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.
Candidates in the 2000 presidential election suddenly faced an unexpected rival.
The "Barbie for President" campaign was announced and included the launch of an official campaign website that outlines her position on various topics -- including education, the environment and gender equality.
An examination of policy positions found Barbie closely resembling then-candidate Al Gore.
On the environment, Gore said, "Because of its importance to our air, our water, and the fabric of life itself, I believe that we have an obligation to protect the environment for future generations."
Barbie noted "it's time we take a stand to care for Mother Earth. Clean air, clean water, and a clean environment are vital to our health. Barbie knows our playgrounds, our parks and our neighborhoods will be more kid-safe and kid-friendly if we keep them clean."
WND continued its exclusive coverage of a Los Angeles billboard that became a flashpoint over illegal immigration.
The billboard advertising a local Spanish-language news station drew the ire of immigration activists a week earlier. The ad had the "CA" abbreviation after "Los Angeles" crossed out and the word "Mexico" added in its place in bold red letters.
When James Galloway spotted a hissing rattlesnake on the trail and grabbed a stick to pin it to the ground so it could not strike a 3-year-old girl and her parents walking down the path toward him, most people likely considered him a hero.
When he transported the snake to a nearby parking lot, intending to scoop it up with a shovel so he could release it into the woods, some might have considered him tender hearted. And when the ungrateful snake turned and came at him, resulting in Galloway striking it with the shovel, most would have said he was lucky.
But the state of Michigan did not consider him a lucky, tender-hearted hero. It called him a criminal and convicted him for killing a protected species without a permit – an offense worth $500 and 90 days in jail.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that played such a decisive role in the 2004 presidential campaign, launched its first attack on John Kerry on this day three years ago, with 200 members releasing a letter sent to the Democrat candidate asking him to authorize the Department of the Navy to release all of his military records, including health documents.
Kerry "arrived in country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self-serving determination to build a foundation for his political future," said Retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman. "He was aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard to specific tactical assignments. He was a loose cannon."
Kerry reportedly spent 45 minutes on the phone with Hoffman trying to discourage the group from going forward. It was to no avail – the group kept up the pressure until Election Day.
On this day, two years ago, WND reported the sad news of the death of an American hero, retired Army Col. David Hackworth.
One of the most decorated veterans in U.S. history, Hackworth had been a vocal advocate for military reform in the years since he returned from Vietnam.
He had written a weekly column for WorldNetDaily for seven years before succumbing to bladder cancer.
"Hack never lost his focus," said Roger Charles, president of Soldiers for the Truth, a California-based veterans group for which Hackworth served as chairman. "That focus was on the young kids that our country sends to bleed and die on our behalf. Everything he did in his retirement was to try to give them a better chance to win and to come home. That's one hell of a legacy."
Galileo must be spinning in his grave.
"Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism – it's turning God into a nature god," he said. "And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not be a good thing to do."
Consolmagno stated that the Christian God is a supernatural god. In the past, the belief in God being supernatural led the clergy to become involved in science to find natural explanations for things like thunder and lightning. Pagans often attribute thunder and lightning to vengeful gods.
"Knowledge is dangerous, but so is ignorance," he said. "That's why science and religion need to talk to each other."
A gift promoting abortion might be the last thing someone searching for a Mother's Day present might have in mind, but the National Organization for Women offered jewelry that does just that.
The sale is prompting some negative reaction, including comments from Kimberly Fletcher, the founder and president of Homemakers for America.
"Imagine going to mom and saying, 'Happy Mother's Day, mom. Thanks for giving life. Here's your Keep Abortion Alive bracelet.' NOW is seriously out of touch with the mothers of America," Fletcher said. "I think I'll stick with flowers."
For centuries, people have been intrigued by the number 666, the "number of the beast" from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.
The new imprint debuted with a wide variety of titles, including a book authored by radio talk-show sensation Michael Savage, one by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and another by Jack Cashill and James Sanders on the downing of TWA Flight 800.
"Beginning in 2003, we'll have our own titles to sell – books developed specifically with our readership in mind," explained WND Editor Joseph Farah. "We believe this will mean significantly higher sales and a major breakthrough in publishing edgy titles that might scare away the major players in the publishing industry establishment."
