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Conservatives Boycott WorldNetDaily over 'Embarrassing' Birther Claims

5 years ago
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Portions of the conservative blogosphere are drawing battle lines with the right-wing news and commentary site WorldNetDaily, which some on the right blame for giving legitimacy to scurrilous anti-Obama rumors. Inspired by a recent article in the Boston Herald that discussed right-wing extremism on the Internet, a blogger at The Next Right, a blog about rebuilding the Republican Party, called for companies and organizations to remove their advertisements from WND.
"The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet," wrote Jon Henke, referring to a right-wing group that conservative godfather William F. Buckley denounced in the 1960s. "The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some . . . choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration."
The latest criticism of WND has focused on a column published in February that seemed to suggest President Obama might round up American citizens and place them in Nazi-style camps. In an interview, Jerome Corsi, author of "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," said his original point was "mischaracterized," and that he did not compare proposed emergency detention camps with camps in Nazi Germany.
"The creation of emergency centers, unless narrowly defined, raises many civil liberties concerns, especially when the U.S. has a history of having used detention centers broadly in political protest situations," Corsi told Politics Daily. He was referring to H.R. 645, a bill that proposed providing mandatory temporary housing and medical facilities during national emergencies. Corsi added that he was equally critical of plans for similar emergency camps under President Bush that granted sweeping executive power.
Joseph Farah, the founder and editor of WorldNetDaily, scoffed at bloggers whom he says are calling for an "all-out jihad" against his Web site. "I didn't found WorldNetDaily to be esteemed by my colleagues," he said in a statement being released to the media on Wednesday. "I didn't found it because I wanted to be part of the 'conservative' movement. I founded it because there was a crying need for an independent brand of journalism beholden only to the truth."
Conservatives who disagree are finally unleashing pent-up indignation with Farah's site: "I'm of the mind that sensibility is more sustainable than faux outrage, but also that we are going to have to watch the self-destructive wing of the conservative movement fully implode before we see anything from the sensible crowd really come to fruition," E.D. Kain wrote on The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.
Nathan Martin, a Washington editor at Patrol magazine, agreed: "I'm sick and tired of having conservatism co-opted by this type of insanity. It hurts causes and ideas I firmly believe in."
Though paranoid responses seem to have stretched Corsi's "concentration camp" column beyond its actual statements, WND consistently publishes spurious claims about the president, including the notion that he is not a U.S. citizen. Despite reporting in its own pages that Obama's birth certificate is authentic, WND has vigorously kept the birther "issue" alive, encouraging visitors to fund a campaign to erect "Where's the birth certificate?" billboards along American highways.
WorldNetDaily's mailing list advertisers include the Republican National Committee. The conservative blog Right Wing Watch immediately pointed out that the site's deep entanglement with Republican politics would probably make a boycott self-defeating: Farah is a staple GOP debate moderator and CPAC panelist, and WND is sponsoring the upcoming How to Take Back America Conference, where Mike Huckabee and other party stars are scheduled to speak.

The RNC did not respond to requests for comment late Tuesday on whether it would consider dropping its business with WND.
Henke, who began the boycott, said the Boston Herald report had simply nudged him to say what he's been thinking for a long time. "I have been critical of Jerome Corsi in the past, and I've been critical of the general conspiracy theorist tendency for some time," he told me. "This story just prompted me to write something and focus on WND as the most prominent outlet that gives this nonsense a pedestal."

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