It was a century ago that a Chicago newspaper column offered the follow advice from a “fictional 19th century Irish bartender named Mr. Dooley”: “Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.”
From that quote preserved by the Poynter Institute many modern journalists have understood that their job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Twenty years ago, at the founding of WND.com, then known as WorldNetDaily, CEO and editor Joseph Farah said the central role of a free press should be to “serve as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions.”
But what he saw was disheartening.
“Why did I leave the old ‘mainstream media’ to start something fresh?” asked Farah, a veteran executive of major newspapers. “Because I saw that we had lost our way, we had abandoned our mission, we had betrayed our sacred trust as practitioners of the ‘free press.’ How?
“Because, as everyone in the press once understood, the central role of the free press in a free society is to serve as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions. That’s why America’s founders uniquely guarded in the First Amendment the practices of the free press as a guardian of liberty and another check and balance on government power.
“I took that seriously 20 years ago. And I saw most of the establishment press did not. In fact, I saw a cozy, symbiotic and unhealthy relationship developing between the corporate press and state power. I vowed WND would never fall prey or be seduced by that temptation.”
Based on the “enemies” who have attacked over the years, from political leaders such as the Clintons and Obamas, to major banking behemoths such as HSBC – even the government of China, WND certainly has been successful at “afflicting the comfortable.”
Here’s a summary of the Top 10 attacks the independent website has endured. It does not include the vitriolic emails that appear daily, nor the similarly positioned blogs and minor websites that rant but offer little else.
1 – SPLC
WND not only earned recognition from the Southern Poverty Law Center on its latest list of “extremists,” but WND Books earned a special, separate, recognition.
SPLC is the organization that labeled Dr. Ben Carson as an extremist before having to withdraw that claim under pressure.
Reason magazine, the libertarian publication, noting SPLC was “counting extremists again,” pointed out the list includes WND and WND Books and asked: “What on earth could justify that?”
SPLC, which was profiled in the Whistleblower Magazine issue titled “THE HATE RACKET,” is one of few organizations in the U.S. to be linked directly to domestic terror in a federal court case. It was cited in a case in which a radical homosexual activist went to the SPLC website to find a target for mass murder and chose the Family Research Council from a list “hate groups.”
Many of the “hate crimes” the organization has cited turned out to be hoaxes.
2 – The IRS
“From personal experience, I can say, both the Clintons and Obama clearly misused the most feared agency of government, the Internal Revenue Service, to go after their political enemies.”
Bill Clinton, he said, “ordered an audit of my nonprofit news organization came in 1997, one IRS official explained it this way: ‘What do you expect to happen when you criticize the president of the United States in an election year?'”
A target of the IRS were documents regarding an investigation into the death of Clinton associate Vincent Foster.
“Some wonder how I can be sure that audit was connected to our investigations into Clinton scandals,” Farah wrote. “Just a month after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, the Clinton White House drafted an action plan to deal with individuals and organizations raising questions about a series of administration scandals, from Travelgate to Whitewater. White House Associate Counsel Jane Sherburne wrote a memo naming names, outlining strategy and assigning staff to handle specific targets. The memo was later made public when it was released to congressional investigators in 1996.
“The Sherburne memo listed my organization as ‘Western Center for Journalism.’ That was, indeed, the group’s official legal name. However, it’s strange that the White House used it. It appeared nowhere in our reports, our ads, our brochures, our letterhead. It was used only one place at that time – in our official filings with the Internal Revenue Service.”
Under Obama, the IRS “harassed” him over the business expenses purchase of books.
They insisted on knowing the titles of the books.
“Since I do not believe it is any of the government’s business what books I read, I decided not to claim any such deductions in the future,” he explained.
3 – The DNC
“I didn’t find out until they began distributing information they had collected to select reporters around the country in the form of a 330-page report called ‘The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce’ intended to discredit me and my work, particularly insofar as it applied to the Clinton scandals.
“The report was clearly an ‘enemies list’ – a real one, not like the imaginary one created by Richard Nixon that involved no real cost or punishment, only celebrityhood and reward,” he wrote.
