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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs laughs at a "serious" question from a WorldNetDaily reporter asking about Obama's birth certificate.
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WND (formerly WorldNetDaily or, as it was affectionately known to its fans, WingNutDaily or WhirledNutDaily) is an extremist conservative website founded by Joseph Farah in 1997 as a project of his Western Center for Journalism.[1] It espouses a fundamentalist Christian, creationist view of the world, and regularly engages in racist attacks against African-Americans. Its political leanings are right-wing, pro-"Christian right," and supposedly pro-United States, with strongly libertarian economic views. Its coverage provides multiple sides of the issues: the conservative viewpoint and the ultra-conservative viewpoint. It is far to the right of Fox News.

While they present themselves as news, WND is essentially a tabloid for radical right-wingers. Their publishing standards are rock-bottom, and they have run stories from extremely questionable sources on many, many occasions.[2][3] They are best known for distributing Ann Coulter's insipid columns, as well as articles written by noted political analysts Chuck Norris, Pat Boone and Charlie Daniels. They recently added disgraced baseball bigot John Rocker as well, indicating they've decided to drop the dog whistles and go with overt racism.

The scary thing is that this bilge is actually slightly influential, with made-up bullshit from WND making its way out the mouths of wingnut congressmen and cable TV pundits far too often.[4]


[edit] Corporate structure

Although its website lists Washington, D.C. as the location of its corporate and marketing headquarters and Medford, Oregon, as the location of its accounting office, it is actually headquartered in Medford. For decades Medford has been a Mecca for survivalists, conspiracy theorists, and others of the paranoid-unhinged persuasion; it is also candidate to become the capital of the State of Jefferson, should that state ever become a reality. The other offices listed are an "operations" office in Long Beach, California, and a "customer service" office in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Missouri. In 1999, it was incorporated in the tax haven state of Delaware.

[edit] Website contents

[edit] Advertising

While the website obviously has to pay its costs somehow, advertising is done in a particularly tacky way. Advertisements for products sold through the website store are inserted into news articles as a few lines of hyper-linked text — in the same style for linking to previous articles — giving no indication that it is advertising. Ads are placed on the front page using the same fonts and formatting as article headlines, making it difficult to differentiate between advertising and news content. One of the best examples of this was in November 2011 when under the banner of "WND Exclusive" was an article titled "Obama hasn’t destroyed ‘that time of year,’ at least not yet ..."; clicking on this apparent shocking headline led you to an article plugging WND Superstore's Christmas selection. [5]

Banner advertising on the site falls into two broad categories: passive weight-loss techniques and survivalism-related products. Basically, advertisers think WND's readers are fat slobs who want to lose weight without effort or paranoid nut jobs who think America is going into a second dark age and the only way to survive is to preserve your own food and generate your own power. The power generation issue is especially ironic, given that WND criticizes Google for solar-powering their premises (except for the server cluster), but flogs kits to build your own system for $100.

[edit] Columnists

Farah writes daily on his three favorite topics: how the media is liberal, how the media is ignoring his latest venture because they are liberal, and defending his latest venture from the media's attacks, because they are liberal. Mostly he talks about how he has been in the media thirty years and that when he started out the media "just reported the truth" and similar fantasies.

However, the election of Barack Obama to the office of the President of the United States in 2008 really brought Farah and his cronies over the edge. During the 2008 election season, Worldnet Daily became one of the most vocal promoters of the birther conspiracy theory crusaders to expose the truth that Barack Obama was supposedly born in Kenya instead of Hawaii, and that the actual birth certificate registered in Hawaii is a forgery. In spite of vast amounts of evidence that these theories are nothing but hot air and that the entire world is laughing at them, they continue to push this twaddle in the face of the public as the truth, in the hope that if they repeat the lie often enough, someone will believe it and it will become the truth. While they don't come right out and admit that Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ, the writers at WND have done everything they can to convince themselves (and tomorrow the world…ha ha ha!) that Obama is EVIL.

Without exception, every visit to WND will treat you to two running themes: Obama is evil, and the Satanic cult of Islam is launching a holy war against the entire world. Needless to say, anything in the media that hints at the idea of Obama as a Muslim will show up in SCREAMING HEADLINES here.

