Ever Wonder Where the Extreme Right's Conspiracy Theories and Paranoid Rumors Get Started? Meet WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily (WND) describes itself as “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty.” The online newspaper, which this year celebrated its 15th year in operation, is one of the “very few sources” martial artist and action film hero Chuck Norris (who happens to be a columnist) trusts for news and an operation that megachurch pastor Greg Laurie (also a columnist) says does “a service to God and Country.”
WND is the brainchild of Joseph Farah, a self-described “radical” and longtime antigovernment propagandist and apologist for the Confederacy who believes “cultural Marxists” are plotting “to transform our political system, to change the way we think, to attack our values, to demean our faith in God, to reduce that shining city on the hill to the status of a drab public-housing project.”
Together with a coterie of antigovernment “Patriots,” anti-gay activists, white nationalists, Muslim-bashers, conspiracy theorists, end-times prophets and ultraconservative hardliners, Farah — who did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this article — has built WND into a modest media empire including a book imprint, an online subscription-only “intelligence resource,” and a glossy, full-color monthly magazine. At press time, Alexa, which ranks websites, said WND was the 1,832nd most popular website in the world and the 423rd in the U.S. — just above the site for Nickelodeon and a few notches below Victoria’s Secret.
WND’s point of view is best described as a cross between the now-defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, which was famous for reporting on Elvis sightings, and The New American, a monthly magazine published by the far-right, conspiracist John Birch Society. In its 15 years online, it has introduced readers to a smorgasbord of bizarre ideas, specializing in anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-liberal propaganda; antigovernment conspiracy theories; and end-times prophecy.
It featured a six-part series claiming (falsely) that soybean consumption causes homosexuality and promoted Scott Lively’s vile opus The Pink Swastika, which says that gays were behind the Holocaust. It has identified the first “leftist” as Satan, and declared that Muslims have a “20-point plan for conquering the United States by 2020.” It has warned of secret plans to create a North American Union, advised readers to invest all their assets in gold, and promoted myriad, if conflicting, theories about when and how the world will end.
Its most enduring claim, by far, is that President Obama is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president because he supposedly is not a “natural-born” U.S. citizen.
WND’s stable of writers includes “birther” conspiracist Jerome Corsi; Bob Unruh, a former Associated Press reporter who once sued his fifth-grade daughter’s school after it forbade her to distribute promotional materials for his wife’s “vacation bible school”; black neo-secessionist Walter E. Williams, who in a 2002 WND column wrote that the Civil War was an unconstitutional exercise of “federal abuse and usurpation;” and a panoply of other far-right and ultraconservative voices.
The online paper is also a launching pad for a new generation of extremists. Kevin DeAnna, founder of the white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization, was recently hired as marketing coordinator. DeAnna, 29, also has written articles for WND — including one that asserted that Earth Day falls on April 22 in order to honor Lenin’s birthday. Another young pundit who benefits from WND’s patronage is Jason “Molotov” Mitchell, 33, a self-declared “Christian Supremacist” who wants his co-religionists to reject “effeminized American Christianity” and start “advancing the Kingdom on earth.”
Farah shares those sentiments. “I don’t think the Scriptures teach us to passively wait for God to take care of the world. We are taught to occupy until he comes,” he wrote in his 2003 book, Taking America Back. “Don’t you think He wants us to reestablish the promises of America — one nation under God born of a creed?”