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Ever Wonder Where the Extreme Right's Conspiracy Theories and Paranoid Rumors Get Started? Meet WorldNetDaily

"News company" WorldNetDaily has pumped out staggering volumes of froth and nonsense, which then spreads to the rest of the Right's media echo chamber.

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Least noteworthy is Botkin, a Sacramento-area financial advisor and former Marine who has been on the board since 1999 and is an occasional contributor to conservative candidates. According to ConWebWatch, he worked with Farah in 2004 during a short-lived effort to revive the Sacramento Union as a magazine. His book about the Vietnam War was published by WND.

From 2000 to 2002, the board also included Robert Beale, an MIT grad who made his money in computers, served as the Minnesota campaign manager for televangelist Pat Robertson’s 1988 presidential bid, and eventually came to sympathize with the radical antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement. In 2008, Beale was convicted of tax evasion, conspiracy, and fleeing authorites, charges he attempted to evade first by hiding from the law and then by conspiring to intimidate the judge — who, he said, God had commanded him to “destroy” — by filing fraudulent liens and issuing fake “arrest warrants” against her.

God, Guns and Armageddon

Like most well-trafficked websites, WND makes money through selling ad space and sending E-mails tempting subscribers with “special offers” from third parties.

In a May 2012 E-mail “from the desk of Joseph Farah,” the WND editor personally endorsed an offer from “the Millionaire Patriot” who was, he said, giving away “lifetime gun training memberships” to the first 500 subscribers to respond to his offer. The Millionaire Patriot is Ignatious Piazza, owner of Nevada’s Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and an accused con man. In 2007, Piazza settled for $8 million dollars a class action lawsuit brought by previous subscribers to his membership scheme. The plaintiffs alleged that he was running a Ponzi scheme, had misrepresented the value of memberships, and had diverted money “for his own personal use and benefit, including his Hollywood career.”

None of this was mentioned in WND’s E-mail to subscribers. Instead, Farah wrote that he “can personally vouch for Dr. Piazza and his Front Sight Training Institute” and urged readers “to prepare for what may be coming in the next four years! NOW is the time to get armed and trained.”

In 2010, subscribers received an E-mail hawking a book titled How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization, which warned that terrorists might attack the U.S. power grid with an electromagnetic pulse device that “could throw America into the dark ages in a split second.” The next year, a message titled “Gun Control Imminent — Stock Up Now!” warned that the president was “secretly conspiring to strip American Citizens of the right to bear arms” and promised “Burnin Hot Deals” from USA Ammo (motto: “Ammunition with Attitude”).

And, in 2011, WND shilled for a publication titled “The Antichrist Identity” that claimed President Obama is a crypto-Communist “apostle” of the “New World Order” who is setting up the planet for a takeover by “Jewish Masonic” elites who will reduce the population by 5.5 billion and “enslave all of mankind under the thumb of a Jewish master race led by a world messiah of Jewish ancestry who is to rule from Jerusalem.”

That “The Antichrist Identity” also scoffed at the idea that Obama was not born in the United States — a conspiracy WND has been tirelessly pushing for years — apparently did not bother the marketing team that approved the promotional E-mail.

Truth (or even internally consistent conspiracy theories) is not WND’s strong suit. But then, objectivity and consistency are not Farah’s goals. As he spelled out quite explicitly in  Taking America Back, what he really wants is to foment a “revolution” — ideally, bloodless — that would eradicate most of the federal government, push LGBT people back into the closet and prayer back into the classroom, and “return” America to its supposed roots in biblical law.

 
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