"WorldNetDaily is first and foremost an innovative news agency, and our titles will reflect that focus – they will be timely, newsworthy and often examining topics the establishment publishing industry ignores," said WND Senior Editor and Co-founder Elizabeth Farah.
Five years after its creation, WND Books is still going strong with a new partner, World Ahead Publishing.
Six months out from the 2004 election, pollster John Zogby took a leap of faith and predicted a winner in November.
"I have made a career of taking bungee jumps in my election calls," Zogby wrote in a column. "Sometimes I haven't had a helmet and I have gotten a little scratched. But here is my jump for 2004: John Kerry will win the election."
Zogby cited four reasons for his prediction: Bush's lackluster poll numbers, very few undecided voters, Kerry's lead on the top three issues on voters' minds and Kerry's reputation as a "good closer."
Concluded Zogby: " We are unlikely to see any big bumps for either candidate because opinion is so polarized and, I believe, frozen in place. There are still six months to go and anything can still happen. But as of today, this race is John Kerry's to lose."
And he did.
Mexico received a taste of what it's like to be invaded by aliens when 11 unidentified flying objects reportedly flew around a military surveillance plane that was looking for drug traffickers.
Jamie Maussan, a journalist and UFO enthusiast, told reporters the objects, seen on infrared video footage released by the Mexican air force, seemed "intelligent" because at one point they changed direction and surrounded the plane that was chasing them.
"They were invisible to the eye but they were there, there is no doubt about it. They had mass, they had energy and they were moving about," Maussan said after showing the 15-minute footage.
"We are not alone! This is so weird," one of the pilots can be heard yelling. The plane's crew had just switched on the infrared camera after first picking up the objects by radar.
A Binghamton, N.Y., church found itself on the wrong side of the line dividing what belongs to God and what belongs to Caesar, a federal appeals court ruled.
On Oct. 30, 1992, just four days before the presidential election, the Landmark Church placed full-page ads in USA Today and the Washington Times warning Christians that Clinton's positions concerning abortion, homosexuality and the distribution of condoms to teen-agers in schools violate biblical principals.
A notice at the bottom of the ad appealed for "tax-exempt donations" to pay for placing the ad.
Bad move, said the IRS, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and finally, the court.
Catherine Soldan, 25, said she called a counselor at the hospital after her 6-month-old baby, Corbitt, threw up twice. The counselor told her the service would contact a cab and pay for them to be transported to the hospital.
The taxi picked them up, and during the trip the boy began vomiting again. That's when, according to Soldan, the driver told the two to get out.
"He said, 'Is he getting sick?' And I said, 'Yes.' He said to get out. I said, 'He's a baby.' He said, 'I don't care what he is,'" said Soldan.
Soldan said she yelled at the driver, and he then left them. She said she was stunned by the driver's behavior.
"It's not like this was somebody who'd been out drinking all night or something and was throwing up in his car," Soldan said. "It was a little bit of baby spit."
Part two of the trilogy introduced two new enemies: twins with pale skin and light-colored hair.
"There are even dreadlocked albinos who look like a vanilla Milli Vanilli," is the way movie critic Carrie Rickey termed them.
"For the last 40 years filmmakers have used albino characters as villains, and they're almost always vicious, inhuman characters, depicted as freaks," dermatologist and self-proclaimed film buff Dr. Vail Reese added.
Warner Bros. did not taking the issue lightly.
"They're not albinos!" a studio spokeswoman stressed to WND regarding the new villains. "They're not even human. They're vampires, 15th century vampires. ... These characters do not possess the qualities that albinos possess. They don't have red eyes. They become invisible. Clearly, they're not real people."
While concerns about MySpace.com often focus on its use by sexual predators, the popular youth networking website may also pose a risk to the nation's security.
An investigation found the website to be fertile ground for inspiring and recruiting a new generation of Islamic terrorists, according to independent analyst Laura Mansfield.
A young man from Seattle, for example, who gave his name as Amin Al-Mujaahid As-Salafi – or "Salafi Jihaadi – has a blog that features images of al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, British jihadist Abu Hamza, and the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, referring to them as the "Magnificent 19."
"Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President" was also available signed by the author exclusively at the WND Superstore.
"With the unprecedented success of this book several weeks ago, reaching No. 1 at Amazon, I fully expected Obama, in desperation, to release a fraudulent document – and that's exactly what he did," said Corsi. "I was warned by excellent sources it was coming. And it's not even a good forgery. I am prepared to tell all beginning today – not only about the birth certificate, but also to explain why even a birth on U.S. soil could not possibly qualify Obama for the presidency as a natural born citizen."
Corsi said Obama has now boxed himself in with the release of the fraudulent birth certificate and will be forced to live with the results.
The mother of a 5-year-old California girl who was facing expulsion from a Christian school because the woman worked as a stripper just couldn't understand why her chosen profession was a problem.
Christina Silvas, a 24-year-old single mom, argued that since her job took her away for only three days a week – the days her daughter, Abby, was with her father – she was therefore available to be "the one to teach [her daughter] the Bible at home," thus upholding the commitment she made with the school to partner in her daughter's education.
"The Bible calls on parents to be hands-on," Silvas said.
School officials offered to cover the girl's last month's tuition of $400 if Silvas would change jobs. They also offered to support Silvas both financially and spiritually, and to help her find a different job that was in keeping with the school's values. Silvas declined the offer and later appeared in Playboy Magazine.
It's not that Mary Wohlford, an 80-year-old retired Texas nurse, had never heard of living wills – she had one hung on the side of her refrigerator – it's that she just wasn't taking any chances.
That's why she had the phrase "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" tattooed on her chest – to make it absolutely clear where she stood in the event she ever become incapacitated.
"People might think I'm crazy, but that's OK," Wohlford said. "Sometimes the nuttiest ideas are the most advanced."
"This is a modern day and age," she said. "You have to advance with the times. We never even had a living will 20 years ago. Now I think we've got to go to the next step."
Diversity, it seems, has its limits.
While welcoming a pro-homosexual activist organization – even inviting it to present a workshop – the National PTA rejected an application from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays to be an exhibitor at its annual convention.
The leading pro-"gay" group was OK'd to distribute a 'how-to' guide for improving the school environment for LGBT students, and the homosexual-affirming video for schoolchildren, "It's Elementary," was scheduled to be exhibited at the conference.
"As we indicated on the application, our purpose at the National PTA exhibit is to distribute educational publications promoting inclusive school environments for ex-gay students and educators," said Regina Griggs, PFOX's executive director. "We fit right in because one of the themes of this year's National PTA convention is diversity. Ex-gays are people, too."
More than $25,000 was raised in the first two days of a national billboard campaign to raise awareness of questions surrounding the constitutional eligibility of Barack Obama to serve as president – and the first sign, an electronic one, was already up and online.
Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, said he's calling it "the truth and transparency campaign."
The money is being used to erect billboards around the country that ask a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?" (The campaign has since been updated to ask "Where's the REAL birth certificate?")
The first such sign to be posted under the 2-day-old campaign, a digital, electronic one, was up and online on Highway 165 in Ball, La. In addition, based on the heavy volume of financial donations in the first two days of the campaign, WND was able to commit to leasing two more standard billboards – one in Los Angeles and the other in Pennsylvania.
"I know now, because of the sensational response to this idea from WND viewers, that this national campaign is going to be big and long-lasting," said Farah. "I want to thank all of those who have pitched in and contributed – with either cash donations or, in some cases, space donations. But the need for money continues. The public should know it costs about $2,000 just to print these 15-by-45 foot billboards. Each one is a huge commitment."
University commencement speeches have a way of becoming notoriously newsworthy, and the one delivered two years ago to graduates at Columbia Business School by Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's chief financial officer, was no exception.
"The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively," she said. "This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg up in global business since the end of World War I.
"However, if used inappropriately – just like the U.S. itself, the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble," she said.
The Pespi Syndrome, indeed. Nooyi spent the next week issuing apologies as the blogosphere went into meltdown.
