WND Response

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Trying to consolidate from multiple threads here.

Apparently Y2KNEWSWIRE has issued a response for WorldNetDaily, as I could find no response on WND itself (kind of interesting in itself).

Couldn't get a link to Y2KNEWSWIRE, but this is the apparent response (courtesy of Andy):


Essay by the Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM staff

Yesterday's report on WorldNetDaily.com set off a flurry of speculation about banks, merchant processing companies, and Y2K companies. If you haven't read the story yet, check out:


This essay attempts to add important information to the developing story. First: Lumen Foods (www.soybean.com) is legit! As the WorldNetDaily story reported, they were categorized as a company to investigate (by the merchant bank) out of suspicion of possible fraud. The story does not intend to suggest, we think, that Lumen Foods is fraudulent. In fact, Lumen Foods is one of the most highly-recommended suppliers of storable foods. They offer excellent products, fast ship times (currently 3-4 weeks) and the best soymilk we've ever tasted.

Greg Caton of Lumen Foods (www.soybean.com) confirmed their account was under review and that the review ended peaceably, with the funds eventually being released. This is, in fact, part of the point of the story: that Y2K companies are having their accounts held up / seized during these review periods. Even though the funds are eventually released, this is not fair treatment from the banks.

The World Net Daily mention of Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM merchant accounts is absolutely true! U.S. Bank merchant services seized $38,000 in credit card charges and refused to release them until they conducted a so-called "review" of our account. This review has no apparent deadline (they won't tell you exactly when it will be completed) and U.S. Bank refused to pay us interest on the money during this period. They even called our customers -- an activity we consider harassment -- and asked if the charges were legitimate. All of it is true.

U.S. Bank eventually released our funds after we threatened to change merchant banks. We're sure there are some banks out there that want to treat honest Y2K companies with integrity, and we were determined to find one. By the way, we did find one. It's a local bank, owned by real people with real names and real phone numbers... people you can reach. We are recommending that all Y2K companies drop their merchant accounts from banks that seize your funds and move to a local bank that's willing to consider your personal integrity. Walk into a local bank, meet the president, tell them what you do and how you do it. Explain how you work with customers, how Y2K sales go up and down like a roller coaster. Chances are, you'll find at least one small bank president willing to listen. And they probably won't be seizing your funds, either. Goodbye, US Bank. Hello, Bank of Smalltown, USA.


This story isn't over, by the way. The bank seizures are true. Companies are being punished simply because they're selling a lot of products. Y2K company owners feel they're being targeted. Some are even pushing a conspiracy theory, saying that they believe the orders came down from "above" to hurt these Y2K companies. We don't know whether that's true. Right now, it's just speculation. It might be hogwash or it might be a coordinated plan to smash all Y2K preparation companies. Right now, there's no proof either way, but there is a pattern that's starting to emerge. This story is going to take more investigation.

To the merchant banks out there: watch yourselves. If you are engaged in a coordinated effort to shut down Y2K companies, and you're discovered, the backlash could contribute to a bank run as the public finds the banking industry engaged in a true-to-life conspiracy. If you're following standard procedure on merchant accounts and equally applying it to all companies, that's fine. But if you're singling out Y2K companies, that's fraudulent on your part.

This story is still developing, and it's a hot one. Watch for exclusive reports from Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM. And if you have any hard evidence to add to this story, or you want to go on the record to either accuse or defend the merchant banks, contact us right away. We're working to get to the bottom of this. E-mail webmaster@y2knewswire.com. Anonymity assured. If you want to remain anonymous, just state so in your e-mail. And yes, we want to hear from people on both sides of this story. We want to report the truth, even if it isn't an anti-Y2K conspiracy.

We're not conspiracy theorists, by nature, we're just skeptics. And right now, we're skeptical of the explanation that all these seizures are just coincidence.

First, as I stated on the other threads, I had no real problem with the basic premise that banks investigate large increases in credit card sales. Multiple posters confirmed this was part of normal procedure. And the above response reiterates, regarding the supposed targetting of Y2k supply vendors, "it's just speculation".

The point of the previous posts was the apparent fabrication of the quotes supposedly by Greg Caton. To review, from the original story at WND:

"They called me at 8:30 in the morning and said our account had been seized," says Greg Caton, president of Lumen Foods, a food supplier that has shipped over $3 million in orders since last August. "They indicated fraud." Lumen Foods contends it has maintained a spotless merchant account with its bank since 1987."

Greg Caton responded in this letter

At no time was money in any of our accounts ever touched, as you falsely report. At no time did we ever get a call from our bank, as you falsely report. And at no time were we ever accused of fraud, as you also falsely report.


What makes this situation so irresponsible is that no one ever called me from World Net Daily. For God's sake, you could have ever called our 800 number (it's on our home page) to ask if your reporter's comments were true. You didn't even attempt to confirm the truthfulness of your headline article. How foolish.

