ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Joseph Farah, The Right-Wing Zelig

Did the WorldNetDaily editor really march with Martin Luther King, pal around with radicals as a youth and dream up the "Left Behind" books first? That's what he'll tell you. Is it true? Who knows?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/13/2017

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is quite the shameless and aggressive liar, so it's not a surprise that he would seemingly embellish his own past. He's done this for years, almost to the point that he appears to be some kind of right-wing Zelig.

For instance, Farah wrote in an October 2013 WND column:

I officially became a Republican in 1982.

Two years earlier, I voted for Jimmy Carter for president for the second time.

But, more importantly, in the 1960s and 1970s, I was a stone cold radical leftist – literally working shoulder to shoulder with the likes of revolutionary terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and whacked out traitors Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda.

"Literally working shoulder to shoulder"? That's not what he's said previously on the subject. In a July 2012 column he wrote:

During the euphemistically named "Indo-China Peace Campaign" organized by Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda, I was given the "honor" of serving as a body guard for Fonda, recently returned from North Vietnam where she posed for photographs sitting in an anti-aircraft emplacement meant to shoot down American planes.

I was recruited for terrorist attacks such as blowing up chemical plants by older radicals who didn't have the courage to do it themselves. (I thank God today I never followed through on these plots.) I wrote for some of the most left-wing periodicals in America — the Guardian, the Liberated Guardian and more.

And my reputation preceded me. Even after college, when my views had moderated considerably, I was invited to meet Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who were still underground for their own acts of domestic terrorism.

Serving as a bodyguard for Fonda and merely meeting Ayers and Dohrn? That's not exactly the "literally working shoulder to shoulder" Farah now claims. It seems Farah has decided to embellish his former left-wing cred.

Or is it the other way around? It could be that Farah was lying before and is telling the truth now. If he really was "literally working shoulder to shoulder" with Hayden and Fonda and Ayers and Dohrn, that means he may have been lying about not committing terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, in a 2011 interview with, of all people, Victoria Jackson -- does he know how to pick a softball interviewer or what? -- Farah asserted that he "did get to know" Ayers and Dohrn and "many of the Weather Underground leaders." He also asserted that at age 15 or 16, he was "deeply involved in extreme radical activity, mostly stuff like going to demonstrations and overturning cars and smashing plate-glass windows as so forth and so on," and he repeated his assertion that he was Jane Fonda's bodyguard. He offered no proof to back up this claim. He also insisted he was surprised that the FBI never questioned him about his alleged radical past. (Perhaps because it may not have been as "radical" as he claims?)

Whatever the truth is, the one thing we know for sure is that Farah is lying about his past in some form.

Marching with MLK?

But that's not the only instance of Farah trying to embellish his supposed radical past. In 2015, he had another one of his thin-skinned reactions to criticism, devoting a column to misinterpreting Republican activist Bruce Bennett's contention that readers of right-wing "news" organizations like WND are engaging in "self-censorship," insisting that Bennett had said WND was brainwashing its readers.

In the midst of his self-righteous, self-aggrandizing defense, Farah declared that he was "the guy who actually marched with Martin Luther King Jr." Farah has made this claim before: here, here and here, for instance.

But Farah, to our knowledge, has never written about the details of this march with King. Even his mendacity-filled 2007 book "Stop the Presses!" about his journey in journalism, appears to be silent about it.

This begs the question: When did Farah actually march with King? It's an interesting question, given that, if the birth date on his Wikipedia page is correct, Farah was barely a teenager when King was assassinated; King died three months before Farah's 14th birthday.

Unless Farah was an unusually precocious and race-conscious tween, that likely means any occasion Farah would have had to march with King was somehow facilitated by his parents. That hardly plays with the image he has constructed for himself as a radical left-winger in his youth.

After the 2015 column, ConWebWatch emailed Farah to ask for the details of his march with King; Farah failed to respond.

Inventing -- and reusing -- "Night Stalker" moniker

Farah loves to take credit for inventing terms. In 2006, Farah proclaimed that he was the one who came up with the name "Night Stalker" for serial killer Richard Ramirez while working for the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner:

In fact, I am the guy that dubbed Ramirez as the "Night Stalker." Naming serial killers in California was a big deal. There were lots of them, so editors had many opportunities. Believe it or not, before I came up with "Night Stalker," he was most frequently called the "Valley Intruder." There was no way somebody called the "Valley Intruder" could terrify Los Angeles like this guy did. I knew I could top that one.

So not only is Farah in charge of a website that stands for truth, justice and the American way, he comes up with catchy names for serial killers. Plus, it's conveniently difficult to fact-check.

So, of course, Farah bragged again in 2013 that he was "the guy who bestowed" the "Night Stalker" title on Ramirez, further touting that "I actually won an award for that headline."

