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

WND Lawsuit Against Esquire Over ‘Birther’ Parody Dismissed

By Ryan Lenz on June 5, 2012 - 12:14 pm, Posted in Birther Extremism

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., this week dismissed a lawsuit that WorldNetDaily (WND) Editor-in-Chief Joseph Farah filed against Esquire over a satirical article the magazine posted online claiming that Farah had recalled 20,000 copies of Jerome Corsi’s “birther” book.

The article, tagged as “humor,” said that WND was pulping Corsi’s Where’s The Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President. The book was about to go on sale when Obama released his long-form birth certificate, in effect making Farah, WND, Corsi and the title of Corsi’s book look ridiculous. WND’s complaint accused Esquire, reporter Mark Warren and parent company Hearst Communications Inc. of defaming WND and demanded nearly $250 million in damages.

This week, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer saw otherwise, ruling that Esquire’s article was protected under the First Amendment as satirical expression related to a matter of public interest.

The May 18, 2011, parody “reported” that “Farah was ‘rip-shit’ when … 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 later to the post 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.”

Not everyone shared that sense of humor –– then or now. Larry Klayman, an attorney representing WND, said on Monday that the court’s decision was “significantly flawed and intellectually dishonest.” Klayman, founder of the watchdog group Judicial Watch and a writer for WND, plans to appeal.

“The Washington establishment … has always been afraid of the eligibility issue,” Klayman said. “This may help explain why the judge dropped the case.”

Corsi’s Where’s the Birth Certificate? was promoted as the definitive volume on the question of Obama’s provenance. The 300-page tome appeared on The New York Times’ best seller list when it was released in May 2010 and remains an Amazon best seller a year after its publication.

In recent weeks, Corsi has been filing video dispatches from Hawaii, where he has continued his quixotic investigation into Obama’s background with the help of Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “cold case posse.” He plans to hold a news conference sometime in the coming months, no doubt with new far-fetched details sure to bolster book sales.

  • Reynardine

    Erika, just send them a copy of Hustler, period. They’ll get lost looking for Assawoman and wind up in Onancock.

  • Erika

    Someone needs to get a copy of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell to World Nut Daily.

  • Erika

    gail, whatever the understanding of the phrase in 1787 is completely irrelevent. Just read the Fourteenth Amendment which makes every child born in the United States to non-diplomat parents a natural born U.S. citizen. Parents citizenship doesn’t matter at all – even in the 19th Century when the Supreme Court was hardly a friend to individual rights the racist Chinese Exclusionary Act could not prevent American born children of Chinese parents from being natural born American citizens.

    Quite simply if your “requirement” to have two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen was the law, American citizenship would quickly become a shambles. Look back in your family tree – eventually you will find someone who came from someplace else. Eventually no one is a citizen and sheer chaos advanced.

    And incidentially, how come nobody was questioning whether Bill Richardson (whose father was born outside of the U.S. to American citizen parents and mother was Mexican – and Richardson grew up in Mexico City) was elgible to be President? Especially given that U.S. citizenship rules are much more protective of children born to American mothers (even had Obama been born in Kenya he would be a natural born U.S. citizen because of his U.S. citizen mother) than American fathers.

    Why don’t all of you birther idiots just admit that you are racists who hate President Obama because he has a Black father?

  • Ed Weston

    Be on the look out for any child from an unwed American female born in a foreign country!

    I’m sure many GOP lead states are already at work, desperatly waiting by the fax line for ALEX to show them the way out of the threat this population represents to Hamerica.

  • Reynardine

    Concerned, truth is defense against libel. The Birthers *are* ridiculous.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Satire is supposed to be funny, but satirists can go too far in pushing the envelope.

  • Reynardine

    Official. Before coffee, my ability to type on a tiny keyboard is ossified.

  • Reynardine

    Natural born means having citizenship at one’s biological birth, whether that means physically born on U.S. soil (including in U.S. embassies and consulates, on an American ship of war anywhere or an American-flagged and registered civilian vessel on the high seas or on military bases abroad where the terms of the lease give the U.S. sole jurisdiction) and not the child of a foreign diplomat or occupying military ossicial, or, as recognized by Congress, born to a U.S. citizen on foreign soil. Jus solis is the primary citizenship recognized by all common-law jurisdictions, while jus sanguinis in such jurisdictions is granted only by a legal enactment. This is the reverse of civil code jurisdictions, whose law is no precedent for ours.

    Under our law, there is no status of aubinage. The President is a citizen through biological birth on our soil, an unquestioned class of natural birth. John McCain, born to Americans in the Canal Zone, is also a natural-born citizen. George Romney, born in Mexico to a colony of Americans who had abjured U.S. jurisdiction so as to follow marriage customs legally prohibited and socially unaccepted in their land of origin, had a far shakier claim to natural citizen birth, and if we followed the jus sanguinis doctrine you Obama-haters are advocating for, Mitt, the descendant of these abjured Americans, would be on ground equally shaky.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Actually Gail, people have tried to make this claim before, and it’s already been debunked. You do realize that many of the Founding Fathers’ parents were not US citizens right?

  • gail

    American is not the same as ‘natural born’ citizen. ‘Native born’ is not ‘natural born’. ‘Natural Born’ citizens have two citizen parents – in other words they are second generation Americans [citizens]. Why is it so difficult to believe the Framers set a higher standard for the President than for any other elected office? Representatives can be naturalized and so can Senators. The POTUS has to be ‘natural born’ – read what that meant in 1787.

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Ruslan,

    Because everyone knows that ‘community organizer’ is just another way of saying ‘Marxist-Leninist-Fascist who steals all of your votes.’

  • Leslie

    “And if he isn’t eligible,then every law he has signed – would be void.”

    Including the law that allows people to carry concealed weapons in the National Parks or just the ones the right wing doesn’t like?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Rose, none of this crap is “credible” in the least. The entire story is just ridiculous.

    Also, I have to know, why is the term “community organizer” supposed to be so ominous?

  • Reynardine

    Rose, you would better be named Carrion Flower.

  • CM

    Rose,

    Barack Obama also never “lost his right to practice law.” According to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Obama “voluntarily retired” from legal practice and never underwent any disciplinary proceedings. One might also note that he received his juris doctor degree “magna cum laude” from Harvard. You need to stop listening to the big fat lies of the extremist right.

  • Supersonic250

    Rose,
    Barack Obama is American. He was born in Hawaii. Get over it, and take it elsewhere, you unbelievable lunatic.

  • Rose

    The only folks who know for sure where BO was born are his mother and a doctor. There is enough conspiracy stuff going around – some very credible – that causes us to wonder why people don’t want the truth; whatever that is? Do they really think a hustler/community organizer from – all places – Chicago -who lost his right to practice law – would steadfastly tell the truth? And if he isn’t eligible,then every law he has signed – would be void.

  • Supersonic250

    Yet again proving that the Radical Right is hilarious and has no sense of humor at the exact same time.

  • Reynardine

    CM, it would be…to Mel Brooks.

  • CM

    WorldNutDaily’s reputation worth $250 million? In your dreams, Joe and Larry.

  • Gregory

    WorldNutDaily is a parody.

  • Linnea

    Someone needs to explain to WND what satire is.

  • Leslie

    The “birthers” consistently parody themselves without any help from Esquire magazine.

  • Reynardine

    I hope Esquire demands sanctions, and maybe counterclaims for abuse of process/malicious prosecution.