The Quality of Journalism at the WorldNetDaily | Nevada Technical Associates, Inc.

The Quality of Journalism at the WorldNetDaily

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by Robert Holloway

Man Rises From the Dead in “Clinton Body Count” Reporting and William Colby died of Natural Causes

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

– Mark Twain

Here are other examples of inadequate reporting of the WorldNetDaily and its writers. Joseph Farah and many other fringe groups often refer to the “Clinton Body Count” as evidence that Clinton eliminates his opponents. The list is a classic example of stupid logic and poor journalism. I should not even use the word journalism to dignify the spreading of unchecked rumors such as this list. It is more like the children’s party game in which something is whispered in the ear of the person seated next to you and that person repeats it to the next person, etc. By the time the tale passes through several people, it has little resemblance to the original story.

Unfortunately, much of right wing journalism is very similar to that childish game. Farah likes to say that many of the stories in WorldNetDaily would not be touched by the main stream media. There is often good reason for that, because Farah’s standards for accuracy are not nearly as high as in the mainstream media. One obvious problem is Farah’s frequent acceptance of secondary sources for information, rather than taking the time and effort required to check the original source. Many of the “facts” known by Farah and his readers are simply wrong. One needs to have correct facts before forming political opinions.

I have found a number of mistakes in the “Clinton Body Count” list with only an hour or so of effort. I am sure more could be found with an exhaustive study. Joseph Farah claimed that William Colby was murdered, although there is no evidence for it. Colby was 76 years old and according to the local authorities, there was no evidence of foul play in his death. In support of his claim of murder, Farah stated that:

“Most notable about the body was the absence of a life jacket, which according to his wife, Colby always wore on the water.”

– World Net Daily (Joseph Farah)

However a few minutes search on the Internet produced this account from the Associated Press which contradicts the WorldNetDaily:

“Colby’s wife, Sally Shelton-Colby, identified the body, clad in khaki pants, a red windbreaker, a blue and white shirt and no shoes. She said her husband customarily kept the life jacket in the canoe but didn’t wear it.”

– Associated Press

Farah apparently didn’t do an investigation himself of the death of William Colby, but seems to have quoted Michael Rivera, who is also a contributor to WorldNetDaily. Michael Rivera wrote about the “Clinton Body Count” in the WorldNetDaily as well as on his own home page in the “Free Republic”.

Michael Rivera apparently is not the originator of the “Clinton Body Count”. According to Barbara and David P. Mikkelson (see link below) that dubious honor has been attributed to Linda Thompson, who seems to be one of the most radical among the militia types. A web site of the Anti-Defamation League has the following information about Linda Thompson:

On July 13, 1991, Thompson was arrested in Indianapolis for using her vehicle to block a bus carrying supporters of President Clinton’s health care plan. She was charged with obstructing traffic. At the time of her arrest police officers seized from her person a .45-caliber pistol and a .22-caliber Derringer pistol. They also found in her vehicle an assault rifle with 295 rounds of ammunition. Her case is pending. Thompson’s most ambitious undertaking to date was a planned militia march on Washington. D.C., on September 19, 1994, where an ultimatum was to be delivered to the government. The ultimatum commanded members of Congress to initiate legislation that would, among other things, repeal the 14th, 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution. and the Brady Law and NAFTA. Designating herself “Acting Adjutant General.” of the “Unorganized Militia of the United States.” Thompson ordered all participants to come “armed and in uniform.” She announced that, besides delivering the ultimatum, “The militia will arrest Congressmen who have failed to uphold their oaths of office, who will then be tried for Treason by citizens courts.” Realizing after several months that support for her march was lacking, Thompson called it off, yet her standing in the militia movement apparently remains undiminished. The John Birch Society, troubled about Thompson’s influence on its members and staff, found it necessary to warn them against her. On May 12, 1994. the Society, issued an official “admonition to all members and a directive to all employees” to “stay clear of her schemes.” They said: “Linda Thompson’s call for the arrest in September of members of Congress and the President of the United States by an armed militia is not just insane, it is contrary to all understanding of the nature and identity of the enemy.” It appears that even by the standards of the John Birch Society, Thompson is too radical.

Michael Rivera eventually posted his version of the death list on his web site. A few minutes study of his version reveals some significant errors. These errors call into question Rivera’s ability as a reporter. Rivera names Johnny Franklin Lawhon, Jr., as the man who found some Whitewater evidence in a car in Arkansas and then goes on to say that he died in a car wreck. (Apparently a car accident qualifies as mysterious in Rivera’s mind). Rivera’s home page allows posts from readers and a reader pointed out that John Franklin Lawhon Jr., was the son of the man who found the Whitewater records, and the father is still very much alive. So much for that mysterious “death”.