“Since it was published and distributed by the White House in partnership with the DNC, it was both a political document and one that used taxpayer funds, staff and facilities – though no one will ever know how much, at this late date.”
He also cited Hillary Clinton’s decision to forward a “rambling Huffington Post diatribe by Paul Blumenthal” regarding the tea party and questions about Barack Obama’s eligibility for office.
Blumenthal, he explained at the time, “was Hillary’s director of policy planning in the State Department and also her deputy chief of staff. He [was] currently a top foreign-policy adviser to her campaign and widely rumored to be a frontrunner for the position of national security adviser should she win the presidency. He was a senior adviser to the U.S. government for the Iran nuclear negotiations.”
The article linked a well-known advocate for Middle East interests to his donations “to nonprofits in the U.S. that promote conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birthplace and the rising influence of Islam in American society.”
“According to IRS records, the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation gave $50,000 in 2010 to the Western Center for Journalism, a nonprofit founded by World Net Daily (sic) editor Joseph Farah, a prominent proponent of birther conspiracies.”
4 – Barack Obama
A spy team for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, which earlier had been found to be making personal attacks on WND writer and “Where’s the Birth Certificate” author Jerome Corsi, also was found to be watching WND.com.
“I would be gravely disappointed not to be on the short list of media personalities and companies the Obama campaign finds threatening to its future,” said Farah at the time.
“There’s a good reason we are on that list: Because WND has aggressively investigated fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in the Obama administration from day one,” he said. “And no one doubts our commitment to doing that through the end of this administration and with all future administrations regardless of party membership.”
The details were from the Washington Post at the time, which said AttackWatch.com, the Obama campaign’s apparent successor to its 2008 Fight the Smears site, had become a laughingstock online.
“It’s safe to say that in its 24 hours of existence, Attack Watch has already backfired, becoming a tool for conservatives to use against Obama 2012. A tweet by conservative author Brad Thor summed up the critics’ argument: ‘Wow, not only are Obama & Co. incredibly thin-skinned, they’re paranoid,'” the newspaper said.
The ominous black and white website had a blood-red color overlay over a photograph of Corsi, whose book is credited with causing so much concern in the Obama White House that an attorney was dispatched on a special trip to Hawaii in April to obtain a purported copy of a Certificate of Live Birth for Obama, even though administration officials had said for years that the document wasn’t available.
The Obama election campaign also launched an attack in 2008 against Corsi’s previous book about Obama, the No. 1 New York Times best-seller “The Obama Nation.”
Obama confirmed he ordered the release of the birth certificate image after the best-selling “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is Not Eligible to be President” was highlighted on the Drudge Report.
5 – Obama’s half-brother
Malik Hussein Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother in Kenya, charged in an interview with Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency that WND senior staff reporter Jerome R. Corsi has engaged in a “smear attack” against him for publishing statements by the Egyptian government accusing him of managing funds for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
WND reported, citing Arabic-language Islam researcher Walid Shoebat, that Tahani Al-Gebali, the former chancellor and a continuing adviser to the Constitutional Court of Egypt, has claimed the reason the U.S. cannot fight the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is because Malik Obama is the architect of the Brotherhood’s financial investments.
Malik Obama told the Anatolia news agency: “I heard these allegations that are traded over the Internet, which is nothing more than ‘pure nonsense.'”
He proceeded to attack Corsi as a critic of President Obama who has written several books about the president and Shoebat as “known for his criticism of Islam and his support for Israel.”
Malik Obama further alleged that Corsi and Shoebat “are seeking to gain publicity by attacking my brother, Barack Obama, president of the United States of America who is serving the American people and the world.”
6 – Think Progress
In 2012, a liberal activist group heavily tied to the White House at the time and funded by billionaire George Soros attacked the popular Drudge Report website for “funneling” millions of readers to WND.
Think Progress is also tied to the controversial Media Matters for America and is funded by the main financier of MoveOn.org and ACORN.
In a posting, Think Progress claimed it conducted a study that found that since July 2011, Drudge had linked to WND and the InfoWars website founded by Alex Jones a total of 184 times.
