As editor and publisher of WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah pushes theories from beyond the lunatic fringe. His online publication has offered a six-part series on how soybeans cause homosexuality and insisted that President Barack Obama is intent on provoking armed rebellion so the UN can implement a one-world government. Farah’s “news” site is also an unrepentant and prolific promoter of “birther” theories about Barack Obama.
In His Own Words
"It might help explain why I fear a second term of Barack Obama so much. I understand what Obama is and what he is doing because I was once like him: I am a former communist."
—"I Have a Confession to Make," July 12, 2012
“[E]very mass-murdering tyranny in the history of the world started like this.”
—“Gun Grab: It’s About Freedom’s End,” Jan. 17, 2013
“‘Multiculturalism’ is much in vogue in the U.S. But if blind allegiance to a nice-sounding phrase of inclusiveness spells the eventual doom of our national heritage, is it really the right path to follow? … Is continued immigration into the U.S. by Muslims in the best interest of preserving our liberties?”
—“What Muslim-Americans Really Believe,” Dec. 7, 2012
“Is it possible that it has taken us 11 years to understand there was more to 9/11, the single most devastating attack on the American mainland, than met the eye? I am convinced that it was intended by God as a wake-up call to a nation founded on biblical principles – a warning eerily similar to those ignored by ancient Israel before the judgment and, ultimately, the destruction of the nation."
— “9/11: More Than Meets the Eye,” Sept. 10, 2012
The Internet king of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, WorldNetDaily founder and editor-in-chief Joseph Francis Farah is a onetime leftist who now who believes “cultural Marxists” are plotting to destroy our society. He zealously attempts to counter this with a hodgepodge of conspiracy theories, anti-gay rhetoric, apocalyptic predictions and Obama-hate apparently aimed at destroying our society.
As a long-haired leftist activist in the 1970s, Farah was arrested in Washington, D.C., during a May Day anti-war demonstration. He voted for George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, and he even claims to have served as a bodyguard for anti-war activist Jane Fonda. He says this radicalism — he now describes himself as a “former communist” — attracted the attention of "powerful and influential people" and led to offers of full scholarships at Antioch University and other colleges known for "grooming the next generation of leftists." But this was not to be his path.
After graduating from New Jersey's William Paterson University with a B.A. in communications, Farah made his way west in the 1980s to become a reporter and ultimately executive news editor at the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner. It was during this period that he felt the sway of two forces that would change his life: Ronald Reagan and Jesus. He cultivated what he describes as a “Christian worldview,” and says that becoming a journalist was his response to the question, “What would Jesus do?”
As for Reagan, Farah regards him as "probably the best American president of the 20th century." Even so, Reagan didn't go nearly far enough: "[H]e still left us with bigger government. He didn’t eliminate the Department of Education. He didn’t eliminate the Internal Revenue Service. He didn’t eliminate the Federal Reserve. He didn’t eliminate many of the most destructive, immoral and lawless institutions that knocked America from its pedestal as a shining city on a hill."
Thus philosophically armed, in 1990 Farah charged into his next California journalism job, executive editor of The Sacramento Union. Although the struggling 139-year-old paper's new owners hoped that fresh blood would help turn things around, circulation dropped by more that 25% as Farah dragged the already conservative paper sharply to the right during his 15 months at its helm. But that's underselling his effort.
Journalist Daniel Carson described the Union under Farah as “a mouthpiece for the fundamentalist Christian right, preoccupied with abortion, homosexuals and creationism.” Under Farah's direction, pro-choice advocates were described as “pro-abortion” and environmentalists were reportedly called “eco-fruities.” The word “gay” was reportedly forbidden, replaced by “homosexual” — and once, in a column by the late David Chilton, with “sodomite.” Farah altered a news story to call the National Organization for Women a "radical feminist group," according to Carson. A front-page story speculated about whether the confrontation in the Persian Gulf represented the political beginning of Armageddon. A column by Rush Limbaugh became a front-page fixture.
An exodus of editors, managers and writers ensued. “The feeling is it’s not really an objective newspaper anymore,” a former Union reporter told The Washington Post in 1990. “We didn’t go into journalism to work for some slanted publication.”
In October 1991, Farah resigned, and a little more than two years later, the Union closed for good. But Farah had discovered his voice, and that same year, he founded the Western Center for Journalism (WCJ), a nonprofit whose purpose was “to encourage more philosophical diversity in the news media.” As it turned out, that philosophy had little to do with diversity and more to do with sensationalized reports that furthered Farah's political ends.
