Fake news is a term that has gained extreme traction since 2016. The rise of Donald Trump and the significant changing of the U.S. Republican Party since the economic collapse of 2008 has assisted heavily in the rise of right-wing and libertarian fake news organizations, yet this is not a new phenomenon. Heavily biased news outlets pushing forth baseless claims or false news stories in order to attain a political goal or gain income has been very common in global society and politics since the time of antiquity. In modern times with the advent of the internet and a technologically connected society, fake news has grown exponentially. One of the first to capitalize on this new technology and politically fragmented society was WorldNetDaily (WND).
WorldNetDaily is a website and company that many may not be familiar with. They are not as well-known as InfoWars or Newsmax, however, they have been just as powerful and just as influential.
WND is extremely prolific in the promulgation of conspiracy theories and extreme right-wing propaganda and talking points. In fact, some with knowledge on the site’s activities and those who have diligently researched them regard WND as one of the most influential and largest websites for promoting right-wing rhetoric around, as well as being one of the oldest websites for such views. Many essentially credit this site with being the precursor to Alex Jones’ InfoWars and inspiring a fleet of similar sites that endorse and proliferate right-wing and anti-Liberal propaganda for their own objectives.
Despite the age of the site and the fact that many have not heard nor are as familiar with this site comparatively with other sites, WND has been able to amass a significant following. Examining their social media formats, I have found that the site has almost 65,000 followers on Twitter, and 10,000 subscribers and almost two million views on YouTube. The site itself alleges it, “attracts nearly 5 million unique visitors a month and more than 40 million pageviews”. This is sizeable and, although it pales in comparison to InfoWars’ legions, the site has a significant presence on social media and in the public eye, even having a book company to publish their own texts.
In the sites about page, they plainly and clearly inform the reader as to their intentions, stating, “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”.
Basically, in a manner similar to others, WND desires to provide journalism that reports the truth of the matter, holds people and organizations accountable for their actions, provide a constructive debate on ideas surrounding society, politics, economics, and domestic/foreign policy and overall promote objectives that falls in line with how journalist societies and universities desire to teach and instruct their members and students in the craft.
WND does not abide by this policy nor do they seek to provide a constructive debate around important issues involving U.S. developments and global current events. Instead, their ultimate goal is to provide an outlet for the most extreme right-wing views and lend credence to conspiracy theories, pseudoscience beliefs, and hatred for various peoples who are commonly seen as representing liberal values or are more generally hated by those on the right.
A Short History of WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily was created in May of 1997, two years before InfoWars and a full ten years before Breitbart arrived on the scene. To call WND the precursor of modern day, right-wing, conspiracy theorist, conservatism would be absolutely accurate as they predate many of the sites that today are synonymous with extreme conservatism and conspiracy promulgation. The initial content posted on the site, however, seems to be somewhat innocuous and almost childish, with articles describing a “1997 parlor trick” and containing a very long listing of the National Debt from 1791 to 1997. As time progressed, the right-wing sentiments became even more clear, with the site being the birthplace of the Obama Birther conspiracy and hosting tons of other articles and content that plays on many of the farthest conservative and right-wing talking points.
The Facts and WorldNetDaily
To start, there are many times when WND has made statements and published stories that are false or not backed up by any real, tangible evidence. In the site’s long, twenty-three-year history, they have been known to publish stories that are lacking factually, misuse quotes, and deliberately misinterpret stories to better serve the site’s political machinations or get views on articles. In fact, while most fact-checking organizations, naturally, focus on more current events and political matters, there is an abundance of evidence that WND has, from very early on, misled their readers and published faulty or false information.
In September of 2000, right when the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election was heating up, WND ran a three-part series on the Democratic nominee Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States under President Bill Clinton. Their series overall contended illegal action on Gore’s part involving environmental/farming matters in relation to Gore’s uncle, however, the third part is where things become even more pronounced by alleging that Gore killed a state law enforcement narcotics investigation into “Clark Jones, a Savannah car dealer and a key fund-raiser for Gore”. Basically, the article and the series tries to paint a picture of Gore that alleges his and others involvement in drug trafficking and public corruption. A Nashville publication interviewed Barry Sulkin, the director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and a former member of Tennessee’s Department of Conservation, who commented on the reported conspiracy stating, “Nobody tried to get the state off their back because the state is still on their back. If there were strings to be pulled, they didn’t get pulled”.
In response, Clark Jones filed suit against WND and the individual reporters who published the story and, “during the course of litigation, a Tennessee appeals court held that WorldNetDaily.com could not rely on statements of anonymous sources to make out its defense of truth without revealing the identity of those sources”. In the end, after the Tennessee Supreme Court denied to hear WND’s appeal as it was improper, WND settled out of court and released a joint statement, writing, “Discovery has revealed to WorldNetDaily.com that no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated. Additionally, no document has been discovered that provides any verification that the statements written were true… [FOIA documents from law enforcement agencies] confirm Clark Jones’ assertion that his name has never been on law enforcement computers, that he has not been the subject of any criminal investigation nor has he interfered with any investigation as stated in the articles. Discovery has also revealed that the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context”. So, WND, by exhibiting no such investigative journalistic tendencies and even taking evidence out of context, was able to create a story where there was none and essentially tarnished someone’s reputation.
Sometime after 28 May 2009, WND placed an ad in Human Events, a conservative political newspaper, which detailed their response to a discussion between one of their own correspondents (Lester Kinsolving) and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs revolving around Obama’s birth certificate. Kinsolving alleges that Obama’s “long form birth certificate listing hospital and physician” has not been released on the internet, prompting Gibbs to respond, “This question in many ways continues to astound me. The state of Hawaii provided a copy, with a seal, of the president’s birth. I know there are apparently at least 400,000 people that continue to doubt the existence of and the certification by the state of Hawaii of the president’s birth there, but it’s on the Internet because we put it on the Internet for each of those 400,000 to download. I certainly hope by the fourth year of our administration that we’ll have dealt with this burgeoning birth controversy”. In WND’s ad in the publication, they allege that Gibbs lied to Kinsolving.
