WorldNetDaily columnist Scott Lively is a vociferous defender of Vladimir Putin as a champion of "true human rights," so maybe he's not the best person to use as a character witness. Yet Lively's March 7 column is a defense of WND editor Joseph Farah as, according to the headline "the Stonewall Jackson of America First media." Let the weird slobbering begin:
Many years ago, in my capacity as California state director of the American Family Association, I had the great privilege of sitting at the head table next to Hollywood legend Jane Russell at a special banquet of Eagle Forum California in honor of its founder (and Ms. Russell's traveling companion), Phyllis Schlafly. Phyllis gave the most hopeful and inspiration speech I have ever heard, detailing her eyewitness view of the rise of the conservative movement from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan. It was one of the most memorable milestones in my career as a Christian social and political activist.
I don't remember if she specifically cited Joseph Farah by name, but the closing crescendo of her speech emphasized the amazing potential of the internet to facilitate a quantum leap forward for the conservative movement. And, of course, Joseph Farah was THEE pioneer of online conservative media through his WorldNetDaily internet news site, whose power and influence began a meteoric rise after its founding in 1997. WND was the first online news organization to gain official recognition in the Washington, D.C., press pool (after a hard-fought battle), and Farah himself was having a profound influence on conservatism as the ghostwriter of Rush Limbaugh's second book "See, I Told You So" (which sold 4 million copies in the first two months).
Of course, the left recognized the threat to their media hegemony posed by WND and pushed back hard with every weapon in their arsenal, including lawsuits – but in the midst of that intense battle Joseph Farah stood like a stone wall, giving strength and encouragement to the hundreds of budding conservative journalists who had joined the battle in the cause of truth. Indeed, there might never have been a "new media" if not for Joseph and WND. I highly recommend his 2007 "inside story of the new media revolution" titled "Stop the Presses," which reads like a culture-war version of the history of World War II. It is really must-reading for anyone interested in overthrowing the corporate "news" industry, which President Trump famously (and truthfully) branded "the enemy of the people."
We read Farah's book, and found it to be highly mendacious piece of self-puffery because he doesn't practice what he preaches journalistically. Sorry to interrupt your slobbering, Scott:
Just days ago, I experienced another memorable career milestone when I met Joseph Farah in person for the first time, when my wife, Anne, and I took him and his wife, Elizabeth, to lunch in a suburb of Washington, D.C. The next day I went back to get a selfie photo with him to put on my office shelf right next to my picture with Rush Limbaugh. It is so very satisfying to finally meet one of your culture war heroes and to discover he is just as much a champion of right and truth in person as in the image portrayed to the public.
I confess I felt something of an urgency in wanting to have this meeting at this point in time, because I am very concerned about the survival of WND. As you may know, WND and Joseph Farah were early targets of the "cancel culture," and there has been a concerted effort by the hard left to totally destroy them. Google's "demonitizing" of WND nearly killed it, and put such strain on Joseph as he tried hold things together that he had a series of debilitating strokes. That was three ago. It has been a great struggle for him to regain his health. Meanwhile, the news site continued to fight through the herculean efforts of a core team led by another of my heroes, WND Vice President David Kupelian.
To the eternal shame of the truly evil editors of the Washington Post, they ran one of the nastiest hit pieces of all time against Joseph personally, while he lay in a hospital bed just days after a massive stroke, clinging precariously to life. Thank God he survived and has recovered nearly to his former self.
That would be the Post piece that WND has never offered a rebuttal to, let alone prove that anything in it about Farah's reported financial shenanigans was false. Lively also forgot to mention that WND used Farah's stroke -- which it had kept secret for a few weeks until the Post called WND for a response to its report -- as an excuse to not respond to it, and when managing editor David Kupelian finally responded, he didn't challenge anything and insisted that Farah, who was conveniently out of commission, was "the only person situated to respond" to it. Thus, there is no factual basis for Lively to dismiss it as a "hit piece."
Finally, Lively got around to the dubious likening of Farah to a failed Confederate general who helped lead a violent rebelion against his own country in order to preserve the institution of slavery (and, of course, beg for people to donate to WND):
Stonewall Jackson's courage and resolve would not have been enough to prevail against the superior numbers and power of the opposing army that day in Manassas if reinforcements had not rallied to him because of his inspiring stand.
We must not let the enemy destroy the Stonewall Jackson of the conservative media: Joseph Farah and his WND. I strongly urge you to rally to his support by giving generously to the nonprofit WND News Center and to educate all of your America First friends and allies that they owe Joseph Farah and WND far more honor and respect than they realize.
It might be a little gauche to mention that Jackson died after he was accidentally shot by his own Confederate troops -- an overly apt analogue to the self-inflicted wounds of fake news and conspiracy theories Farah decided WND needed to publish instead of the sound journalism that real journalists do.