One of the early WCJ imbroglios came after the suicide of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster. WCJ funded and promoted a 1994 report by Christopher W. Ruddy suggesting that Foster had been the victim of foul play. One of Ruddy's claims was that the death scene had been staged by the U.S. Park Police, prompting a $2 million suit by one of the officers named. (The suit was later dismissed.)
Excited by the opportunity to inject his ideas into the national political debate, Farah and his wife, Elizabeth, founded WorldNetDaily in 1997 as a project of WCJ. It became an independent for-profit company in 1999, financed by $4.5 million in seed money from unnamed investors, and quickly became one of the most popular “news” sites on the Web.
It would be difficult to find a better selection of wingnuts, birthers, conspiracy theorists, end-time prophets and Muslim-bashers than in the pages of WND. Prominent columnists include arch-conservative Alan Keyes; white nationalist writer Pat Buchanan; actor and mud-slinger Chuck Norris; former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum; arch-birther conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi; and radio hothead Rush Limbaugh.
The pages of WND are littered with jaw-dropping assertions, such as a six-part series claiming (falsely!) that soybean consumption causes homosexuality. It promoted gay-basher Scott Lively’s vile opus The Pink Swastika, which makes the baseless claim that gay men orchestrated the Holocaust. WND also 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 the international elite’s secret plans to create a North American Union (a melding of Mexico, the United States and Canada), advised readers to invest all their assets in gold, and promoted myriad, if conflicting, theories about when and how the world will end.
But WND's 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. The site has become a second home to Jerome Corsi, who continued to plug the “birther” line about President Obama even after the president’s “long-form” birth certificate was released — and who was the architect of the “Swift boating” of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign.
Through it all, Farah boasts of being committed to open dialogue that is free of ideology, using the slogan "America's Independent News Network." “We boast the broadest ideological forum of commentators in any news or opinion publication or website anywhere on the planet – and we will continue to do that," he wrote in 2010. "We think people should hear all points of view discussed openly and honestly."
Ironically, that column was written to explain why he was dropping Ann Coulter as keynote speaker from WND’s “Taking America Back National Conference.” Coulter, a rabid attack dog in her own right, had made the mistake of agreeing to address the “HOMOCON” [for “homosexual conservatives”] event sponsored by the Republican group GOProud, which has advocated for same-sex marriage and open military service for gays. (Coulter disagreed with both those stands, and explained why in the HOMOCON speech she gave despite Farah’s criticisms.)
In fact, Farah's demagogic opposition to gay rights was a major impetus for Taking America Back. He launched the event as an alternative to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which he boycotted because an LGBT Republican group was included. Although Coulter was not in the lineup, other far-right luminaries were, including U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Victoria Jackson, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), anti-gay hate group leader and Christian Reconstructionist theologian Gary DeMar, and R.C. Sproul Jr., a mover-and-shaker in the theocratic Christian “patriarchy” movement and a prominent homeschooling advocate.
Farah is driven by an intolerant flavor of Christianity as he strives to protect America from gays and other imagined threats. He has questioned President Obama's Christianity, insisting that "Barack Obama is simply not a Christian, as he claims." He broke with megachurch pastor Rick Warren over Warren's assertion that "Christians and Muslims worship the same God," calling it close to heresy.
Farah thinks he knows what makes a real Christian. He believes that apocalypse is imminent, as he wrote in January 2013: "You can see the world crumbling all around you. The economy is falling apart. Morals are breaking down. We face asymmetric security threats that can bring down the world’s greatest superpower to the level of a Third World country in 24 hours. The U.S. is not the great safe haven of freedom and security it once was.
"All of this is exactly what we would expect in the last days," he concluded.
The national gun control debate is simply more evidence of this, according to Farah in another January 2013 column. "It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Ph.D. in history to know that every mass-murdering tyranny in the history of the world started like this," he writes. "They began with a government monopoly on force. Once that is established, the citizenry is no longer served by government, government is served by its subjects."
Farah’s own solution is simple: “Find a good reliable source of news — like WorldNetDaily.com — and be informed.” Buy guns — “more than you think you need.” (He notes these are for self-defense and to “preserve freedom.”) And above all, withdraw your children from “government schools,” those “indoctrination centers” and “brainwashing hubs” run by “statists who seek to steal our children and make a mockery of the family.”
“There is no neutral ground in the spiritual warfare consuming this universe,” he advises readers in the final sentences of his book Taking America Back. “Now stand up and join me in taking America back.”