Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joseph Farah Hits Back at Los Angeles Times

It's not my first stop on the Internet, although it was really cool when World Net Daily's Aaron Klein picked up my coverage of Michaele and Tareq Salahi's Palestinian ties. See, "White House 'Gatecrashers' Tied to Terror Sympathizer."

So I was a bit surprised that
today's Los Angeles Times features a write-up of World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah. It's no surprise, though, that the piece is a poorly-edited hatchet job:

Sipping coffee in a strip mall, Joseph Farah looks like something out of a spy novel -- suave, mysterious, bushy black mustache. He's surprisingly relaxed, considering he believes his life is in danger because of his occupation. He runs a must-read website for anyone who hates Barack Obama.

Once a little-known Los Angeles newspaper editor, Farah has become a leading impresario of America's disaffected right, serving up a mix of reporting and wild speculation to an audience eager to think the worst of the president.

"Minister: Obamacare kills African-American babies . . . Sign at homeless camp: Welcome to Obamaville," the headlines holler at, an online tabloid thatrelentlessly skewers the administration and its every move.

The topic it pursues with tireless zeal, though, is the claim that Obama was born not in Honolulu but in Africa, and is therefore ineligible to be president. Farah has used his widely followed website to launch an electronic petition demanding proof of Obama's birthplace, a national billboard campaign ("WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?") and more than 400 articles suggesting America's first black president might not be a "natural born" citizen.

If Farah believes Obama is bad for the country, the president has been indisputably good for Farah's business.

WorldNetDaily's unique visitors nearly doubled to 2 million a month after Obama took office, according to Nielsen's ratings. Farah says his traffic is at least twice that, citing private data from Google Analytics, a traffic-counting service. By either count, that's higher than the online readership of the conservative mainstay National Review, not to mention many of the nation's regional newspapers.

Revenue is on track to hit $10 million annually, Farah says. (That figure could not be independently verified.) His success comes in no small part from the storehouse of "birther" T-shirts, books, DVDs and postcards for sale in his virtual "superstore."

WorldNetDaily's book division publishes titles from high-profile conservatives such as former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a leader in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, and former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, whose role in George W. Bush's disputed 2000 presidential victory made her a conservative heroine. Perhaps one of Farah's greatest assets is the WorldNetDaily mailing list, recently rented by the Republican National Committee for a fundraising appeal.

Some Republicans wish Farah would abandon the birther issue, fearing his work makes the entire conservative movement seem wacky.
Obviously the folks at WND aren't too thrilled, with a link there reading, "L.A. Times: WND Feels Like a Scandal Sheet." And here's Joseph Farah's response, "L.A. Times Gunning For Me":
A few hours before I dashed off this column, the L.A. Times published this story: "Joseph Farah has found his calling in Obama-bashing."

I'll let you judge the paper's mission and motive.

But, first, there's a story behind the story.

I sat down for a series of interviews with one of the reporters bylined in this piece – Peter Wallsten – about six months ago. He wrapped up the story months ago and turned it in to his editors. It sat around for such a long time that Wallsten ended up leaving the Times and going to work for the Wall Street Journal.

He's been there for a couple months. I assumed the story would never see the light of day because it was fair.

The story Wallsten wrote never did see the light.

At some point, the editors at the L.A. Times looked over the story and determined it made me look responsible, eclectic, maybe even, God forbid, likable. So they turned the story over to another reporter, Faye Fiore.

Did she interview me?


But she rewrote the story nonetheless – with an eye toward making me look like some kind of irresponsible, opportunistic monster.
Farah's full rebuttal is at the link.

Peter Wallstein wrote a fair and accurate report. The Times' editors created a hit piece out of it. The average reader, of course, knows none of this backstory, so it's just one more example of irresponsible journalistic ethics (that leaves the bulk of the readerships ill-informed).

No wonder the mainstream press is barely treading water these days.


Dave said...

I know WND tends to get a little "out there" at times, but that should not discount from the fact that there is a lot of very good information to be found there.

One thing Farrah and the other contributors over there have repeatedly pointed out is that Obama has spent a great deal of his own money in order to keep certain areas of his past hidden from view. He is clearly hiding something. If not his place of birth, then what?

I think many of WNDs detractors, the bulk of which are rabid Obama supporters, might be at least a little worried that somebody over there might actually kick over the right rock and discover something that could be very damaging to the still somewhat obscure former community agitator.

Let's face it, four years ago most people outside of Chicago had ever even heard of this guy, and he is now living in the White House, rapidly spending our nation into oblivion. Yet even a little over a year after his election to the presidency, there are still large parts of his past we really don't know anything about.

I hope there are a lot of bloggers out kicking over rocks.