Well-organized Insanity, Inside the WorldNetDaily

Those Wacko ideas promoted by the Psycho-Right don’t just happen . . . . .

“News company” WorldNetDaily has pumped out staggering
volumes of froth and nonsense, which then spreads to the
rest of the Right’s media echo chamber.

WorldNetDaily (WND) describes itself as “an independent
news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism,
seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of
the free press as a guardian of liberty.” The online
newspaper, which this year celebrated its 15th year in
operation, is one of the “very few sources” martial
artist and action film hero Chuck Norris (who happens to
be a columnist) trusts for news and an operation that
megachurch pastor Greg Laurie (also a columnist) says
does “a service to God and Country.”

WND is the brainchild of Joseph Farah, a self-described
“radical” and longtime antigovernment propagandist and
apologist for the Confederacy who believes “cultural
Marxists” are plotting “to transform our political
system, to change the way we think, to attack our
values, to demean our faith in God, to reduce that
shining city on the hill to the status of a drab public-
housing project.”

Together with a coterie of antigovernment “Patriots,”
anti-gay activists, white nationalists, Muslim-bashers,
conspiracy theorists, end-times prophets and
ultraconservative hardliners, Farah – who did not
respond to requests to be interviewed for this article –
has built WND into a modest media empire including a
book imprint, an online subscription-only “intelligence
resource,” and a glossy, full-color monthly magazine. At
press time, Alexa, which ranks websites, said WND was
the 1,832nd most popular website in the world and the
423rd in the U.S. – just above the site for Nickelodeon
and a few notches below Victoria’s Secret.

WND’s point of view is best described as a cross between
the now-defunct supermarket tabloidWeekly World News,
which was famous for reporting on Elvis sightings, and
The New American, a monthly magazine published by the
far-right, conspiracist John Birch Society. In its 15
years online, it has introduced readers to a smorgasbord
of bizarre ideas, specializing in anti-gay, anti-Muslim,
and anti-liberal propaganda; antigovernment conspiracy
theories; and end-times prophecy.

It featured a six-part series claiming (falsely) that
soybean consumption causes homosexuality and promoted
Scott Lively’s vile opus The Pink Swastika, which says
that gays were behind the Holocaust. It has identified
the first “leftist” as Satan, and declared that Muslims
have a “20-point plan for conquering the United States
by 2020.” It has warned of secret plans to create a
North American Union, advised readers to invest all
their assets in gold, and promoted myriad, if
conflicting, theories about when and how the world will
end.

Its most enduring claim, by far, is that President Obama
is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president
because he supposedly is not a “natural-born” U.S.
citizen.

WND’s stable of writers includes “birther” conspiracist
Jerome Corsi; Bob Unruh, a former Associated Press
reporter who once sued his fifth-grade daughter’s school
after it forbade her to distribute promotional materials
for his wife’s “vacation bible school”; black neo-
secessionist Walter E. Williams, who in a 2002 WND
column wrote that the Civil War was an unconstitutional
exercise of “federal abuse and usurpation;” and a
panoply of other far-right and ultraconservative voices.

The online paper is also a launching pad for a new
generation of extremists. Kevin DeAnna, founder of the
white nationalist student group Youth for Western
Civilization, was recently hired as marketing
coordinator. DeAnna, 29, also has written articles for
WND – including one that asserted that Earth Day falls
on April 22 in order to honor Lenin’s birthday. Another
young pundit who benefits from WND’s patronage is Jason
“Molotov” Mitchell, 33, a self-declared “Christian
Supremacist” who wants his co-religionists to reject
“effeminized American Christianity” and start “advancing
the Kingdom on earth.”

Farah shares those sentiments. “I don’t think the
Scriptures teach us to passively wait for God to take
care of the world. We are taught to occupy until he
comes,” he wrote in his 2003 book, Taking America Back.
“Don’t you think He wants us to reestablish the promises
of America – one nation under God born of a creed?”

Despite – or perhaps because of – all this, WND has had
unnerving success at injecting its agenda into the
public sphere. Especially since the election of
America’s first black president sent the far right into
paroxysms of anxiety, this far-right supermarket tabloid
of the Internet has become a force to be reckoned with.

From Left to Right

Joseph Francis Farah, 57, of Centreville, Va., is a
former liberal activist who as a high school student in
1971 was arrested at a massive Washington, D.C., May Day
anti-war demonstration, voted for George McGovern and
Jimmy Carter (twice), and says he once volunteered to
serve as a bodyguard for anti-war activist Jane Fonda.
In the 1980s, while working his way up the journalism
food chain to become editor of the now-defunct Los
Angeles Herald Examiner, he became a devoted fan of
Ronald Reagan, to whom his 2007 book, Stop the Presses,
is dedicated.

He also found God and cultivated what he describes as a
“Christian worldview.” He claims that becoming a
journalist was his response to the question, “What would
Jesus do?” and says that his chief influences are
Watergate muckrakers Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein;
Matt Drudge of “The Drudge Report”; Ronald Reagan; and a
book called Marx & Satan, which improbably claims that
the author of The Communist Manifesto belonged to a
Satanic cult.

Farah became the subject of national headlines in 1990,
when he was hired as executive editor of California’s
conservative Sacramento Union, whose new owners hoped
that fresh blood would help turn the struggling 139-
year-old paper around. Instead, during Farah’s 15 months
at its helm, the Union’s circulation dropped by more
that 25% as he dragged it sharply to the right.

Under his direction, pro-choice advocates were described
as “pro-abortion” and environmentalists were reportedly
called “eco-fruities.” The word “gay” was reportedly
forbidden, replaced by “homosexual” – and once, in a
column by the late David Chilton (who elsewhere wrote
that “The Christian goal for the world is the universal
development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which
every area of life is redeemed and placed under . the
rule of God’s law.”), with “sodomite.” Farah also
convinced rising conservative radio star Rush Limbaugh
(who had left Sacramento a few years earlier to take his
show national) to write a daily column, and ran it on
the paper’s front page.

Journalist Daniel Carson described the Union as “a
mouthpiece for the fundamentalist Christian right,
preoccupied with abortion, homosexuals and creationism.”

“[E]ach day seems to bring a bizarre new episode,” he
wrote in 1990. “Farah altered a news story to call the
National Organization for Women a `radical feminist
group.’ A front-page story speculated about whether the
confrontation in the Persian Gulf is the political
beginning of Armageddon.”

Editors, managers and writers reportedly left in droves.
“The feeling is it’s not really an objective newspaper
anymore,” a former Union reporter told The Washington
Post in 1990. “We didn’t go into journalism to work for
some slanted publication.”

In October 1991, Farah resigned. Twenty-seven months
later, the Union – which was at the time the oldest
daily paper west of the Mississippi – closed its doors
for good.

But Farah kept on writing. That same year, he founded
the Western Center for Journalism (WCJ), a non-profit
whose purpose was “to encourage more philosophical
diversity in the news media.” In 1994, WCJ was hit with
a $2 million libel suit for promoting a “report”
suggesting that White House Deputy Counsel Vincent
Foster had been the victim of foul play, rather than
suicide. (The suit was later dismissed.) Farah also
contributed occasional op-eds to respectable outlets
like the Los Angeles Times, and ran a series of
“watchdog” publications focused on liberal media and
culture.

In May 1997, together with his wife, Elizabeth, Farah
founded WorldNetDaily as a project of WCJ. In 1999, he
used $4.5 million in seed money from unnamed investors
and incorporated WND as an independent for-profit
company. It quickly became one of the most popular
“news” sites on the Web.

Excerpt from Alternet (October 10, 2012)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s