WorldNetDaily has long had a symbiotic relationship with Orly Taitz, the California attorney/dentist/real estate agent who has been a lead filer of lawsuits against President Obama regarding his birth certificate.
WND has enabled Taitz by uncritically reporting her anti-Obama legal actions without noting factual errors in them. For instance, WND articles on July 11, July 14, July 15, and July 20 repeated Taitz's suggestion that in order to qualify as a "natural born citizen" under the constitutional requirement to hold the presidency, both parents must be American citizens; that would disqualify Obama because his father was not an American citizen. But has WND eventually admitted, there are "arguments over just exactly what is a 'natural born' citizen" and "a consensus on the correct definition of 'natural born citizen' has eluded lawyers and scholars for more than 200 years."
WND has also directly collaborated with Taitz -- a violation of journalistic ethics by working so closely with people you're supposed to be merely reporting on. WND supplied Taitz with copies of names signed to its online petition "demanding that the constitutional eligibility requirement be taken seriously" so that she could present them to Chief Justice John Roberts, even though WND has not otherwise made the petition public. WND editor Joseph Farah has also squired Taitz around Washington.
Farah has responded in kind by fluffing Taitz, asserting that "this lady is rapidly becoming one of my heroes" and adding that "I'm ready to give her any support she needs to adjudicate this issue." WND has also published a slobbering sycophantic profile of Taitz, portraying her as "the fierce blond attorney behind Obama eligibility lawsuits, a successful dentist with two offices, a second-degree black belt and a mother of three boys who speaks five languages." Taitz even plays a role in WND's video purporting to offer "the straight facts" on the birth certificate issue.
Because WND and Taitz are so close, WND has neglected to tell its readers about Taitz's questionable legal work and the questions even Taitz's fellow travelers in the birther movement have raised about her.
ConWebWatch has already detailed how WND has refused to report on previous notable Taitz-related events. In April, a formal complaint was filed in the California bar against Taitz. Among the allegations in the complaint:
-- Taitz is indiscriminately hurled charges of treason and called for an armed revolt against the federal government.
-- She actively recruited clients in a state where she is not licensed to practice law.
-- She has repeatedly disrespected judges and officers of the court.
-- She has made false and misleading claims in court filings.
-- She has not properly accounted for money she has raised to further her crusade.
The complaint has been filed anonymously, the author claims, due to Taitz's history of retaliating against her critics.
Also in April, Philip Berg -- the same person whose legal actions over the birth certificate WND first endeavored to shoot down until it decided that they served its anti-Obama agenda -- filed a lawsuit against Taitz, accusing her and various associates of "harassing" Berg and fellow plaintiffs (among them Taitz's former webmaster), and filing "falsified police and law enforcement reports" regarding her claims against the former webmaster. Berg noted in his filing that "Taitz is no stranger to falsifying stories and falsely claiming to be the victim of 'hacking' of her websites" and accuses Taitz of plagiarizing the briefs he filed in his birth certificate-related actions for her own filings. Berg also claimed that an investigator working for Taitz dug up alleged information about an employee of Berg's and "sent the information to Taitz and a reporter with World Net Daily" complete with the employee's full Social Security number, which neither the investigator nor Taitz had "permissible purpose to obtain."
As the Yes to Democracy blog reported, Taitz was to file her response to Berg's claims electronically by May 26 (Memorial Day, a holiday). Instead, Taitz filed paper copies that did not arrive at the clerk's office until the day after the deadline. Berg then sought an entry of default against Taitz, which the court granted.
Such failure to follow established and ordered court procedure is rapidly becoming par for the course for Taitz.
In early August, Salon.com reported that a federal court ordered Taitz's submission of the now-discredited Kenyan "birth certificate" -- which WND tried to find reasons to stand behind until the weight of facts against it caused it to concur with its discrediting -- to be stricken from the record, stating that Taitz's motion was improperly filed "for the following reasons: Lacks proper notice; improper form and format; Counsel failed to identify her Cal. State Bar No.; description of motion conflicts or differs from that which counsel entered on Court's e-docket." Salon added: "The electronic court record for the case, in which she's representing Alan Keyes, among others, is filled with similar procedural errors on her part."
The Orange County Register reported on Aug. 18 about Taitz's indifference to procedural rules, to the point that she wanted a judge removed from her case for enforcing them:
In the lastest quirky drama of Mission Viejo attorney Orly Taitz's lawsuit to get President Barack Obama tossed from office, she has filed a motion today asking that Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato by removed from the case. She says that Nakazato is holding up the case by being "hyper-formalistic."
On Aug. 1, Taitz filed what she said she thought was a Kenyan birth registration for Obama. You can read here about evidence indicating it's fake, but the reason Nakazato threw the filing out was because Taitz didn't have her paperwork in order.
In her motion today dismissing the shortcomings as "trivial technicalities," Taitz does not address Nakazato's concern that her bar number was omitted from the Aug. 1 filing. But she does dismiss an error she made in an upcoming court date, and explains that there were no page numbers as required because of a printing error.
Taitz's first name is misspelled as "Orley" in the footer of today's filing, as it was in one previous filing.
Taitz has also lost two of the plaintiffs in one of her lawsuits. As the Orange County Register has also reported, Wiley Drake -- who is on record praying for Obama's death, another fact WND has hidden from its readers -- and fellow plaintiff Markham G. Robinson notified Taitz that they were replacing her as counsel:
Drake complained that Taitz's paperwork errors have delayed proceedings.
