The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Obama-Bashing WorldNetDaily Chief Sues Esquire Over ‘Birther’ Satire

By Ryan Lenz on June 30, 2011 - 4:18 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

WorldNetDaily (WND) Editor-in-Chief Joseph Farah really wants the world to know he’s serious about President Obama’s birth certificate, even if most of the world seems to have completely lost interest. After exhaustively demanding that the president produce his long-form birth certificate and then claiming that the certificate Obama did release was fake, Farah has sued Esquire magazine for publishing an online article parodying his dog-with-a-bone mission.

A complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia this week accuses Esquire, reporter Mark Warren and parent company Hearst Communications Inc. of defaming WND . The Esquire article, which was tagged as “humor,” said that Farah had decided to pulp 200,000 brand-new copies of Jerome Corsi’s Where’s The Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, published by WND. The book was about to go on sale when Obama released his birth certificate, in effect making Farah, WND, Corsi and the title of Corsi’s book all look ridiculous.

The lawsuit demands almost $300 million.

Corsi is a senior staff writer for WND, as well as a prominent right-wing attack dog — he wrote a book savaging John Kerry’s Swift Boat experience in Vietnam, among other things. For its part, WND is an ultra-conservative website that has long been a home for baseless conspiracy theories, persistent “birther” claims, and such counter-historical propaganda screeds as the new edition of the The Pink Swastika that it plans to put on sale soon. That book, written by anti-gay propaganist Scott Lively, claims without foundation that the Nazi Party was run by gay men who orchestrated the Holocaust.

Esquire doesn’t sound too worried. A spokesman for the magazine, who asked not to be identified per company policy, told Hatewatch, “It was satire. An age-old and completely legitimate form of expression. Additionally, the piece was tagged as ‘humor,’ as are all of our frequent satire posts on Esquire’s Politics Blog. This was not lost on our observant readers.”

Esquire’s May 18 parody “reported” 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.’” A disclaimer added to the post hours later said, “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 cycles, several weeks in advance of publication. … Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all.” The disclaimer linked to Obama’s fundraising website, where a T-shirt for sale pictures Obama and the words “Made in the USA” with a scan of the birth certificate.

Larry Klayman, an attorney representing WND, said at a news conference that book sales and Corsi’s reputation had suffered as a result of the Esquire report, and that the magazine would “pay dearly.” “It was obviously calculated with malice to destroy, not just the book and its sales, but to destroy the reputations of Mr. Corsi and Mr. Farah.”

However, later when a reporter at the news conference yesterday at the National Press Club asked Farah to say which booksellers returned unsold copies of the book or canceled orders, Farah stumbled. “I don’t have the exact number off the top of my head,” Farah laughed. “I wish my memory was good enough to recall.”

Corsi’s Where’s the Birth Certificate? weighs in at 300 pages and has garnered widespread readership. It appeared on The New York Times’ Best Sellers list when it was released in May and remains a bestseller on Amazon. (Perhaps it’s no surprise that a large portion of the news conference to announce the lawsuit served as a promotion for the book.)

Unsurprisingly, Farah and Corsi have not abandoned their longstanding efforts – even as the issue has fallen from headlines and notable “birthers” like Donald Trump have abandoned it. Just this week, new headlines appeared on the WND site with claims against Obama’s citizenship. One reads, “Here’s how the Obama birth certificate was born,” while another asks, “Is Obama constitutionally eligible to serve?”

At the news conference, Farah vowed to continue on the “birther” mission. “The original long form birth certificate, if it exists, has not been released,” he insisted. “This book has presented arguments that have remained valid despite the efforts to kill the book.”

  • Lex

    There are plenty of legimiate issue that Obama can and should be heavily criticised for, The birther thing is a stupid racist made up issue that somehow got media attention and is a waste of time.

    Birthers it´s not racist to criticize Obama far from it nobody has said so but what you are doing by obsessing over his birthplace and his otherness is racism 101 and is in no way a legitimize criticism

    What has Obama done things he should face criticism for in my view?


    Obamas record on lgbt issues has not very good in my view,he dragged his foot on dont ask dont tell,he has defended “traditional marriage” and seems to take a stand against gay marriage rather then for it

    Obama support to extend the patriot act

    The Increase of military spending that obama signed

  • Jonas Rand

    “Black” Americans in the USA were brought from the “Slave Coast” of West Africa, during the Triangle Trade.

    Obama actually is the son of a Kenyan (though he was born in Hawaii and there are no legitimate doubts about his primary citizenship). He is a Luo.

    Kenyans are not of a coherent ethnic stock, as the country was drawn on a map in Britain as a colonial protectorate (like much of Africa), rather than being carved out along cultural lines. Though there are many ethnic groups in Kenya, such as Kikuyu, Maasai, Luo, etc., none of them are from the “Slave Coast” from which the “African American” slaves were taken from. They are not of the same ethnic groups, civilization, or cultural background.