That made things a little uncomfortable a few months later, when a WND article by Michael Maloof asking "Who, or what, is behind the “purge” of top-level U.S. military officers during the Obama administration, with estimates of the number of senior officers fired during the last five years edging toward 200?" carried the headline "General blames 'Night Stalker' for military purge" -- a reference to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Maloof added: "London’s Daily Mail newspaper notes that Jarrett’s insider nickname is 'Night Stalker' because of her exclusive, late-night access to the presidential family’s private quarters." But the Daily Mail article cites no "insiders" to back up the claim, stating only that "Jarrett is reportedly called 'the Night Stalker.'"

In other words, Maloof and WND were likening a presidential adviser to a serial killer.

WND repeated the smear again in a 2014 edition of its Whistleblower magazine obsessively dedicated to Jarrett, which repurposed Maloof's article.

It could be said that Farah should know better if weren't for the apparent fact that Farah clearly knows exactly what he's doing -- trying to associate the Obama White House with one of America's most infamous serial killers.

Nicking credit for "Left Behind"

In a July 2016 WND column eulogizing right-wing author and activist Tim LaHaye -- best known for co-writing the "Left Behind" series of Christian-themed books -- Farah writes this:

Here’s one of my favorite personal recollections.

In a former life, I made a living collaborating on books with others – including people like Rush Limbaugh, Hal Lindsey, Greg Laurie and many others.

Tim and I had discussed doing book projects together, but we never did.

One day in 1994, I believe, I called Tim with an idea for a project that had been in the back of my mind of more than 15 years. I had discussed it with other partners over the years, but it just kept getting put off in favor of other book projects.

The idea was a book called “Left Behind.”

As I was explaining it to him on the phone, he interjected, “Joseph, you’re not going to believe this, but I just signed a collaboration agreement and a publishing contract for that very title.”

The rest is history, as they say.

The book and its many sequels went on to sell tens of millions of copies and remain on the New York Times bestsellers list for over 300 weeks.

I had waited too long to make the call.

That's a weird little attempt to steal a little glory from LaHaye upon his death. Note that Farah is somewhat vague about what exactly he's stealing credit for -- he's definitely claiming having come up with the title "Left Behind," and he's sort of suggesting he may have thought of a similar plot.

Then again, Farah at the time was fighting against the imminent failure of the business model behind WND, so someone else's financial success probably looked quite appealing.

His latest attempt at claiming credit for inventing something came in his Aug. 17 column:

When President Trump again Tuesday denounced not only the Klan, the neo-Nazis, the white supremacists and the plain old racists who were clearly guilty of violence, thuggery, instigating mayhem and, possibly, even murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, he also point out accurately and – and this point – even courageously that there was, indeed, another side to this story.

He called that side the “alt-left.”

At least one network even credited him with coining the term, even though I used it a year ago. I even defined it -- and other sites are crediting me with it.

This, despite the fact that the "alt-left" is not an actual thing. As Emma Grey Ellis explained at Wired:

Ultimately, the intent seems to be to frame alt-left as the opposite of alt-right and create a false equivalence between groups on the far ends of the right and left. But here's the thing: No left-wing group has ever called itself the alt-left. And the groups smeared by the alt-left label don't include anything like the heinousness of overt white supremacism that has increasingly defined the alt-right.

It's a blanket term some right-wing media commentators and white nationalists have taken to throwing over groups they disagree with, like the umbrella of "fake news" they use to describe stories they disagree with. Doing so manages to both minimize the ugliness of the alt-right and vastly overstate the actions and intentions of leftist groups.
Nevertheless, WND tried to prove that "alt-left" really was a thing in an Aug. 27 article: "But what is the alt-left? The mainstream media is claiming there is no such thing. Yet close observers of American college campuses are not surprised by what is happening nationwide. The “alt-left” has not only been a force in American higher education; it practically runs the campuses."

Meanwhile, Farah was still demanding credit for inventing the term. He ratcheted up the self-aggrandizement in his Aug. 27 column:

As the fake news media kept pounding on the “alt-right” label, I decided to coin the term “alt-left.” I’ve coined many terms throughout my career, but I’ve actually been credited with this one. But, unlike the alt-right disinformation artists beginning with Hillary Clinton, I actually defined it, supported it with a factual foundation and explained the phenomenon.

Two days later, Farah took things to absurd lengths, as he is wont to do, in a tortured attempt at metaphor by pointing out how the "alt" and "control" keys on a Microsoft keyboard "are neatly positioned on the left side of the keyboard." Farah ignores that both keys are also on the right side of the keyboard as well, but that would have blown up Farah's entire column.

In other words, Farah is trying to take credit for naming something that doesn't exist. He seems a little desperate for some kind -- any kind -- of legacy.

If Farah is so willing to mislead and distort -- if not outright lie -- about his past, as well as his present, there's no reason to trust anything that appears on a "news" website Farah operates.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2017 Terry Krepel