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.
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark," Gibson said in a statement. "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge."
Gibson, driving a Lexus, had been arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Malibu, Calif.
The 50-year-old Oscar winner reportedly shouted: "All the wars in the world are caused by Jews," and then asked the officer, "You a Jew?"
In his statement, Gibson said he recognized the magnitude of his actions.
"I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words."
The American Psychological Association, which claims it is "the largest association of psychologists worldwide" with more than 150,000 members, followed the lead of its appointed seven-member "Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships" and announced it was endorsing homosexual "marriage."
That "working group" was made up of "gay activists," one of which was Dr. Candace A. McCullough, a lesbian who successfully attempted in 2002 to produce, for the second time, a deaf child by artificial insemination, using sperm from a deaf donor. Both she and her lesbian partner, Sharon Duchesneau, are deaf.
"It would be nice to have a deaf child who is the same as us," Duchesneau, who carried the baby to term, told the Washington Post two months before the baby boy, named Gauvin, was born. "I think that would be a wonderful experience. You know, if we can have that chance, why not take it?"
Bill Maier, vice president of Focus on the Family and himself a clinical psychologist, told the Baptist Press: "Every responsible psychologist in the APA should be ashamed; the organization is obviously more concerned with appeasing its powerful gay lobby than it is with retaining any semblance of moral and ethical duty."
Do devastating hurricanes need help from affirmative action?
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, apparently thought so and demanded the storms be given names that sound "black" and not so "lily white."
"All racial groups should be represented," Lee said, according to congressional newspaper the Hill. She hoped federal weather officials "would try to be inclusive of African-American names."
A sampling of popular names that could be used include Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn, according to the paper.
"There's discrimination and actually elected officials wandering around worried about the discrimination in the name of hurricanes," said talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh. "And hurricanes are destructive. You know nobody's very excited when a hurricane's heading their way, and yet here she is demanding that hurricanes be named after black people."
Which raises the question ... What if Hurricane Keisha, and not Hurricane Katrina, had leveled New Orleans?
Pro-marriage activists collecting signatures on a petition at a Promise Keepers rally found themselves the target of a bullying police sergeant determined to stop their First Amendment activities.
"I have never in my life seen such unprofessional and bizarre behavior from a law enforcement officer," said John Stemberger, the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council.
His group had rented a display table at a June Promise Keepers conference in the Fort Lauderdale area to publicize its effort to collect more than 611,000 signatures on petitions to call for a vote of Florida people. The goal was to protect traditional marriage – between one man and one woman – in the state constitution.
Sgt. Stephen Allen and other officers ordered them to stop accepting names and physically removed the petitions. Allen and another officer mocked the volunteers by kissing each other.
Even after Promise Keeper officials told the officers the petition gathering was authorized, Allen argued theology with the group, telling them he was the authority and "the Bible says that Christians should obey the authorities."
Aug. 5, 2002: The Arabic-language "national weekly Arab-American newspaper" Al-Watan, published in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, featured two poems – "Yes I am a Terrorist," which extolled the virtues of mass murderers, and "The Ape," which portrayed President George W. Bush as a gorilla.
Al-Watan's stated mission is to provide Arab and Muslim Americans "with the most current, valuable, reliable, and informative news on political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues, which concern the Arab-American community in their relations with the U.S. society at large ... through maintaining a positive relationship with the community ... coordinating efforts with Arab and Muslim American organizations to promote the achievements of the community as well as empower them through active involvement through political, media, social, and educational sectors."
Read both poems and see if you think Al-Watan lived up to its mission statement.
WND's popular monthly magazine, previously named "WorldNet," received a new name – "Whistleblower" – and a new look.
The name change was necessary, explained editor and CEO Joseph Farah, because "with the rapid growth of both the website and the magazine, some confusion over names –WorldNetDaily.com and WorldNet – is occurring."
"A whistleblower – whether within a government agency, corporation or institution – has to summon the courage to stand up and tell the truth that his or her peers are just too afraid or too compromised to tell," said managing editor David Kupelian. "Whistleblowers often speak up and expose crucial and amazing information at great risk – to their popularity, their jobs and even their physical well-being. A true whistleblower is a modern-day hero, someone who makes truth more important than anything else."
