WorldNetDaily editors' picks for the 10 most underreported stories of 2008:
1. Charges that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of the U.S. and thus constitutionally ineligible to serve as president
The cases have alleged the Illinois Democrat does not meet the "natural born citizen" clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
WND launched a petition drive that has garnered some 200,000 signatories who demand that Obama simply provide documentation of his eligibility. But thus far, he has put up a legal defense to ensure his records remain sealed.
Some of the legal challenges have alleged Obama was not born in Hawaii, as he insists, and others have focused on his father's Kenyan citizenship.
Cases brought by Cort Wrotnowski and Leo Donofrio challenged Obama on allegations that dual citizenship – based on a father who was a British subject and a mother who was an American minor – disqualified him from office. Both, however, were turned down by the Supreme Court.
Philip J. Berg, a Pennsylvania Democrat, demanded that the courts verify Obama's original birth certificate and other documents proving his American citizenship. Berg's latest appeal, requesting an injunction to stop the Electoral College from selecting the 44th president, was denied. But the conference on the case is set for Jan. 9.
Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes headlines a list of claimants in a California suit that asked the secretary of state to refuse to allow the state's 55 Electoral College votes to be cast in the until Obama verified his eligibility to hold office.
2. U.S. Senate committee report that hundreds of top scientists have testified they believe claims of man-caused global warming are fraudulent
The Republican minority of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee released a report with a growing list of more than 650 international experts who soundly debunk the claim of a "consensus" in science that human activity is causing a global warming.
The report noted the insistence of many in mainstream media that global warming skeptics are few and untrustworthy, including CNN's Miles O'Brien, who declared, "The scientific debate is over. We're done."
O'Brien, the Senate report noted, said in 2006 that scientific skeptics of man-made catastrophic global warming "are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually."
Andrew Dessler of the eco-publication Grist Magazine is quoted by the report stating, "While some people claim there are lots of skeptical climate scientists out there, if you actually try to find one, you keep turning up the same two dozen or so."
However, the ranking minority member of the Senate committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., pointed to a growing list of scientists his office has accumulated.
In fact, more than 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s, have signed a massive petition project that challenges belief in man-made global warming.
Cooling temperatures worldwide also didn't help the cause of global warming activism.
This year was officially the coolest year of the century, although that didn't keep U.N. climate change activists from sticking to their arguments.
Meanwhile, one of the most vocal scientists in the field of hurricane prediction has backed away from his earlier certainty of a link between global warming and stronger hurricanes after developing a new forecasting technique that suggests a moderate increase – or even decline – in storm activity over the next 200 years.
3. The true causes of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, which point directly to the Democratic Party
Obama housing adviser Franklin Raines
While many pundits pointed to corporate greed and a lack of government regulation as the cause for the American mortgage and financial crisis, some analysts contended it wasn't too little government intervention but too much, in the form of activists compelling the government to pressure Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into unsound, politically correct lending practices.
Stan J. Liebowitz, economics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, contends the federal government over the last 20 years pushed the mortgage industry so hard to get minority homeownership up, that it undermined the country's financial foundation.
As Congress worked on a $700 billion bailout plan for the U.S. financial system, WND compiled an overview of the companies and executives under scrutiny for the meltdown.
WND reported two Barack Obama advisers, Franklin Raines and James Johnson, received preferential home loans as industry favors, apparently in deference to their executive positions heading Fannie Mae.
As WND reported, Johnson earned $21 million in just his last year at Fannie Mae, where he served as CEO from 1991 to 1998. Raines earned $90 million in his five years as Fannie Mae CEO, from 1999 to 2004.
WND also reported Raines and two other top Fannie Mae executives agreed to pay $24.7 million, including a $2 million fine, to settle a civil lawsuit that accused them of manipulating Fannie Mae earnings, allowing executives to pocket hundreds of millions in bonuses.
4. Obama's ties to terrorists and extremists
William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger and Tony Rezko are just a sampling of the radical and unseemly figures who have played a prominent role in Barack Obama's life.
WND recently reported an attorney for Rezko – a convicted felon who helped raise the money to give Obama his start in politics – is listed as the owner and taxpayer for Obama's Chicago mansion.
