Last week, actual journalist Rachel Maddow learned the hard way what happens when you trust the "journalism" published by WorldNetDaily. It began on the August 4 edition of her show, during a segment about how birthers view President Obama's 50th birthday, when Maddow played a clip of Rush Limbaugh saying, "Tomorrow is Obama's birthday -- not that we've seen any proof of that."
Newsbusters -- and Limbaugh himself -- pounced on Maddow, claiming she had misleadingly presented a year-old clip as being only a day old. In response, she issued a correction on her show the next day, in which she explained where the error came from:
The reason I thought this sound bite was from this week is because of a report from the pro-birther publication WorldNetDaily. The link does not work anymore, but here's a cached version of that report. It was posted just past midnight yesterday, August 4, 2011, at 12:15 a.m., and it misattributed the day that Rush Limbaugh said those words as "today," which would have been Wednesday, August 3, the day before the article was posted. The article also linked to audio uploaded on August 3, 2011, of Rush Limbaugh's comments -- all of which made me believe it was from August 3, 2011, audio that I used and wrongly attributed to having been said on August 3rd, 2011. That clip was mislabeled. The article was wrong, and it was wrong of us to not check early WorldNetDaily's reporting. I am very sorry.
An August 4 WND article did indeed claim Limbaugh had made the relevant remarks earlier that same day. WND has since disappeared the article without issuing a correction or apology. It remains in Google cache for the time being.
WND does this sort of thing a lot. For instance, earlier this year, columnist Jack Cashill peddled the loony conspiracy theory that a photo of Obama had been Photoshopped into a picture of his grandparents. In fact, he was clearly Photoshopped out, as evidenced by the presence of Obama's knee in the purported "original" photo. After Media Matters noted the error, WND deleted the claim without issuing a correction. When Salon's Justin Elliott pressed WND founder and editor Joseph Farah on why WND didn't issue a correction, all he got in return were insults ("How long have you been in this business, punk?") and an admission that "we publish some misinformation by columnists." (And how!)
WND is all too willing to put its rabidly anti-Obama agenda before the facts, as evidenced by their birther obsession and unhinged rhetoric. That a "news" site would make such a basic mistake regarding one of its closest allies -- then bury the mistake instead of owning up to it -- only confirms that it can't be trusted, period.
(Adapted from a post at Media Matters.)