On This Day in WND History
WND, which debuted in May of 1997, is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. In honor of that, here are some key events in the history of WND.
President Bush toned down his war rhetoric in a speech to the American Legion after Muslim pressure groups complained his earlier description of the enemy as "Islamic fascists" unfairly equated Islam with terrorism.
While the White House declined to comment officially about the dropping of the term 'Islamic fascists,' a White House insider explained the president is sensitive to concerns raised by Muslim leaders.
"The president never meant to imply we're at war with Islam, but some took it that way," the official said. "It's not a climb-down as much as a recognition of the concerns of the Muslim community."
The pressure groups, led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, lobbied the president to stop using the term. Washington-based CAIR fired off a letter to Bush arguing that continued use of the "hot-button" term would only harm the image of America "in the Islamic world."
"We urge him and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves," said CAIR executive director Nihad Awad.
Two months before the last presidential election, WND reported on an Arizona dentist's Internet write-in campaign to elect actor and director Mel Gibson to the nation's highest office.
Gibson, at the time, was riding high from "The Patriot," "Braveheart" and "The Passion of the Christ."
"It's not a joke, it's serious," said Dr. Bob Hurt, the Phoenix dentist responsible for the website behind the campaign.
"If Arnold Schwarzenegger could carry California, then Mel could carry the U.S. easily," he told WND.
But that was almost two years before Gibson's much-reported arrest for drunk driving. After that, he probably couldn't have been elected dog catcher.
The imprint has since sparked a long list of New York Times best-sellers, including two No. 1 titles, and is still going strong with a pair of imminent potential blockbusters.
The saga of WND Books began in 2002 with Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris' book about the court war that erupted over the contested 2000 presidential election, "Center of the Storm."
Now as it celebrates its 5th anniversary, the book-publishing arm of WND.com, the Internet's largest independent news site, pulls the plug on a government cover-up of North American merger plans with Jerome Corsi's "The Late Great USA," which is already is on the New York Times best-seller list and climbing.
Reaching the No. 1 position have been the second release from WND Books, Michael Savage's "The Savage Nation," as well as the radio talk show host's "The Enemy Within."
Other big hits include "The Marketing of Evil," "Stop the Presses!" "The Third Terrorist" and "Shooting Back."
WND reported how international singing star Celine Dion had little problem with the large amount of looting taking place in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, as she hammered the U.S. government for its perceived slow response to Katrina's impact.
"You know, some people are stealing and they're making a big deal out of it," Dion said," noting she'd donate $1 million toward relief.
"Oh, they're stealing 20 pair of jeans or they're stealing television sets. Who cares? They're not going to go too far with it. Maybe those people are so poor, some of the people who do that they're so poor they've never touched anything in their lives. Let them touch those things for once."
Dion, a celebrity from Canada who now lives and performs in Las Vegas, took a double swipe at U.S. war policy while criticizing the recovery effort.
"How come it's so easy to send planes in another country to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives?" she asked.
"I open the television, there's people still there waiting to be rescued and for me it's not acceptable. I know there's reasons for it. I'm sorry to say I'm being rude but I don't want to hear those reasons."
British tourists recounted how female survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were urged by government rescuers to flash their breasts in order to receive help in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Ged Scott of Liverpool was on his annual vacation at New Orleans' Ramada Hotel with his wife, Sandra, and their 7-year-old son, Ronan.
"I could not describe how bad the authorities were, taking photographs of us as we are standing on the roof waving for help, for their own personal photo albums, little snapshot photographs," Scott said.
He said there was a group of girls standing on the lobby's roof, calling out to passing rescuers for help.
"[The authorities] said to them, 'Well, show us what you've got' – doing signs for them to lift their T-shirts up. The girls said no, and [the rescuers] said 'well fine,' and motored off down the road in their motorboat. That's the sort of help we had from the authorities," he said.
"I had other offers to write columns for other newssites on the Internet," said O'Reilly. "I chose WorldNetDaily because of its commitment to independence and fearless investigative reporting."
Said WND Editor Joseph Farah, "We're thrilled to welcome Bill O'Reilly on board as a regular weekly columnist. I don't always agree with him, but he is a unique and forceful character in television journalism. O'Reilly, like WorldNetDaily, is fiercely independent -- another reason this is a great match."
At the time O'Reilly joined WND, his TV program on Fox was second in the ratings to CNN's "Larry King Live." But within several months of writing for WND, O'Reilly's ratings soared over King to become the No. 1 program on any cable news channel.