Think Progress called WND and InfoWars “two sites that promote the Internet’s worst conspiracy theories.”
It labeled WND as “birthers.”
The progressive website noted that according to media sources regularly linked by Drudge, a single link on the Drudge Report “can easily drive 200,000 – and sometimes as many as 500,000 – pageviews to an article.”
7 – China
China’s government attacked WND several times, through its official media, over reports of defective and downright dangerous products that have been shipped from the communist country.
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua at one point blamed WND for hyping the safety concerns about food and consumer goods exported from the Asian giant, citing a story that sparked a wildfire of coverage by other media.
“For example, in May, the conservative news organ WorldNetDaily.com asked, ‘Is China Trying to Poison Americans and Their Pets?'” the Xinhua story states in trying to make the case for racism in the U.S. media.
It was the only example of negative news coverage mentioned.
Earlier, in 2002, the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao accused the U.S. news media are painting a sinister picture of the threat posed by China mentioning the “most famous WorldNetDaily” by name as the major culprit in a report later distributed by the BBC.
“The 13 July saw U.S. most famous ‘WorldNetDaily’ released its red banner headline coverage: ‘China’s Object’: Sink U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” the China report continued. “Meanwhile, it saw to it that a questionnaire be put out to make a further fuss about ‘China threat’ in the way 92 percent of the responses online regard China as a threat to the U.S. ‘WorldNetDaily’ as ‘Washington Post’ has all along been known for their ‘rightist,’ ‘conservative’ and ‘anti-China’ stand. So for their anti-China stand the two are by no means isolated or just few, for they find AP and Reuter, Washington Times, Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, USA Today also in their company having much ado about the theory of ‘China threat.'”
WND has been at the forefront of investigating Chinese imports ever since the pet food scandal that killed or injured an estimated 39,000 dogs and cats in the U.S.
Among the problems that have been uncovered: Food tainted with bacteria, fish produced in water contaminated with raw sewage, toothpaste with the deadly contaminant diethylene glycol, lead poisoning from toys and even contaminated honey.
8 – CAIR
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American Islamic Relations, designated by an Arab gulf state as a terrorist organization, has sued a co-author of a WND book documenting its radical ties.
The heart of the books was some 12,000 pages of internal CAIR documents along with audio and video recordings obtained by Chris Gaubatz when he landed an internship with the notorious Islamic organization headquartered just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
CAIR is known by the U.S. government to be a Saudi-funded, terrorist-front group, whose terror connections caused the FBI to cut off ties with the organization. The U.S. Justice Department has likewise branded CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history. Founded as a front for Hamas, CAIR has engaged in placing interns and staffers in key congressional offices and works ceaselessly to undermine America’s post-9/11 security, according to multiple FBI agents.
9 – Media Matters
The report simply was false.
Media Matters even featured a quote from Merrie Turner, the organizer of the independent Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, that said that his original inclusion was a mistake.
10 – HSBC
When a whistleblower at global banking giant HSBC brought to WND staff writer Jerome Corsi evidence the bank was launder money for drug cartels and terrorists, it turned into a massive story. Ultimately, HSBC was fined for nearly $2 billion.
Farah reported: “John Cruz is the hero and the whistleblower. He is the former vice president and senior business relationships manager for HSBC on Long Island, N.Y., who told his superiors what was going on (as if they didn’t know) and was fired for his trouble. He is now suing HSBC for $10 million, but he deserves at least half of the $2 billion fine, if you ask me.
“Also lacking from any coverage of this international bankster scandal is credit to the one news agency that reported Cruz’s findings and, for its trouble, was the victim of cyberattack from HSBC, which tried to shut it down. That news agency would be WND. In addition, the reporter who covered the story, Jerome Corsi, was fired from his own part-time consultancy with a New York financial investment firm for revealing the dirty bankster secrets that are not the practice of just one financial institution.
“Few in the news media showed even the slightest curiosity about WND’s reports on HSBC, probably for fear of retribution themselves.”