WND's Book Bargain
WorldNetDaily remains alive for the time being, but now it wants you to give it even more money to publish editor Joseph Farah's new book (though you can already buy it in digital form).
By Terry Krepel
Editor Joseph Farah's March 1 letter to readers declared that WND met its $200,000 crowdfunding goal by that day's deadline -- in a not-terribly-transparent two-month campaign that didn't really explain why that deadline was so hard and fast or why he needed that exact amount of money -- adding, "You have provided the cushion we needed to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps so we could fight another day."
Farah also shared "some exciting plans for the future even if I can’t provide the details today":
We are working with a non-profit foundation through which we can more efficiently produce the kind of content that makes WND unique as an independent media pioneer and a Christian one at that. Once we’ve got everything set up and we hope that is soon we’ll have a way for future contributions to supplement WND’s content to be tax-deductible.
Going nonprofit would bring WND back to its roots; it was founded in 1997 as a division of the Farah-founded nonprofit Western Journalism Center before being spun off a couple years later as a for-profit operation. The WJC, by the way, still exists, run by Farah buddy Floyd Brown and presenting itself as a training center and laughably insisting that its goal is to "nurture, develop and deploy top notch classically educated journalists of integrity who will report the news in an unbiased fashion," despite being staffed with right-wing operatives like, uh, Joseph Farah.
Farah could also be doing something like the Daily Caller does in having its reporters actually employed by a nonprofit while the ostensibly for-profit WND benefits from all their work.
As far as the "a new revenue stream that is very exciting" goes, well, who knows? An organization that is partly nonprofit and partly for-profit is tricky to manage, since a nonprofit is generally not allowed to be as explicitly political as WND has been over the years.
And, once again, Farah refused to address the problematic, conspiracy-mongering, fake news-laden content that helped bring WND to this state. Further, if WND is going to become part of a nonprofit, is Farah really the best person to continue running it, given that it was under his watch that WND was mismanaged to its apparent loss of independence? He can't blame everything on Google and Facebook, after all (not that he isn't trying to do exactly that).
Chuck Norris devoted his March 25 WND column to "a review of an excellent, inspiring and insightful book by Joseph Farah, CEO and editor-in-chief of WND, titled, 'The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament,' to be released in fall 2018," in which Farah "literally goes through all 39 books of the Old Testament Scriptures (the same combined 24 books of the Tanakh), and reveals Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom in each one." Norris concluded his column by gushing of the book: "I wholeheartedly recommend it to every person who either venerates the Bible as the Word of God or is simply curious to expound its original intent and often lost meanings."
Farah returned the favor in a column the next day about the column "my buddy Chuck Norris" wrote about his book. And he engaged in some self-promotional gushing of his own:
There’s just one problem: The book will not be out for nearly six months.
Farah then added this:
In fact, to add even more confusion to my literary repertoire, if that is possible, I’m also currently working on a new, updated and expanded edition of “Restitution.” And here’s more information you don’t need or want. I am simultaneously working on a book to follow-up “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament.”
Could it be that one reason WND has been skirting the edge of extinction is because its editor and majority owner was too busy writing books instead of devoting the necessary time to keep his business afloat and reputable and keeping it from circling the financial drain amid a morass of fake news?
Farah closed out his column with a final gush: "And, did I forget to say a hearty thank you to my buddy Chuck Norris for the glowing praise? Many, many thanks and blessings to you, to Gena and to your great pastor, Todd." That's presumably a reference to Todd DuBord, the pastor who reportedly ghostwrites Norris' column (and has a bad habit of plagiarism).
A few weeks later, though, WND revealed that Norris' column was part of a very calculated campaign led by Farah to promote his book -- and to raise money to publish it. An April 20 WND article proclaimed:
In announcing a fundraising project for what is described as a “breakthrough Bible book,” WND and WND Books has enlisted a who’s who of Christian leaders who are enthusiastically endorsing “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament.”
