World Net Daily, the Weekly World News of the far-right fringe, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. And I feel I owe them a minor debt of gratitude since founder Joe Farah back in 2009 promoted yours truly in one of his well-written though demented columns.
So happy birthday to WND and Joe (who in an earlier career ran two “metropolitan” newspapers into the ground back when metro newspapers were rolling in dough). May you have many remaining years of health and prosperity so you can keep the rest of us sane folks laughing at your foibles.
What is WND up to these days? In a word, birtherism, birtherism, birtherism, which they euphemistically refer to as “the Obama eligibility question.” They’ve been faithful birthers since the very beginning of the movement, which is no big surprise. After all, in the 1990s Joe Farah was the most vicious pusher of the nutty conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster with her bare hands, or something crazy like that. He made money peddling it.
But lately WND has been truly mainlining birtherism, in the same way a former weekend heroin sniffer picks up a needle and sticks it in a fat vein. Like that junkie, WND simply can’t get enough birther news. Which explains the newsgasm they had just Tuesday, writing that Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio had dispatched two investigators to Hawaii to conduct their own search for President Obama’s birth certificate.
World Net Daily isn’t simply writing about this curiosity from afar. No, no, no. They sent a man along with the Arizona investigators. From WND.com:
[Retired New Jersey detective Mike] Zullo’s investigation is a volunteer effort, but the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has sent him to Hawaii with an MCSO deputy detective for safety reasons and to act as a liaison between MCSO and local law enforcement.
WND reporter Jerome Corsi is embedded with the investigators in Hawaii with the provision that reporting during the trip be curtailed to protect the investigation.
Arpaio told WND Friday that the Hawaii Department of Health’s refusal to confirm to Bennett that it has a valid Obama birth certificate on file makes it look like Hawaii officials “are hiding something.”
[Arizona Secretary of State Ken] Bennett has said that he might keep Obama’s name off of the state’s presidential ballot if he doesn’t receive the confirmation.
Two points here, beginning with this: Did you notice that word, “embedded?” It’s the term used for war correspondents who join a platoon in Afghanistan or some other godforsaken country where the U.S. is at war.
In the case of Jerome Corsi, who has written an entire crazy book about Obama’s supposed birther crimes, “embedded” is precisely the right term. Because for WND, this issue is war, and they are pursing a scorched-Earth policy that elevates the silliest paranoid suspicion into a major journalistic coup. They’re winning a Pulitzer Prize every day all in their own minds.
Point two: Ken Bennett was indeed saying that he might keep Obama’s name off the Arizona presidential ballot in November. Until yesterday, that is, when he totally threw in the towel because he got embarrassed that everybody in the whole country, except maybe Joe Farah and Orly Taitz, was laughing at him.
From Talking Points Memo:
After days of ridicule for launching a conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on Tuesday backed off his threat to keep the president off the ballot in November and apologized to his state.
“If I embarrassed the state, I apologize, but that certainly wasn’t my intent,” Bennett said in an interview with Phoenix radio station KTAR. “He’ll be on the ballot as long as he fills out the same paperwork and does the same things that everybody else has.”
Of course, there was no mention of this in the story on WND. Their story reached back months, weeks and days to pull old quotes from Bennett outlining his concerns, suspicions, and threats to keep the president off the ballot. Perhaps most recent statement was too dispiriting for those conspiracy-spreaders to contemplate.
Then again, maybe they simply missed the news. That’s par for the course at WND.