Noah's Ark Holidays, which bills itself as an "ethical travel referral website" was behind the offer, with a pitch for the location in Dogubayazit, Turkey, reading:
You will be awe-inspired, whether you have a personal faith or not, when you visit the National Park of Noah's Ark. Many experts have examined, tested, researched, taken radar scans and recorded lengths of this incredible boat-shaped object that many people, both non-experts and scientists, believe to be the fossilized remains of Noah's Ark. Read what others have said about it and make your own mind up. It really is a mind boggling story! If it is not Noah's Ark, then what are, what look like the fossilized remains of a boat, the same lengths as the lengths detailed in the Book of Genesis for Noah's Ark doing in the "Mountains of Ararat"?
"You can literally stand and smell the history around you in your nostrils," the site maintained.
"Americans should be told that diseases long eradicated in this country – tuberculosis, leprosy, polio, for example – and other extremely contagious diseases have been linked directly to illegals," said Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz. "For example, in 40 years, only 900 persons were afflicted by leprosy in the U.S.; in the past three years, more than 7,000 cases have been presented."
"This emerging crisis exposes the upside-down thinking of federal immigration policy," he continued. "While legal immigrants must undergo health screening prior to entering the U.S., illegal immigrants far more likely to be carrying contagious diseases are crawling under that safeguard and going undetected until they infect extraordinary numbers of American residents."
"It's creeping into the U.S.," said Dr. William Levis, head of the New York Hansen's Disease Clinic. "This is a real phenomenon. It's a public health threat. New York is endemic now, and nobody's noticed."
"It was a mixed blessing," said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl's Jr. "We wanted to create a Paris Hilton site that would attract visitors, and we certainly achieved that objective. Unfortunately, we just weren't prepared for the influx of traffic, and disappointed a number of visitors. It turned out that Paris was too hot for our servers."
"This commercial is basically soft-core porn," said Melissa Caldwell, research director for the Parents Television Council. "It's inappropriate for television."
In the wake of a WND exclusive report, hundreds of American citizens contacted a group of Christian activists looking to secede from the United States to form a republic based on Christian principles.
"It's unleashed a barrage," said Cory Burnell, president of Texas-based ChristianExodus.org. "It's been an incredible response, it's nothing I'm used to and is fairly gut-wrenching for me."
Burnell and like-minded believers were looking to encourage thousands of U.S. citizens to migrate to South Carolina, run for state office, and eventually prompt South Carolina to peacefully secede from the union to create a new country where "government derives its power from the consent of the governed."
He said since WND's story was first posted, the number of those actively interested has jumped from a few dozen people to hundreds.
"We had to expand our website's bandwidth due to so much traffic," he said. "We're gonna need some kind of respite."
Catholics opposed to a controversial billboard proclaiming the pope is the Antichrist were angry to discover the sign's owner – Outdoor Media Dimensions – failed to remove it after an Oregon man's yearlong contract ended.
The New York-based Catholic League said it was told by a company spokesman the sign would be taken down upon expiration of the contract.
"He's double-crossed us," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. "I'm going to give him an ultimatum – one more month [that the sign remains] and we'll wage war on him. The jig is up!"
Larry Weathers, the Oregon barber behind the placard reading, "The POPE Is The ANTICHRIST, Free Proof," wasn't backing down and hoped to continue broadcasting his message to those driving along Interstate 5 near Medford, Ore., for a few months longer.
"The only way that it's coming down is if it's forced down," Weathers said. "Rome is gonna get enflamed again."
While Newsweek was featuring Hollywood actors on its Feb. 2, 2005, cover and hyping the upcoming Oscars, readers of the Japanese edition were treated to a cover showing the U.S. flag in a garbage can and a headline reading "Dream On, America."
The feature on "the world's rejection of the American way of life" didn't appear in U.S. editions and, despite multiple calls from WND, did not appear to be something Newsweek was anxious to explain.
According to a translation on a blog site, a precede to the story read: "Although Bush calls for an 'expansion of freedom,' the world is not yearning after the 'country of freedom,' the United States, any longer. New evidence of a decline of the United States in every sphere has been confirmed."