"Orly is getting overwhelmed," Drake said. "We all make mistakes, but she is in over her head."
Taitz's initial complaint was sent back to her by the court for being incomplete, as was a filing last week alleging the possession of a Kenyan birth registration for Obama - a document experts have dismissed as a forgery.
Among omissions in the more recent document was such basic information as Taitz's bar number. In another recent filing by Taitz, her own name was misspelled as "Orley."
"I rest my case," Drake said.
Drake and Markham are now represented by Gary Kreep of the right-wing United States Justice Foundation. According to the Washington Independent, Kreep assisted Taitz in her initial filings on the issue. Kreep also expressed skepticism when Taitz attempted to introduce the now-discredited "Kenyan birth certificate" as evidence in court: "I've advised her in writing, along with several other attorneys, that if she has an original document that seems to bolster her case, it needs to be examined by a professional document examiner." The Independent added:
Kreep's concern about Taitz's "Kenyan birth certificate" came out of his own experience in being offered fishy or fraudulent "smoking gun" documents about Obama's past. "I've gotten tips about birth certificates that are purported to be original, snuck out of Kenya, yadda yadda," Kreep said. "Then, all of a sudden, the people offering these things disappear into the woodwork. Some people are definitely putting together hoaxes to damage our cause."
Taitz's attempt to introduce the discredited "Kenyan" certificate in court without first making any effort to verify its authenticity is splitting the anti-Obama birther movement, according to the Independent:
Michael Patrick Leahy, the conservative activist behind Top Conservatives on Twitter (#tcot), wondered why the attorney published the document online instead of verifying the claims herself. "Ms. Taitz is asking a Federal Judge to authorize a fishing expedition for documents pertaining to President Obama's birth that might exist in the Governmental files of the Republic of Kenya, and she fails to offer any evidence as to the origin of the digital image upon which this request is based?"
The "Kenyan birth certificate" has made skeptics out of people like Leahy and Kreep. Two of Taitz's original plaintiffs, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson, both associates of Alan Keyes during his presidential campaign, were removed from her latest filing after seeking new representation. But according to G. Dana Hobart, a California attorney who testifies on legal ethics, Taitz may not feel any repercussions in California for introducing a forged and anonymously-obtained document as evidence in a high-profile lawsuit.
"If you have a reasonable belief in the accuracy of the document, you don't have the frame of mind to be committing defamation," said Hobart.
"The only value to this kind of crap is that it gets play in the media, it keeps the false ball bouncing, and gives the story more credibility simply by getting it more coverage."
Of course, that appears to be the same kind of reasoning that led to WND's promotion of the "Kenyan birth certificate" and efforts to portray it as authentic.
What is likely giving more pause to Taitz's fellow birthers is her extreme views on other issues. Esquire magazine's John H. Richardson listed some of the other conspiracy theories Taitz has spouted:
Goldman Sachs runs the treasury.
Obama is a puppet.
There's a cemetery somewhere in Arizona where they just dug 30,000 fresh graves, which wait now for the revolution.
Baxter International -- a major Obama contributor -- developed a vaccine for bird flu that actually kills people.
Google Congressman Alcee Hastings and House Bill 684 and you'll see that they're planning at least six civilian labor camps.
Google an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about train cars with shackles.
The communist dictator Hugo Chavez way back in 2004 purchased the Sequoia software that runs our voting machines and the mainstream media won't report any of it -- not even Fox because Saudi Arabia bought a percentage of Fox in 2007.
Salon's Gabriel Winant cited many of the same conspiracies coming up during his interview of Taitz. Winant added:
Talking to Taitz was like watching a James Bond movie, only I couldn't follow the plot. I just knew that Obama was going to show up in the climactic scene, stroking the white cat on his lap and cackling in Swahili.
I pointed out to Taitz that maybe mainstream media reporters dismiss her because she continues to push evidence that is demonstrably false, like the Kenyan birth certificate and the idea that Obama traveled to Pakistan, despite a travel ban on Americans, with an Indonesian passport. The birth certificate is fake, there was no travel ban. But Taitz wasn't buying. "From what I know, this [Kenyan birth certificate] is a genuine document. So I actually, respectfully will disagree."
WorldNetDaily will not tell you any of this. Why? Presumably because, as Farah said, he's "ready to give her any support she needs," and telling the full truth about Taitz does not fit in with that agenda. WND is simply too close to Taitz to be objective.
Then again, there may be a sea change in the offing. As of this writing, WND has not quoted Taitz in a news article since the "Kenyan birth certificate" was exposed as a fraud. Perhaps WND is feeling burned by Taitz over the issue, even though WND brought that embarrassment on itself by publishing the certificate and suggesting it was real without bothering to do any investigation of its own.
But that's the price you pay when you're too close to a source. WND earned the discredit it brought on itself, and has only itself to blame.
Ignoring Taitz after months of championing her, however, is not the same as telling the truth about her. Do Farah and WND have the journalistic guts to tell their readers about Taitz's questionable lawyering and her wackjob conspiracies?
WND has long disregarded facts when it comes to Obama, and there's little to show that it will act any differently now -- even toward someone like Orly Taitz, who has demonstrated an unmistakable level of incompetence and a willingness to be even more reckless and irresponsible than WND.
(A version of this article was posted at ConWebWatch.)