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What do atheist-activist Michael Newdow, half a dozen radical Islamic groups, and Al Gore’s top home-state fundraiser have in common?
They’ve all sued or legally threatened WorldNetDaily.com.
“It’s an occupational hazard,” says WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah. “Just as coal miners risk cave-ins and police risk being shot, journalism organizations risk being sued. It goes with the territory. When people don’t like what you report about them ? even if your reporting is totally true ? they can and often will sue you, or threaten to, if they have the means.”
For example, as a result of WorldNetDaily’s aggressive reporting on Islamic terrorism, several Islamic groups ? both in the U.S. and overseas ? have threatened to sue WND. So far, each attack has been successfully defused out of court by WND’s dedicated attorneys. But radical Muslim groups are not the only legal threat.
Attacking from another direction, atheist Michael Newdow ? who infamously sued to have the “Under God” phrase taken from the Pledge of Allegiance ? turned his legal guns on WorldNetDaily, filing a $1 million libel lawsuit against the Internet news organization. WND quickly beat back Newdow’s baseless attack.
Sometimes, it is WND that is put in the position of having to take the legal sword in hand. For instance, after its highly publicized year-and-a-half battle to obtain press credentials from the Senate Press Gallery in Washington, D.C., WND finally threatened to file a lawsuit against each member of the Senate’s “Standing Committee of Correspondents,” which was unjustifiably denying WND its rightful accreditation.
Within days, the “Standing Committee” capitulated and did what it should have done 18 months before, which was to grant WND Senate Press Gallery credentials ? a vital tool for journalists in the nation’s capital.
So important was this case that, a few months later,
the Senate Press Gallery weighed reforms in the accreditation process, pointing to the WorldNetDaily battle as proof change was needed.
Of all of WorldNetDaily’s legal challenges, only one is currently in court ? WND’s five-year court battle with Al Gore’s top Tennessee fund-raiser. Farah explains:
“Back in the presidential election year of 2000, WND set out to give the nation a small taste of the widespread, institutionalized political corruption that spawned the career of Al Gore. The result was a monumental 18-part series that some Tennessee observers credited with costing the vice president his home state and the electoral votes he needed to win the presidency. But it was also a costly series for this news organization.”
Indeed, for the last five years, WorldNetDaily has been defending itself, at great cost, against a $165 million defamation lawsuit filed by Gore’s top fund-raiser in the state, auto dealer Clark Jones.
Jones, who had raised more than $100,000 for Gore’s campaign and, sources say, frequently bragged to other Tennessee businessmen about his close links to Gore, was reportedly humiliated by Gore’s loss of his home state, which cost Gore the election.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that the No. 1 independent Internet newssite was targeted by powerful and wealthy friends of the losing presidential candidate ? and that the suit pertained to an investigative series that may well have cost that candidate the Electoral College votes he needed for victory,” Farah said at the time. “I stand by that comment today,” he adds.
“Understand that this lawsuit would be dropped in a flat second if Al Gore wanted it to be dropped,” says Farah. “Understand also that WND did nothing wrong and libeled no one in the publication of this exhaustive series.”
Nevertheless, as this costly lawsuit continues, WorldNetDaily’s only recourse is to fight it every step of the way. If readers would like to help WND offset the enormous legal costs involved in the defense of this high-profile First-Amendment case ? and all the other legal roadblocks that are thrown in our way on a regular basis ? consider making a donation to WND’s Legal Defense Fund.
“This is really the only way WND can fight the legal battles that inevitably rise when you’re willing to report the truth,” says Managing Editor David Kupelian. “Whether it’s fighting Al Gore’s cronies in court, or defending frivolous million-dollar libel challenges by litigation-happy atheist activists, fending off attacks from radical Islamic groups or demanding our rights from the ‘press bureaucrats’ in Washington, D.C. ? it all takes money. And the only place that money comes from is our loyal readers, who recognize the value of WND and don’t mind helping us remain strong so we can fight off predatory legal attacks of this sort.”
There are three ways to contribute to WND’s Legal Defense Fund:
1. Donate online here.
2. Donate over the phone by calling WND toll-free at 1-800-4WNDCOM (1-800-496-3266). Or,
3. Donate by mailing a check, made payable to WorldNetDaily Legal Defense Fund, to: WorldNetDaily.com, Inc., P.O. Box 1627, Medford, OR 97501.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – An 8-year-old, $165 million defamation case against WND springing from a series of stories about then-presidential candidate Al Gore has been settled.
The terms of the out-of-court agreement with auto dealer Clark Jones are confidential. The settlement averts the need for a trial in Tennessee that was scheduled for next month.
Below is the text of the settlement statement jointly drafted by all parties in the lawsuit. Both sides agreed to limit comment on the lawsuit to this statement:
“A lawsuit for libel, defamation, false light and conspiracy was filed by Clark Jones of Savannah, Tennessee against WorldNetDaily.com, Tony Hays and Charles H. Thompson II arising out of a press release issued by WorldNetDaily.com on September 18, 2000, and articles dated September 20, October 8, November 24 and December 5, 2000, written by Tony Hays and Charles H. Thompson, II, posted on WorldNetDaily.com’s website.
“The original news release by WorldNetDaily.com of September 18, 2000, and the article by Hays and Thompson of September 20, 2000, contained statements attributed to named sources, which statements cast Clark Jones in a light which, if untrue, defamed him by asserting that the named persons said that he had interfered with a criminal investigation, had been a ‘subject’ of a criminal investigation, was listed on law enforcement computers as a ‘dope dealer,’ and implied that he had ties to others involved in alleged criminal activity. These statements were repeated in the subsequently written articles and funds solicitations posted on WorldNetDaily.com’s website. Clark Jones emphatically denied the truth of these statements, denied any criminal activity and called upon the publisher and authors to retract them.
“Discovery has revealed to WorldNetDaily.com that no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated. Additionally, no document has been discovered that provides any verification that the statements written were true.
“Factual discovery in the litigation and response from Freedom of Information Act requests to law enforcement agencies confirm Clark Jones’ assertion that his name has never been on law enforcement computers, that he has not been the subject of any criminal investigation nor has he interfered with any investigation as stated in the articles. Discovery has also revealed that the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context.
“WorldNetDaily.com and its editors never intended any harm to Clark Jones and regret whatever harm occurred. WorldNetDaily.com has no verified information by which to question Mr. Jones’ honesty and integrity, and having met him, has no claim or reason to question his honesty and integrity. WorldNetDaily.com wishes him well.”