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The Many Lies of Joseph Farah

by Loren Collins

I retired my blog, Barackryphal, at the end of 2013 because I was burnt out on Birtherism. After five years, it’s simply become a rehashing of the same tropes, and there’s little new to address.

However, after WorldNetDaily all but gave up on its Birther interests in the fall of 2012, WND President Joseph Farah has recently raised its spectre again, and in doing so yet again demonstrated some abject dishonesty that I felt compelled to address. Others have called him out for his supposed hypocrisy over his reactions to Barack Obama and Ted Cruz.

But I’m not here to call him a hypocrite. I’m here to document that he’s a liar. To wit, in his column of April 23, 2011, Joseph Farah wrote:

“WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate.”

Whereas five months earlier, on December 9, 2010, Farah said:

“Obama has spent at least $2 million fighting efforts to release his birth certificate.”

And that’s just Farah himself; he claimed that WND had never reported this, when in fact WND reporters had said this dozens of times.

On February 19, 2011, Joseph Farah wrote:

“I don’t know any thinking, rational person who questions the existence of Obama’s birth certificate.”

But what did Farah himself say two years earlier, on Chuck Crismier’s radio show on June 5, 2009?

“There’s a reason that Barack Obama will not show the American people his birth certificate. I believe he doesn’t have one.”

And who else questions the existence of Obama’s birth certificate? Why, none other than WND’s senior reporter, Jerome Corsi. Because Corsi had this to say on The Alex Jones Show on January 20, 2011, just one month before Farah claimed that no “thinking, rational person” would say such a thing:

“The key document that should be produced, if it exists and I don’t believe it does, is the long-form, hospital-generated Hawaiian birth certificate for Barack Obama.”

Now, in his latest column of January 29, 2014, Joseph Farah makes this claim that instigated this post:

“In the hundreds of thousands of words I have written and spoken on this subject, I have never theorized Obama was born abroad.”

It’s a defense he’s employed before when called out as a conspiracy theorist. But what did he tell Bill Cunningham when he was a guest on his national radio show on March 27, 2011 (@3:41)?

“I am leaning toward the fact that he wasn’t born in Hawaii now. I really am.”

Joseph Farah is always happy to say that he or WND has “never” said or reported some thing, because he simply has no reticence about flat-out lying. See Exhibits A, B, and C above.

If his lies were just limited to his own history, that would be one thing. But Joseph Farah cannot even be trusted when it comes to the journalistic work of his own reporters. In his third-ever Birther column, on November 21, 2008, Farah said that he had:

“Sent Corsi to Kenya where he talked with some of Obama’s relatives who clearly recall the birth taking place in Mombasa.”

Except that NEVER HAPPENED. Jerome Corsi went to Kenya, yes. But he spoke with no Obama relatives when he was there. Consequently, no Obama relatives ever told Corsi that they recalled Obama was born in Kenya. This is fiction, plain and simple, about non-existent statements and non-existent actions taken by a journalist in his employ. Farah knows full-well that Corsi didn’t “talk with some of Obama’s relatives who clearly recall the birth taking place in Mombasa,” but he lied and said so anyway.

And this was no isolated slip-up, because here’s what Farah said in his fifth-ever Birther column, on November 26, 2008:

“If, as some evidence strongly suggests, including the testimony of two Obama relatives to WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi who say they were present when he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, in 1961″

Not only did Farah not retract his lie from five days earlier, he expanded on it. He specified that it was exactly two relatives (not just “some”), and more significantly, that they told Corsi that they were “present” when Obama was born. Naturally, the names of these relatives are not given; if Corsi had actually spoken to relatives, their names would be central to the story, but since Farah was making it up, he probably didn’t feel like researching names to flesh out the lie. Besides, adding extra details means adding opportunities to be proven wrong. So he left it vague and unverifiable.

It’s a pity that Corsi himself later confirmed that he’d never spoken to any Obama relatives while he was in Kenya. Farah might have thought that by citing a WND employee as his source, then he could get away with the lie. Just like citing an anonymous source, or an unpublished document he claims to possess. But in this case, the cited source spilled the beans, and Farah’s dishonesty was exposed.