I really should send Joseph Farah a gift for putting together a publication that goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide me with maximum fodder for this blog.
Ed Brayton[6]

The list of weekly columnists read like a Who's Who of the wingnut set:

[edit] Email to the Editor

This section [7] is also called "Letters to the Editor", but this is an online newspaper. It's basically a chance for the readers to tell Farah how right he is. On the rare occasions they do post letters disagreeing with their editorial stance, it is usually threatening and offensive, reflecting poorly on the letter writer. They post five a day, and it is not hard to believe they receive a lot more than that, so they are obviously choosing only the ones they want.

Unfortunately, there is no archive or permanent links to the emails so we can't show you any highlights. However, to give you an idea on the well-informed views you are missing out on, one day we had: a long, ranty, birther letter; a comparison of the health care reforms to Soylent Green; a letter saying all socialists are Nazis; a letter complaining that Robert Gibbs starts sentences with "The American people want ..." despite the fact Tony Snow also used that phrase;[8] and a person fawning over how great their columnist Burt Prelutsky is.

[edit] Forums

The best batshit craziness is to be found on the "forums"[9]. They are only called "forums" because that is the name WND has given them — they are actually a comments thread on a blog, without a blog piece to comment on. These are started by the site admins rarely and there is no ability to link to posts. Annoyingly, the newest post goes first, and to follow any conversation you have to work backwards trying to connect the blue quote text to the original post. Forum moderators are easy to spot as they are the only ones with a signature and it is about 15 lines long trying to explain how their convoluted forum system works. There are actually only 15 threads on the forums currently available for commenting, not counting the polls — which are a lot more fun.

[edit] Polls

WND runs polls daily. The polls typically never have fewer than eight options, running the full gamut of the political spectrum from far-left to far-right, as well a few wingnut options that lie nowhere in the spectrum (or reality). Occasionally the truth sneaks in with options such as: "No, this is all just sour grapes from right-wingers", but they receive few votes.

Polls are mildly restrictive, since you have to register before you can participate. However, you may view the embarrassing results without registering.

[edit] Previous poll results

[edit] Videos

WND also hosts several video series. All of them should be avoided like the plague.

[edit] The Heavens Declare

David Rives (son of Just the Facts Richard Rives) is an amateur astronomer and young Earth creationist whose videos present all the usual arguments for a 6000 year old universe, with a focus on irreducible complexity. Also, he appears to believe that most, if not all, modern scientific discoveries were predicted by the Bible. Dave comes across as a wimpy Ray Comfort. [11]

[edit] For The Record

By amateur filmmaker Jason "Molotov" Mitchell.[12] Some of the videos surpass WND's usual standards of offensiveness, such as when Mitchell actually argues in favor of the Ugandan law making homosexuality a capital crime, citing a commandment in the book of Leviticus as his reason. (Molotov admits to having a Christian tattoo, apparently ignoring Leviticus 19:28[13], wherein the Lord explicitly forbids tattoos under penalty of execution.)

[edit] News! News!

An almost painfully unfunny weekly news segment produced by "Molotov" Mitchell, hosted by "D.J. Doulce". Every episode ends with the line "That is all the time we have for this week's News! News!, next week we may all be dead". Only if there is a merciful God.

[edit] The Ultimate Jew

The newest member of the The Avengers A web show hosted by Jackie Mason[wp] (no shit, I thought he was dead too). Not funny, just kind of preachy.

[edit] Living Waters

Ray Comfort and his buddy Kirk Cameron ambush young college students on the street and ask them deeply philosophical questions when they are enjoying a day out in the sun. When they fail to comprehensively answer their at times ridiculous questions, it shows how atheism and evolution are wrong.

[edit] Just the Facts

Probably the driest of the five series hosted by Richard Rives, his videos usually focus on Christianity and how the founding fathers were Christians. He seems to be anti-established churches and very much teach yourself.

[edit] Red Elephant's Cafe

A "drama" series about a small town in US called Liberty. The villain of the piece is the government, the characters talk in Tea Party talking points and everything will be better if, um ... God.

[edit] WND Superstore!

Everyone knows how to make money on the web, right? You give away stuff free and sell T-shirts on the back of it. They have bibles! They have other books! They have a Reagan Store! They have their WorldNetWeekly magazine! (All material you could have read free on the site every day!) They have CDs and DVDs! They have a Tea Party store! They have a Birth Certificate store! And, of course, they have T-shirts.

