25 Years Of Mendacity At WND
Joseph Farah marked the silver anniversary of his website by begging for money and rewriting history by portraying his most biased, dishonest and outright false reporting as something noble.
By Terry Krepel
And you can tell when editor Joseph Farah is running out of money to keep his WND alive -- he ramps up the begging for money ... and prayers. The latest round kicked off with a March 18 column asking for prayers and adding:
Now let me be totally transparent with you. WND is on the edge. Yes, we're doing somewhat better, but it's not always easy to pay unexpected bills, often resulting from some new lawsuit or attack or other. And boy, do we have unexpected bills. I know everyone does which makes it harder to ask for help.
Actually, what Farah did wrong -- and which he constantly refuses to admit doing wrong -- is publish fake news and promote conspiracy theories, even as he went on to uniroinically complain about "this climate of wall-to-wall lies" (which he, of course, helped to create).
In his March 21 column, Farah claimed to offer "my (and WND's) official story the good, the bad and the ugly" -- though he didn't mention his first marriage, out of which came his estranged eldest child, Alyssa. It unsurprisingly ended in his usual conspiracy theory about being a victim of "big tech" and, of course, a money beg: "If you love WND for what it does, there's a way for anyone in these hard times, these increasingly evil times, to help us, even if you don't have two plug nickels to rub together."
Farah noted WND's upcoming 25th anniversary in his March 29 column, adding, "So let me ask you, as we approach our 25th anniversary: If you appreciate what we have done and what we still do here at WND, would you please prayerfully consider helping us right now?" He also wrote: "If everyone who cares about WND's continued existence and would like us to continue to report faithfully and TRUTHFULLY every single day 7 days a week as we have for the last 25 years if all of you could just do your part, some more, some less, I have no doubt we'll make it. And hopefully make it for another 25 years!" Farah seems to have forgotten that ConWebWatch has the receipts for all the untruthful reporting WND has published.
The next day, however, Farah was sounding a little more dire -- but not before laying out his old conspiracy theories first:
America invented freedom of the press, in case you didn't know.
As ConWebWatch documented, WND was demonetized by Google because Google no longer wanted to do business with a website best known for publishing fake news and conspiracy theories. Then came the more specific money beg:
I'll lay it out for you straight. Because of the costs involved in defending WND against a multitude or attacks and lawsuits and Big Tech cancellations, we need to raise a minimum of $100,000 over and above our normal expenses in the next three months by June 30. We'll keep you posted on our progress. We had to take out a loan this week just to pay our bills.
In his April 15 column, Farah was playing victim again along with his favorite president (and he's not referring to Joe Biden, whom he is actively trying to sabotage):
When both the president of the United States and WND, a leader in the media for 25 years, can be so sabotaged in plain sight and without recourse, you know the First Amendment is in real danger.
Farah drove the point home by putting "existential threat" in the headline.
Farah used his April 22 column to once again hype WND's upcoming 25th anniversary -- and, of course, beg for money. He included a picture of WND's first headquarters, described only as being "on a ranch in Selma, Oregon"; as ConWebWatch documented (but Farah doesn't mention), that ranch was owned by accused cult leader Roy Masters and his Foundation of Human Understanding. Farah then listed what he claimed were some of WND's accomplishments:
One of the proudest moments for me was our sustained coverage of the Terri Schiavo case. WND was the only news outlet that covered the saga of this young, disabled woman, who was eventually starved to death by court order, following it closely for two years before it became, for a short time, the biggest story in the world. I am convinced that without WND's coverage, few would even know the name Terri Schiavo today.
In fact, WND falsely accused Terri's husband and supporters of being murderers, refused to let them respond , fell for a false April Fool's joke about him, and published a book about the case by a WND reporter that was even more biased.
Farah also referenced " the killing of another innocent: Miriam Carey, a young black dental hygienist from Connecticut who was gunned down by Secret Service and Capitol Police on the streets of Washington for making a wrong turn near the White House." In fact, it was clear from the outset that Carey's death was a tragedy -- she was driving suspiciously and erratically in a nervous Washington, D.C., just two weeks after a shooter killed 12 people at D.C.'s Navy Yard -- and that she was merely a pawn in Farah's failed war on President Obama. He also is exceedingly proud of that too:
I can't forget WND's dogged pursuit of Barack Obama's eligibility issue, culminating in its book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" going to No. 1 at Amazon, forcing the White House to retrieve what it claimed was the legitimate document from Hawaii a day later. The pursuit of this story, it should be recalled, got Donald Trump involved in arguably his first major controversial political act. And who was dispatched to Hawaii to magically find the elusive "birth certificate" so easily when the governor said it couldn't be found? The fixers at the Democratic Party's favorite law firm, Perkins Coie.