Now one might try to defend Farah by arguing that he was somehow conflating Corsi’s trip to Kenya with the taped conversation between Reverend Ron McRae and Sarah Obama. Even if true, it’s highly troublesome that the president of an ostensible news agency could innocently misrepresent his own senior reporter’s work so dramatically, and fabricate details like doubling the number of relatives and claiming they talked to Corsi himself. But moreover, Corsi left Kenya on October 8, 2008, and the taped conversation was over a week later, October 16, 2008. Corsi couldn’t have even come back with a story about that tape, because it hadn’t happened yet. Yet Farah told his readers that Corsi returned from Kenya with first-person confessions of witnesses to a Kenyan birth, personally obtained by a WND employee. He lied to his readers, and he lied to them by making up “evidence” that supported a Kenyan birth for Obama. Now he whines when anyone suggests that he ever promoted the Kenyan birth conspiracy theories.

In other words, Joseph Farah is someone who likes to say that he’s “never theorized that Obama was born abroad” (even though he has), but he’s also reported made-up events in the course of promoting that exact claim. What good is a “journalist” if he just fabricates stories and passes them off as “investigative reporting”? That sort of fictionalized reporting is what got Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fired from their jobs and exiled from the journalism community.

But that won’t happen to Joseph Farah. Because when you’re the boss of your own agency, you can lie as much as you want to, and your job is never in danger. So long as your readers are willing to accept your lies, then honesty is not a virtue you need to concern yourself with.

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32 Responses to The Many Lies of Joseph Farah

  1. avatar
    Keith January 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Excellent

  2. avatar
    sactosintolerant January 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Farah usually does a good job of not asserting anything specific himself and letting his other writers and anonymous articles do the innuendo and talking.

    But hey, even if didn’t lie, he’d still be the editor of a website that actually published this article http://www.wnd.com/2011/05/301329/ which, based on it’s premise, implied Obama’s mom may have really been born in “Witchita anus.” Isn’t that bad enough???

  3. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Loren,

    Good piece.

    Any thoughts on what has prompted Farah to return to Birtherstan?

    My guess is money. True believers never seem to tire of throwing their money down this rabbit hole.

  4. avatar
    jdkinpa January 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Error 404 – Page not found!
    The page you are trying to reach does not exist, or has been moved. Please use the menus or the search box to find what you are looking for.

    Anyone else getting this error on some of the links?

  5. avatar
    Yoda January 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I like the title of the article.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Sorry about that technical problem copying the article. It should be OK now.

    jdkinpa: Error 404 – Page not found!

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 30, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    He talks about that in Chapter 8 of his book, “Too Epic to Fail.”

    sactosintolerant: Farah usually does a good job of not asserting anything specific himself and letting his other writers and anonymous articles do the innuendo and talking

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 30, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    In a comment on the Forbes Magazine web site, farah called the birth certificate a “complete fraud.”

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/07/stunning-reversal-farah-goes-on-the-records-about-long-form/

  9. avatar
    Jim January 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    IIRC, he was instrumental in getting Orly going early on.

  10. avatar
    TMG22 January 30, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Excellent article, Loren. I wish you would call into Peter Boyles show. He has been bloviating with Corsi and Gilbert about Obama’s name on his mothers 1968 passport renewal app. My guess is they have some new material they will be pedaling and know they can count on Pete to spread their manure.

  11. avatar
    JPotter January 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I am impressed that Loren was able to keep an article on Farah’s relationship with the art of the fib confined in such a relatively small space!

  12. avatar
    Loren January 30, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    “IIRC, he was instrumental in getting Orly going early on.”

    It’s possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that conclusion, and the timeline doesn’t seem to favor it.

    Orly’s first Birther case, Keyes v. Bowen, was filed on November 13, 2008. On page 15 of the initial petition, it makes reference to Orly emailing the California Secretary of State on October 25, 2008.

    But Farah didn’t pen his first Birther column until November. Corsi didn’t write his first Birther article until October 26. WND itself hadn’t really jumped on the Birther train until October 21, and it ran three articles about Berg between the 21st and the 25th.

    It’s not impossible that Orly was influenced by that initial WND coverage, but I don’t see anything in that to make me think they were instrumental. The more likely scenario, I imagine, is that Orly was simply introduced to the conspiracy theory by Berg and his Obamacrimes site (her first petition does draw very heavily from Berg’s, so she was almost certainly familiar with his work), or by one of the early BIrther bloggers like TexasDarlin or Larry Johnson.

  13. avatar
    Loren January 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    TMG22:
    Excellent article, Loren. I wish you would call into Peter Boyles show.

    I actually tried a week or two back; I ended up not getting reached when they only managed to get through two callers in half an hour.

