I'm no journalist. I am -- not to boast -- a U.S. citizen, but since I only have a Social Security card, a passport, and a certified copy of my birth certificate from the County Registrar's office, I can't prove it to Joseph Farah's satisfaction, so I don't even qualify as a citizen journalist. And even if I did, Mr. Farah was running newspapers into the ground long before I ever heard the word "blogger," so where do people like me get off criticizing his professional bona fides?
I have, however, seen The Grifters, The Flim-Flam Man, and more than a few Three Card Monte games, so I feel qualified to appreciate Mr. Farah's performance in other, though related industries. For instance, his work as a human centrifuge designed to separate fools from their money, a career which began with his co-founding of the Western Journalism Center in 1991. The WJC was a bit cagey about its mandate, but since it grew fat primarily by gorging on the corpse of Vince Foster, I assume it was intended as some sort of 501(c), advocacy-related super-maggot:
The Center helped fund Christopher W. Ruddy (who later founded NewsMax) to investigate conspiracies surrounding the death of Vincent Foster, which was part of the Arkansas Project. Eventually, "the Center placed some 50 ads reprinting Ruddy's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review stories...then repackaged the articles as a packet titled The Ruddy Investigation, which sold for $12." In addition, "Farah also bought full page ads publicizing Ruddy's allegations...the ad campaign brought in over $500,000, half from individual donors-many of whom bought Foster conspiracy materials-and half from foundations, including $100,000 from Carthage." The Carthage Foundation is controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife, whose foundations gave $330,000 to the Center in 1994 and 1995.
The Western Journalism Center spawned WorldNetDaily, which, though ostensibly a for-profit enterprise, still rakes in donations for special projects, such as the America De-beautifying "Where's the Birth Certificate?" campaign. Soliciting funds from his readership, Farah put up billboards in such plum locations as Route 78 in Hamburg, Pennsylvania...
...and, by all appearances, not many other places. But rural signage is expensive, and the campaign had a lot of overhead, not least of which was the cost of hiring Joseph Farah to cadge handouts from the WND readership (Farah's contract was known to include a lengthy rider covering such pricey demands as Voss water and a Lalique Crystal Bird-Form candy dish full of blue M&Ms, a pair of lederhosen for emergencies, and a bootblack to touch up his mustache).
"I have a dream," Farah said, "My dream is that IF Barack Obama even seeks re-election as presidentin 2012, he won't be able to go to any city, any town, any hamlet in America without seeing signs that ask, 'Where's the birth certificate?'
"It's a simple question," he said.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama answered it in April, causing the birther bubble to burst, and Mr. Farah to wonder if he should have asked a slightly more complicated question; and also whether attacking the legitimacy of the first African-American President of the United States by misappropriating the words of a civil rights icon made him look like a racist douche-nipple with an insincere, rictus-like grin held in place by a strip of electrician's tape stretched across his upper lip.
But as the old saying goes, whenever God closes a door, he opens a window, allowing internet-borne mountebanks to sneak inside and steal your TV, your hand-held body massager, your cheap handguns, and your tackle box full of American Eagle bullion coins from Goldline. And sure enough, just as the market for crowdsourced calumny collapsed, Mr. Farah hit on the next innovation in turnip exsanguination: picking a legal fight you can't win, but which could conceivably drag on for years, and asking your readers to absorb the astronomical, but ill-defined costs, or what we might call the Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce Method.
To my 'terribly gullible audience'
That's what Esquire's executive editor thinks of WND readers – my "terribly gullible audience."
That's what this effete snob said about you in his late "disclaimer" [...] This was the "parody" the politically connected Mark Warren wrote about Jerome Corsi's "Where's the Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President," the best-selling release published by WND Books.
If you haven't seen the piece, I invite you to read it for yourself – as an example of the most shameful illustration of libel, defamation and tortious interference with a business you are likely to see committed by a major media outlet.
Actually, it's just a sad example of bad satire. Or a good illustration that not everybody can be The Onion. Mark Russell ≠ Tom Lehrer. Red Skelton's oil painting entitled "Sad Faced Clown" is < than Caravaggio's Conversion of St. Paul, but they're all working within the same respective mediums. It's not easy to write good satire, but apparently it's almost impossible to commit libel, judging by how rarely anyone bothers to sue WND for it. Because on the average day, Mr. Farah and his employees make a multitude of assertions far more damning than "Oops, one of our books has been exposed as bullshit -- this time, in real time -- so we're going to pretend to have a sense of shame and resist pimping it."
It's still there – in all of its infamy. Unretracted. No apology. No offer of recompense from one of the largest and wealthiest privately held companies in the world.
Historically, large and wealthy corporations are not in the habit of offering apologies, recompense, or admissions of guilt, so I am perhaps not as shocked by this turn of events as is Mr. Mustache. I'm also not sure what they would apologize for in this particular instance -- hiring a crappy writer? If that was a crime, Joe -- who employees Ellis Washington -- would be doing consecutive life sentences at the Pelican Bay Supermax.
And that's why I am, at considerable expense...WND readers can save time by reaching for their wallets now.
...filing a lawsuit against Mark Warren, Esquire and the Hearst Corporation – because I believe this attack piece, if unchallenged, will further define down our standards for the politics of personal destruction in the media.If we can't defend our high standards for the politics of personal destruction in the media, then maybe we don't deserve WND. I mean look at the fine materials and quality craftsmanship used in their personal destruction -- and they're just giving it away!
I'm also asking for your generous support for this campaign because I don't have the financial resources to take on the Hearst Corporation alone.
And by "giving it away," I mean "for a non-tax deductible donation."
This is not just a spat between two media companies – one big and one little.It's not even a spat between two media companies -- that's how uneven it is! It's more like the epic conflict between a giant sequoia and a Teacup Shih Tzu with a full bladder.
This is much bigger than that."We're so independent we're dependent on you. And we don't even know you. But we'll still take your personal check."
This is a battle between the old establishment media, that fails to hold politicians like Barack Obama accountable, and the new independent media epitomized by WND – that risks everything to perform that indispensible watchdog role in what remains of our "free society."
It's also a fight between you and the impudent pretenders in the corridors of power who look down their noses at all those with whom they disagree.Hm, it appears there's been a palace coup in the corridors of power, and the effete snobs have been replaced by the impudent pretenders. Sometimes it's a little exhausting to keep up with all this Kremlinology.
You're just my "terribly gullible audience."You're also a "dumb" of "pigeons" if I remember my collective nouns.
I know you are anything but gullible – and you're not just an "audience."
Those who write to me at WND know I interact with you daily. Try getting that kind of attention from the owner of Esquire or Fox News or CNN.I admit that I have never been panhandled by William Randolph Hearst.
I know times are tough – thanks in no small part to the man in the White House who is, one way or another, behind this attack on us.I also suspect that Obama is ultimately responsible for the recent discovery of salmonella in certain shipments of Skippy® Reduced Fat Creamy® Peanut Butter, if only by way of Original Sin.
But I need your financial help in any amount you can provide – even if it's just a couple bucks.
I also need your encouragement and your prayers.I'll alert my Muslim and Hindu friends. Given the strength of your case, Joe, you're probably going to want to cast a wide theological net.