The only turning point we're aware of is that WND's eight years of insisting that a clearly false story was true demonstrated once and for all that WND cared only about pushing conspiracy theories, not engaging in factual reporting.
Then Trump became president and Farah was very happy. Until...
Then the unexpected happened to me. I had my first stroke a minor one. Then, tragically, a devastating series of FOUR! I was left unable to speak or write. My wife stepped in as chief operating officer while I concentrated on healing. It was a long shot at best and meanwhile, Google, Facebook and Amazon had their way with us. The toll? Over the next year, I watched from the sidelines as America stood at the brink, during what was literally the best of times and the worst of times. For the first time, I was reduced to spectator status.
No mention, of course, of the allegations of financial shenanigans at WND reported by the Washington Post in 2019 that Farah and Co. have yet to publicly address (WND actually tried to distract from that bad news by announcing that Farah had suffered a stroke, which it had kept secret for a few weeks).
Farah was sounding a little desperate at the end of his column:
At almost 67, I'm not a kid anymore. But I'm giving WND my all for the time I have. Pray for us. Pray for Donald Trump, who has proven to be the only man capable of taking on the Tech Tyrants. Join with us. Support us. We're not through. We're still here. We plan on ushering in better times for America!
The problem here is that Farah may be showing humility by begging for money, but he's still showing no remorse for his key role bringing WND to this point. His strategy of blaming everyone else but himself when everyone can see his editorial strategy of conspiracy theories and fake news drove away readers has failed is not the true humility people need to see from him, and the fact that the same failed editorial strategy is continuing today demonstrates he has yet to learn the lesson he needs to learn from this self-created crisis.
The question is whether he will learn that lesson before it's too late -- for him and for WND.
Down memory lane
Farah did an early celebration of WND's then-upcoming 25th anniversary in an April 22 column:
What has WND been through over the last 25 years of being America's first independent, alternative online news enterprise? What HASN'T it been through?
Farah then served up his usual self-hagiogrphy about WND's history, followed by the usual money beg.
When WND's actual anniversary rolled around in early May, Farah cranked out a three-column series to congratulate himself and play victim. In the first, Farah proclaimed himself a visionary for starting WND: "And I saw most of the establishment press did not. In fact, I saw a cozy, symbiotic and unhealthy relationship developing between the corporate press and state power. I vowed WND would never fall prey or be seduced by that temptation." Actually, Farah and WND were quite cozy with state power when Donald Trump was in the White House.
Farah went on to defend WND's embrace of Trump's Big Lie:
I warned it would result eventually in what happened in the 2020 election when it was rigged for Joe Biden. Without a free press allowed to blow the whistle on it, it was inevitable. And you remember how we just couldn't talk about the results of the election even on Fox News. Everyone in the press said you couldn't talk about it. Big Tech refused to report any of it besides repeating the lie that it was "the most secure election in American history." It was not. WND would not go along with the charade. So we paid the price at the hands of Google and Facebook and still are. UNBELIEVABLE! This is happening in the land that once believed in the sanctity of the Constitution!
In the second column, Farah rehashed his version of WND's initial success: "We did it! We were successful. We did really good journalism. And we were the biggest, baddest, conservative and avowedly Christian online news publication in the world. We were at our pinnacle until 2016 and over the next three years, we nearly became ... extinct."
In the final column, Farah rewrote history on WND's bogus obession with Barack Obama's birth certificate:
Do you remember who the president was just before Trump?
Farah conveniently forgets that WND initially reported that the original birth certificate Obama's campaign released in 2008 that after a "separate WND investigation," it "found the document to be authentic." After people remembered that, WND added an "editor's note" to the article trying to argue that "authentic" didn't mean authentic.
Farah then went into his bogus sob story that "WND has been DEMONETIZED by Google and YouTube as of last year" and begged for money "to help us keep our dignity and honor for our continued commitment to publishing and persisting despite what we've endured over the last five years." Dignity and honor are not words people associate with WND's history of reporting.
A weird tribute from Scott Lively
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 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.
ConWebWatch read Farah's book and found it to be a highly mendacious work 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.
That would be the Post piece detailing financial shenanigans and mismanagement that WND has never offered a rebuttal to, let alone offer any proof that anything in it 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 in the article 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 rebellion 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.
It might be a little gauche to mention that Jackson fought against the United States in support of the evil institution of slavery, or that he 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.