishing a purported "Kenyan birth certificate" without bothering to authenticate it beforehand is not suggesting he was born in Kenya? Longtime WND columnist Craige McMillan repeatedly calling Obama an "illegal alien" is not an assertion that Obama was not born in the U.S.?
WorldNetDaily is a joke. Farah's petulance and refusal to admit the obvious are but two of the reasons why.