[edit] Claims of objectivity

Managing Editor David Kupelian claims that WND "serves as your watchdog on government 365 days a year. We guard your priceless freedoms by aggressively exposing corruption and evil everywhere, and by championing good."[14]

[edit] Obama birth certificate "controversy"

See the main article: Obama citizenship denial

The Obama birth certificate controversy is a long running pet gripe of Joseph Farah and receives excessive coverage on WND.[15] On most days, the vast majority, if not all, of its headlines will be about the so-called "controversy". The headlines that are not about the birth certificate or eligibility are their "special offers" or other advertisements. The website will instantly host any article which contains any opinion that could possibly point to Obama being ineligible to be President of the United States. Despite there being a very high quality picture of his birth certificate on the Internet,[16] they still believe he is ineligible because:

  1. He was born in Kenya, his Grandma said so.[17]
  2. He was born in an unnamed hospital in Hawaii, which does not claim credit.[18]
  3. They only showed his birth certificate to a "select few media outlets", not to us, so it could still be fake.[19]
  4. Even if it is real, that certificate is a "Certificate of Live Birth" not a "Birth Certificate", so it proves nothing.[20]
  5. Even if he has a "long-form" birth certificate, he lived in Indonesia for some years and gave up his American citizenship.[21]
  6. Even if he lived in Indonesia without giving up his US citizenship, his father was Kenyan and so does not meet our the Constitution's definition of "natural born citizen", because both parents have to be US citizens.[22]

Just to show their determination to get that black Democrat out of the White House uphold the Constitution, they claim to have raised more than $65,000 to erect billboards around the country with the message "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Interestingly, WND seems to be completely silent[23] on the eligibility of John McCain, who caused a slight stir due to being born in the Panama Canal Zone.[24]

In an attempt to bring further cash in, Farah whipped together a short, shoddy hatchet job, which you can buy for only $17.99.[25][26]

Farah's newest wrinkle on this old theme consists of his expressing doubts as to who Obama's mother really is. Appropriately, Ed Brayton quipped that the next step would be for Farah to declare his belief that Obama is actually a reptilian (David Icke, take note!); Farah is sure to come up with something just as silly if a lizard-man vibe strikes him as being inappropriate for his birther conspiracy theory of the week.[27]

In addition, Jerome Corsi has also used WorldNetDaily to spread rumors that Obama is secretly gay and used to frequent Chicago gay bars.[28][29][30]

[edit] Difficulties with the truth

WND has also had some difficulties telling the truth over the birth certificate controversy. On the 2nd of August 2009 when Orly Taitz presented them a photograph of a birth certificate that was reportedly Obama's Kenyan birth certificate, they clearly stated in their article:

WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical.[31][32]

However the birth certificate turned out to be a fake based on an Australian birth certificate.[33] They were caught doing what is commonly called lying,[34] and were not helped by the fact they defended glaring errors in the document, such as Kenya not being a republic at the time, which were pointed out before the hoax was exposed.[35]

In August of 2010, they published an article claiming that then Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan had helped to cover up Obama's birth certificate. In fact, they had only found nine Supreme Court cases mentioning Obama and Kagan (considering she was US Solicitor General at the time, meaning her entire job was arguing cases before the Supreme Court, that was perfectly normal), none of which has anything to do with the birth certificate controversy, most of which were filed well before Obama became President and merely "carried over", and only one of which was even related to the election.[36] So, WND took the action of any brave journalistic organization and deleted the story without explanation.[37] The link remained broken for days. WND eventually reactivated the links, replacing it with a story that has only a small connection to the original and an acknowledgement of their initial error.

[edit] Racism

WND regularly runs stories that engage in base racism, often focusing on white fears of violent blacks. The website regularly features the work of journalist and alleged human being Colin Flaherty, who has "done more reporting than any other journalist on what appears to be a nationwide trend of skyrocketing black-on-white crime, violence and abuse." Some choice articles from Flaherty and other people who can type employed by WND include:

  • "White Girl: I'm Tired of Being Looked At Like Prey." [38]
  • "Take a stroll, wake up in hospital thanks to black mob" [39]
  • A scoop that "Corpulent women of color" in the TSA are molesting white people as revenge for the murder of Trayvon Martin.[40]
  • "Combat soldiers no match for black mob ...[42]
  • "Black Mobs Plague Nightclubs Coast to Coast"[45]
  • "It's only new if you have been aggressively ignoring the epidemic of black mob violence."[46]
  • "Whistleblower: Philadelphia flooded with black mob violence."[47]

The site also advertises Flaherty's book White Girl Bleed a Lot, which argues that "groups of black people have been roaming the streets of America – assaulting, intimidating, stalking, threatening, vandalizing, stealing, shooting, stabbing, even raping and killing." [48]

It got to the point where Google Ads cut off service to them as a "hate site."[49]

[edit] And that's not all

In addition to claims that Obama is actually a Kenyan who gay married a Muslim, and that hordes of Africa-Americans are rampaging in your neighborhood, WorldNetDaily has advanced plenty of other sanity-deprived ideas.