Prosecutors in Wilmington, N.C., said they were "aware" of a scene for the movie "Hounddog" in which the character played by 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning was violently raped, and said if an investigation were launched, authorities could consider sexual exploitation charges.
"I am aware of that situation," district attorney Connie Jordan told WND. "The charge that would potentially apply to the scenario would be sexual exploitation of a minor."
She said statutory rape laws would require the actual assault, and her understanding was that any assault was simulated. Third-degree or second-degree sexual exploitation would involve having or trading child pornography.
In "Hounddog," the 12-year-old Fanning played 9-year-old Lewellen, who is told she must sing for concert tickets to hear Elvis Presley. The script graphically described her clothes dropping to the floor before she sings, and an assailant unzipping his jeans.
Nancy Vilanova, 74, was seized by security guards at a Winn-Dixie supermarket in Miami as she attempted to leave the store after paying for her groceries. Store officials said Vilanova allegedly "stole" three Hershey's Kisses from an open bag in an aisle.
Critics called the prosecution a "horrible waste of taxpayers' money" and wondered why she was offered no chance to make restitution or why the prosecuting attorney's office even bothered to pursue "such a petty charge."
"Let's face it, this case exudes a 'gimme a break' response," said Jose Vilanova, the woman's son.
Jose said his mother was "accosted" by security guards, forced into a back room and berated "to the point of tears" to sign a "confession." He said the guards tried to "physically force her" signature, but she refused to sign and the security team called police.
"At no time did they simply ask her to pay for the chocolates."
WorldNetDaily's Paul Sperry was first to uncover and report on the Internet pornography scandal in the Clinton White House, involving the downloading by White House staffers of massive amounts of hard-core porn video files.
One of the worst offenders was a senior White House computer-systems manager, who was reprimanded but allowed to stay in the White House after being treated for an "addiction" to porn. Sources said the porn abuser was so sensitive to the possibility of public exposure that he would likely have taken his own life if his name were disclosed by WND.
The story was subsequently picked by virtually all other major news media, including the Washington Post, Associated Press, MSNBC, USA Today and many others – all crediting WorldNetDaily with breaking the story on the latest White House scandal.
The Secret Service launched an investigation after Craig Kilborn, host of the CBS network's "The Late, Late Show" aired a photograph of GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush accepting his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention – with the words "SNIPERS WANTED" emblazoned across the bottom of the television screen.
The clip may have been aired as a news parody, "but we don't find such parodies very amusing," said Special Agent Jim Mackin, a spokesman for the Secret Service. The agency had been assigned to protect Bush and his running mate, Richard B. Cheney, throughout the campaign.
"Kilborn has made a statement that, for all intents and purposes, should mean his arrest," said one upset poster on the Free Republic chat and news website. "He may have meant it in jest, but it's not funny. He should make a public apology, he should apologize directly to [Bush] in person, and he should resign."
"If it was a Republican saying this, there would be protests in the streets," said another.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer confirmed what many believe when he confessed to the annual conference of the American Bar Association not all rulings from America's highest court are correct, admitting judges don't have "some great special insight."
"We do our best, but not surprisingly a lot of those decisions create a lot of strong feeling in the country," he said.
During the conference, Breyer also defended the increasing practice of the U.S. Supreme Court examining laws and rulings in foreign nations to help come to conclusions here, admitting, "It has hit a political nerve."
"We're not bound by any foreign law," Breyer said, "but this is a world in which more and more countries have come to have democratic systems of government with documents like our Constitution that protect things like free expression. ... Maybe we can learn something. I mean they're human beings, too."
An Alan Keyes fan exercised the kind of initiative and entrepreneurship that would have made his idol proud – he started his own website to sell a napkin used to wipe the sweaty brow of the then-Illinois U.S. Senate candidate after having been booted off the eBay auction site twice.
Jerry McGlothlin, aka "The Napkin Man," had daubed sweat from Keyes' brow immediately following the candidate's announcement he would replace Republican Jack Ryan to face Democrat Barack Obama in a long-shot bid for the Senate.
McGlothlin's napkin page on eBay had received 15,000 visitors and 100 bids before it was unceremoniously taken down because "bodily fluids" were not allowed to be auctioned. The bidding had reached about $700 before eBay stepped in. McGlothlin planned to give the proceeds to the Keyes campaign.
