Happy 20th anniversary to WND!

May 4, 1997: It was 20 years ago today that Joseph and Elizabeth Farah got the idea to start what they deemed at the time as “the first Internet newspaper.”

Even many of their closest friends and supporters were skeptical.

WND CEO and Editor Joseph Farah

WND CEO and Editor Joseph Farah

“It wasn’t exactly that we didn’t have the credentials for such an undertaking. Elizabeth was a gifted marketing person and adept at learning new skills like HTML, the new language of this medium. I had spent 25 years in the newspaper business, the last 10 actually running major market dailies,” Joseph Farah explained in a 2012 column.

“It was a question of resources. We didn’t have any,” he said. “It was also a question of doing something that had not previously been attempted before. It had not.”

Farah continued: “Yet, I was convinced that a national or global newspaper devoted to the honest pursuit of truth – no matter where it led – had great potential and represented a great public service, one for which I believed God had specifically trained me.”

Elizabeth Farah

Elizabeth Farah

Since there was nothing else like “WorldNetDaily,” as it was known then, it became something of an instant success – at least in terms of building an audience rapidly. Between Matt Drudge’s uncanny sense of news judgment and WND’s fledgling news-gathering team, the New Media were born.

You can read the whole story behind it – including the trials and the tribulations – in Farah’s autobiography, “Stop the Presses: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution.”

WND-20-YearsSuffice it to say that May 4, 1997, was an auspicious day in that revolution.

This was an endeavor built on an actual mission statement – one WND has attempted to remain faithful to over the last 20 years:

“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 remain faithful to the traditional and central role of a free press in a free society – as a light exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power. 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.”

“We take that mission very seriously,” Farah said, “and even our harshest critics would have to agree that WND is a fiercely independent news company committed to hard-hitting investigative reporting of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in government and other powerful institutions.”

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Swift-Boat Vets fire 1st round across Kerry’s bow

John Kerry representing Vietnamese Veterans Against the War at a protest in Washington, D.C., April 20-21, 1971 (Photo: Library of Congress, LC-U9-24273)

John Kerry representing Vietnamese Veterans Against the War at a protest in Washington, D.C., April 20-21, 1971 (Photo: Library of Congress, LC-U9-24273)

May 4, 2004: 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, 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.

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