World Net Daily Continues to Press Defamation Lawsuit for Spoof Story

Posted: October 4, 2013 in conspiracy, legal / law
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This requires some background since it started well before I started this blog. Jermoe Corsi is perhaps infamously known as the “Birther in Chief.” As in, he’s the main guy out there who has been and continues to promote the myth that President Obama was not born in Hawai’i. In 2011, he put out a book entitled, Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President. I think it was a week later or a week earlier that President Obama released his long-form birth certificate.

Then, on May 18, 2011, Esquire magazine published a parody/spoof/satire piece (something that you’d see in The Onion, for example): “Breaking: Jerome Corsi’s Birther Book Pulled from Shelves!” To quote a few paragraphs:

In a stunning development one day after the release of Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, by Dr. Jerome Corsi, World Net Daily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has announced plans to recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing run of the book, as well as announcing an offer to refund the purchase price to anyone who has already bought either a hard copy or electronic download of the book. […]

When asked if he had any plans to publish a corrected version of the book, he said cryptically, “There is no book.” Farah declined to comment on his discussions of the matter with Corsi.

A source at WND, who requested that his name be withheld, said that Farah was “rip-shit” when, on April 27, President Obama took the extraordinary step of personally releasing his “long-form” birth certificate, thus resolving the matter of Obama’s legitimacy for “anybody with a brain.”

“He called up Corsi and really tore him a new one,” says the source. “I mean, we’ll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his memory, but we don’t want to look like fucking idiots, you know? Look, at the end of the day, bullshit is bullshit.”

I know that WND is pretty crazy. But even they wouldn’t say something quite like those last two paragraphs. It’s obvious satire. And, even so, later that day Esquire posted an addendum:

UPDATE, 12:25 p.m., for those who didn’t figure it out yet, and the many on Twitter for whom it took a while: We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well, no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That’s why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all. Some more serious reporting from us on this whole “birther” phenomenon here, here, and here.

However, because of this story, WND decided to sue. For $250 million. The lawsuit claimed defamation and lost revenue (damages). WND has posted numerous stories about this over the last two years. Among them are:

There was extensive coverage when the lawsuit was dismissed mid-last year. For example, the Huffington Post wrote:

In dismissing the suit in Washington, Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the post was satire related to a matter of public interest and should be protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression. Collyer also concluded that the trademark law cited by Farah applied only to commercial speech, not to satirical non-commercial speech. … Farah had sought over $100 million in actual and compensatory damages and more than $20 million in punitive damages. Esquire magazine officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Farah’s attorney Larry Klayman said his client planned to appeal. “The court’s decision was negligent and fatally flawed,” he said. “The Washington establishment…has always been afraid of the eligibility issue. This may help explain why the judge dropped the case,” Klayman said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also did an article on it.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is WND’s latest, by Garth Kant, “Oral Arguments in $250M Defamation Case.” Larry Klayman (founder of Judicial Watch, currently with Freedom Watch) is the attorney representing WND, Farah, and Corsi.

Klayman is asking the appeals judge to basically throw out everything Esquire said that the trial judge found to be accurate, and if the appeals court doesn’t do that, he wants them to send it back to the district court and assign a new judge.

Maybe it’s just me, but this seems to be grasping at straws. I expect the appeals judge to dismiss the case with prejudice (meaning they can’t bring it back, but they can of course appeal again to a higher court).

Edited to Add (November 28, 2013): I wrote an update to this post, here. Short-short version: WND was unsuccessful.

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Comments
  1. I don’t think Corsi has a clue. So, this is not good.

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