The Internet showed such great promise more than two decades ago when Matt Drudge shook up the media world, followed quickly by WND’s entry as the first independent online news-gathering organization – and, later, an independent book publishing arm and an independent film-production company.

There was no Google, at least not as the domineering search engine with an eye to becoming an out-of-control, invasive corporate version of the National Security Agency that would know everything about you, tracking your every move, on and offline – and monetizing it. It was not yet controlling the means of distribution of information, nor had it yet placed the left-wing extremist Southern Poverty Law Center in a position to censor the news – and even define what news is.

There was no Facebook yet, the other corporate giant that would come alongside Google to grab control of 75 percent of the online ad revenue so together they could starve out independent voices, most of whom had not yet emerged.

It’s a different world today, and it’s a dangerous one in which this Digital Cartel is – without oversight, without checks and balances, without restraint – literally the powerful gatekeeper that is killing personal privacy and free speech.

Matt Drudge saw it coming. I regret to say I did not.

Here’s what he said in 2015: “Don’t get into this false sense that you are an individual when you’re on Facebook. No, you’re not! You’re a pawn in their scheme. …”

He warned back then how online revenue would be weaponized by Google. He warned how Facebook would control and sell you as product. He warned that Americans were becoming confined on the Internet into the “playgrounds” of massive corporations.

“This is ghetto,” he said. “This is corporate. They are taking your energy and you get nothing in return! I’m just warning this country. …”

Matt Drudge saw it coming. Again, I can only admit, with regret and remorse, I did not. Many others did not, either.

So, here we are in 2018. We’ve fallen for Digital Cartel’s trap. They’ve taken our privacy and our freedom. We must fight back – and fight we will.

The independent media is in crisis with falling revenues, controlled by this cartel. We are faced with falling or static traffic that is controlled by this beast. And if the independent media fail, so will free-spirited individual voices of independence. That’s the crisis we face today.

How do we respond?

We need to respond collectively and individually as if we are in a new war of independence, a new fight for liberty, a new battle for the mind, heart and soul of America.

Don’t let the first domino fall, or it will start a chain reaction whose consequences will be catastrophic. Don’t let WND be the first domino.

Rally around the independent media – not only to preserve it in this crisis, but to make it more vibrant through growth. In the weeks ahead, I will be laying out a detailed blueprint of how we can do that. But, right now, please support us.

I’m calling for your urgent help. Speak out, support WND, support other independent voices and journalists – especially those with integrity and commitment to freedom, independence and a Judeo-Christian worldview.

I speak with candor and urgency.

WND is on the front lines of the war. I urge you to support WND financially with your voluntary contributions so we can weather this storm, survive to fight on and continue working to preserve free speech, the free press and overcome the Cartel.

We welcome your encouragement and your prayers.

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