After falsely reporting that a crowd President Bush was speaking to booed after he wished President Clinton a speedy recovery from heart surgery, the Associated Press refused to identify the reporter who filed the story or say what punishment he or she might face.
The original report stated: "A crowd at a Bush rally in West Allis, Wis., booed when President Bush offered ex-President Clinton best wishes for a speedy recovery from coronary bypass surgery scheduled for next week. ... Bush did nothing to stop them."
Fortunately, a Milwaukee radio station had broadcast the event live and quickly debunked the story.
A WTMJ producer said, "We carried the President's speech live, which included the applause for his best wishes for Clinton's recovery. There was no booing and we had a large number of calls deploring what AP reported."
A day later, AP issued a correction, but refused to identify the reporter. "The Associated Press does not comment on personnel issues," was the only response.
In the weeks following Bill Clinton's televised address to the nation after giving historic testimony to the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair, America was still waiting to here the simple words, "I'm sorry," but White House sources told WND no apology was coming – thanks to a group of legal eagles headed up by Hillary.
"Hillary has taken total control and no one moves without her say so," the source explained. Her group insisted Clinton must never directly apologize or say he's sorry for the Lewinsky affair. Political advisers argued he must apologize to end the criticism from the press.
"He's trying to sound like he's sorry to quiet the critics, but he's not sorry, won't say he's sorry, and the critics can see right through it," explained the source who added that tension among the White House staff is "so thick you can cut it with a knife."
"He's protecting himself from all sides," said the source when asked if Clinton is guarding his words to avoid contempt charges in the Jones case, which had been dismissed and was being appealed at the time.
Irony can be ... well, ironic.
In 2002, WND's long battle for press credentials to cover Congress like 300 other daily news organizations was being stymied by a small group of gatekeepers known as the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Senate Daily Press Gallery. The chairman of the committee keeping WND from bringing its readers the news was a correspondent for Bloomberg News.
Ironically – there's that word – Michael Bloomberg, founder of the news service bearing his name, had his own long battle for his reporters to be given credentials to cover Congress. Indeed, Bloomberg's experience, chronicled in a book he authored, was almost identical to WND's.
Ironic, isn't it?
Author and nationally syndicated libertarian radio talk-show host Neal Boortz teamed with WND to write a weekly column. Full disclosure compels Neal to reveal he's also a "reformed" attorney being paid massive amounts of money in exchange for his promise not to actually practice law any more.
In his debut commentary, "Why liberals are not on talk radio," Boortz explained:
"Liberals don't do well at talk radio because theirs is a political philosophy based on emotion and legalized plunder. Take enough listener phone calls, and your credibility is shot – along with your ratings."
As the United States became victim of its worst terrorism attack in history, WND was first to report Osama bin Laden was the chief suspect, and that terrorists had slit the throats of two American Airlines flight attendants.
One Pentagon anti-terror official blamed the Clinton administration for not neutralizing bin Laden earlier.
"Frankly, they just let guys like bin Laden grow in strength to the point where they felt they could pull off things like they pulled off today," he said.
Regarding the flight attendants, one senior American Airlines employee, who worked at Logan Airport in Boston and said goodbye to the crew at the gate around 7:30 a.m. told WND: "That was just horrific to all of us when we heard about it at about 8:15 ... We were, like, 'Oh my God, these poor girls are trying to save their captain and their plane.'"
As Republican presidential candidates prepared for the CNN-Tea Party GOP debate in Tampa, Fla., a plane soared overhead trailing a banner demanding, "Where's the Real Birth Certificate?"
The question was posed by WND, which posted billboards around the country for months asking about Barack Obama's birth documentation – and his resulting eligibility under the U.S. Constitution to occupy the Oval Office.
"Countless document experts have now made the persuasive case that the birth certificate released by Obama is fraudulent – a case that has been well-chronicled in WND," said the news site's editor, Joseph Farah. "No other media outlet has bothered to examine the document or question its authenticity. Neither have they found any experts willing to suggest the birth certificate is valid. That's why I am taking this case directly to the American people," he said.
Despite unprecedented pressure from former President Clinton, his aides and top Democratic Party leaders that resulted in edits, ABC's airing of the "The Path to 9/11" was a success, said the writer of the miniseries.
In fact, with Clinton's lawyers pressing to cancel the five-hour docudrama, it wasn't until Sunday morning – the day scheduled for part one – that its airing was certain, according to Cyrus Nowrasteh.
Three scenes, totaling about 70 seconds, were altered in the $40 million production.
"To lose only a minute is a success, is a victory," Nowrasteh told WND. "I think ABC stood tall."