However, the fact-checker PolitiFact noted:
“WorldNetDaily is correct that the Obama campaign didn’t post his original birth certificate on the Internet. But their suggestion that there is some significant difference between the two documents is wrong. They both prove the same thing. Maybe the original would identify the hospital where Obama was born, but that’s irrelevant. The issue is what city, and therefore country, was he born. The document posted by the campaign proves Obama was born in Honolulu, according to Health Department officials. And that’s really the central issue here. The Health Department says the “Certification of Live Birth” is Hawaii’s version of a birth certificate. Calling it by other names — Certificate of Live Birth, Certification of Live Birth — is just semantics. WorldNetDaily may be right that the original birth certificate wasn’t posted, but if Hawaii says the the [sic] document Obama posted can rightly be called Obama’s birth certificate, how is Gibbs lying? We harbor no delusions that anything we say here will slow the persistent drumbeat of the birthers, but we rule this statement False”.
Due to a probably deliberate attempt to keep the birther movement alive, WND misconstrued Hawaii’s Department of Health’s description of birth certificates to their readers and tried to continue dispensing misinformation.
In a 02 August 2009 article, titled “Is this really the smoking gun of Obama’s Kenyan birth?” the authors (rather broadly referred to as “WND Staff”) contend that new documents show “[Obama’s] birth date as Aug. 4, 1961, and the hospital of birth as Coast General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. No doctor is listed. But the alleged certificate bears the signature of the deputy registrar of Coast Province, Joshua Simon Oduya. It was allegedly issued as a certified copy of the original in February 1964,” taking documents that were apparently given to Californian attorney Orly Taitz by an anonymous source. As far as the document goes, it was almost immediately criticized.
Media Matters for America pointed out that, “in order to believe Taitz and WND, one would have to assume that this document was requested 45 years ago, preserved that entire time, withheld through the entire election and transition period, and yet somehow ended up in the hands of someone sympathetic to Orly Taitz,” while also noting, “The document posted by WND purports to have been produced by the “Republic of Kenya” on February 17, 1964. But Kenya didn’t even become a republic until December 12, 1964. An article from that day’s Washington Post, for example, reported that “Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight”. Apparently, the WND article was also updated without WND informing the reader of taking such action as they responded to the Media Matters article and defended the document by engaging in a debate about when the country gained independence. Media Matters again points out, “WND’s focus on the date of Kenyan independence is a straw man. No one is disputing that Kenya gained independence in 1963. But that isn’t the same as when it became a republic. Indeed, the December 12, 1964, Washington Post article we posted reported: “Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight. … Kenya became independent in December, 1963 and has now shed its dominion status, while remaining in the Commonwealth” [emphasis added by Media Matters],” while basically showing that WND is confusing independence with the establishment of a republic. Also, in the next few days after Taitz made her claims, an Australian birth certificatebearing, “the same seal” was found with “the same document numbers at the top left and top right corners and have identical book and page numbers. The names of the registrar and district registrar are remarkably similar as well”. The judge later threw out the case “on procedural grounds”.
Furthermore, the source which WND is relying on is a rather discredited one. Taitz had, prior to her being utilized a source in the August 2009 article, made unfounded claims that Hugo Chavez (then president of Venezuela) owned and controlled the voting machine software used in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, Goldman Sachs operates the U.S. Treasury, a Congressman and a House bill are developing six labor camps for civilians, and that Obama has held multiple Social Security cards all while claiming that Google is in cahoots with Obama to cover up any type of true past. For all of the blustering, she has failed to find much evidence to support her claims, most likely why state legislative authorities, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and anyone besides the far-right fringe minority have not taken her seriously.
On 29 January 2010, WND ran an article with the title, “Taxpayers’ $101,000 includes Pelosi’s in-flight ‘food, booze’,” while alleging that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi utilized $101,000 USD of taxpayers money “for “in-flight services” – including food and liquor… [for] trips on Air Force jets over the last two years,” citing FOIA documents held by Judicial Watch and making similar claims in conjunction with Judicial Watch’s story. In what is most probably a deliberate twisting of the facts, the story is untrue.
FactCheck.org ran an article on this, examining all of the statements made in and by the article, writing:
“Judicial Watch is wrong in several respects. Our examination of the documents reveals that Judicial Watch overstated the amount of money spent on “in-flight expenses” for Pelosi’s congressional delegations, or CODELs [Congressional delegation]. Furthermore, Judicial Watch, a watchdog group that describes itself as “conservative,” failed to compare Pelosi’s costs with those of the previous speaker, Republican Dennis Hastert, even though the Air Force handed over documents covering CODELs that he led, as well as those led by Pelosi. And the fact is that Hastert’s travel, as represented in Judicial Watch’s own documents, was comparable to Pelosi’s… The total [more that $100,000] includes expenses other than “food and booze,”… Judicial Watch calculated that Pelosi’s CODELs spent precisely $101,429.14 over two years for what it calls “in-flight expenses.” We asked Judicial Watch for an explanation of its accounting, and the group sent us a spreadsheet that covered three of the nine Pelosi CODELs represented in its documents, plus 47 speaker shuttles to and from Pelosi’s home district. From the three CODELs it covers, it’s clear that Judicial Watch is counting as “in-flight expenses” any non-reimbursable Air Force expenditure besides transportation costs. That category actually includes all non-plane costs of the trip, including baggage fees, meeting room rentals and refreshments, and, frequently, good-will lapel pins — as well as meals, ground transportation and lodging in U.S. territory… Judicial Watch [and WND] makes claims about Pelosi’s 103 CODELs, but its documents only cover 17 delegations – nine led by Pelosi, and eight by her predecessor, Dennis Hastert. Of those nine, Pelosi’s husband traveled with her on five CODELs, reimbursing the Air Force for his costs. There are more Pelosi CODELs than the documents show — Pelosi’s office tells us she’s been on 12 international CODELs and a handful of domestic ones since becoming speaker. But that’s still far short of 103, and Judicial Watch offers no supplementary evidence to back up that number, which its own documents contradict. Judicial Watch seems to have conflated CODELs with speaker shuttles, where the speaker travels to his or her home district. Since 2001, the speaker has been authorized to use military transport for shuttles, as we explained in an earlier piece when Judicial Watch erroneously claimed that Pelosi used a jumbo jet for these trips. Even that doesn’t bring the total to 103… Judicial Watch [and WND] fails to note that this practice is both bipartisan and of long standing. Its own documents show that Pelosi’s Republican predecessor’s CODELs also provided snacks, alcohol and meals to participating representatives, who were often accompanied by their spouses. If Judicial Watch disapproves of the menus on CODEL flights, its gripe is with Congress and the Air Force, not only with the current speaker”.