The article is illustrated with the cover of the "Special VIP Advance Reader Copy" Farah has sending to those Christian leaders to create buzz and, presumably, troll for blurbs.
The BreakthroughBibleBook.com URL redirects to the WND online store page for the book, while the OldTestamentGospel.com URL redirects to a WND page with the hard sell for the money pitch:
While ministries around the country are eagerly awaiting the release of the book, which has already been approved for sale by Franklin Graham for the Billy Graham Library and being considered now for sale in the Museum of the Bible, WND and WND Books does not have the financial resources to print the first 100,000 books, which will cost over $200,000.
WND didn't explain why the first printing needs to be 100,000 copies, nor did it explain why it doesn't do a slow rollout of the book instead, using profits from the initial printing to pay for more copies.
The page also detailed the tax-deductible component:
We invite you, your organization or church to become a patron for “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by making a tax-deductible grant or donation of $10,000 or more to the “The Gospel Book Project” direct to Gospel for All Nations by special arrangement with author Joseph Farah who wants to hear from you directly. Donors will also shortly receive a pre-publication collector edition Special Advance Reader Copy signed by the author as well as an autographed first edition copy that will include the list of patrons, if they so choose to be listed. If you are in a position to arrange such a grant or donation, please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a personal briefing, thanks and instructions.
Gospel for All Nations is a ministry -- seemingly consisting of just a man, his wife and their daughter -- that, according to its website, "exists to take The Gospel of Jesus to the nations of the world, focusing in particular on the least reached nations." It's unclear what, exactly, the connection is between Gospel for All Nations and Farah and WND.
It seems that begging WND readers for money to keep his operation afloat agrees so well with Farah that he's doing it again -- but with the added twist of tax-deductible contributions through a nonprofit ministry through a relationship that has not been publicly defined.
WND later shed a little more light on that nonprofit donation deal:
Gospel for All Nations, a ministry focused on bringing the “Good News” to the least reached peoples of the world, has “adopted” Joseph Farah’s upcoming book release, “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament,” providing a non-profit, tax-exempt opportunity for churches, corporations, foundations and individuals to support what is being called a “breakthrough Bible book,” WND and WND Books have announced.
The way WND puts scare quotes around "adopted" tells us there's something more going on -- which neither WND nor Gospel for All Nations (which simply reprinted the WND article) apparently want to talk about. It appears that it's a business deal of some sort in which Gospel for All Nations agrees to lend its tax-deductible status to WND for unspecified things in return. Shouldn't they publicly disclose the nature of this relationship before anyone donates money to it?
As before, Farah and WND never demonstrate that there is "overwhelming public demand" for Farah's book (beyond the blurbs they solicited through those "special VIP advance reader copies" it sent out) or why they need $200,000 for a massive first printing of it, instead of doing what many small publishers do by starting small and using the profits from those sales to publish more books. They also don't explain why, if the book is such a sure thing, why WND can't get a bank loan for the initial printing. Is it because WND's credit is so ruined that no bank will lend to them?
There's still a whiff of shadiness to this entire venture -- something that could be dispelled if WND would be more forthcoming about its financial situation and its arrangement with Gospel for All Nations.
For all this fund-raising hype, though, WND decided to undercut that case by going digital. A June 4 WND article tried to spin things as best it could:
While the hardcover edition of the highly acclaimed “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” won’t release to bookstores nationwide until September, due to high demand and anticipation for Joseph Farah’s “breakthrough Bible book,” WND Books is making the digital e-book version available immediately in the WND Superstore and at Amazon.
The claim that the digital release is intended to help fund the physical release -- and coming months before the planned physical release as well -- tells us that the fundraising campaign isn't going well.
Again, what WND doesn't say is more important than what it does. Where's the proof of these massive "advance orders" for the book? If those orders are so solid, why can't WND simply get a bank loan to finance the publishing? And why the scare quotes around "adopted"? Why not just tell readers the nature of the deal with Gospel for All Nations that lets WND take tax-deductible donations?