    I’ve called into his show twice before, too. One time went so badly for Boyles, my segment was cut out of the online podcast mp3.

    I expect I’ll call in again at some point, but not while they’re on this ‘Soebarkah’ kick. There’s nothing to be gained from two sides arguing over competing speculations about an anomalous word. I’d much rather stick to subjects that one can actually form educated and informed conclusions over, yet which Boyles insists on constantly misrepresenting. (See, for instance, his constant claim that Obama said he went to the airport to see his dad fly away; a ‘quote’ that Obama never said and Boyles has basically imagined.)

  14. avatar
    HistorianDude January 30, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Loren, do you have the reference to where Corsi admitted that he had not spoken to any Obama relatives. That seems the one specific detail missing form the article that would tie it in a final beautiful bow.

  15. avatar
    Loren January 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    He may or may not have discussed it online or in interviews, but he confirmed it directly to me three times by email, first on July 18, 2009 where he mentioned the McRae affidavit and then said:

    “But, to answer your question, I don’t have any other testimony from any other family members on the issue.”

    Then in a second email on February 6, 2010:

    “Obama shut me out from interviewing other family members, after Sayid.”

    And then after I asked for a clarification (“And does that mean you never got to talk to *any* Obama relatives after Sayid? They shut you out completely?”)”, he said on February 7, 2010:

    “No relatives after Sayid.”

    And for a sense of timing, Corsi’s interview with Sayid was done by telephone, prior to the publication of “The Obama Nation” (because it’s discussed in the book):

    http://www.wnd.com/2008/10/76769/

    Moreover, there were a few articles about Corsi’s Kenyan trip while it was underway, and several after he returned. He personally wrote three WND articles about his Kenyan trip in mid-October 2008, and he gave several print and radio interviews. He wrote his first Birther article (“Obama’s birth certificate sealed by Hawaii governor”) on October 26. And in NONE of these was there ever a mention about him talking to or directly procuring confessions from Obama relatives.

    Indeed, if you revisit those interviews, you can almost pinpoint the date when Corsi went Birther. Because before, during, and immediately after his Kenya trip, there is ZERO talk about Obama being born in Kenya. His agenda in Kenya was all about Obama’s relationship with Odinga. Only after Phil Berg made some public comments about the McRae/Obama tape did Corsi and Farah start retconning the trip to be about Obama’s birthplace. Such claims only start showing up in November or maybe late October; but they’re completely absent from the actual contemporary talk about his trip.

  16. avatar
    OD January 31, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    Please don’t forget one other thing: Farah is hardly a journalist, despite what he calls himself.

    He served as an underling editor in the last days of the L.A. Examiner then was recruited by RWNJ Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife to morph the terminally ill Sacramento Union into a mouthpiece for the fringe Right. Farah lasted less than 18 months and rather than saving it, assured the demise of the once great Sacto Union newspaper. His brief tenure was comprised of one embarrassment after another.

    Having left the Sacto Union moribund, he then founded WND and The Western Journalism Center. A real joke.

    Unfortunately, anyone can call himself a journalist, even someone who lacks credible credentials. But I do think we make a mistake to refer to him as such. He’s a hack with a nasty agenda, masquerading as a journalist, nothing more.

  17. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 31, 2014 at 2:30 am #

    OD: He’s a hack with a nasty agenda, masquerading as a journalist, nothing more.

    Amen!!

  18. avatar
    The Magic M January 31, 2014 at 4:27 am #

    Naturally, the names of these relatives are not given; if Corsi had actually spoken to relatives, their names would be central to the story, but since Farah was making it up, he probably didn’t feel like researching names to flesh out the lie. Besides, adding extra details means adding opportunities to be proven wrong. So he left it vague and unverifiable.

    That has been WND’s main MO from the get-go, and not just for birther stories. (The other one being clearly misleading headlines.)

    But that’s the problem with “internet journalism”, anybody can make up any wild story and hide the verifiable details behind “anonymous sources” or “confidential documents”.

    For example, every other story on the racist “EU Times” online rag begins with “according to a secret internal memo circulating in the Kremlin…”. That’s the stuff conspiracy believers build their parallel universes from.

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 31, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    I have a recollection of reading a narrative long ago that it was Gary Kreep who introduced Taitz to birtherism. Taitz had been engaged in some pro-Israel activism the year before and she somehow got to know Kreep. He asked her to play a minor role in the Keyes case and the rest is history. Given the dimness of the memory, it could be significantly wrong. There is a comment at The Fogbow that Kreep recruited Taitz, but no details.

