Well, here it is more than a week after HBO aired an episode of “The Newsroom” in which the fake news organization made up a phony story about my real news organization breaking a phony news story and I still have not had an opportunity to see it for myself.
I might have by now had HBO or “The Newsroom” tried to contact WND, as a real news organization would have. I might have if HBO had sent me a screener as a courtesy. (I don’t subscribe to HBO and don’t have any intention of exposing my family to its pornography, anti-God content and obscene dialogue.)
But it’s time for me to respond in full, as best I can, to the irony and absurdity of what was aired.
“The Newsroom” stars Jeff Daniels, an actor who, heretofore, had commanded my respect. He plays the anchor for the make-believe Atlantic Cable News organization. In its fifth episode of the season, which aired for the first time Sunday, Aug. 11, the plot had its executive producer Don Keefer (played by actor Thomas Sadowski) dealing with an out-of-control joke about an Obama appointee that supposedly was taken seriously by WorldNetDaily.
“The Newsroom” used actual WND graphics to forge its fabricated story whenever it displayed the site’s content on the air.
In the storyline, Keefer said he never called any WND editor, not even being sure whether the news agency would even have an editor. Bulletin: I actually exist. My name is Joseph Farah, not David Munch, the made-up name for the editor of WND in the show. My email address is very public – not hard to get at all. I’ve been doing this job since May 1997, before there was any other independent Internet news organization around.
Apparently, Keefer had tipped the make-believe version of me that a presidential appointee had connections to a group called “The Righteous Daughters of Jihadi Excellence.” The fake WND went with the story, claiming it had “multiple sources.”
(Watch this clip from “The Newsroom” as it mocks WND. WARNING: Graphic language at end:)
Now, talk about irony: WND boasts among its full-time reportorial staff two reporters who are experts on Islamic terrorist groups. More than that, they are the only two reporters in the world who regularly talk to Islamic terrorists. One of them, Aaron Klein, a multiple New York Times best-selling author, wrote a book about his experience called “Schmoozing With Terrorists.” No reporter at any other news organization in the world could write such a book, because no reporter at any other news organization does it. (WND boasts the only two.) Take my word for it: Our guys are the least likely journalists to be fooled into reporting about a fake terrorist organization.
Want some more irony? The plot line mirrors closely an actual journalistic faux pas committed by another news organization some might consider a competitor to WND. Last February, Breitbart.com ran a bogus story reporting an allegation that a group named “Friends of Hamas” had donated money to organizations connected to Chuck Hagel, who was then under consideration for secretary of defense. While Hagel had plenty in his background for which he should be ashamed, there was no such group as “Friends of Hamas.” Again, this is not a mistake WND could possibly make, given the expertise of our reporting staff.
(Watch another clip from “The Newsroom” as it mocks WND. WARNING: Graphic language at the start:)
Still more irony? Yes. In this show, for some reason the fake news organization is lobbying the fake WND editor to pull the story because it might block the nomination of the fake Hagel. Why would a news organization involve itself in that kind of political lobbying and activity? I’ve been in the news business for more than 30 years. I’ve run major-market daily newspapers. I’ve been an investigative reporter. I’ve been a foreign correspondent. I’ve done pretty much everything you can do in what is euphemistically called “the mainstream media.” I was also a pioneer in what we today call “the new media.” And for the life of me, I don’t even understand why a newsman – fake or otherwise – would be fighting for confirmation of a presidential nominee. It’s just not the job of a news person. These guys at HBO must think what they do at MSNBC is journalism.
Earlier in the episode, another character in the show disparaged WND with the following line: “Keeping in mind that WorldNetDaily reported that Obama murdered his gay lover.” Of course, that slur, too, was a complete fabrication.
Another character offers this mis-clarification: “No he didn’t murder him. He had him murdered, and it wasn’t his gay lover. It was his husband.”
The irony and absurdity doesn’t end there, sadly. HBO is the same cable network that in 2012 became infamous for a show called “Game of Thrones,” which featured a prop of the severed head of President George W. Bush on a stick. Even HBO was forced to apologize for that episode.
After all is said and done, however, I’m grateful that after nearly 17 years of doing what we do at WND, HBO’s “The Newsroom” had to make up mistakes committed by us.