  • The attack by Anders Behring Breivik was invented by the Norwegian Labour party in order to gain sympathy. "This is likely a fabrication of the Labour Party, who needs to hold onto power to enforce their multi-culturalist, Muslim-favoring, anti-nationalist views", according to Michael Savage.[50]
  • Soybeans and soy milk will make your penis shrink and turn you gay.[51]
  • Obama is planning on building a Death Star.[52] Seriously.
  • Whenever WND uses the word gay, they employ scare quotes.
  • Obama will not leave office after 2016.[53]
  • WND editor and comedy moustache owner, Joseph Farah, also blamed the Sandy Hook massacre on secularism and the removal of mandatory prayer from public schools and warned that if gun control measures were established, God would punish us more.[54]
  • WND published a highly hagiographical report about a visit of Peter Popoff to Washington, D.C.[55]
  • The execution of Saddam Hussein was solemn and dignified, and he died like a coward[56]

[edit] Is Barack Obama actually Satan?

A reoccurring theme at WND is just asking the question "Is Barack Obama the literal Devil?" Whether it's his vaguely similar appearance to a guy who played Satan on a bad TV miniseries[57], the fact that a fly landed on his face at some point [58], or that a lens flare demon was recorded with him while in Kenya[59], the only conclusion that a moron regular reader of WND could come to is that yes, Barack Obama is Satan.

[edit] WND Books

Under the WND Books imprint, WND publishes IMPORTANT INFORMATION on subjects relevant to its informative mission. Along with being an outlet for Farah's fine volumes, it also prints books by such intellectual greats as Ray Comfort[60] and, of course, Chuck Norris. Mostly, though, the authors are WND staff writers producing hyper-partisan screeds against liberals and RINOs.

You would have to be blind to miss the latest WND Books release. There are advertisements for it all over WND. There is usually an interview with the author, an article on how well it is selling on Amazon and an article by Farah complaining about how nobody wants to interview his author. Any story that can possibly be linked to the book is, and will dissolve into a plug for the book by the time you pass the annoying flashing GIF advertisement in the middle.

Joseph Farah notes[61] the wide respect accorded to WND's political publications in the mainstream media:

Never, ever contact me again.
—Jeffrey Kluger,
senior writer, TIME magazine
This is sensational rubbish that is of no interest to any legitimate publication.
—Rana Foroohar,
deputy editor, Newsweek
Ridiculous crap.
—John Oswald,
news editor, New York Daily News
Absolute crap.
—Evelyn Leopold,
Huffington Post, formerly of Reuters
Remove me from your list.
—Nancy Gibbs,
editor-at-large, Newsweek
Seriously, get a life.
—David Knowles,
political writer, AOL

[edit] Mailing list

WND maintains a mailing list of readers who have signed up to have their mailbox filled with the same sort of crap that the website is filled with.

Various organizations have rented the WND list including the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)[62] and more significantly the Republican National Committee. The right-wing blogger Jon Henke, who considers birtherism and conspiracy theory "hideously embarassing" for sane conservatives contacted the latter and got a complete non-answer as to why the Repubicans would wish to rent the email list of a fringe group of loonies like WND.[63][64][65] This may be because WND-reading nutjobs are now the Republican base...