Late in the presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made an issue of Obama's relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. But Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, also a former prominent member of his terrorist group, the Weathermen, dismissed the strategy as a racist tactic meant to stoke fear among white people that they cannot trust a black man.
Sen. Barack Obama with Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Another former member of the Weathermen, Mark Rudd, charged Obama was "feigning" a centrist position on some issues so he could ultimately push through a radical agenda, including universal health care and trimming the military.
The Weathermen declared "war" on the U.S. government, bombing U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s, including the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. Ayers infamously advocated, "Kill all the rich people. ... Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents." Dohrn once was on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List, and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America."
WND was the first to report Obama served on the board of the Wood's Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside Ayers from 1999 to 2002.
Obama resigned from his 20-year membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago after months of political damage from repeated alternative-media airings of video clips from sermons by his pastor and spiritual mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.
In March, after the video clips began to damage Obama's poll numbers, the senator gave a speech in Philadelphia in which he denounced the pastor's remarks but refused to "disown" him.
In a January 2006 sermon, Wright called America the "No. 1 killer in the world" and blamed the country for launching the AIDS virus to maintain affluence at the expense of the Third World. The pastor reportedly said in a sermon just after 9/11, "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." In a 2003 sermon, Wright encouraged blacks to "damn America" in God's name and blamed the U.S. for provoking the 9/11 attacks by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II and supporting Israel since 1947.
Obama's ties to Khalidi, the anti-Israel Palestinian professor, were first exposed by WND
According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, Obama first befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. Khalidi in 2000 held what was described as a successful fundraiser for Obama's failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Khalidi said he supports Obama for president "because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause."
Khalidi also lauded Obama for "saying he supports talks with Iran."
5. The campaigns of third-party presidential candidates, and Ron Paul's sensationally successful grass-roots campaign
"A lot of starvation out there for a different message" sparked a vigorous grass-roots effort by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul that surprised pundits by sometimes outflanking leading candidates in fundraising.
The Texas congressman summed up his appeal in an interview with WND on the campaign trail: "Our focus on the Constitution, defending our borders and the whole idea of assuming responsibility for themselves appeals to millions of Americans who are not looking for government to take care of them."
Paul contended his campaign's success came from his message, not from mainstream media focus or campaign hype.
Rep. Ron Paul
Constitutional Party candidate Chuck Baldwin told WND 2008 was a different election year, because "the American people are extremely fed up with the two major parties."
"I think furthermore there is a deep distrust and suspicion among the American people that the two major parties have their best interests at heart," he said.
Ambassador Alan Keyes, who sought the GOP nomination and later ran on the America's Independent Party ticket, told WND his first priority in office would be to make sure the executive branch of the U.S. government recognizes the unalienable rights of U.S. citizens, as spelled out in the Constitution.
"My first priority would be to re-establish within the executive branch respect for and protection of the unalienable rights of the unborn children in the womb, to make sure nothing was done by the executive branch of the United States that violated the Constitution of the United States in his regard," he said.
Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia, distinguished himself from both McCain and Obama on Supreme Court picks and sounded more like the Democratic nominee on foreign policy. He told WND he would nominate a Supreme Court justice in the mold of swing-voter Anthony Kennedy and would consider negotiating directly with the mullahs who run Iran's radical Islamic regime.
6. The stunning success of the Iraq war
It's just one result of the largely unacknowledged victory by U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.
A rare Associated Press story on America's success revealed: "In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago, when the first, barely visible signs of a turnaround emerged."
Army Col. Tom James, a brigade commander on his third combat tour in Iraq, says: "We've put out the forest fire. Now we're dealing with pop-up fires.
Gen. David Petraeus' reports, "Attacks in Iraq hit a four-year low in mid-May and … Iraqi forces were finally taking the lead in combat and on multiple fronts at once – something that was inconceivable a year ago."
Independent embedded journalist and former Green Beret Michael Yon, reporting from the front lines, says, "By my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won."
7. The sources of Obama's campaign contributions
Barack Obama's lax online donation form, in contrast with John McCain's, made it difficult to determine the source of his donations, opening up the possibility of fraud, including contributions from foreigners.