Rivera also lists some deaths in a military accident on his Clinton Death List. However, a military man in position to know takes sharp issue with Rivera’s sinister interpretation as cited below. (For a more exhaustive debunking of the “body count”, see the link at the bottom of this page). The “Clinton Body Count” list is taken quite seriously by Joseph Farah and his WorldNetDaily, but does not meet normal standards of accuracy in journalism. Here is the account of the military deaths as described by our reporter for the WorldNetDaily, followed by the comments of a military man who was involved. Note that Rivera incorrectly claims that the cause of the accident was never determined.

“Maj. Gen. William Robertson Deputy Commanding General, V Corps, Europe Col William Densberger V Corps Chief of Operations and Plans Col. Robert Kelly V Corps Chief of Intelligence Spec. Gary Rhodes Crew Chief died: 2/23/93 – All were killed when their Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in Weisbaden, Germany. No cause was ever determined. – V Corps figured prominently in the US Bosnia-Serbia peacekeeping operations, along with the carrier Roosevelt. These men, and 8 others associated with Clinton’s visit to the Roosevelt all died within 4 months of each other.”

– Michael Rivera

OK, this one is bullshit.

I’m an Army AH-64 instructor pilot and was stationed at Wiesbaden Army Air Base (Crash Site) at the time and arrived on scene just after the crash occurred.

First, the reason these men were aboard the same helicopter, was because they were the primary staff of the 5th US CORPS. Wiesbaden Army Air Base was where the Blackhawk detachment (the ones who fly VIPs) was based.

Now what really happened… The cause of the accident was an imbalance between the two external, wing-mounted fuel tanks. One of them empty, the other full (nearly 230 gallons of fuel).

This out-of-balance condition went unnoticed by the pilot (who survived the accident, by the way) because at that time there were no indicators for fuel flow coming out, nor showing the actual fuel level of the external tanks.

A large lateral center-of-gravity shift occured at the one tank drained normally and the other did not. This went unnoticed by the crew, because at cruise speed, it was unconsiously compensated for by applying a small ammount of lateral cyclic (joystick) input.

Trouble hit when they were slowing down to land, between 100 and 50 feet above the ground. As the pilot decelerated below ETL (effective translational lift–all helicopters experience this) the efficiency of the main rotor system decreased, requiring more power to maintain altitude, and larger inputs of the cyclic to maintain a level attitude.

The pilot increased the lateral inputs to maintain level until he reached the limits of cyclic travel (this all happend within a few seconds). At this point, the aircraft became uncontrollable, rolled to the side with the heavier, full fuel tank and crashed.

These external fuel cells are constructed from fiberglass and kevlar and are NOT CRASHWORTHY. The eggshell cracked, spilling fuel onto the ground and sending some directly into the turbine engine intake (located directly above the wingtanks). A fireball errupted, consuming the aircraft in seconds.

After the preliminary investigation by the US Army Safety Center, FT. Rucker, AL, an immediate moritorium on flying UH-60 Blackhawks with external tanks was issued. This was later ammended to allow MEDIVAC blackhawks to retain the extended range tanks, due to their real-world mission profiles.

Aircraft systems as well as crew and pilot procedures have since been modified to preclude this type of accident from happening again.

This cautiousness spilled over into the AH-64 Apache community as well, as we fly with a similar system on our wings for deep attack and overwater missions.

So… from personal , first-hand knowledge, I know, Jim, that this one needs to be forcefully retracted.

The quote below is from Michael Rivera’s homepage where he mistakenly identifies Johnny Franklin Lawhon, Jr. as being the person who found Whitewater evidence (according to a poster it was this person’s father who found the evidence).

“Johnny Franklin Lawhon, Jr. Died March 29, 1998 In the spring of 1997, a tornado ripped through some junked cars at Johnny’s transmission and opened up the trunk of a car that proved to have a box of Whitewater records in it, including a copy of a $27,000 cashiers check drawn on Madison and payable to Bill Clinton. Johnny Franklin Lawhon, Jr. realized what he was looking at and turned the box of documents over to the FBI. According to police, Lawhon and a friend hit a telephone pole at a high rate of speed after their car had become airborne and left the road. They had driven less than 1/4 of a mile at the time of the impact. This manner of death is similar to the single vehicle accidents that killed Paula Grober, and Neil Moody.”