The important thing to note is that nowhere in the Y2KNEWSWIRE response are any of these statements refuted. Nowhere. And that was the point, and that is the issue.

WND makes liberal use of anonymous quotes, as does any news outlet. The credibility of the source, that yes, these quotes are actually real, allows the reader to either belief or not belief. Period. And again, neither WND nor Y2KNEWSWIRE has denied fabricating the quotes from Greg Caton, or backed up the specific claims made in the quotes. They did not apparently even make the effort to confirm the quote. What does this say about the multiple other instances, where anonymous sources are quoted, when they apparently feel free to fabricate attributed quotes?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999


Hoff -- up to your usual fragmented self.

The important thing to note is that nowhere in the Y2KNEWSWIRE response are any of these statements refuted. Nowhere. And that was the point, and that is the issue.

Did it ever occur to you that Y2Knewswire is not responsible for answering FOR WND? Who did Greg Canton write to? y2Knewswire? NO. Y2Knewswire is discussing this because they had a similar experience, and was mentioned in WND's article. They don't have to "refute" anything.


-- karen (karen@karen.kar), April 15, 1999.

Well, karen, this was posted as a rebuttal on a number of threads.

Yes, I think I even made the point that I thought it was, umm, interesting the Y2KNEWSWIRE had responded, and not WND.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

WorldNetDaily responded to me privately - based on that additional evidence, I'll believe the original story.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 15, 1999.

Hoff said: "WND makes liberal use of anonymous quotes, as does any news outlet." Wrong. You're guilty here, Hoff, of what you are so fond of criticizing others for... You should have said "some news outlets," or something on that order. Legitimate "outlets" are very reluctant to quote anonymous sources. Matter of fact, at my papers in the past and at the daily where I most recently worked (a part of the Cox chain where this policy is extant at all papers), anonymous quotes did not and will not appear. They will not be used. One may see them occasionally in the mainstream press where the subject matter is of such overriding importance that it obviates the need for confirming from three sources. You must have been thinking of television, unmindful of the "broadcast journalism" oxymoron.

-- Vic (Roadrunner@compliant.com), April 15, 1999.


Point accepted. Maybe I live too close to DC, and read too many stories based on "unnamed officials". I was actually trying to cut WND some slack in their use of these quotes.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

Are you going to share the information from WND with the rest of us Robert?


-- RMS (rms_200@hotmail.com), April 15, 1999.

I appreciate your graciousness, Hoff, and I understood what you were trying to do re WND. One of the nice things about most on this forum is that we are willing to occasionally concede a point to the "other side."

-- Vic (Roadrunner@compliant.com), April 15, 1999.

Depending on what replies or feedback are put out in response on that site - J. Farrah said he has already received "hundreds" of replies referencing that article, most apparently supportive or adding other "stories" to the ones listed. Some probably will be added to "emails-to-the-editor" - others will likely appear in a folow-up story. But such a story would take two-three days, maybe longer.

Since the original was already a "quote", I'm not real sure what I can add that could be "re-reverify" it. Joe did indicate that he has seen people "back away" from quotes they have actually said "on the record" into microphones, "off-the-record" into microphones, "off-the-record" during interviews, and most frequently (as to "mainstream media" being "leaked stories - anonymously and on "deep background" - after the quote was published.

To check truly independently - Follow the money (lawyers) on this one - I think you'll find the original protest will go quickly away.

It did what was intended (by the administration?) - distract readers from the original story, sidetrack the issue, attack and demonize the reporting person who opposes the administration, sidetrack the issue with distractions and irritations and personal attacks.

Gee - when have we seen this pattern before? How many times before? Who were the people being attacked before?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 15, 1999.

Here's my two cents' worth:

Credibility is an important asset to any publishing outfit that wants to be taken seriously, yet controversial stories sell papers, boost news ratings, and increase Website traffic, thus keeping the outlet in business.

The challenge credible journalists face is to make the story interesting while reporting the facts. What are the facts? As Lesley Stahl once said "We are only as good as our sources."

With regard to WND, they report controversial stories/opinion pieces. I don't believe all of them. However, I have seen this publication--in one instance where a writer was wrong--print a retraction.

IF WND is wrong, it would be wise to do that this time. Will it? I don't know, now that attorneys are apparently involved.

This much is certain: IF the story is true, it may be hot enough to be picked up by other news outlets. (And I'm sorry, but Y2K newswire doesn't qualify) IF it is picked up by the Associated Press, etc., (or any mainstream news organization that develops it with its own interviews) I may start to believe it.

Life imitates art. News organizations imitate each other.

Consider Monica Lewinsky. Newsweek had the story first. The editors of Newsweek reportedly sat on it. The Drudge report broke the story. It then became a media feeding frenzy. Controversial--but verifiable. Everyone climbed on-board.