"It's one thing for Newsweek to actively promote the notion that America is a 'dead,' 'rotting' country overseas," wrote another blogsite. "But it's quite another thing indeed to hide those efforts from its American readers. If Newsweek really think America is dead, and our flag belongs in the trash, why won't it tell us?"
Comedienne Rosie O'Donnell gave gun-rights advocates ammo with which to criticize her staunch opposition to the National Rifle Association when it was revealed her personal bodyguard had applied for a concealed gun permit, possibly to allow him to carry a weapon when accompanying one of her children to public school.
O'Donnell said that because of threats – which she attributed ironically to her tough gun-control rhetoric – she and her family needed protection.
While it was denied that the bodyguard would carry a gun to school – a prospect that upset many parents – a superintendent confirmed that the school's principal had been approached about whether an armed guard for O'Donnell's son would be welcome at the school when he entered kindergarten the following September.
"I don't personally own a gun," said O'Donnell, who had earlier berated actor Tom Selleck on her TV show over his appearances in NRA-sponsored commercials and promotions. "But if you are qualified, licensed and registered, I have no problem."
Despite a long record of injuring women – resulting in his being placed on probation for eight years before finally losing his license – the sentencing of one of Northern California's most notorious abortionists to a year in the county jail for killing one of his patients came as a shock to his supporters.
Dr. Bruce Steir, 68, was immediately taken into custody for the involuntary manslaughter of Sharon Hamptlon, a 27-year-old Medi-Cal patient who bled to death in front of her three-year-old son while being driven home by her mother after an abortion in December 1996.
According to the prosecutor, Steir knew he had punctured Hamptlon's uterus during the procedure, but failed to call emergency personnel because his medical license was already on probation for previous allegations of negligence.
"We're devastated," said Shauna Heckert, executive director of the Feminist Women's Health Center in Chico.
CBS Television promoted its debut of "The Amazing Race 4" by proudly proclaiming a male homosexual couple on the show to be married to each other, at a time when homosexual marriage was not legal anywhere in the U.S.
"Yes, they are a married, gay couple," a CBS spokeswoman said. "They're married and they're gay. Is there an issue?"
The online write-up on the "married" male couple included:
Twenty-eight-year-old Reichen is a pilot and teaches at a flight school in Los Angeles. A former U.S. Air Force officer and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force academy, he is married to his teammate Chip. He loves skiing and flying and is very into being physically fit. He describes himself as "detail-oriented, caring and thrill-seeking." He speaks French and has traveled internationally quite a bit. Reichen's views on relationships are much more liberal than Chip's – He enjoys flirting with other guys, but that makes Chip upset.
When Napa High School senior Kyle Trudelle began his art project – a mural depicting steps leading to a castle in the clouds – he didn't imagine some students would start a petition to stop him for violating the separation of church and state or school officials would order him to put down his brush while district lawyers reviewed the matter – particularly since there was already an adjacent mural depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, an important religious figure to Catholics and the large portion of the student body of Mexican decent.
He initially responded to critics who said his mural looked too much like heaven and blurred the boundary between church and state by agreeing to change it. However, he decided that wasn't the right course. His lawyer told the school he should be allowed to finish the work, because requiring a change would constitute discrimination, given the existing painting of the Virgin Mary already on the same wall.
"Kyle is incapable of violating the Establishment Clause because he is not an employee or agent of Napa High School," the attorney wrote.
Kyle hopes he gets to add the finishing touches before graduation.
Maybe it was just coincidence.
You go on national television and tell a secret you've kept for 22 years – that you were raped by the most-powerful man in the world, the current president of the United States – and you get a notice form the IRS that your business is going to be audited.
Maybe. But Juanita Broaddrick wasn't buying it and she decided to fight back by suing the Clinton White House and the Justice Department for conducting a campaign to "smear and destroy her reputation."
She was not alone – other Clinton critics had found themselves targeted by the IRS.
Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, former White House Travel Office Director Billy Dale and Elizabeth Ward Gracen have all accused the president of assault or harassment and were audited following their complaints. Dozens of Clinton's political "enemies" also were audited during the 1990s, including the National Rifle Association, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Heritage Foundation, American Spectator, National Review and the Western Journalism Center, founded by WorldNetDaily Editor and CEO Joseph Farah.