The scene that underwent the biggest cuts depicted CIA operatives waiting for permission from Washington to attack Osama bin Laden at his Afghanistan fortress. The version that aired left out National Security Adviser Sandy Berger hanging up on George Tenet as the CIA director sought permission to go ahead.
Controversy over "Path to 9/11" continued into September 2007, as the DVD version was months past due for release, and Nowrasteh said it was due to pressure from the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
In "Foster planned date with wife," WND reported for the first time that, according to previously unreviewed files on the computer hard drive of a deceased White House attorney, Vincent Foster and his wife had plans for the night of July 20, 1993 – the day he was found dead.
"One of the files referred to an engagement to go out that evening with his wife," said former White House computer expert and whistleblower Sheryl Hall.
The discovery lent credence to complaints of a botched investigation, as former Special Counsel Robert Fiske never seized nor even tried to seize Foster's computer as evidence after the Clinton aide died unexpectedly.
Three days after the twin towers fell, WND tracked two of the terrorist hijackers to Vienna, Va., the leafy Washington, D.C., suburb where the pair once lived.
In hindsight, the rental home held clues that suggested it may have been a safehouse for terrorists. The interior had been divided into numerous small bedrooms – cubicles – where at least eight "Arab-looking" men lived. Neighbors suspected the house harbored drug dealers and noted the tenants seldom used the front door but, instead, parked and walked through a gate to the back yard to enter the home.
One neighbor said she and her husband observed a van parked outside the home at all hours of the day and night. A Middle-Eastern man appeared to be monitoring a scanner or radio inside the van.
Parking violations and loud parties – complete with gunfire – were reported and brought visits from the police. But no one suspected terrorism.
A group of black pastors in New Jersey announced plans for the Say So March – a march from Newark, N.J., to Washington, D.C., on behalf of the 1,452 black children aborted each day in the United States.
Leaders hoped to have 1,452 African-Americans participate in the march on each of the three days needed to cover the distance.
"We really hope to inspire people to love the children," said Johnny Hunter, a pastor and the national director for Life Education and Resource Network. "There's one simple message in this march: 'If you love the children, say so.'"
"This march is a civil rights march," said spokesman Damon Owens. "We're organizing this march to tell our black brothers and sisters we have been duped into destroying ourselves. Even though we make up 12 percent of the population, we supply 33 percent of the abortion industry's business. We have fallen prey to the Margaret Sangers of the world."
Owens stated, "In the three days of this march, more African-Americans will be murdered by abortion than were lynched from 1882-1968. It's time to stop the genocide."
There may be some Republicans who wish they had read this WND story back in 1999.
Conservative activists in Texas were saying Gov. George W. Bush – the front-running candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination – was masquerading as a leader for a smaller, more limited role for government in Americans' lives.
According to Texas Eagle Forum, Bush's state legislative priorities showed him to be anything but a political conservative.
The group blasted Bush for enlarging Texas government by "nearly 38 percent," increasing entitlements to public schools, supporting bilingual education, and federalizing education while calling it "local control."
He also had not spoken out against a small Texas border town's decision to adopt a "Spanish-only" policy for official government functions and instructed city officials not to talk to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
But a spokesman for Bush's presidential campaign told WorldNetDaily that the governor, should he become president, will "implement the core conservative principles of smaller government."
While acknowledging that both sides were presented, Sweden's Broadcasting Commission determined an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show did not give a fair and balanced presentation of the arguments about whether to go to war with Iraq and issued a censure against the Swedish television network that broadcast it.
"Different views were expressed, but all longer remarks gave voice to the opinion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States and should be the target of attack," the commission said.
The Swedish government strongly opposed the war, saying it lacked a U.N. Security Council mandate.
The censure carried no legal or financial penalties, but the network was required to publish the commission's decision.
The Oprah Winfrey show is one of Sweden's more popular day-time television programs.
Authorities in Maine said federal investigators may get involved in the case since it allegedly involved kidnapping someone to take them across a state line. According to a report in the Manchester Union-Leader, arrested were Nicholas Kampf, 54, and Lola Kampf, 53.
They were arrested by Salem, N.H., police after a 9-1-1 call came in to police from the couple's daughter, Katelyn, when she reported she had been kidnapped.
Police said Katelyn had convinced her parents to untie her and allow her to use a restroom at a shopping plaza, and she escaped, using her cell phone to call for help.
Katelyn was found by officers behind the shopping plaza, and her parents were arrested while driving around the parking lot, apparently looking for her. Police said they found duct tape, a .22-caliber rifle and rope in the couple's vehicle.
