I was never a big fan of Jezebel, given her penchant for child sacrifice, the elevation of pagan gods and the way she lured King Ahab into spiritual corruption and murder.
So, when I got a request to speak to a reporter for Jezebel.com for a book she was writing, I didn’t take it too seriously.
Worse yet, Anna Merlan’s book is about “conspiracy theories” and “alternate belief systems.” I could just imagine where I fit in on those topics.
But she was persistent. And I admire persistence. It’s also my God-given duty to show those mired in darkness the light whenever possible.
After about the 11th request, I decided to answer her questions. I thought I would share them here – unexpurgated, unfiltered, in context, uncut, unedited and unabridged.
Here’s the interview such as it is:
I prefaced the answers with these two statements:
- “One person’s ‘alternative belief system’ is another person’s worldview.”
- “One person’s ‘conspiracy theory’ is another person’s scoop.”
First question: “What was the impetus behind founding WorldNetDaily? Was it conceived of as a right-wing site, or an answer to more liberal-leaning sites?”
Answer: “After 20 years doing everything one could possibly do in ‘mainstream journalism,’ as you might call it, I started the first independent online news service, WorldNetDaily, 20 years ago. The purpose was to do what I had been doing for the previous 20 years – journalism that provided a career that permitted me to rise to the top of my industry and get opportunities to run daily newspapers in major markets (IN CALIFORNIA!) I have never thought of myself or described myself as ‘right-wing’ or even ‘conservative.’ (Neither has WND ever self-described with those terms.) The idea for WND was to return to what had once been the “central role of a free press,” serving as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions. It was also to be reflective of a Judeo-Christian worldview. Nothing has changed in 20 years except the drift of the culture away from those very ‘mainstream’ principles.”
Second question: “What do you make of the accusation that the site publishes ‘conspiracy theories,’ like suggesting Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States? Do you want to respond to some of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s criticisms of your work?”
Answer: “WND has been accused of publishing ‘conspiracy theories,’ but, in all cases, I’ve noticed those accusations fall into two categories – a) WND is accused of promoting conspiracies by simply asking questions and pursuing answers (Obama’s failure to demonstrate constitutional eligibility, for instance. Obama and Michelle are the ones who stated, not suggested, he was not born in the U.S., not me); and b) the publishing of opinions by some of our columnists and commentary contributors (‘soy makes you gay,’ for instance); One thing you have to understand about WND is that it, among all publications I know about, publishes the broadest spectrum of opinion from left to right. No one seems to notice this.”
Third question: “What’s your feeling about the new discussion around ‘fake news’? Does this seem like a new phenomenon to you? Have you been aware of the rise of hyper-partisan news sites, as well as sites that publish explicitly false news?”
Answer: “Hyper-partisan news is a great American tradition. It began when America had competing newspapers in most markets. It exploded when the Internet came along and lowered the bar to entry into the media world. I deplore fake news, which is a real phenomenon in what you would call ‘mainstream’ sources like CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as it is in the new media. It’s sad because it detracts from media that diligently stick to the old rules of journalism on sourcing, seeking out countervailing viewpoints, etc.”
Fourth question: “How is WorldNetDaily planning to continue to cover the Trump administration? Your personal view seems pretty positive thus far (I’m thinking of a February column where you wrote, ‘If he continues like this, there could be a new Face on Mount Rushmore.’)”
Answer: “When Trump errs, we will point it out. We did that throughout the campaign and through his first year in office. But we also recognize he has tapped into the concerns of a majority of Americans that have been overlooked by the media, the culture and the press for too long. That’s how he became president. The NFL fiasco is a good example. Polls show he has 64 percent approval rating on this issue, while the media insist he was ‘race-baiting.’ To suggest Trump is a racist is beyond the pale. During the Obama administration, opposition to his policies translated into race-baiting, too.”
Fifth question: “What are your own trusted news sources?”
Answer: “My own – although, occasionally, even it disappoints me. I don’t put trust in media, only in God.”
Sixth question: “Do you think conspiracy theories or conspiratorial thinking is on the rise in the United States? If so, are there conspiracy theories you consider especially harmful?”
Answer: “Conspiracy theories have always been with us. Sometimes, they turn out to be right. For the most part, they are in the eye of the beholder.”
Seventh question: “I’m hearing more about the concept of a Deep State within the U.S. government that’s risen in opposition to President Trump. Who are they? How do they operate, in your view?”
Answer: “The Deep State is the permanent government culture that was never intended under our Constitution. It overshadows representative government, limited government, the will of the people and the Constitution itself.”
Eighth question: “What do you make of arguments that President Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government? Does it remind you of any other time in history?”
Answer: “A conspiracy theory with no evidence to support it.”
How did I do? A public service? How do you think it will turn out?
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.