WND reported, for example, Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip were listed in government election filings as having donated some $30,000 to Obama's campaign.
One week after the report the Palestinian brothers contended their money had not been refunded.
8. Obama's far-left voting record
In its annual survey, the National Journal found Obama to be the most liberal U.S. senator, shifting even further to the left in 2007 after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.
The calculations ranked senators relative to each other based on 99 key votes and assigned scores in three areas: economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy. On foreign policy, for example, Obama's liberal score of 92 and conservative score of 7 indicate that he was more liberal in that issue area than 92 percent of the senators and more conservative than 7 percent.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, was more liberal than 83 percent of the senators on foreign policy and more conservative than 16 percent.
Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, ranked third, just ahead of Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist.
Obama's radical record as an Illinois state senator was highlighted by a TV ad featuring a 31-year-old woman who was born alive following her mother's botched abortion. The spot focused on Obama's votes and declarations against legislation that would protect infants born alive during an abortion procedure.
Obama insisted during the campaign he would have supported the Illinois law protecting born-alive infants if it contained a "neutrality" clause like the federal version, which states the law specifically is not intended to impact the status of babies before birth.
As WND reported, however, documentation uncovered by Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee revealed Obama did vote against a version of the Illinois law that was the same as the federal law.
9. Bush's refusal to pardon imprisoned border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were prosecuted by the president's friend, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton
As president, Bush has pardoned or commuted sentences for 32 drug dealers, 12 thieves, seven embezzlers, an arsonist, an armed bank robber and eight Thanksgiving turkeys, among others – but U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean remained in prison this Christmas, praying for their release.
Monica Ramos embraces her husband, former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)
Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, for shooting an illegal alien drug dealer while he smuggled nearly 750 pounds of marijuana across the border. They were convicted of assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence and deprivation of civil rights.
WND initiated a letter campaign to persuade Bush of the urgency and moral rightness of showing clemency to the two jailed law enforcement officers.
WND reported many Border Patrol agents have held their fire in border incidents, fearing they could their lose jobs or end up behind bars like Ramos and Compean.
In July, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the major counts against the former agent, reversing only a minor obstruction of justice count.
A Christian pastor, in May, filed an ethics complaint with the Texas Bar Association seeking an investigation into U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's "willfully misleading" statements in the case against former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
In April, the nonpartisan Project 21 renewed a call to Bush to pardon Ramos and Compean, saying, "It is time to prove that [Bush] places the welfare of American communities and those men and women who risk their lives to protect them over the welfare of lying illicit drug smugglers."
10. Suppression of Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' film, "Fitna," which exposes the worldwide threat from Islam
Defying the wishes of the government of the Netherlands, a courageous Dutch MP posted online a 17-minute documentary on the Quran, juxtaposing images of Islam's holy book with terror attacks and bombings by Muslim extremists.
Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands' Freedom Party, released "Fitna," an Arabic word meaning strife, on the political party's website.
A critic of the "Islamization" of the West, Wilders released the film after weeks of debate couched in terms of free speech and religious bigotry. Many opponents feared the kind of violence that arose following the Danish publication of cartoons depicting Islam's prophet, Muhammad.
Wilders said he understood Muslims could be upset by the film but said that was not his purpose in producing it.
The film later was removed from a British video-sharing website, LiveLeak.com, after the organization reported "serious" threats to its staff members.
"This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else," the site said. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realized LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one."
Early critics had expressed fears Wilder would show a copy of the Quran being destroyed in his film, but the ending offered a slight surprise.
As someone leafs through the Quran, a sound of tearing is heard.
"The sound you heard was from a page [being torn out] of the phone book. It is not up to me, but up to the Muslims themselves to tear the spiteful verses from the Quran," the screen text read. "Stop Islamization. Defend our freedom," it concluded.
Note from WND’s original article:
At the end of each year, news organizations typically present their retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories in the previous 12 months.
WND's editors, however, have long considered it far more newsworthy to publicize the most important unreported or underreported news events of the year – to highlight perhaps for one last time major news stories that were undeservedly "spiked" by the establishment press.
WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah has sponsored "Operation Spike" every year since 1988, and since founding WorldNetDaily in May 1997, he has continued the annual tradition.