So, by taking a less than credible source and failing to fully examine all of the information provided, WND ran a story that was blatantly false and misrepresented important pieces of information to further a political goal. Despite making wild claims and being proven wrong, WND issued no correction nor update to the article, leaving it as originally published.
On 03 July of the same year, WND posted a story titled, “Missing: $ 1.3 billion in taxpayers’ money,” which detailed how, “[according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report] Planned Parenthood Federation of America cannot find some $1.3 billion given to it by the federal government from 2002 through 2008… [the organization] had received $2.02 billion in federal grants from 2002 through 2008 but that the nation’s largest abortion-industry player only reported spending $657.1 million of the taxpayer funds”. PolitiFact again wrote about this issue and gave it a “Pants on Fire” rating, stating:
“[The report] compiled federal funds disbursed to family planning agencies for the fiscal years 2002 to 2009. The agencies included Advocates for Youth, the Guttmacher Institute, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Population Council and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States… The report documented how much different groups received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for HIV/AIDS, family planning, and reproductive health, both in the United States and abroad. The report stated that Planned Parenthood spent $657.1 million in federal funds between 2002 and 2009… there was no statement nor any evidence anywhere in the GAO report that Planned Parenthood received $2.02 billion or that any money was missing,” while also detailing that WND took their source for the two billion unaccounted for dollars from a Washington Post op-ed written by the director of an anti-Planned Parenthood organization and that the GAO report only details funds given by the federal government directly to Planned Parenthood, not from federal hands to state hands or subcontractors to in turn give to Planned Parenthood… The GAO also didn’t say that there was any sort sort [sic] of discrepancy or that money was missing, as the headline on WorldNetDaily’s news report said. The website’s conclusion was reached by looking at numbers not even mentioned in the GAO report. In fact the statement conflates two different sets of numbers and is an extreme case of comparing apples to oranges, taking one number calculated by the GAO, and another calculated by adding numbers published in Planned Parenthood’s annual reports. The difference is what is claimed to be missing. Planned Parenthood includes all federal, state and local money under the category “government grants and contracts” in its annual reports. The GAO only looked at direct federal funding and noted it was likely undercounting the amount Planned Parenthood receives. The statement irresponsibly suggests misappropriation of federal funds without any evidence. That makes it not just false, but ridiculously so”.
As PolitiFact states quite well, the WND article was not in line with what the GAO report showed and was backed up by no evidence to support it. Running a story like this that is based on a provable lie is extremely dishonest and unfair to their readers. As with the previous story on Pelosi, this story is not updated, corrected, nor wholesale removed to properly reflect the circumstances of the story.
In an 04 August 2010 article published by WND, the website made the broad allegation that “Elena Kagan was nominated for a position on the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama as a tit-for-tat payment of Kagan’s assistance in using her position as U.S. Solicitor General to fend off lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility for the presidency… [Kagan] has actually been playing a role for some time in the dispute over whether Obama is legally qualified to be in the White House” and that a “simple search of the high court’s own website reveals Kagan’s name coming up at least nine times on dockets involving Obama eligibility issues,” then went on to suggest that all nine of the referenced docket items were dismissed due to Kagan’s influence, an action for which President Obama “owes her big time” and has rewarded her with a quid pro quo Supreme Court nomination”.
As Snopes points out:
“None of the nine docket items cited by WND was about “whether Obama is legally qualified to be in the White House.” The WND article simply cites the results of a non-specific search on all Supreme Court docket items containing the names “Obama” and “Kagan” and misleadingly claims them all as “involving Obama eligibility issues,” without regard for the real underlying issues of those cases. Each of the docket items included the name of the lower court from which it was appealed, as well as a case number. Using those pieces of information as reference points for looking up the subject of each of the cited docket items (as WND utterly failed to do) revealed that NONE of the nine entries cited by WND had anything at all to do with cases challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to hold the office of President of the United States; in fact, most of them actually stemmed from cases which were originally filed against the federal government long before the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama (but which since “rolled over” to the current administration)”.
This article is a rarity however, as it was updated and completely rewritten, focusing on a different subject concerning Kagan and omitting the allegations concerning Obama and Kagan and the birth certificate while placing an edit at the top of the article.
In two 10 October 2010 articles, WorldNetDaily made allegations that President Obama’s ring has an Arabic inscription which says “There is no god except Allah,” which is part of the Shahada, a profession of faith in the Islamic faith. This article specifically cites Joel Gilbert as a source, who I will get to in a moment. In another article, published the same day albeit an hour later, predominantly quotes an article from The Blaze, which in turn quotes an anonymous professor from Duke University who says that the inscription on the ring is Arabic. The first article with the claim is also written by Jerome Corsi, who is a very notable and important figure in the modern-day, general conspiracy theorist pool whom I will get to later.
First, the article cites Joel Gilbert as a source, using him as a source of credibility (similarly in the way WND used Taitz).