While Americans have a wide range of views regarding former President Bill Clinton, a Kentucky artist's depiction of the former commander in chief as God himself or a Catholic-style saint raised those opinions to passionate levels across the nation.
The portrait, titled "Saint Clinton," was the creation of Scott Ritcher, a 34-year-old graphic designer who marketed T-shirts, posters, magnets, coffee cups, coasters and even lunchboxes with the picture reminiscent of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" images.
"It was one of those creative moments where you're just like, 'Oh, wouldn't this be funny,'" Ritcher said. "It's intended to amuse and entertain people. It's not intended to offend anybody."
One critic noted: "Saint Clinton, patron saint of philanderers, weasels, McDonalds and stain removers. His feast day is celebrated only in Arkansas."
Hal Lindsey, the best-selling non-fiction author of the 1970s, joined WND as a weekly columnist, Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah announced.
Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and was translated into 54 languages. Lindsey has written some 20 books, many of which were best sellers – cutting across the dividing line between Christian and secular publishing.
"I have known Hal Lindsey as a friend and colleague for more than 20 years," said Farah. "I know his weekly WorldNetDaily column will be provocative, controversial and thought-provoking."
"I am pleased to have this weekly outlet for timely news analysis," said Lindsey. "WorldNetDaily is the standard by which every other online newssite should be judged. I'm honored to be a part of Joseph Farah's dazzling editorial lineup."
Read Lindsey's first column, "The Middle East peace paradox."
From the beginning, WND's news coverage has focused on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Nine years ago today, members of a group called the Temple Mount Faithful, which seeks to rebuild the Third Temple, were planning to take the first dramatic step and lay the cornerstone for the reconstruction project.
The group planned to transport the cornerstone, covered with Tallith, or prayer shawl and accompanied by Levites, or Jewish priests, to anoint the stone according to biblical laws.
"We want to renew everything which belongs to the Temple and biblical tradition," says Gershon Salomon, the group's leader, who added he believes the Temple will be fully rebuilt and used for worship soon. "We know that we are living in a special exciting time of the redemption of the people and the land of Israel, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. We feel and live the special significance of this time. The members of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement dedicated themselves to fulfill the wish of the God of Israel and the prophecies of the prophets of Israel for the end-times."
Nine years later, WND is reporting the Olmert government's proposals to give the Temple Mount and portions of the Old City to the Palestinian Authority, even as the Muslim Waqf is destroying Second Temple artifacts with its excavations and allowing the official radio station of the Islamic Jihad terror group to broadcast from the sacred site.
After WorldNetDaily had been publishing for a year or so, it became noticeable editors and others in the office were using the shorthand "WND" to refer to newssite. Even readers were using it.
It didn't take long to realize–having the WND.com domain name would be a good idea. But by 1998, there weren't many three-letter domain names that hadn't already been snapped up by other users.
But we acquired it and registered it nine years ago today. Now WorldNetDaily.com readers have an easy three-letter alternative to find their favorite website online.
It's easier for friends to remember when you tell them where you get your news. It's easier to type – fewer cases of tunnel carpel syndrome. And it's just the right size for a bumpersticker on the tiny car Al Gore is planning for your future.
WND wrote about the tragic murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising before anyone else in the national press.
On the third anniversary of his brutal death at the hands of two homosexual men who drugged the boy, raped him repeatedly and killed him by asphyxiation, WND shed new light on factors that led to the tragedy.
Even though the case had received a flurry of publicity after first being brought to the attention of the nation in WorldNetDaily, the number of articles written paled in comparison to those written about the murder of Matthew Shepherd – an adult homosexual brutally murdered in Wyoming by heterosexuals. In fact, a Nexis search showed a disparity in story counts of 18-1.
It's a heart-wrenching story, a graphic story and one not suitable for children.
Despite the fact Muslims account for only five percent of the local population, Nottingham officials – yes, the Nottingham of Robin Hood fame – decided all burial plots in a new $4.7 million cemetery should be aligned with Mecca in the Muslim tradition.
All headstones at the 40-acre burial site will face northeast, enabling the dead to look over their shoulder toward Mecca, the manner prescribed for followers of Islam in the UK.
Not even the imam of the local mosque could fathom this latest accomodation to political correctness.
"It is part of our religion for the dead to be aligned with Mecca. It is very important. But for Christians, if they want to face somewhere else we support them," he said.
When South Carolina opened its arms to 547 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina's wrath, it got something it didn't bargain for – 301 new residents with criminal records.
More than half of those airlifted into the state have criminal backgrounds, with convictions ranging from petty theft to rape, authorities said.
