WorldNetDaily’s Pilfering

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Posted in category Uncategorized

More in regards to yesterday’s post. LewRockwell.com’s Chris Manion wrote a send-up of WND’s pilfering of the material of other websites, and received some criticism from folks obviously not in tune to this issue. The story goes that WND has quite possibly been pilfering the words and articles of others, if you believe what you hear. Is Joe Farah faking his way from “exclusive” to “exculsive?”

One biggie I remember was Rockwell’s lead story one day, called Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There? WND pilfered it, html’d it in their own format, ran it as an “exclusive,” and I understand that only later did they add some (hardly noticeable) citation claiming it came from another website. If this is so, it’s just not good journalism.

Yesterday, I got the most amazing letter from a publication editor telling me his experience with WND’s pilfering. I have XXX’d out the gentleman’s name and his publication, so as not to get him in trouble with his managing editor, publisher, etc. Here’s the letter I received on 8/25/2003, in response to this post :

About five years ago, Joe Farah wrote a piece about the “Real Al Gore” that appropriated, without citation or attribution, roughly four paragraphs of material from an article I had published in XXX. The material was reproduced verbatim, down to the paragraph breaks. A few days before running his column, Farah had requested — and received — from our research department, a rather sizeable quantity of material about Al Gore’s background, including the article from which Joe cribbed so shamelessly.

Within hours of publishing that column, Joe got a terse but polite e-mail from me pointing out that he had, ahem, *borrowed* rather extensively and specifically from our feature story, and asking him to acknowledge as much. He sent a one-word reply — “Ooops!” or something to that effect. And that was the end of it, at least until Joe included his plagiarized column on the list of WND “exclusives” for that year.

signed,
XXX

What else would you expect from a website that uses such pitiful gimmickry to draw attention to itself :

* They are obsessed with “exclusive” this, “exclusive” that (oh please, grow up!) And what’s worse is when these “exclusives” are the property of another writer or website, and proper citation or attribution is not given. Why would a website editor do this? So as not to send his readers to other sites via links?

* They disguise advertisements as “news headings,” and place them in format with their news stories, to fool the reader into clicking onto the advertisement links.

* They still use these twirling, little block letters, announcing “breaking news.” That stuff is to the modern Internet what avocado kitchen appliances and wallpaper are to the modern, 2003 kitchen. Quite often, this “breaking news” is pilfered, as Chris Manion mentions.

* They publish these lame “here’s my worldview” books for all of their columnists, and advertise it as provocative, meaty, or whatever else they can come up with. In fact, it’s all the same, old, rehashed junk in Sean Hannity style.

* Farah tells his readers to choose between WND and the New York Times, in a desperate attempt to fund his site.

This is cheesy, Enquirer-type journalism. Chris Manion did well in making light of this.

However, do I think WND is simply the most wacko, embarrassing place on the web? Oh no. Have you taken a look at FrontPageMagazine post-9/11? If you haven’t paid attention, you should. Those folks are crazed and pathetic. Everyone and everything on FPM is mad, or just totally boring. If Horowitz had his way, we’d all be in the gulags. More on FPM at another time.

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