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WND Not Happy, Appeals Dismissal of Esquire Suit

By Ryan Lenz on June 12, 2012 - 3:01 pm, Posted in Birther Extremism

It seems there’s room for WorldNetDaily (WND) to have one more obsession related to President Obama’s birth certificate, though this time it has little to do with Obama himself.

This week, WND announced its plans to appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss its $250 million lawsuit against Esquire magazine. At issue is a satirical piece executive editor Mark Warren wrote that claimed, quite comically, that WND editor-in-chief Joseph Farah was pulping the first print run of Jerome Corsi’s Where’s the Birth Certificate? The case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President. The book, which WND had trumpeted as the definitive work on the question of Obama’s provenance, was about to go on sale when Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year – a fact that, for most, ended the “birther” debate.

“[Farah] called up Corsi and really tore him a new one,” Warren wrote in the May 2011 parody, quoting a fake anonymous source at WND. “I mean, we’ll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his memory, but we don’t want to look like fucking idiots, you know?”

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer saw the humor and last week ruled in favor of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, agreeing that satire was protected under the First Amendment. But shortly afterward, the quixotic WND responded with the fervor once reserved for Obama alone.

Larry Klayman, an attorney for WND who also runs the watchdog group Judicial Watch, said the ruling was “so poorly reasoned it rises to the level of negligence, if not a desire to dump the case because it is not palatable to the Washington establishment.”

Not palatable? Try ludicrous.

And that, arguably, is the crux of what WND is after. More than protecting the First Amendment by attacking those who abuse it – which so far has been its reasoning for taking legal action – WND in the end seems more interested in making sure the “birther” brouhaha lives on.

  • Reynardine

    Aron, I sorter know Majii from elsewhere. What is this icookie? No nuts, I hope- we get too many.

  • Aron

    Maiji (and hat tip to Rey),

    I apologize for my jumping the gun. I stupidly forgot to re-read Sam’s original post, and mistook good-natured snark for malicious sarcasm.

    As a token of my esteem, I offer you one (1) delicious iCookie(tm). Enjoy your snack!

  • Reynardine

    Aron, I don’t think it was Majii you meant to address.

  • Aron


    How about you back up that entirely spurious claim with some hard evidence. We’ll wait for you.

  • majii

    @Sam Molloy
    It appears that you were MIA in civics and political science classes since you seem to think that Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the American president the powers of a dictator. LOL

  • DrMJG

    Actually, I, for one, am waiting for WND to be sued for defamation of character. Corsi just implied in an article that the President’s mother made porn.

    In the esquire article, satire is protected. In the recent Corsi article, satire is not even implied or part of their tradition.

  • Reynardine

    Erika, once the appeal is rejected, at least Rule 11 can help compensate for all the P, S, & A encountered at the trial level. I never encountered Rule 11 myself, but assume it works like Johnson factors in reverse.

    This case has matter in common with the Irving v. Lipstadt case: even under the far stricter British libel standards, truth is an absolute defense. Here, however, the plaintiffs made public spectacles (whoops) figures of themselves, and would have had to show a knowing and malicious falsehood, which they could not, as their “journalism” is patently ridiculous. Their lawsuit was basically a group explosion of narcissistic rage.

  • Aron

    NAFTA Refugee,

    I don’t believe you are actually human. Please provide me with verifiable proof attesting to your actual species.

    Damned fool.

  • Lewis Loflin

    When is this stupid birth certificate nonsense going to go away?

    Obama is president get over it.

  • Sam Molloy

    I would not care if he was from the moon if he had good ideas. Instead he comes up with small plans that would only help a few people anyway that he knows will not pass, so he can blame those mean ol’ Republicans for the state of the economy. Have you seen the Debt Clock?I’m starting to think he does not want a second term, when tough antidebt measures, or something, will have to be considered.

  • NAFTA Refugee

    It’s a fake.

  • Reynardine

    Thanx, Erika

  • Erika

    You know that all satire is “told in a manner to be convincing” – that is what makes it satire because to reveal humor one must be at some levels convincing.

    Meanwhile you may well want to look at the Supreme Court cases I cited above (New York Times v. Sullivan would also help) – both make it clear that courts are not to determine the humor value of a satire or parody. Cf. FCC v. Pacifica Foundation where the Supreme Court held that the FCC could fine the broadcast of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Cannot Say on Televsion” regardless of the context of their use in humorous social commentary.

    Rey, Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. 11 is for trial courts, not for appeals. The appellate rules are much stricter as far as going after frivilous appeals.

  • Leslie


    You lost. Get over it.

  • Jay Kay

    Satire is not the conveyance of a lie in the attempt to undermine someones business. It should be funny, sarcastic, or ironic.

    Warren’s piece was none of the above. It was a lie from beginning to end and told in a manner that was intended to be convincing.

    It was so convincing that few, if any, readers viewed it as satire, and WND received many requests from media people requesting interviews, and asking for comments regarding the cancellation of Corsi’s book.

    Warren and Esquire came up with the “satire” idea after it became clear that WND was going to take legal action against them.

  • Reynardine

    Erika, that’s what Rule 11 is for. Meanwhile, the more money they dump down the drain, the less they have to defame people, and the less they can do that, the better for public peace and order.

  • Erika

    Apparently someone needs to send Larry Klayman a copy of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell as well.

    Would probably want to add in Campbell v. Acuff Rose as well.

    Of course, it is quite possible as a competent attorney Larry Klayman is well aware of those precedents but as long as World Nut Daily checks are clearing and he doesn’t get hit with sanctions for arguing a position rejected by the Supreme Court by a 9-0 vote he will keep going.