Then eBay welcomed him back, saying sweat wasn't a forbidden bodily fluid, but kicked him off again because Keyes' campaign wasn't an approved "charity."
That's when the SweatyNapkin.com site was born!
"But there's even more to this story.
"While AP is lifting WorldNetDaily copyright content seemingly at will without attribution or credit, the very same news organization has the nerve to threaten WorldNetDaily for using AP information in stories with full credit! Last May, AP's legal department threatened a lawsuit against WND for copyright infringement for using fully attributed information in our stories. This is what we call in the business 'fair use.'"
The documentary was produced by Abdullah Hashem from Mooresville, Ind.
Hashem, along with colleague Joe McGowen, attended a recruiting session for the Raelians, an international group which believes the first human beings were cloned by aliens who visited the Earth in flying saucers 25,000 years ago. They contend these aliens, or Elohim – a Hebrew word referring to God – will return to Jerusalem when there is world peace and an embassy has been built for them.
"I'm not a religious nut, but according to my beliefs, when people wear shirts that say there is no God, I have to do something," Hashem said.
An FBI informant involved in a plot to steal Elvis Presley's body shortly after the rock idol died 25 years ago claimed the Presley family staged the grave-robbing to persuade Memphis officials to move him from the public cemetery to Graceland, now a $15 million-a-year tourist attraction, a veteran FBI agent told WND.
The late Vernon Presley, "the King's" father and executor of his estate at the time, wanted his son buried on the mansion grounds, but it was in an area not zoned for burials.
So three weeks after Elvis died of a heart attack, he had lawyers for the Presley estate petition the Memphis Shelby County Board of Adjustment for a zoning variance. They cited what they called an attempted theft of Presley's body several days earlier and the expense of round-the-clock security.
Three men were arrested Aug. 29, 1977, near the Forest Hill Cemetery mausoleum where Elvis was entombed in a 900-pound copper coffin.
While so-called "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan continued to seek a second meeting with President Bush in connection with the death in Iraq of her son, Casey, there was minimal coverage by the mainstream media of the first meeting between the pair, and no pictures.
But an online search by WND revealed a host of family photographs of the Sheehan family, including one showing President Bush kissing Mrs. Sheehan.
The photos were originally posted on a Sheehan family website featuring a large number of photos, but the images including President Bush posing with the family have since been removed from the original page.
Sheehan was less abrasive about the president after her first encounter with him, telling her local newspaper, "I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis. I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith."
Republican Alan Keyes came out in favor of giving descendants of black slaves an exemption from federal income tax in his run against Barack Obama for Illinois' Senate seat.
"When a city had been devastated [in the Roman empire], for a certain length of time – a generation or two – they exempted the damaged city from taxation," he told reporters yesterday in Chicago.
Long an opponent of "reparations," Keyes said his proposal was different.
It "has the advantage of letting people help themselves, rather then pouring money into government bureaucracies that displace and discourage their own efforts," he said. "It takes no money from other citizens, while righting the historic imbalance that results from the truth that black slaves toiled for generations at a tax rate that was effectively 100 percent."
The Department of Homeland Security took a Muslim group with known past ties to terror organizations on a VIP tour of security operations at the nation's busiest airport at the same time British authorities were working to break up a plot to blow up U.S. airlines.
During the airport tour, members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations were taken on a walk through the point-of-entry, Customs stations, secondary screening and interview rooms. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were asked to describe for CAIR representatives various features of the high-risk passenger lookout system.
In a meeting, CBP's executive director of field operations assured CAIR officials agents do not single out Muslim passengers for special screening and that they must undergo a mandatory course in Muslim sensitivity training. The course teaches agents Muslims believe jihad is an "internal struggle against sin" and not holy warfare.
A CBP supervisor described the course, along with its companion training manual and video, as "politically correct drivel."
Just one in six American adults say they make moral decisions based on the Bible, according to a study by the evangelical Christian Barna Group.
When asked whether they believe moral truth is based on absolute standards or is relative to the circumstances, Americans are divided into roughly equal segments, the California-based group said.
