Prominent right-wing columnist Joseph Farah is threatening to sue Newsweek, after the magazine reported that he believes President Obama was not born in the U.S.
Farah, the founder and editor of WorldNetDaily (WND), claims he’s never said that — he just wants Obama to release his birth certificate, in order to put “concerns” about the issue to rest.
The brouhaha was kicked off by a Newsweek.com column that appeared Friday, entitled: Know Your Conspiracies: NEWSWEEK’s guide to today’s trendiest, hippest, and least likely fringe beliefs.” The piece, perhaps ill-conceived from the start, listed “Barack Obama was not born in the United States,” as one such fringe belief, and included Farah as one of its “proponents.”
The column was written by David A. Graham, whose LinkedIn profile describes him as a reporting intern at Newsweek.com.
But in a public letter to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, posted yesterday on WND, Farah writes:
While I have written tens of thousands of words about the subject of Barack Obama’s eligibility and talked for dozens of hours on the public airwaves and given hundreds of interviews on this subject, never have I stated that Obama was not born in the United States.
Therefore, I demand an immediate apology and retraction.
Calling for public officials to release personal documents, especially when they are critical to establishing constitutional eligibility to serve, is not akin to fostering conspiracy theories. It is called good citizenship.
Farah also gets in a shot at the news weekly:
I’m stunned that a magazine of Newsweek’s repute would allow an intern to make a blatantly defamatory statement about a seasoned journalist without making a call and without any fact-checking. Perhaps this is why Newsweek is suffering precipitous circulation declines.
And he raises the threat of legal action:
I reserve all legal rights to pursue adjudication of this matter should you fail to comply with this demand.
Copies of this demand letter are being mailed to you and to my legal counsel.
At the National Tea Party Convention this month, Farah gave a speech in which he questioned whether Obama was born in Hawaii. “The media, the politicians … all say, no, it’s all been settled,” said Farah. “I say, if it’s been settled show us the birth certificate. Simple.”
A spokesman for Newsweek did not immediately respond to a request for comment.