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A massive surge in traffic at WND.com, which has seen readership grow by 50 percent just this year, has pushed the popular news site into the top 500 websites in the nation, according to the web-ranking service Alexa.

“WND’s traffic is up about 50 percent since January 1, when its site redesign was launched,” said Joseph Farah, editor, founder and chief executive officer. “But the traffic increase is also due to the fact that this is a political year.

“WND’s traffic has historically risen every political year since its founding,” he explained.

“There’s one more factor, in my opinion: Never before in my lifetime have I witnessed as much public distrust of major media institutions. I believe Americans, in particular, but not exclusively, have recognized that WND is true to its founding principles as a truth seeker without sacred cows – a news organization that marches fearlessly and independently to the beat of its own drummer.”

Farah’s opinion is borne out by the facts.

Among the concerns have been the close ties – sometimes appearing like cheerleading – many media outlets have with the current administration in Washington, while the fourth estate’s job should be to watch, monitor and question.

It was MSNBC host Chris Matthews who famously spoke of a “thrill running up his leg” when he heard Barack Obama speak.

A Gallup poll just months ago reported, “Americans remain largely distrusting of the news media, with 55 percent saying they have little or no trust in the media to report the news fully.”

The poll said that since 2007, majorities in America say they have little or no trust that the media – newspapers, TV and radio – will report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.”

Nearly two of three also said they believe media exhibit bias in reporting.

A recent issue with NBC’s reporting on the Trayvon Martin case typifies the concerns expressed by many. Implying a racial motive, agency reported George Zimmerman told a 911 operator, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

But NBC had edited out critical parts of the conversation. In reality, Zimmerman said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

The operator then asked: “OK, and this guy – is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman said, “He looks black.”

Alexa ranked WND No. 465 among U.S. sites and No. 1,996 worldwide.

David Kupelian, WND’s managing editor, wrote in a recent open letter to WND readers, “Friends, you cannot have a free country without a free press. Yet most of America’s ‘big media’ today have devolved into a de facto government propaganda ministry. And even most of the ‘conservative’ media are afraid to cover the really consequential stories that – while important to the nation – can also exact a price from news organizations reporting them, in terms of threats, ridicule, boycotts, lawsuits and financial loss.

“Very simply, WND does report the difficult stories others won’t. We have exposed and ‘vetted’ Barack Obama like no other news organization – and will continue until Election Day and beyond if necessary. We believe WND is the kind of news organization America’s founders would have approved. We don’t mock patriotic Americans and tea partiers trying to set their country right. We don’t rewrite White House press releases and call it news. We don’t bow and scrape before President Obama or anyone else. We don’t pretend abortion is OK, or that same-sex marriage is good, or that global warming is ‘proven science,’ or that more government is the solution to all problems, or that Palestinian leaders want peace, or that the Constitution is old-fashioned, or that the ‘Federal Reserve’ is good for America. In short, we’re not politically correct and we have no sacred cows. Instead, our team of experienced, professional journalists strives to do one thing – to tell the truth that Americans desperately need and deserve to hear.”

Farah recalled the site’s launch May 5, 1997, when the staff consisted of two people: Joseph and Elizabeth Farah.

“My wife was the self-taught webmaster and high-tech guru, and I was the editorial staff. The whole thing was cooked up nightly in our bedroom office – mostly after we put the kids to sleep,” he has reported. “We started without fanfare because, truthfully, we had no idea of what we were doing. Nobody had done it before. We were creating a nightly electronic newspaper every day – just the two of us.”

However, being on the cutting edge of Internet news, its accomplishments came quickly.

Then known as WorldNetDaily, WND was voted the most popular website in the world for nearly 100 weeks in a row, consistently ranking as among the “stickiest,” meaning readers averaged more time on it than on other sites.

It now has a bureau in Jerusalem, headed by Aaron Klein, a book publishing division, WND Books, and routinely dispatches its senior writers, including Jerome Corsi, around the world as the news demands.

Farah said, “I’ll even explain our secret right here in front of all the competition. WND is a hit because we do journalism the old-fashioned way. We believe the central role of a free press in a free society is to serve as a watchdog on government. We believe in investigative reporting into government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse. We believe we must be credible, relentless and fiercely independent to succeed. And we believe the truth will set all of us free.”

The site’s many sections now include opinion, money, diversions, politics, U.S., world, faith, TV, health and education. Among the regular commentators are Joseph Farah, Chuck Norris, Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, David Limbaugh, Phyllis Schlafly, Dennis Prager, Jack Abramoff, Nat Hentoff, Walter Williams, Andrew Napolitano, Jack Cashill, Alan Keyes, Pat Boone, Greg Laurie and Star Parker.

In addition, its projects include the G2 Bulletin intelligence report, the Red Alert financial report, WorldNetWeekly and the highly acclaimed monthly magazine Whistleblower.

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