However, Gilbert is perhaps best well known for his many “documentaries”, all of which focus on different conspiracy theories that Gilbert claims to be able to prove; these include Elvis Presley being alive (claiming FOIA documents led him to the real man who was interviewed for the film) and Paul McCartney having been dead since 1966 (as well as claiming George Harrison narrates the film, which, by all accounts, he does not and there is evidence to believe that some of the evidence was manipulated by Gilbert). His most important documentary was titled Dream From My Real Father, which alleges that Obama’s real father was “[a] left-wing poet and Communist activist,” while also alleging, “…Dunham’s [Obama’s mother] marriage was a cover-up, and that Obama’s grandfather was a CIA operative”. More shockingly, the film alleges that “photos of a naked woman wearing leather gloves, boots, and a corset in a suggestive pose… is Obama’s mother Ann Dunham,” with Gilbert providing evidence by saying he compared the picture to that of older pictures of Dunham, not taking them to a photographic expert. He claimed too that Obama underwent plastic surgery to conceal the identity of his real father while also claiming that “Bill Clinton has a thirty-year old son with a black prostitute” in spite of the fact that the man’s DNA had already been tested in 1999 and proved that Clinton was not the man’s father.
Second, the claim that there is a secret inscription on the ring that is Islamic simply lacks evidence. An editor for The Florida Times-Union covered this in one of her articles, writing, that many notable fact-checking organizations tried to find evidence supporting the claim, but failed.
“The images used to illustrate the WND contentions are either blurry, low-resolution close-ups, or shots taken at a distance. Snopes.com points to a high-resolution photograph taken by Miguel Villagran during a June 2009 news conference in Dresden, Germany, in which the ring has a plain loop pattern. Snopes.com shared that photograph with six people fluent in written Arabic, and all of them said the pattern was an abstract one with no discernable meaning in Arabic. Emery [of About.com] agreed that WND’s images seemed forced, “with no clear indication that the symbols on Obama’s ring were even Arabic.” The Christian Post reported that the Digital Journal used three separate translation services – “Translation Babylon,” “Translate Google” and “Translation Services USA” – to look up the English to Arabic translation of the phrase “No God but Allah.” When compared to Villagran’s high-res image of the ring, the Arabic symbols found with the three translation services did not match”.
Rich Buhler, the creator of TruthorFiction.com, wrote:
“Regardless of what is inscribed on his ring, President Obama has on a number of occasions stated that he is a Christian. When he visited Cairo in 2009 he said, “Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.” … For a Muslim to say such a statement would be a violation of the Islamic law of blasphemy. This could result in prosecution of a crime, where in some Muslim countries is punishable by death”.
As well, another interesting point is that Corsi, the article’s author, had previously claimed that the same ring (which was on Obama’s left hand) indicated that, “Obama was once married to his college roommate from Pakistan,” claiming to have strong evidence of Obama sitting on his roommate’s lap. It is interesting to me that Corsi would first make this claim, yet then claim that the ring means something else entirely.
In a December 2012 article, WND tries to claim that Obama was elected President in 2012 due to fraudulent means. The article utilizes imperfect math, artificially created material, and the desire to find a story where there is none to manufacture evidence that Obama was elected via fraudulent means. As pointed out by a variety of sources including FactCheck.org, Snopes, the New Yorker magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and Slate magazine, all of these claims alleging voter fraud in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election these claims are false and wildly inaccurate.
In a now deleted 21 January 2018 article titled “California To Register Illegal Aliens To Vote – Automatically,” WND makes the claim that undocumented immigrants (the proper legal terminology) will be able to vote in California under a new law, this being proliferated quickly on Fox News, OANN, and on social media by various conservative and right-wing media organizations and individuals.
PolitiFact rates this claim as being blatantly false, writing:
“Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60 in 2013, making California the 10th state to allow driver licenses for people in the country illegally. The goal was to increase public safety and reduce penalties for undocumented immigrants who drive… In 2015, Brown signed the New Motor Voter law. By April, it will automatically register DMV customers to vote when they renew or obtain a driver’s license or fill out change of address forms, unless the customer opts-out. Under the law, the DMV would electronically send information for those eligible to register to vote — which does not include undocumented residents — to the California Secretary of State’s Office. That office would, in turn, verify name and citizenship information… “Undocumented Californians are not eligible to register to vote at the DMV,” Gonzalez [the California DMV’s Spokeswoman] told PolitiFact California. “And we have programming measures in place to prevent that from occurring”.
So, had WND performed any type of investigative tactic to verifying the information or looked at the publicly available evidence, then this entire article would not have been written nor would the claim have been repeated and influenced more people. The odds of WND doing this inadvertently is slim as it would require them to see the law at first glance and run a story on it without even bothering to read the actual text. Either they are incredible lazy or they deliberately ran a story to confuse, mislead, and put forth a false story to advance a political view.
As with other fake news enterprises, WND has capitalized on the SARS CoV-2 crisis by reporting information along a more Conservative, right-wing line of thought.
In April of 2020, WND published a story on COVID that predominantly takes its information from Kurt Wittkoswki, a biostatistician at Rockefeller University, who states, “The virus could be “exterminated” within weeks if people were allowed to lead normal lives and the vulnerable were sheltered until the virus passes… the only thing that stops respiratory diseases is herd immunity… “About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children,”… “So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible”.
However, Wittkowski’s suggestion of using herd immunity to combat the virus (as a primary aim) is one that has been repudiated and criticized by many in the academic and public health community.
USA Today, in an article on this topic, explores the effectiveness of herd immunity, writing:
“Although it is possible to achieve herd immunity through infection, “you don’t rely on the very deadly infectious agent to create an immune population,” Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist at the Yale School of Medicine, told The Atlantic. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Harvard University, said between the two options of achieving herd immunity through infection versus vaccination, “I would certainly advocate for the latter.” Relying solely on herd immunity through widespread exposure to combat COVID-19 would overwhelm hospitals and put the elderly and people with preexisting conditions at risk, he said…Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization, said in an interview with the BBC she has doubts about achieving herd immunity through infection because too little is known about the virus to determine whether it would be effective,” while also detailing how, when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a similar plan, “his chief scientific adviser revoked the statement… [and] more than 500 behavioral scientists published a letter that criticized Johnson’s justification, citing a lack of evidence…We find the claim that herd immunity would stop COVID-19 rather than flattening the curve to be partly false. While it is true that herd immunity may eventually be achieved as a result of vaccination or widespread infection, it is false to say that infection it is [sic] the best way to achieve herd immunity or that it definitively would achieve it, based on our research. Other factors such as access to testing and medical equipment, social distancing, and quarantining help stop respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Further, experts say too little is know [sic] about the novel coronavirus to ensure herd immunity would offer complete protection from infection”.
