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Joseph Farah found his calling in Obama-bashing

COLUMN ONE

Not to mention his ticket to wealth. The founder of WorldNetDaily.com says revenue is headed toward $10 million annually, thanks to articles and merchandise that make even fellow conservatives cringe.

January 27, 2010|By Peter Wallsten and Faye Fiore

Original birth certificates are not public documents, but the Obama campaign allowed FactCheck.org to examine his shortly after the allegation arose. The nonpartisan organization reported that it had "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate." The Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging Obama's eligibility to hold office.

The mainstream media were satisfied. But Farah pressed on, vowing a month before Obama took office: "It'll plague Obama throughout his presidency. It'll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration. . . . It's not going to go away."

Chris Lehane, a former Clinton White House aide who wrote an exhaustive report on WorldNetDaily's place in a "communication stream of conspiracy commerce," called Farah's operation "a moneymaking scheme."

"You've got a built-in audience, and given that there is a dearth of real reporting, there is probably very little overhead," Lehane said.

Farah insists his editorial staff is insulated from the website's profit side, and sees the investigation of Obama's origins as a legitimate journalistic enterprise only he and his team have the guts to chase.

"To us, it's a no-lose proposition. If he turns in his birth certificate, or releases it, great. That's what we want him to do. And, frankly, if he does that, it's going to be because of our pursuit of the document," Farah said of the president. "If he doesn't, we know he's hiding something. And I'm absolutely persuaded that he's hiding something."

As the new year dawned, WorldNetDaily was populated with birth certificate stories. A routine account of the Hawaii Legislature's plans to honor its native son served as a vehicle to raise the issue anew: "Guess how 'the One' will be honored next: Obama Day, Park, High School, Birthplace -- if only they can figure exactly where that is."

faye.fiore@latimes.com

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