You’ve seen the ads all over the Internet: “Where was Obama born? Obama was born in Hawaii. Don’t believe the lies. Learn more …”
They are from one of Barack Obama’s many organizations – Fight the Smears.
In fact, you’ve seen them on WND – lots of them:
President Obama runs Fight he Smears advertisement on WND
And this has dozens of WND readers very concerned.
They are writing to me in droves.
They are accusing me of everything from ineptitude to selling out.
Here’s my explanation.
WND has always, throughout its 12-year history, accepted a wide variety of political advertising – whether or not we liked it or agreed with it. Throughout the 2008 presidential election, if you were paying attention, WND hosted lots of ads for both John McCain and Barack Obama – even though your humble and ever-independent editor and founder wrote a book called “None of the Above” and was outspoken in his criticism of both candidates.
Why do we do that?
Are we greedy? Will we accept any kind of advertising – even if it promotes lies?
No, it’s not because of our greed. It’s because of our principles. WND believes in fostering a lively debate on national issues. And if we are to begin censoring political speech – even in the form of political advertising – we’re not doing our job.
I mentioned last week in this space that WND offers what I believe to be the broadest spectrum of commentary in any news forum anywhere – on the Net or off. Not one person has challenged that characterization. Do you know why? Because it is indisputably true. Name one news source or commentary source on the Net or off that provides space or time to the views of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Joseph Farah and Bill Press, Nat Hentoff and Ellen Ratner?
You won’t find any, because there aren’t any.
Why do we do it?
Because we trust our readers are discerning. We trust they want to hear many points of view. We trust they want to know what’s going on in their world and that includes reading or hearing what those with whom they disagree are saying. Unlike others, we seek out those points of view, not only on our commentary page, but also in our news stories.
And we welcome them to advertise their views.
I know what it’s like to have my own views stifled by the political speech police in the establishment downstream media. It was one of the motivations for starting WND and WND Books. The creation of the latter some five years ago revolutionized the publishing industry in this country and opened the doors for best-selling books by Michael Savage and Mark Levin and Glenn Beck. I suspect the success of WND has also opened the doors for many dissident voices once considered outside the narrowly defined “mainstream.”
Nevertheless, some WND readers are offended.
Here’s a response from one of our loyal readers: “I am surprised because when I click on their ads I am giving them credence … and I have trusted you for many years to not give credence to such drivel. And so I certainly would expect you to choose your advertisers with more care. Perhaps I should make my homepage a source that I can depend on have advertisers that I do not care to support, or one that flags advertisers in some way. I am not against free enterprise, but as a Christian publication would not accept advertising from blatantly non-Christian businesses, I would not expect you to accept advertising from those whose message would seek to undermine the ideals that I thought were inherent in WorldNetDaily. I suppose I put WND on a pedestal of sorts. No problem; it is not longer there.”
It’s amazing to me how WND is misunderstood by so many of our friends and enemies.
We do indeed select our advertisers with care – more care, I believe, than any other news source.
We do not accept advertising that entices people into sin. We do not accept advertising that would lead children astray. But we do encourage a vibrant political debate in this country. In fact, we hope to see that debate become more vibrant in the future.
That’s why we’re here.