In another 10 April 2020 article, largely a reprint from The Spectator, WND writes how a Minnesota State Senator and medical doctor, Scott Jensen, detailed that, “he received a 7-page document coaching him to fill out death certificates with a COVID-19 diagnosis without a lab test to confirm the patient actually had the virus… Dr. Jensen also disclosed that hospitals are paid more if they list patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis. And hospitals get paid THREE TIMES AS MUCH if the patient then goes on a ventilator”.
However, Jensen’s allegations and claims have been misquoted and misinterpreted as detailed by a FactCheck.orginterview with Jensen. They, along with Snopes and USA Today, all agree that, while it is true that hospitals who list COVID-19 on a death certificate or place patients on a ventilator receive higher payments, these payments are for those treated with COVID-19 and there is no widespread fraudulent reporting of patients that do not have the disease yet are marked as such. With WND, while there is nothing factually inaccurate in their four-line article, the way in which they provide little information as to exactly what the Senator said can lead some to believe that hospitals are fraudulently listing COVID-19 on death certificates. A lack of providing all available information here results in WND misinforming their readers and leading them down a path that results in a more conspiratorial view of the medical community during a public health crisis.
It is also apparent that another tactic of WND is to not provide the full information on a case to their readers. In a 06 December 2018 article, they discuss how a Las Vegas man, after getting a flu shot, “lost his vision and ability to walk,” noting that the man was being treated for Guillain-Barre Syndrome and that the CDC “has documented such symptoms after a flu shot,” and that the family will no longer be getting flu shots. However, WND gets some things wrong here. It is true that a man did become paralyzed, lost his vision, and the use of his limbs some 36 hours after getting a flu shot, yet what is important and contrary to the story is even noted in the source cited by WND.
In the KSNV article, they note, “According to the CDC, there is a link between the flu shot and GBS, but it’s extremely rare. Statistics show 1 to 2 people develop GBS from the flu shot per 1-million vaccinations”. As well, while the family has said they will not be getting flu shots, in a KVVU-TV interview, “The family said they are not opposed to vaccines. They said in the future, they will be doing more research”. So, WND neglected to provide the full information about the linkage between GBS and the flu shot, leading people to believe that it may be more widespread than medically believed in addition to failing to mention, as brought up in the KVVU-TV article, than the man would be in full health in a year and that the family does not necessarily harbor a hatred of vaccines.
These are not the only times that WND has published faulty material either. Upon examining their track record more closely (following their editor-in-chief’s outburst over being portrayed (in his mind) wrongly in an episode of HBO’s The Newsroom), HuffPost found multiple additional times when WND knowingly published material that was not backed by evidence and met no journalistic standards. They write:
“In 2005, WND treated as real an April Fool’s story on the website Gawker that CBS was rushing into production a TV movie about the Terri Schiavo case after buying the rights to the story from her husband… In 2005, WND was forced to retract a article by Klein that falsely linked the charity Islamic Relief to terrorism and suggested that it was raising money for orphans that don’t exist… WND posted an Oct. 12, 2012, article by Jerome Corsi with the screaming headline “TRINITY CHURCH MEMBERS REVEAL OBAMA SHOCKER!“ in which it is strongly hinted that Obama played a role in the deaths of at least one gay man who “was murdered to protect Obama.” That’s just a section of the fetid cesspool of slime Jerome Corsi dived into in a last-ditch attempt to stop Obama’s re-election”.
WND has no ability to back up any of these claims and has shown themselves to be incapable of discerning between fact and fiction as per the Gawker article they took as fact.
NewsGuard Technologies, a browser extension developed by two former lawyers and investigative journalists for the purpose of analyzing news organizations and rating them in terms of factual veracity, ownership, opinionated and original reporting content, has also made their own analysis of WND, finding even more information pointing to a duplicitous nature and one revolving around a very centered political ideology. They write:
The site and its owners have been among the most vocal proponents of a baseless conspiracy theory that former U.S. President Barack Obama’s birth certificate may be illegitimate and that he may not be a natural-born citizen. Even after Obama released as long-form birth certificate in 2011, writers continued publishing stories rising doubts about the legitimacy.
In 2016, for example, one writer referenced the “investigation” into Obama’s birth by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and alleged that “evidence suggest the involvement of the Hawaiian government in the alleged fabrication.” The writer stated that “some of the images on the Obama document image apparently we’re copied from an original birth certificate that belongs to my name Joanna Ah’nee,” a claim that has not been corroborated by credible sources. Ah’nee claims to have kept her certificate locked away prior to the release of Obama’s; therefore, the writer claims, “only the Hawaiian government which has a document image could’ve used it to copy elements onto Obama’s.”
The site continues to raise questions about Obama’s birthplace, asking in a 2018 column, “So, which is it – a native-born son of Kenya, native-born of Hawaii or native-born citizen of the world?” In the article, the writer references a 1991 description of Obama by his then-literary agent that erroneously reported his birthplace as Kenya – a mistake the agent publicly corrected.
In an email to NewsGuard, co-owner Joseph Farah defended the site’s line of inquiry into Obama’s birthplace, stating, “While the press was quick to salute it [Obama’s birth certificate] without inspection, we subjected it to the kind of rigorous forensics tests worthy of such a national controversy.” The document, whose authenticity was confirmed by the Hawaii State Department of Health, has not been shown by any credible forensic or other test to be a forgery.