About 35 percent contend that moral truth is absolute, or not dependent upon the circumstances. Thirty-two percent say that morality always is determined by the situation. The remaining one-third, 33 percent, indicate they don't know if moral truth is absolute or relative.
About 70 percent of evangelical Christians report believing that moral truth is absolute. Only 42 percent of non-evangelicals hold that view.
The research group's founder, George Barna, said "most born again Christians hold a confusing and inherently contradictory set of religious beliefs that go unchecked by the leaders and teachers of their faith community."
One day after strong condemnation from John Kerry, the veterans group challenging the senator's war record launched another television ad, this time charging him with betrayal for accusing them of war crimes.
The ad was the second issued in August by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, a group of 254 vets who served with Kerry and signed a letter contending he is unfit to be commander in chief.
The ad begins with audio and photographs from Kerry's dramatic testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971 in which he charged Americans serving in Vietnam "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."
Joe Ponder, who was wounded in November 1968, says, "The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam were just devastating, and it hurt me more than any physical wounds I had."
At the height of the turmoil over missing congressional intern Chandra Levy, WND editor Joseph Farah published a scathing open letter to Rep. Gary Condit, the California Democrat for whom Levy worked.
Not holding back, Farah urged Condit to leave Congress.
"What keeps you in office?" asked Farah. "Is it the perks? Is it the pension? Is it the desire to avoid personal disgrace?
"You've blown it, and it's time to realize it. You chose a path of personal recklessness and it's time to pay the piper. If you have any vestige of character and conscience left, do the right thing now. Stop thinking of only yourself. Think of your supporters. Think of your district. Think of Chandra Levy and her family. Think of all the others you have hurt. Think, if you can, about your country and the precedent you are setting by your selfish grasp on power."
WND Managing Editor David Kupelian's book, "The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom," published by WND Books, launched with Kupelian as guest on the Sean Hannity Radio Show and Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes."
According to the book, Americans have come to tolerate, embrace and even champion many things that would have horrified their parents' generation – from easy divorce and unrestricted abortion-on-demand to extreme body piercing and teaching homosexuality to grade-schoolers.
"The Marketing of Evil" reveals how much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped and sold to them as though it had great value.
Two years after its debut, the book is in its ninth printing and remains among the Top 10 best-sellers every week at Shop.WND.com.
At the height of Cindy Sheehan's national notoriety for camping in a Texas ditch demanding to meet with President Bush, WND broke the stunning story of how Sheehan referred to the terrorists killing Americans in Iraq as "freedom fighters."
WND made the discovery by scouring through videos of Sheehan, who explained:
"You know Iraq was no threat to the United States of America until we invaded. I mean they're not even a threat to the United States of America. Iraq was not involved in 9-11, Iraq was not a terrorist state. But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in, and they [American troops] have created more terrorism by going to an Islamic country, devastating the country and killing innocent people in that country."
Sheehan actually was answering a question from a CBS News reporter, but no news agency reported the "freedom fighters" remark until it was unearthed by WND. It subsequently topped news headlines around the globe.
A coalition of groups protesting Boy Scouts of America's policy of not accepting homosexual leaders and members chose an unlikely candidate to lead their demonstration – a convicted child molester who had served time for molesting a 10-year-old boy.
John Hemstreet – former Boy Scout leader, former priest and convicted child molester – told WND he is an example of the type of person who should be permitted to be a Boy Scout leader. Indeed, he said he was a great scoutmaster.
"The thing that I did seven years ago is a horrendous thing. I'm not denying that. Nor am I denying that I did it. I was arrested. I was arraigned. I did go to court. I was sentenced. I served my time and I am off probation," explained Hemstreet.
Indeed, Hemstreet told WND he saw his efforts to open leadership positions in scouting as his way of paying back the community and making restitution for his past crimes.
The slaughter on America's highways caused by illegal alien drivers – many drunk and most unlicensed and uninsured – fell under the WND spotlight a year ago today.
There are no official statistics about highway carnage and illegal aliens. But there is an increasing awareness among law enforcement officials – and victims of traffic accidents – that illegal aliens are playing a disproportionate role in the road mayhem, particularly in those states where their large populations are large.