    Loren: It’s possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that conclusion, and the timeline doesn’t seem to favor it.

  20. avatar
    Northland10 January 31, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    CarlOrcas:
    Loren,

    Good piece.

    Any thoughts on what has prompted Farah to return to Birtherstan?

    My guess is money. True believers never seem to tire of throwing their money down this rabbit hole.

    Election year for the House and Senate?

  21. avatar
    Loren January 31, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    The OC Weekly has an early interview with Taitz that details her origin story (and, not surprisingly, seems to do it better than a similar early WND profile).

    She received an email with the rumor that Obama wasn’t born in America, presumably mid-October 2008. She filled out a contact form on the California Secretary of State website, and was told they didn’t verify candidates. She wrote some letters to local papers, one of which published her letter. Someone who read that letter called and asked Taitz to speak about her personal immigration experience at an upcoming meeting of the (far-right) California Council for Immigration Reform.

    It was at that meeting where she met Wiley Drake, the VP candidate that year for the American Independent Party. He then became her first plaintiff, and he brought in Alan Keyes (the party’s Presidential candidate), followed by Markham Robinson (the party’s chairman), who in turn got Gary Kreep involved.

    http://www.ocweekly.com/2009-06-18/news/orly-taitz/full/

    I’ve actually never known this story before now. As usual, it’s kinda fascinating how the little actions and personal connections add up over time, rather than necessitating the involvement of a Farah or a Corsi.

  22. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG January 31, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Huh, I always imagined Orly’s origin story involved her getting bitten by a radioactive idiot!

  23. avatar
    The Magic M January 31, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I always imagined Orly’s origin story involved her getting bitten by a radioactive idiot

    I thought that worked only for superheroes, whereas villains usually get transformed by something they built themselves. I rather see Orly as some kind of Doctor Octopus, fused with her dental chair or something.

  24. avatar
    Yoda January 31, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    It is certainly not surprising that a birther was caught lying. The only truthful birthers are the ones that are not intelligent enough to see the scam.

    Birtherism is akin to a cult religion. Like all cult religions, its leaders are lying, evil con men who prey on the misguided, disenfranchised, disillusioned people, who are easily duped out of money.

    One of my fondest wishes is that the high priests of this cult religion are prosecuted for fraud.

  25. avatar
    alg January 31, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    OF course all this presumes WND regards itself as journalism rather than science fiction. I often am left wondering from what planet Farah came from.

  26. avatar
    Curious George January 31, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    There must be a new, soon to be released WND book just around the corner (March?) . Could it be this is just the beginning of the pre-release hype for a Zullo/Gallups/Corsi tell all book? Nothing would surprise me.

  27. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 31, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Northland10: Election year for the House and Senate?

    I don’t know. I don’t see the issue having any traction past Republican primaries.

    Right now they’re flogging the “rising anger at Obama” line so it all fits with the effort to stir up the base…..and separate them from their money.

  28. avatar
    Terry K. January 31, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    CarlOrcas:

    Any thoughts on what has prompted Farah to return to Birtherstan?

    He’s trying to justify not applying his Obama birther standards to Ted Cruz — after all, Farah likes Cruz. Jerome Corsi will not be traveling to Canada to gather fake documents anytime soon. My examination of WND’s Cruz birther avoidance is here.

    Loren did a good job on this — Farah really is a shameless liar. My take on Farah’s column is here.

  29. avatar
    CarlOrcas February 1, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Terry K.: Loren did a good job on this — Farah really is a shameless liar. My take on Farah’s column is here

    You’re both right…..the man has no shame…..and he has so much to be ashamed about.

  30. avatar
    euphgeek February 2, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    The link to Barackryphal at the beginning is broken, Doc. Just thought you might want to correct that.

  31. avatar
    donna February 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Did God Harden Barack Obama’s Heart or Did He Make Joseph Farah Stupid?

    What Farah demands from Obama is that the president set aside the United States Constitution and embrace the Bible (some imaginary version none of us have ever seen but which is apparently used by religious zealots like Farah) in its place. Obama’s actions, he says, must “square with His Holy Word.” His Holy Word as interpreted by Joseph Farah, of course:

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/02/05/god-harden-barack-obamas-heart-joseph-farah-stupid.html