The site has also promoted a conspiracy that suggests President Bill and Hillary Clinton have orchestrated or been involved in the deaths of numerous figures were about to reveal incriminating evidence against them. The site has published a list of individuals – labeled “Clinton Death List” and referred to in other stories as the “Clinton Body Count” – whose “mysterious deaths” it says are connected to the Clinton family or Clinton Foundation. Official statements from law enforcement and medical authorities have indicated that many of the deaths caused by health issues or suicide with no evidence of foul play.
Among the first death cited by WND and other sites to support the Clinton murders theory was that of former Deputy White House Council Vince Foster in 1993. Five official investigations found Foster’s death a suicide yet WND has described ”theories about foul play and cover-up” related to Fosters death. In 2017, the site added to his list Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, who authorities said was murdered in a robbery attempt.
In one story, the site reported that Rich “reportedly sent more than 44,000 DNC emails to WikiLeaks,” an allegation that was undermined in July 2018 when 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted in the Russia hacking probe for allegedly stealing emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign and coordinating the release with WikiLeaks. In November 2018, WND added an Editor’s Note correcting the claim a year and a half after the story was published, and just after NewsGuard asked Farah about the story.
Nevertheless, Rich remains on WND’s “Clinton Death List,” and several other stores on WND suggest connection between Rich and the DNC email leak.
Asked about the site’s list of Clinton-linked suspicious deaths, Farah said that “WND made no allegations that these deaths were the responsibility of Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were raised as strange anomalies. I totally reject that there’s anything irresponsible in these reports.”
However, the site’s list includes a quotation from radio host Rush Limbaugh stating: “There is a Clinton body count.” The list also quotes somebody identified as “Kosar” from conservative news site ThePoliticalInsider.com who asks, “Could this be Hillary Clinton silencing people who know too much?”
Asked about the sites list of Clinton link suspicious deaths father said that WND made no allegations that he’s desperate responsibility of Bill and Hillary Clinton they were raised a strange anomalies I totally reject that there’s anything irresponsible in these reports however the sites list include quotation from radio host Rush Limbaugh stating there is a Clinton body count the list also “somebody identified his costar from conservative news site the political insider.com who asks could this be Hillary Clinton silencing people who know too much
WND’s distortions are not limited to politics. The site has published stories by prominent vaccine skeptic Robert F Kennedy, Jr., who promotes an unfounded theory that a connection exist between vaccines and autism. Other writers on the site have also supported the theory, including in a 2016 column in which the writer cites increased record cases of autism, coupled with mandatory measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines, as evidence of a causal connection between vaccines and autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, among other reputable scientific organizations, have publicly denounced claims of any such connection.
In addition to publishing false information and promoting conspiracies, writers frequently distort or cherry pick information to advance their opinions.
… [a] Column from November 2018 concerning the conviction of former Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, ran under the headline, “The Deep State imprisons another good guy.” The writer, Rachel Alexander, minimizes the evidence against Stockman that led to his conviction on 23 charges of fraud and related crimes, which the writer characterized as “vague.” Instead, Alexander stated without evidence that, “The U.S. Department of Justice is full of deep state operatives” who “went after Stockman hard because he was a threat.”
Asked about the column, Farah said that Alexander is a “commentator, not a reporter, and welcome to offer block of opinions that WND. We believe in free speech.”
Also in November 2018, Farah wrote a column titled “Where Did All These Voters Come From?” In it, he voices skepticism about voter turnout statistics in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and asserts that, “When Republicans vote in America, Republicans actually vote. That’s not the case among Democrats.” Farah cites as evidence of widespread Democratic voter fraud a video published by the conservative undercover sting group Project Veritas that shows a Travis County, Texas poll worker discussing voter registration. “It would be wrong to speculate that these things can happen,” Farah wrote. “it’s a fact that this kind of activity is part of any Democratic Party game plan.”
In the video the Project Veritas employee ask the poll worker if a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient could vote, to which the park responded by saying that he could, if he were registered. The poll worker did not appear familiar with DACA, whose recipients (undocumented immigrants brought the US as children) are eligible for work permits, but not that are not citizens and therefore cannot vote. Ronald Morgan, the Travis County Chief Deputy Clerk whose office is in charge of the polling station where the incident took place, told The Hill that he had not found evidence of non-citizens voting, and also stated that it was illegal for Project Veritas to film a poll worker in the first place.
As of March 2019, no government authorities have reported evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2018 midterm election in Texas or elsewhere.
Farah defended the column by emphasizing it is his opinion and that the conclusion of the Travis County Chief Deputy Clerk “hardly stands as the last word.”
Because WND does not state a political or ideological orientation yet cherry-picks stories and facts to advance its point of view, NewsGuard has determined that it does not responsibly handle the difference between news and opinion. WND.cm has a contact form on its site that readers can use to request corrections. However, multiple stories on the web site with false information remain uncorrected.
Factually, it is apparent (both in the eyes of academic and journalistic authorities and in my own examinations of the site) that WND is not a valid source of information. They are heavily biased towards a far-right point of view, lack the most basic investigatory techniques, rely upon incredible and unreliable sources, and have even admitted they have employed writers and run stories that misquoted material, twisted material, and essentially took evidence and shaped it until it fit their own desired view on things.
Not only has WND run stories that are blatantly false and pander to conservatives, yet they also run content that falls in line with the logic and ideology of many in the far-right community who harbor racist attitudes. Much of their articles fall along the lines of increasing hatred and fear of African-American and other minority peoples by reporting almost exclusively on those incidents. A list of these articles are below;
As one can see, there is a lot of inciting articles here that, provided one consumed media from this site or purely sites that are right-wing like the Gateway Pundit, InfoWars, and the Drudge Report, would lead one to believe that African-Americans commit crime against whites at an extremely high rate, higher than those committed intraracially. This idea is based upon pseudoscientific historical beliefs in addition to being completely factually inaccurate. Also, these are articles are predominantly news articles, they are not listed as commentary or opinion, but are displayed as being an exemplar of what kind of news WND publishes.