Will they this time? 'Depends upon how many people care. Or rather--how many editors think it's a "hot story."


The lesson regard

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 15, 1999.

Robert, first let me say I do not question the reply you received.

But this story is becoming quite interesting. Why does WND only reply via private e-mail, instead of publicly, as the original protest was done?

No byline appears on the story, yet the copyright says the source is WorldNetDaily. Other stories I checked had bylines. Why is that? Who actually wrote the story?

Why did Y2KNEWSWIRE issue a response instead of WND? Is Y2KNEWSWIRE the actual source of the article? If so, why was that not stated?

Also, you seem to have an opinion that this was some form of "planned" assault on WND. Care to explore this further? It would seem to require that either Greg Caton, or Y2KNEWSWIRE, be involved. Is that your thinking?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

OOOPS! My last line was a typo. 'Shouldn't have been there! Consider this a retraction! :)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 15, 1999.

My problem with the WND report is that it (aparently) attributes false statements to an individual. Robert says the WND spokesperson: "did indicate that he has seen people 'back away' from quotes they have actually said. . . ."

But the person who is alleged to have made statements reported by WND did not "back away" or waffle about statements he is reported to have made. Instead, Greg Caton says the statements are "totally false, unconfirmable, pernicious, and libelous." He goes on to say: "At no time was money in any of our accounts ever touched, as you falsely report. At no time did we ever get a call from our bank, as you falsely report. And at no time were we ever accused of fraud, as you also falsely report." In addition, Greg says: ". . . no one from World Net Daily has ever talked to me-- ever." These are unequivocal statements. There is no mistaking their meaning. This is NOT backing away, like, hey, guys, come on, that's not really what I meant--you quoted me out of context--you misunderstood--what I really meant was. . .. Nope, sorry, Robert, Greg's statements are unambiguous and very clear. I'm sure Greg consulted his attorney before making his statements public. I believe what he says.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 15, 1999.

The WorldNetNews reporter is Mike Adams, Editor is Joe Farrah.

Relationship to Y2KNewwire? Don't know. They evidently picked it up from WND are following it independently.

Yes - I'll stick by their (WND's) replies based on my previous experience with them.

Other national news media? I sincerely doubt they will - based, if nothing else, on their idealogical closeness to this administration, the ten billion in advertising money budgetted last year and coming in future years from this administration from the anti-drug and cigarette money, and this current news media dependence on the "good wil" of this administration.

Fro example - immediately before the Kosovo "crisis" was trumpeted in the first weeks of March, the administration (Clinton) held a week-long series of "closed-door", "off-the record" (meaning the news media won't "Have" to tell what went on) meetings (NOT open press conferences, but secret meetings and briefings held on tax-payer property at tax payer expense) to let Clinton get his message out unimpeded. Unrecorded. Unobserved.

And unaccountable by the public.

Now, these meetings were allowed only with selected press corp members, from selected press copr branched. They didn't like you, you didn't get invited, you lost power, "face time" access, and influence. Which are the only things the Washington Press Corp wants and treasures.

Forget for a moment that 90% of the Washington Press corps voted for Clinton in the past two elections, and fought to be in his delegation in '92 and '96. Forget their blatant prejudices - even if they felt like they "wanted" to cover this story, they would not - it discredits the administration they love and adore. Look at the way they are promoting the latest war - and each of the ones preceding it that Clinton has waged.

Look at what and how they "covered" the false, unsubstantiated, and malicious stories told by Anita Hill, compared to those by Kathleen Wiley, Anita Braoderick, Gennifer Flowers, and others - who did have co-laberting witnesses and evidence of each assault at the time these rapes and harrassment took place.

Nope - the national press, if it covers this story, will cover your take on this story - that is, the administration's version of this story (the apparently false denial of a quote) rather than the more troubling report of an widespread harrassment by the banking industry against htose who represent what they fear - people realisitically preparing for potential Y2K troubles.

Because like the Anita Broaderick issue - the real story makes the administration look bad. And they won't cover the Chinese bribery either - or at least for 4 weeks hey haven't covered the Chinese bribery story have they. Just like as in the previous 4 years they have promoted John Glenn's coverup of the Chinese bribes didn't they?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 15, 1999.

Robert, you said:

The WorldNetNews reporter is Mike Adams, Editor is Joe Farrah.

Relationship to Y2KNewwire? Don't know. They evidently picked it up from WND are following it independently.

Clears one thing up. Mike Adams is Y2knewswire. Gets more interesting as we go.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

Mike Adams IS Y2K Newswire? If so--I had forgotten.

Mike Adams apparently owns many other sites. As I recall, he's based in Cody, Wyoming. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

If that's the case, then using the quotes would be acceptable practice. That does not--however--alter the fact that Greg Caton allegedly stated he never said such a thing.

