WND linked to long list of Internet news firsts

By Cheryl Chumley

On May 4, 1997, WorldNetDaily.com made its debut, the first independent news site founded specifically for the then-emerging medium, the Internet.

As it now approaches its 18th anniversary, it’s undergone a name change to WND and become a leading news hub with a reputation for hard-hitting journalism, breaking enterprise reports and a no-nonsense approach to weeding out the truths of political and cultural hot button issues of the day, irregardless of partisan concerns.

Also of note: WND was the first Internet-only news company to secure credentials to cover both Capitol Hill and the White House, a substantial underscore to the site’s recognition as a reputable and responsible journalism venture.

This is how veteran journalist and founder Joseph Farah, who started the news site with his wife, Elizabeth, puts it: “WND is an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty. … We also seek to stimulate a free-and-open debate about the great moral and political ideas facing the world and to promote freedom and self-government by encouraging personal virtue and good character.”

The site has been a thorn in the side to corruption, and to those who seek to advance their political causes and agendas by less-than-honorable means.

“WND Scoops” touts the many examples of the site’s exclusives, including warnings about the IRS acting as a political weapon, and the dangers of the militarization of local police departments, as far back as its first year.

For example, in just recent months, WND broke the story that the city of Houston had subpoenaed copies of sermons of several pastors who had objected to the city’s move toward a transgender-advocating society. It seems the city was demanding to know what the preachers were telling their parishioners about the fight over morals.

And when a federal judge in Texas issued an order halting President Obama’s amnesty program in its tracks earlier this year, WND reported on the decision and quoted from the ruling 20 minutes to an hour before other agencies.

Among other stories:

  • In 1999, WND first reported how White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster’s death was characterized as a professional “hit” in a 511-page court document charging obstruction of justice.
  • In 2000, on another issue that may seem familiar, WND reported on a stash of unrecorded West Wing emails totaling close to one million. The Justice Department’s campaign-finance task force had yet to see the trove of information. But it already, under Attorney General Janet Reno’s direction, had charged 24 people in its three-year criminal probe.
  • In 2005, WND’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein and nationally syndicated talk-show host Rusty Humphries conducted an exclusive interview with gun-toting leaders of the terror group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They were told that the Old and New Testaments were falsified.
  • In 2008, WND Editor in Chief Joseph Farah wrote about Obama’s “secret $439 billion plan for a mysterious initiative called the ‘civilian national security force.'” Why, he asked, “is it that the Obama campaign has gone mum on this proposal? Why is it that operatives keep promising us clarification that is never forthcoming? And, furthermore, is an expansion of the Foreign Service to the size of the $439 billion Defense Department (in 2007 dollars) really such an innocent idea?”
  • In 2012, WND’s Chelsea Schilling wrote about “Big Love” and “Sister Wives” television shows about polygamy, and the surging momentum for the status that was banned by Congress in 1862, based are arguments identical to those used by same-sex “marriage” advocates to pursue their agenda.
  • And it was WND writer Leo Hohmann who reported the Obama administration was greasing the skids for tens of thousands of refugees, mostly Muslim, to be brought from Syria to the United States and dropped off at cities across the countryside.

Between 1999 and 2001, WND was consistently voted most popular website on the Internet by the independent Global100.com based in Europe. WND also ranks high in terms of the “stickiness” factor – meaning, how much time readers stay on the site – and regularly bests CNN, MSNBC and even ESPN in this regard. And as for pageviews and minutes per page, two crucial rating considerations for online news sites, WND frequently hits at the top of the pack with more than 50 million pageviews per month, roughly 5 million of which are unique visitors. Amazon’s search and ratings affiliate, Alexa.com, ranks WND among its Top 500 websites, and Number One for independent news.

But WND is far more than a news site, stepping into some of the most important causes of the day and advocating for the side of freedom, independence and justice.

Among its campaigns: A giveaway guitar signed by patriotic rocker Ted Nugent; a giveaway football signed by noted Christian athlete Tim Tebow; and a giveaway contest of several items signed by some of freedom’s biggest names, from Chuck Norris to Sean Hannity.

It’s available for mobile devices and includes, beyond its extensive news report, interactive options for signing petitions to “secure the border,” “defend Christian businesses from persecution,” and “urge Congress to halt the growth of police state, USA.”

It features cartoons as opinion forums and then moves beyond the news to offer a Daily Blessing fixtures

It also includes a daily joke and the historical “American Minute.”

The long list of influential commentary writers include Farah, Barbara Simpson, Jason and David Benham, Chuck Norris, Christopher Monckton, Pat Buchanan, David Limbaugh, Phyllis Schlafly, Ben Carson, Andrew Napolitano, Alan Keyes and Pat Boone.

In 2002, the Farahs founded WND Books, making an immediate impact on the publishing stage with a New York Times No. 1 bestseller from Michael Savage, “The Savage Nation.”

Since, WND Books has brought several other titles to the bestsellers lists, giving numerous authors – some of whom have been disenfranchised by a liberal-dominated publishing industry – a substantial voice on current events, politics and history. In fact, WND Books, which started as a partner of first Thomas Nelson, and then, Cumberland Press, before going solo, follows the same guiding compass of WND as a “fiercely independent” organization, selecting and telling the stories others won’t.

WND offers numerous other products for sale, including its Whistleblower magazine, a paper monthly publication started in 2001 to provide fearless coverage of some of the most crucial topics of the day, as well as office supplies and sundries with biblical, constitutional and political messaging. As with its news site, WND took the lead on many of these endeavors: It’s the first Internet content service to launch a book publishing enterprise, a movie production division and an online store. The company’s also the first Internet news provider to actually see one of its books turned into a feature-length film.

Also produced is a weekly online magazine, WorldNetWeekly, and the premium Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin intelligence report also is linked.

But throughout its lengthy history and many morphings and growth, a constant has remained – to be “credible, fearless, independent” in news coverage, according to Joseph Farah.

Joseph Farah has more than 25 years of experience in newspapers, serving as editors for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Sacramento Union.

Elizabeth Farah has years of marketing, strategic planning, design and technology experience and now serves as WND’s chief marketing officer.


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