Not only this, but WND has actively engaged in many conspiracy theories. Most notably, the birther movement (which lacks any form of verifiable evidence) was heavily assisted by WND and their authors, with articles on Obama’s birth still being posted in the four years since the former president left office. The birther movement was heavily aided by coverage and continued production of pro-birther material, both in the form of journalistic articles, books, and other media. They also have engaged in the proliferation of other conspiracies and pseudoscience material, all of which are aligned towards a far-right view;
God does not want gun control (written by Joseph Farah, Editor-in-Chief)
There has also been a lot of COVID-19 conspiracies that have been posted on the site as well;
All of these articles are readily disproved by documentary, forensic, and eyewitness evidence as well as lacking the necessary amount of evidence to make such a claim or being based upon evidence that is not scientifically accurate or does not hold up under scrutiny.
As well, the website has aligned themselves with rather incredible figures who are beholden to extreme views that do not correspond with any sort of evidence and are known to promote conspiracy theories that are baseless and designed for a political purpose. The site allows far-right and conservative figures to post and reposts articles from their site while also having such pop culture (and conservative) figures like Chuck Norris, Ted Nugent, and Pat Boone write for their site. There is a listing of such authors and commentators below;
Jerome Corsi – (A well-known figure within the conspiracy community, Corsi was a longtime WND contributor and reporter before leaving in 2017 to join Alex Jones’ Texas-based InfoWars. Corsi has written many books, including Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, a book which alleged that Kerry’s war service was untrue and fabricated. The book itself was incendiary and rather poorly researched with members who served on Kerry’s Patrol Craft Fast saying the authors failed to interview them and other veterans (some who knew Kerry, others who served on Navy PCF boats, others who simply served in Vietnam, with only one PCF seaman who served under Kerry becoming a member of the Swift Boat movement) said their statements were edited to paint a more negative picture of the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee while Kerry’s own Commanding Officer said the book was “wrong”. The U.S. Navy’s official documents from the time of the incidents, which contained the accounts of those under Kerry’s command and his own commanding officers, supported Kerry’s claims and many regard this as a calculated political attack against Kerry by Texan Republicans. In addition to his John Kerry book, Corsi has also written a book titled The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality which conveniently came out around the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. In the book, “Corsi cites opinion columns and unsourced, anonymous blogs as if they were evidence of factual claims. When he does cite legitimate news sources, he frequently distorts the facts,” as well as making statements (like Obama still does drugs) that he cannot prove and making ludicrous statements that are easily disprovable. He has also written another book titled Where’s The Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President in which he, “rehashes old, debunked stories meant to cast doubt on Obama’s birth in Hawaii,” while also relying upon, “a constitutional theory popular in white supremacist and anti-immigrant circles, making an invidious distinction between those granted citizenship by the 14th Amendment and those who were citizens under the Constitution as originally written,” in addition to associating himself with white supremacists to promote the book. In other books, he has alleged, “oil is a nearly infinite resource that continues to generate naturally, and posted a series of online comments through 2004, including suggestions that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lesbian and Muslims worship Satan”. He has also been found to, in his books and articles, have promulgated more than a few falsities, including one concerning Anthony Fauci and the Coronavirus)
Michelle Malkin – (A conservative columnist and blogger, she has been involved in her fair share of controversy. In 2006, she doubted that a source listed in an Associated Press article on mosques being burned by militiamen was real (and doubted the entire story), before issuing a partial correction (admitting the person existed, but doubting the burnings) once it was proven the source was indeed legitimate. Malkin has also written a book titled In Defense of Internment: The Case for “Racial Profiling” in World War II and the War on Terror in which she claims, “that ethnic and religious profiling was a legitimate anti-terror measure and that such sensible measures were being avoided because of “profiling alarmism” caused by a guilt complex about the Japanese-American internment during World War II… Some Japanese aliens and even some U.S.-born Japanese-Americans had pro-Japan sympathies and the U.S. had evidence that the Japanese military was working to recruit them; since there was no way to assess individual risk, mass detention was entirely justifiable as a wartime security measure — and besides, the camps weren’t really all that bad, anyway”. She also assisted in promulgating a conspiracy theory involving a 2005 bombing at the University of Oklahoma in which she claimed a student who blew himself up with a bomb, “was a Muslim convert and would-be jihadist suicide bomber. What apparently made Hinrichs a suspect was that he had had a Pakistani roommate, had lived a block away from a mosque (once attended by 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, before Hinrichs’ time on campus), and had grown a beard. Rumors that Hinrichs had been a regular at the mosque and that Islamist literature and a one-way plane ticket to Algeria had been found in his apartment were quickly shot down; rumors that he had tried to enter the crowded stadium but had run away when a guard wanted to search his backpack were disproved by security footage. Still, the speculation continued, undeterred by the fact that it was causing considerable anguish to Hinrichs’ family…Malkin snarked about the “peaceful religion” of Islam and accused not only the mainstream media but the FBI of a cover-up motivated by “political correctness”. This was later proven to be entirely untrue by an extensive FBI investigation. Malkin is also a frequent contributor to VDARE, a known white nationalist, anti-Semitic/immigrant website that has been called a hate group by the SPLC. As well, the Young Americas for Freedom, a popular youth conservative movement, broke ties with Malkin after, “[she] praised 21-year-old broadcaster Nick Fuentes and his followers, who call themselves “groypers.” Fuentes has a history of making anti-Semitic and racist comments, and the mainstream right has sought to distance themselves from him and his supporters… [YAF stated] there is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists”)