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. WorldNet Daily Continues to Pump Out Outrageous Propaganda, Leah Nelson, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Fall 2012.
  2. In which WND gets nailed by Snopes.
  5. The Worldnutdaily Pimps Christmas Junk - Freethoughtblogs, Ed Brayton, November 17, 2011.
  6. Thank You, Joseph Farah. Thank you. - Dispatches from the Culture Wars, July 17, 2008.
  7. WND:Emails to the editor
  10. Actually even a person who considers evolution as the best explanation for the biodiversity present on Earth would answer no to this question: in evolutionary biology there is no such idea as "higher" and "lower" species.
  11. David Rives Video Archive. Enjoy!
  13. RationalWiki:Annotated Bible/Leviticus#Leviticus_19:28
  15. Farah responding to claims he is obsessed about this, only giving himself another excuses to go over it again.
  16. That could belong to anyone named Barack Hussein Obama II born to a Caucasian women and African man on the 4th of August 1961 in Honolulu
  17. This is what we were told she said based on a translation. Even if the translation was true, the question she was reportedly asked was "Which city in Kenya was Barack born"? This is begging the question. Also, her son's name was Barack Obama, so once asked about the Kenyan-born Barack Obama she may have assumed they were talking about her son, not grandson.
  18. A typical WND article on this topic. This of course ignores that he was born at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children, which Obama thanks in a congratulatory message to them. There was some confusion with people claiming he was born at Queen's Medical Center, but Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children being named after Queen Kapi'olani may be the source of this confusion. Two days after this was posted here, WorldNetDaily ran an article on the letter, as per usual, WND used the fact that it is against federal law to release private information to insinuate Obama is hiding his place of birth. Eventually the issue of this letter descended into a farce. When the letter was removed from the website WND accused them of participating in a cover up and of course they ran a poll on it. They were eventually satisfied of the existence of this when they got to see it, although they insisted on saying it was "allegedly" written by Obama.
  19. This is irrelevant, the website chosen was due to its neutrality and professionalism.
  20. Birth Certificates and Certificate of Live Birth are the same thing. There is in fact not any document issued by the state of Hawaii with the title of "Birth Certificate". A longer version of the one on the net is on record, but even his short one says he was born in Hawaii.
  21. This topic does not receive much coverage on WND. If this did apply (which it doesn't; even if Obama had become an Indonesian citizen this would not involve giving up his American citizenship, as American citizenship is quite obviously not subject to foreign nations' laws), it would be difficult to rebut as we would have prove a negative and find evidence that Obama did not become an Indonesian citizen. The absence of such a record will not be satisfying to WND as they don't believe in a certificate that does exist, never mind the one that doesn't exist.
  22. In point of fact the nationality of one, or for that matter both, of Obama's parents is simply irrelevant. Anybody who is born on US soil is automatically a US citizen.[See Snopes on Obama's birth]. The only mention of what constitutes a citizen in the Constitution is in the 14th amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Given that Obama's mother was a natural born US citizen, and he was born in the US, this would cover most, if not all, legal definitions of "natural born" with various legislatures in the US. This is actually a political controversy among anti-immigration activists, some of whom feel that the 14th Amendment should be partially repealed so as to stop the scourge of "anchor babies"; you'd think a far-right site would know about this.
  23. I searched for John McCain's eligibility, not Obama's, stupid liberal search engine...
  24. In fact Obama co-sponsored a bill to ensure that the legal definition of natural born citizen would cover McCain. "Those who serve and sacrifice for their country, like John McCain and his father, deserve every honor and privilege that our nation can possibly provide, and that includes the ability to run for the highest office in the land" - Obama
  25. Main page announcement of documentary.
  26. The shop with the already falling price.
  27. Farah Takes Birtherism to Whole New Level, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
  28. Claim: Obama hid 'gay life' to become president, World Net Daily
  29. World Net Daily Dredges Up Ancient ’Obama Gay’ Rumors
  30. World Net Daily's Corsi Asks: "Was Obama Married To A Man?", BuzzFeed
  31. WND - Is this really smoking gun of Obama's Kenyan birth? (retrieved 18th of August 2009)
  32. Picture in case anything happens to it.
  34. ConWebWatch - WorldNetDaily Does Not Do Journalism (retrieved 18th of August 2009)
  36. article debunking the WND story
  37. Link to where the WND story was before they deleted it.
  39. [}
  40. The TSA's Trayvon Martin revenge, WorldNetDaily
  41. [1]
  42. [2]
  43. [3]
  44. [4]
  46. [5]
  47. [6]
  48. [7]
  50. Savage: Norway Terrorist Attacks A Left-Wing Conspiracy, RightWingWatch. Original on WND has been blanked, with just the title left.
  51. Soy is making kids 'gay', WorldNetDaily
  52. Will Obama build a Death Star next?, WorldNetDaily
  54. Expect more Sandy Hooks, not fewer, WND
  55. Peter Popoff Ministries Visits Washington, DC, WND.
  56. [8]
  60. The banana guy. Yes, him.
  61. Farah's ramblings - May 6 2010
  62. Organizing Against WorldNetDaily, The Next Right
  63. The RNC responds, but will not distance itself from WorldNetDaily, The Next Right
  64. The RNC responds, but will not distance itself from WorldNetDaily, The Next Right
  65. WorldNetDaily, the RNC, and the mainstreaming of extremist ideas, Crooks and Liars
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