According to surveys conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Hispanics believe it takes 6-8 drinks to affect driving, while Americans, indoctrinated for years against drunk driving, believe it takes just 2-4 drinks.
In 2001, MADD reported 44.1 percent of California's drunk driving arrests were of Hispanics, while, officially, they made up just 31.3 percent of the population.
A college professor with a reputation for pushing his students to think outside the box went too far when, on the first day of his sociology class, he revealed two blackboards at the front of his class, with the F-word written on the left one and "God" written on the right one.
Bob Stotler, a 30-year-old student at Black Hawk College, filed a complaint after his sociology teacher, Bruce LeBlanc, displayed the two-word statement.
Stotler says LeBlanc had confronted him about being Christian, conservative and Republican on his first day in class in January. "He's a lot liberal, and I'm a lot conservative," Stotler said. "He was preaching his leftist ideas like they were facts."
The college's advisory committee agreed, issuing a report saying LeBlanc's conduct violated the school's harassment policy and "shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her religion."
An apology to the student was recommended, but the professor said he was "challenging the action through the collective-bargaining agreement."
WND published a pair of articles focusing on a mysterious phenomenon in the sky: trails which some people believe are harmful to residents on the ground.
"I'm reporting to you that I think, possibly, the government has a covert operation on the American public and, possibly, beyond," said California's Paula Glick. "This may be an international thing. This might be a NATO group effort. Australia and Canada have also complained."
The Environmental Protection Agency, with the assistance of NASA Glenn Research Center's Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration, released a contrail fact sheet in response to public inquiries.
"Contrails have been a normal effect of jet aviation since its earliest days," the report stated. "Persistent contrails are composed of water naturally present along the aircraft flight path."
Contrary to public statements, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI officials planned the final deadly assault on the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas, with top officers of the U.S. Army's Delta Force, according to classified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and Special Forces sources.
The FBI actually requested that Special Forces Delta Force operatives consult with them, be present on the scene and maintain equipment in preparation for a resolution of the 1993 51-day standoff that resulted in a fire that killed 74 civilians including many children, according to the documents and a knowledgeable military source.
The documented information WND obtained reveals not only did Reno actively seek involvement by Delta Force, but she was warned at one meeting she attended with the FBI, Delta Force Colonel William "Jerry" Boykin and Webster Hubbell that the use of CS tear gas would have a variety of effects, one of which would be "Some people would panic, Quote: "mothers may run off and leave infants."
Backers of illegal immigration at a rally near Los Angeles took down an American flag at a U.S. post office, stamped on it and replaced it with a Mexican flag as police looked on, according to witnesses and a video of the event.
Police officers in Maywood, Calif., eventually came to the pole to remove the flag but had bottles and rocks thrown at them, a radio listener named Sandra reported.
The listener said when she arrived at the rally, she was rushed by counter-protesters who called out, "Death to the Minutemen."
"They pushed me around and told me if I was to take one step further, they would beat the s--- out of me," she said. "I looked to the back of me and there were about four police officers leaning on their vehicle just watching, doing nothing!"
It should have been the ideal John Kerry audience – attendees at MTV's Music Video Awards – but the Massachusetts senator's daughters found themselves being booed when they came on stage to serve as presenters.
"From the moment Alexandra and Vanessa started speaking, the boos outweighed anything close to cheers," according to the Drudge Report.
Another website, juiceenewsdaily.com stated: "At one point one of the daughters even held her finger to her mouth in an effort to 'shush' the rowdy crowd. The boos only grew louder when the daughters suggested that the best choice for a president in the upcoming election should be their father."
Apparantly it was a case of like-father-like daughters.
John Kerry, himself, was booed in his hometown as he threw out the first pitch in Fenway Park before the start of a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game the month before.
While stunned Americans were still trying to fathom the destruction Katrina brought to New Orleans, one Christian organization saw a silver lining – and a divine hand.
The hurricane walloped the city just two days before the annual homosexual "Southern Decadence" festival was to begin, forcing its cancellation – an act characterized by the Philadelphia Christian organization Repent America as God's work.
"Parades and non-stop parties aside, Southern Decadence may be most famous (or infamous) for the displays of naked flesh which characterize the event," read one description of the event that drew 125,000 the previous year.
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage in a statement. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that opened its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same."