Here We Go Again
Joseph Farah still doesn't understand why WorldNetDaily is considered conservative. How stupid is he?
By Terry Krepel
We should have known it was coming: yet another in a series of Joseph Farah columns complaining that he and WorldNetDaily have been pigeonholed as conservative.
What launches Farah's lament this time, in his May 6 column, is the appearance of the WorldNetDaily name on the cover of the new book "South Park Conservatives."
Farah continues: "Since I founded WorldNetDaily, it's difficult for me to understand how my creation could be so simplistically and erroneously mislabeled as 'conservative.'"
Um, because WND's overall slant favors conservatives and attacks non-conservatives? Because it slavishly and uncritically advances the agenda of conservative legal groups? Because Farah and WND were so willing to spread lies about John Kerry and his wife, thereby boosting the re-election of President Bush, whom Farah endorsed? Because Farah collaborated with Rush Limbaugh on one of Limbaugh's books? Because it promotes polls, even bogus opt-in ones, only when they advance a conservative agenda? Because Farah and WND hate the Clintons with the passion of a thousand suns? (Farah once called Hillary Clinton "a personification of true evil in the world. ... Just looking at the woman is enough to make me retch.")
We throw these reasons out because Farah again offers no specific examples of why we should not consider him and WND to be conservative beyond complaining that he does not follow the strict textbook definition of the word: "By definition, conservatives seek to 'conserve' something from the status quo."
Farah later states that "my main occupation has been, is and always will be 'newsman,'" adding: "I believe the proper role of a newsman is to seek the truth without fear or favor."
And if you believe that Farah's "proper role of a newsman" actually applies to Farah himself, we have some prime beachfront property in North Dakota to sell you. Farah and WND have shown plenty of fear of fulfilling its mission statement of "exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" while the Bush administration has been in the White House. For instance, WND has not only failed to provide original coverage of the various allegations involving Halliburton's defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars, it ran an August 2004 commentary by Steve Marr defending the company: "The next time you hear allegations of price gouging by Halliburton, remember the 41 employees who have died, the scores wounded, and the extreme cost of providing security BEFORE deciding if the allegations are true."
Farah writes of himself and other like minded folks who stand for "truth, justice, freedom [and] the rule of law": "We're the rebels, the radicals, the revolutionaries."
Actually, the term that might best describe Farah is "Christian reconstructionist." Farah's desired destruction of the public education system and his hard line against sinners such as adulterers reflect that of Christian reconstructionists such as R.J. Rushdoony, who like Farah opposes public education in favor of homeschooling and approves of the death penalty for moral crimes (though even Farah hasn't publicly endorsed Rushdoony's desire to put "practicing homosexuals" to death). WND columnist Samuel L. Blumenfeld wrote a fond remembrance of Rushdoony following his death in 2001.
Farah's folderol continues in a May 11 column marking WND's eighth anniversary. "Not only do we mark the eighth anniversary of WorldNetDaily, I would argue we are also marking the renaissance of a truly free press in America," he writes.
Really? Is distorting and lying about people and causes you philosophically oppose really the mark of "a truly free press"? How refusing to disclose your personal and financial interests in the issues and people you cover?
Farah also engages in a little myth-making about WND's creation: "Eight years ago, my wife was the self-taught webmaster and high-tech guru and I was the editorial staff. The whole thing was cooked up nightly in our bedroom-office -- mostly after we put the kids to sleep."
What Farah doesn't tell you is that he raised $4.5 million from investors as seed money to start WND -- from whom, he won't tell you. That's just one hint that WND's origin was hardly the mom-and-pop bootstrap operation Farah makes it out to be. Another is that WND started under the wing of Farah's Western Journalism Center, which at the time was taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife to bash the Clintons, and for all of Farah's blathering about WND being "a watchdog on government," WND's main function in the early years was to serve, like NewsMax and CNSNews.com, as yet another conservative Clinton-bashing tool. Indeed, Farah's very first WND column was an attack on Clinton.
Farah then goes through the usual self-congratulatory puffery of WND's achievements, such as allegedly being "the first content site on the Internet to begin a book-publishing imprint that has revolutionized the publishing industry in many ways." If you count the number of certified liars and convicted felons on WND Books' list of authors, sure.
This is then followed by Farah's claim that "We believe we must be credible, relentless and fiercely independent to succeed."
We'll give Farah the "relentless" part; it throws relentless tantrums when it doesn't get what it wants, such as its battle over obtaining a Senate press pass (not that it's made use of it lately or anything). And WND's bias is relentless as well, as it demonstrated when it refused to question any of the allegations made by the discredited Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against John Kerry and hid Jerome Corsi's bigotry from its readers.
But "fiercely independent"? Nuh-uh: WND nitpicked every word out of Kerry's mouth while treating Bush with kid gloves, making it clear that it was not "fiercely independent" in the 2004 presidential election. And Les Kinsolving, the Baltimore radio host who is WND's surrogate in the White House press room, serves up reliably right-wing and Democrat-bashing questions, so there's nothing "fiercely independent" going on there, either.
And "credible"? Double nuh-uh. WND ran a false story about a quickie TV movie being made about the Terri Schiavo case because it wanted so badly to believe that Terri's husband -- whom WND had repeatedly slandered by reporting only the accusations against him by Terri's parents and not his side of the story -- had sold the movie rights. WND also has a history of plagiarizing material from other sources and putting it uncredited under a WND byline.
And, of course, let's not forget the outright lies WND told about John and Teresa Heinz Kerry.
So, is Farah really so stupid that he can't figure out why most sentient beings call WND "conservative"? No. As much as he loves to complain about it, he knows that conservatives form the core of WND's audience, and he's not about to abandon that lucrative market. That would be stupid, which, again, Farah is not.
What Farah is, in fact, is something far worse than stupid: He is a fundamentally dishonest man. At the end of his May 11 column, he claims as his "trade secret" the idea that "we believe the truth will set all of us free." Yet, as we've detailed above, Farah and WND are incapable of telling the full truth to their audience in the form of fair and balanced journalism; they are too committed to advancing their reconstructionist ideology to be truly honest.
Now that is stupid.