For years, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has laughably insisted his "news" organzation is "independent," despite it having an obvious right-wing editorial agenda that colors its "news" coverage. Farah finally offered a defintion of the term in his June 25 column -- which he conveniently redefines to fit what he thinks WND is:
I founded the very first independent online news-gathering company in 1997 – some 21 years ago. We’ve faced many crises over those two decades, but nothing like we are experiencing at the hands of this cartel that shares a worldview so narrow, so tyrannical, so bullying and so disrespectful of dissent that all five of these companies count on an extremist organization called the Southern Poverty Law Center to help them police content. Is that a coincidence?
The combined clout of these companies makes them the de facto gatekeepers of all media in the U.S. If they like your content, it is treated favorably. If they don’t like your content, they treat you … well, harshly. That means your content doesn’t show up in searches, you don’t get much if any advertising, social media outreach is strictly limited. Thus, independent media are in crisis. They’re dying – and not slowly. It may be too late to save what’s left.
What do I mean by independent media? WND was the first, aside from the DrudgeReport, which is a genre all its own – perhaps the inspiration for all efforts that followed.
- I use the term to describe media efforts created specifically for the digital online age. When I started WND, I was a refugee of the so-called “mainstream” print media. I saw in the promise of the internet, a chance to level the playing field in such a way that an upstart, strictly digital enterprise could compete head to head with the corporate media established in the print and broadcasting era. For 20 years, we proved it could work. Others followed. Another old dearly departed friend of mine, Andrew Breitbart, took it to new heights with Breitbart.com. Tucker Carlson introduced innovations at the Daily Caller before moving on to Fox where he has become one of the finest hosts on cable news. Glenn Beck left television to start TheBlaze.com. There are now dozens of such efforts. And they are all experiencing what I am experiencing – a fight for survival, with some closer to losing than others, but none with answers for long-term prosperity.
- Independent media are also defined by independent thinking. We don’t all agree politically. But we all agree the establishment media are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
- Independent media also tend to be skeptical of Big Government and other big institutions, cultural, corporate, political or otherwise.
Note that all the websites Farah lists are right-wing sites like his. Pushing a right-wing ideology through a biased editorial agenda is not "independent thinking" at all. And being "skeptical of Big Government and other big institutions, cultural, corporate, political or otherwise" is another tenet of right-wing orthodoxy.
There is no independence at WND. There might have been at one time early on, when it dared to break from the Republican agenda during the 2000 election and admit that few voters were discouraged from the polls in Florida when the networks mistakenly called Florida for Gore while some polls in the state were still open, forgetting that the Florida panhandle is in a different time zone than the rest of the state. But since then, Farah and WND have renounced true editorial independence to be pro-Bush, then anti-Obama, and now pro-Trump.
A truly independent media outlet reports facts without fear or favor -- something that can't said about WND, where agenda always comes first.
If Farah can't honestly tell readers what his website does, WND doesn't really deserve to live, despite Farah's bogus framing that WND going out of business means the death of the First Amendment.
Meanwhile, WND is sliding into yet another existential crisis. More on that later...