Which leads to another question: If Adams authored the article, why wasn't he given a byline? Could it be that he might just be perceived as a bit biased (since he sells Y2k preparedness products and info. . .)and WND didn't feel comfortable with that?

This DOES get more interesting. . .and uncomfortable. 'Makes me twitch.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 15, 1999.

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice

-- (alice@lookingglass.com), April 15, 1999.

Actually, Mike Adams is both Y2knewswire and Y2ksupply.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

So if HE has been affected (I'm just guessing), along with others, then the heart of the story is true.

But if I owned a newspaper, and you knew that I allowed a car dealer to write a story about car dealers having their accounts frozen (a story that could provoke outrage), and didn't run a byline explaining who the author was, wouldn't you wonder about the credentials of the rest of my "writers?"

As I said--this makes me twitch. Uncomfortable. Weird journalistic practices at best.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 15, 1999.

Same here. Look at the original story, and how Mike Adams apparently quotes himself as another source of information. As well, the Y2KNEWSWIRE response today, again apparently written to provide independant confirmation of a story that now apparently originated at Y2KNEWSWIRE.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 15, 1999.

Latest update, from http://www.soybean.com/wnd101 .htm:

What Was Said To Y2Knewswire?

Incredibly, in email from the editor of WorldNetDaily, Mr. Joseph Farah tried to defend his position by saying that he got his information from Mike Adams at Y2Knewswire. Yet when I spoke to Mike Adams on 4/14/99, not only did he deny "working" for WorldNetDaily, but he claims that he only sent a "mock up" for WorldNetDaily to consider (much as any citizen might send a Letter to the Editor to their local newspaper -- unfounded claims and all!). Mike Adams said even HE suggested that they call Lumen Foods to get specifics.

Joseph Farah continues to deny any importance in contacting people who are quoted in his publication -- a violation of the most basic, fundamental principles of good journalism. For the record here is what was stated by Greg Caton to Mike Adams in early April -- pure and simple:

In late January, Lumen Foods was contacted by its credit card processing company by Mr. John Smith from First Data Merchant Services. (To reach him call: (800) 588-7545, ext. 6637.) Greg Caton was told that the Lumen Foods account was being "reviewed" because of dramatic increases in credit card deposits, but that this was standard practice. Mr. John Smith explained that since First Data is essentially an "unsecured creditor" to its merchants, this was their right to ensure that merchants were complying with all its provisions. At all times Mr. Smith was courteous in both explaining the credit card company's position and in his request for documentation, including financial statements.

Lumen Foods complied with all requested documentation. The review was passed with incident. This ends the entirety of what was communicated to Mike Adams at Y2Knewswire, the only source used by WorldNetDaily in its report on Lumen Foods.

At no time was Lumen Foods accused of fraud, as WorldNetDaily reports. Nor was its bank account ever seized, or a single penny of its funds touched. This can be confirmed with a call to Lumen Foods loan officer at Hibernia National Bank: (318) 494-3341. The WorldNetDaily report is totally false, and Mr. Farah's claim that the report must be true because Mike Adams says it is defies all good journalistic practice.

You may come back to this sight within the next 7 days to review the text of the libel lawsuit that is currently being prepared against WorldNetDaily.

And also:

Knowingly False Statements from WND Editor, Joseph Farah on the comp.software.year2000 newsgroup

(Thread information:)
Subject: Re: WorldNetDaily: Gross Inaccuracies
From: "Steve Moser" < smoser@hsonline.net >
Date: 4/15/99 10:44 PM Central Daylight Time
Message-id: < 7f6bjp$bi5@news.hsonline.net >

(Text of Mr. Farah's post with our editorial comments inserted):

I say, if my 25 years of credibility reporting and editing news stories can be tarnished by the lies of one misguided fool in your mind, it's not worth restoring. (Editor: Misguided, Mr. Farah? How am I misguided for pointing out a gross violation of journalistic practice? You continue to deny your culpability even after I provide indisputable proof that you published false information -- which must now be re-categorized to "knowingly false information.")

Read Caton's comments carefully and you will see he is not denying unequivocally making his comment. (Editor: Is that so? What must I do to make it more unequivocal? Must I run around Times Square in a Ronald McDonald suit? You lying, and now I am providing the proof necessary to demonstrate the sham that WorldNetDaily is.) He denies talking to a WorldNetDaily reporter. (Editor: I most certainly do. It never happened. In fact, he admits to me making the comment to a Y2KNewswire reporter, who, in fact, was working for us. (Editor: Mr. Mike Adams denied this to me in a 4/14/99 telecon. He did nothing more than send you some email. So that constitutes a "report working for WorldNetDaily? Sir, you are an amateur.)


-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 16, 1999.

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