Meanwhile, the digital campaign doesn't seem to be going well. As of this writing, Farah's book is ranked No. 182,120 at Amazon's Kindle Store for e-books, and No. 52,132 in the "Religion & Spirituality" section. Even in one highly specialized category, it's ranked only 164th. That seems to contradict the idea of "unprecedented demand" for the book that Farah and WND claim exists.
Most of the article, meanwhile, is taken up with blurbs from Farah's fellow right-wing Christians touting the book -- which are little more than logrolling and not indicative of the book's quality or value.
Logrolling in our time
Speaking of logrolling, Farah and WND leaned heavily into that for the next phase of trying to raise money for that unusually huge first printing that Farah and WND have yet to justify.
Farah's June 10 column focused on WND's partner of sorts, Gospel for All Nations:
I treasure a group that offered itself as a “partner” on the immense publishing challenge such a big book presents my new friends at the missions organization Gospel for All Nations.
Farah went on to tout the group's humble origins" as "a study group and Facebook ministry." He didn't, however, explain exactly what the deal between GFAN and WND entails regarding those tax-deductible contributions.
The same day, an anonymous WND staffer wrote a fawning article about evangelist Jack Van Impe:
Almost everyone with a television channel changer has seen his TV show that aired across America from the 1970s through 2017. It would be nearly impossible to have missed him and his wife, Rexella, on “Jack Van Impe Presents” for any channel surfer. The man known as “The Walking Bible,” for his complete memorization of the entire New Testament and most of the Old, was seemingly everywhere on TV for more than 40 years, especially late at night on independent channels and Christian networks. It was a fixture, a mix of Bible prophecy, news analysis and the good old-fashioned Gospel.
Unmentioned in the article: Van Impe supplied a blurb promoting Farah's book:
Van Impe, the legendary television and radio Bible teacher who is known for memorizing the entire New Testament, wrote: “Never before has anyone offered a more complete and comprehensive, book-by-book exploration of the Gospel in the Hebrew Scriptures. Joseph Farah’s ‘The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament’ is a triumph and an amazing resource for every pastor and every Bible study leader who understands the importance of the Gospel of the Kingdom Jesus preached. It’s even more important for those pastors and Bible study teachers who don’t understand it. Revolutionary!”
Sucking up to someone as an apparent reward for penning a blurb is not terribly becoming./ But then, WND and Farah are nothing if not shameless.
Farah plays the Satan card
For all of this hype and spin, however, fundraising is not going well to get Farah's book published. So Farah has decided to blame Satan himself for it.
In a June 15 email to the WND mailing list carrying the headline "Satan evidently doesn't want you to read this email," Farah wrote:
I'm not joking when I say Satan doesn't want you to read this email.
Two days later, Farah sent out the same letter with the same headline.
On June 21, Farah dropped the ambiguity, affirmatively declaring in the headline that "Satan doesn't want you to read this email." He went on to write: "I don’t make this claim lightly: Satan is pulling out all the stops in subverting plans for the release of the most important book I have ever written. ... But the opposition comes in all forms health challenges, financial crises, technology issues, you name it!"
Farah is so invested in this particular bit of victimhood that he rehashed in his June 21 WND column -- headlined "Satan doesn't want you to read this column" -- in which he sorta likens himself to Jesus in the process of shilling for money:
But, of course, who was it that opposed Jesus who tempted Him in the wilderness? Who is it that hates the Gospel more than anyone?
Well, you know, Joe, if you're claiming that Satan is at the root of your troubles -- particularly those that require other people to give you money to get out of -- perhaps you should provide some details so readers can judge if that "opposition" is satanically inspired or self-inflicted.
Farah concluded: "Thank you. And please act quickly! I am besieged." He didn't mention that he brought no small part of this besiegement upon himself by publishing fake news and bogus conspiracy theories.