That's what State Law Enforcement Division agents found to their dismay. Most had committed minor offenses and few of their crimes were recent, but the group also included people convicted of aggravated assault and rape.
The group screened represents only a tiny portion of the 6,000 Gulf Coast evacuees staying in South Carolina. Only those evacuated by federal officials were subjected to background checks upon their arrival.
The online retailer's sale and promotion of the book "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers," was called an unfair and unethical business practice, according to a letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos by the U.S. Justice Foundation.
The USJF was given Amazon 30 days to pull the book or face "protracted litigation."
The introduction to the book, released in 2000 by SafeHaven Foundation Press, says men who become involved in sexual relationships with boys "are sincere, concerned, loving human beings who simply have – and were probably born with – a sexual orientation that is neither understood nor accepted by most others."
The group screened represents only a tiny portion of the 6,000 Gulf Coast evacuees staying in South Carolina. Only those evacuated by federal officials were subjected to background checks upon their arrival.
Washington bureau chief Paul Sperry disclosed that the White House porn scandal – first revealed by WND – had spread to the Commerce Department, where the security official in charge of investigating the private backgrounds of Commerce employees was suspended for downloading and storing pornography on his government computer.
The suspended Commerce official was escorted out of the main building here Aug. 14, after investigators found a "monolithic" stash of porn files on his computer. The scandal was supposed to be kept secret.
Reportedly, a Commerce employee decided to blow the whistle after reading the report of White House cyberporn abuses on WND's newssite.
The pornography on the official's office computer was described as 'monolithic."
"He had files with names on them, and in those files were certain pictures and graphics that he was maintaining of all these women that he had working for him," WND's source added. And he allegedly juxtaposed them with pornographic material he pulled off the Internet of naked women posing in sexual positions and performing sex acts.
A Norwegian school was blasted for "fiddling with God's work" by the chief of one of the nation's political parties after boys were told they would no longer be allowed to stand while urinating.
"When boys are not allowed to pee in the natural way, the way boys have done for generations, it is meddling with God's work," said Vidar Kleppe, the chief of the Democrats Party.
"It is a human right not to have to sit down like a girl," he said.
The principal told reporters the restrooms are used by both boys and girls, and the young boys are not "good enough at aiming" in order to have "a pleasant toilet."
Among all the thousands of cargo ships and superfreighters plying the seas, with their millions of containers filled with the goods fueling the growth of globalization, is a small "navy" of at least 15 ships purchased by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, reported Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
Lloyds of London reportedly helped Britain's MI6 and the U.S. CIA trace the sales made through a Greek shipping agent suspected of having direct contacts with bin Laden, the online intelligence newsletter reported.
The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia – where they are registered – and are capable of carrying cargoes of lethal chemicals, a "dirty bomb" or even a nuclear weapon, according to G2 Bulletin's sources. British and U.S. officials worry that one or more of these ships could hit civilian ports on a suicide mission.
G2 Bulletin sources say other potential targets of the al-Qaida armada, besides civilian ports, include oil rigs. Another threat is the ramming of a cruise liner.
WND Executive News Editor Joe Kovacs stunned audiences worldwide with the publication of his first book, "Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told." The book was an instant smash, skyrocketing to No. 1 on Amazon.com.
Kovacs, a Bible-believing Christian championing Bible truth, merely asked people to read the words on the pages of the Bible to find out what was really in God's Holy Word. When readers did that, they discovered there were not "three wise men" present in Bethlehem to see Jesus the night he was born; that Jesus was actually executed on a Wednesday and rose "three days and three nights" later on a Saturday night, and there were many more than just two of each kind of animal aboard Noah's Ark (there were actually 7 pairs of clean animals).
"My goal is to educate people about the solid truth of Scripture and to stop the spread of erroneous information. I want people to crack open their Bibles and see with their own eyes what's actually printed on the pages, and what's not. It's shocking!"
"Shocked" has since become a worldwide phenomenon, being translated into several foreign languages, and it set the stage for Kovacs' next book, "The Divine Secret: The Awesome and Untold Truth About Your Phenomenal Destiny," which is set to be released July 17, 2012.
It's was a whole new take on "Dutch treat" when Victor de Bruijn, 46, "married" both Bianca, 31, and Mirjam, 35, in the Netherlands' first three-way civil union.
"I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both," said de Bruijn who previously was married to only Bianca.
The couple met Mirjam Geven two and a half years ago through an Internet chatroom, and eight weeks later Mirjam left her husband to live with Victor and Bianca.
After Mirjam's divorce the threesome decided to marry.
De Bruijn explained: "A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is. We went to the notary in our marriage costume and exchanged rings. We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage."