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I must be doing something right.
When the L.A. Times puts you in its crosshairs, it’s not because you are embarrassing their beloved “conservative movement.” And it’s not because you are embarrassing yourself.
It’s usually because you are effective – and you’re getting under somebody’s skin.
A few hours before I dashed off this column, the L.A. Times published this story: “Joseph Farah has found his calling in Obama-bashing.”
I’ll let you judge the paper’s mission and motive.
But, first, there’s a story behind the story.
I sat down for a series of interviews with one of the reporters bylined in this piece – Peter Wallsten – about six months ago. He wrapped up the story months ago and turned it in to his editors. It sat around for such a long time that Wallsten ended up leaving the Times and going to work for the Wall Street Journal.
He’s been there for a couple months. I assumed the story would never see the light of day because it was fair.
The story Wallsten wrote never did see the light.
At some point, the editors at the L.A. Times looked over the story and determined it made me look responsible, eclectic, maybe even, God forbid, likable. So they turned the story over to another reporter, Faye Fiore.
Did she interview me?
But she rewrote the story nonetheless – with an eye toward making me look like some kind of irresponsible, opportunistic monster.
So let’s address the errors she introduced into the story:
- “Serving up a mix of reporting and wild speculation”? When I was a reporter, I was taught to provide examples to back up allegations. Faye Fiore does not. Where’s the wild speculation, Faye?
- Apparently she doesn’t like our headlines. I never liked the L.A. Times’ headlines much. But here are the stories behind the headlines she found most offensive. Please see for yourself if the stories don’t back them up: “Minister: Obamacare kills African-American babies” and “Sign at homeless camp: Welcome to Obamaville.” See for yourself if there is anything untoward in either or if they offer “wild speculation.”
- For someone concerned about accuracy and truth and responsibility in journalism, Faye Fiore tells some big lies. Like this one: “The topic it (WND) pursues with tireless zeal, though, is the claim that Obama was born not in Honolulu but in Africa, and is therefore ineligible to be president.” Of course, actual readers of WND know that no allegation of an Obama foreign birth has ever been made by me or any other reporter in WND. I’m not even sure if any commentator has ever made that claim. WND’s reporting has focused like a laser beam on the need to establish where he was born, with actual documents that would be meaningful and persuasive. After all, if the evidence is so overwhelming and so clear, why does half the country not believe Obama’s unverified story?
- Next Fiore sought out comment from a little blogger and “Republican strategist” no one ever heard of until he started criticizing me and WND. Nobody cared about his opinion until he launched a boycott of WND – a very ineffective one, I might add. But now he’s a celebrity, if you call being interviewed by the L.A. Times and MSNBC a mark of fame.
- Then Fiore seems to have a problem distinguishing between advertising copy and editorial copy – something you would think a seasoned reporter would be able to discern.
- She suggests Rush Limbaugh was “a relatively unknown local radio host” in Sacramento in 1990 when he caught my ear and began writing a daily political column for me. In 1990, Rush Limbaugh was already a well-established nationally syndicated talk-radio superstar based in New York.
- The Western Journalism Center I founded a year later was not a headlong dive into “political advocacy,” as she suggests. It was an effort to promote and fund investigative reporting, which it did under my direction. It also did not fund and promote conservative causes.
- No WND reporter has ever suggested that Barack “Obama would support concentration-camp-style detention centers for his political opponents.” It seems Faye Fiore has been listening to too much Keith Olbermann. Nor did any WND writers suggest Obama would “build his own personal authoritarian civilian security force.” I just reported what he said – something the L.A. Times and the rest of the media failed to do.
- Fiore also states FactCheck.org examined Obama’s original birth certificate. While FactCheck.org makes that claim, the assertion is untrue. FactCheck.org examined only the digital document released to select news organizations for inspection – the same document available to millions on the Internet. That document is a certification of live birth and is thoroughly unpersuasive as proof of an actual Hawaiian birth. Those documents can be obtained without an eyewitness to an actual domestic birth – and many of them have been.
Bottom line? One honest reporter from the L.A. Times wrote a fair and unbiased story about me and WND. The editors at the L.A. Times would have no part of publishing that. So they assigned another reporter to give it the right slant – or should I say the left slant?
In fact, that’s pretty much what you see in the L.A. Times every day.