    So, to say that Obama is Kenyan really does not equate being a “Black American” (i.e., a person who is a descendant of “Slave Coast” slaves) with being a foreigner. It is an attempt to “Otherize” Obama, and may be racist in intent, but not in content. Most African-Americans who are descended from East Africans, like Obama, have, as ancestors, recent immigrants. The majority of the African-American population cannot, however, trace their roots back to East Africa. Thus, the argument that “they chose Kenya because Obama is black” is wrong. The birthers chose to state that he was Kenyan, just as they tried to do with the “Indonesian Madrassa” pseudo-scandal, because it is a way to conceivably invalidate his presidency. One can’t say “Obama has no connections to Kenya, he is all-American”, because his father was indeed Kenyan. The birthers, using real-life facts about Obama’s relatives (mixed with an even heavier dose of fallacy) and foreign countries, make his background look shadowy, and then suggest that everything is fake unless he is from Kenya. No, it doesn’t work, and it probably has xenophobic or racist intentions. But how is it anti-Black? Obama cannot trace his paternal ancestry to the millions of slaves, brought in ships where they dwelt in inhospitable conditions, from the Slave Coast. Rather, he is a half-Luo, half-White raised in Honolulu, Indonesia, and Chicago.

    His parents were world travellers, and he is no more “Un-American” than he is a secret Muslim just because he was partially raised in Indonesia. The only reason that happened was because Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, had an Indonesian boyfriend.

  • skinnyminny

    I agree with Morpheus. One thing that people are not talking about it is, Obama also being blamed for the failing economy – interesting that it was W. who tried to sell the ports immediately after 9/11 to buyers that Americans blamed for the tragedy. So, with these so-called austerity measures/plans, we have been under this since the year 2001. Meaning, local, state, fed level officials have been selling land, taxpayer-paid parks, etc. since 2001. Jobs have been leaving this country since before 2002, under the pretext that our tax, regulation, and laws are unfair.

  • Dr. Conspiracy

    Farah is just hoping the lawsuit’s publicity will boot sales of his already dead flagship book “Where’s the Birth Certificate” by Jerome Corsi. Remember how the Fox News lawsuit (Fox v Franken) helped propel Al Franken’s book “Lies, And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” from #400 to a #1 pre-sales ranking at

  • Leslie


    Thanks. I will definitely check out “Hot Coffee”. I personally know some people who complained all the time about too many lawsuits but ended up winning a large settlement in a civil suit. I guess they feel they are the only people that have ever been wronged in the history of the country.

  • Cesar Silva

    Leslie’s point is 100% right on target!

    Confederate conservatives constantly whine about “frivolous lawsuits” when ordinary citizens attempt to hold irresponsible mega-corpoations accountable for the injuries they cause…but when the “shoe is on the other foot” they are the first to run to the courts with frivolous lawsuits of their own, which they use to intimidate their political opponents.

    Once again, this story shows the utter hypocrisy of the political “right wing”….since they know they can’t win on a level playing ground, they lose no opportunity in stacking [i.e., manipulating] the legal deck in their favor…

    And, if you want more examples, I recommend the latest HBO documentary called “Hot Coffee”…it will truly open your eyes!!!

  • Linnea

    Morpheus is absolutely right. The “birthers” are just racists in disguise. They know they can’t come out and say blatantly racist things, so they come at it sideways and find other ways of trying to discredit Obama. Also, Obama doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet: he loves his wife, he’s a good father, he spent his time after college working with poor people… in short, he’s squeaky clean. It drives the right wing bonkers that they can’t get any dirt on him, so they have to make up whatever they can. Fortunately, none of it has stuck. (Yes, there was the Reverend Wright flappette, but that blew over pretty quick.) Welcome to 21st century racism…

  • Gregory

    There is a reason that it is called the World Nut Daily.

  • legalhound

    It is impossible for a person’s reputation to be damaged when the reputation they already have is that of being a crackpot, fool, buffoon etc and WND’s reputation can’t suffer one bit considering that it is much more of a joke than a legitimate media site.

  • Morpheus

    Maybe I’m beating a dead horse by saying this but, the “birther” issue IS a racist issue! All of the ppl laying claim to it do so under the pretense that they know that they can’t say that “Obama shouldn’t be President bc he’s black!”

    So, they say other things. They say that Obama was not born in the United States, that he was born in this (other) country, or that one. (Kenya & Indonesia have been the two countries that I have seen get the biggest push…) They go on to say that Obama is a terrorist, a Muslim, that he’s friends with terrorist’s & Muslim’s, that he’s a Reptilian who was born on the moon…

    I’ve even heard that Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 but, when Hawaii became a state in 1959 it was unconstitutional; so, Hawaii is not & never has been a “state” & every person born in Hawaii since it became a “state” is not & has never been a US citizen & that includes Barack Obama & that is therefore why Obama is not eligible to be President of the United States.

    These ppl need more fluoride in their water.

  • Leslie

    I thought the right wing was always complaining about the fact that there are too many bogus lawsuits.