Larry Klayman – (Klayman is a well-known attorney within the right-wing movement as well as being the founder of Judicial Watch, a commonly cited source by WND (though no longer operated by Klayman). During his lifetime as a lawyer, he has been banned from two courtrooms due to “obnoxious behavior” and suggesting that, while being tried on accusations of ethnic bias against an Asian client, that the Asian judge and Clinton appointee was inappropriate (while trying to prove this with a document, the document was broad, simply listing every judge appointed by Clinton). Very recently, he was also “suspended from the practice of law for 90 days… [for violating] an ethics rule forbidding changing sides in a manner and that he acted “vindictively” toward his earlier organization”. In 2011, the Florida Bar Association gave Klayman a public reprimand, “…for taking a $25,000 payment to represent a woman in a high-profile criminal case and then allegedly failing to, y’know, do any lawyerin’,” in addition to also being administratively suspended by the Pennsylvania Bar. Klayman has also made claims that Obama is a Muslim, not born in the United States, that there is a Jewish global conspiracy, and has encouraged WND readers to exercise their Second Amendment rights against the U.S. government in addition to believe that, “agents of Hillary Clinton had improperly reviewed FBI files on political adversaries… the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by domestic terrorists was actually masterminded by deceased Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and [American Neo-Nazis]” as well as claiming in a 2009 memoir that Clinton had sent agents to try and assassinate him (something which he conveniently cannot prove. Really, this will be the only time I will ever agree with Roger Stone in which he calls Klayman, “[possibly] the single worst lawyer in America”)
Jack Cashill – (A prolific writer, Cashill is something like Corsi, having gained a PhD in American Classics from Purdue University and having undertaken a year-long fellowship in France and having intermittently written pieces and op-eds for notable news media organizations. However, he has also produced documentaries, written books, and made statements that are extremely conspiratorial and bogus, including, “[alleging] that the Clinton White House covered up the real cause of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 to keep Clinton from losing the 1996 election…Cashill’s books… insinuate that those incidents [1995 OK City Bombing and Atlanta bombings] were plotted by Islamic terrorists”. He has also published another book in 2016 that reiterated his views on the TWA 800 crash (claiming that the U.S. military accidentally shot down the aircraft in an attempt to shoot down a plane hijacked by terrorists) in addition to publishing a book on Obama that makes a series of astounding claims. In this book, he claims that Weather Underground (1970s, left-wing domestic terror group) leader Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s memoir, he “invented a college girlfriend and has repeatedly told false stories about his childhood,” using evidence that is, “a tangle of anonymous informants, personal theories on creative writing, and metaphors repeated in both Obama’s and Ayers’ prose,” while also engaging in some light racism. He also has alleged that Obama’s real father was the legendary Jimmy Hendrix in addition to using a photo shopped photo of Obama’s grandparents in NYC as evidence of…well, something. Cashill’s usage of this as evidence is seemingly without reason)
Ben Shapiro – (Most everyone is familiar with this name he is the well-known, young conservative emblematic of the new conservative movement, being the former editor of Breitbart News, the bastion of right-wing media, and the creator of the Daily Caller, itself a rather poor source for factual content. In the past he has, “suggest[ed] that transgender people suffer a “mental disorder”; he opposes same-sex couples raising children; he has said (and sort of retracted) that “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage”. He has also said, “there is a vastly minute amount of discrimination against gays in this country,” with the SPLC pointing out this comment utilizes poor sourcing and is contrary to their own and the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics’ analysis of the situation. Additionally, he has defended those questioning Obama’s birth certificate and location of birth (the article is now deleted from Frontpage Magazine). There is also some evidence he may have published articles that assisted in swaying Jewish opinion towards pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, basically acting as a propagandist. He also has said that 800 million Muslims are radicalized, a wildly falsestatement.)
Ilana Mercer – (A contributor for the Mises Institute and the Daily Caller, Mercer has also been involved in making many pseudohistorical and rather offensive statements. She has called Robert E. Lee an American hero and taken points from the “Lost Cause” ideology, while ignoring that Lee was an incredibly cruel slave master who called slavery evil, yet did nothing to try and free those he inherited. She has also said that a ban on Muslims entering the United States, “is neither illogical, immoral, or un-libertarian,” before opining that Islam is inherently violent and that “moderate Islamists” don’t matter, which is quite Islamophobic. Her Islamophobia has resurfaced in her books and articles, with her calling burqas, “nose bags”. Furthermore, she was slated to speak alongside the likes of Richard Spencer at the H.L. Mencken Club, a prominent white nationalist club, and has blatantly called America, scientifically, intellectually, and probably genetically, superior to African and Arab nations)
Pat Buchanan – (A well-known political figure, Buchanan was a Special Assistant and Speechwriter for Richard Nixon throughout his administration and was the Director of Communications for the Reagan White House in addition to being a columnist, journalist, radio/TV commentator, and a candidate for President in the 2000 U.S. President Election on the Reform Party ticket. However, he has an astonishing amount of right-wing views that transcend into the farthest reaches of Conservatism. He has said that, “Carbon monoxide from diesel engines at the concentration camps could not have actually killed prisoners in the way that historians said… [and argued] that Treblinka was not in fact a death camp, but a “transit camp” used as a pass-through point for prisoners,” ignoring what historians widely believe the camp to be. He has also made comments about women that indicate he desires them to be domesticated, saying, “women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism …. The momma bird builds the nest. So it was, so it ever shall be”. He also, “has called gays “sodomites” and said they are “literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide” ; called homosexuality a “disorder” that can be handled with therapy; and said that in “a healthy society, it will be contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized”. In addition to this, he has historically authored content that tries to link minorities with inferior genes, relying on the controversial book The Bell Curve to do so. He also has, in the immediate aftermath of the Central Park jogger rape case (in which a white woman was raped and five black youths (the oldest was sixteen, youngest was 14) were tried, convicted, and sent to prison for 6 to 13 years before their convictions were vacated due to a confession and corresponding DNA evidence from the real rapist) stated that those arrested should be, “tried, convicted, and hanged in Central Park”. Even William F. Buckley, one of the most important figures in American Conservatism and someone who Buchanan admired, wrote, “I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism”)
It is apparent that WND often employs or agrees with people whose views are often pseudohistorical, relies upon controversial and often disputed evidence, approves of a strong Conservative (at the least) or far-right (at the most) policies, engages in ad hominem attacks and litigious action no matter the content, have views that are racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and downright should not be publicized nor given a platform to spread such ideology or views. It is apparent that the editor either agrees or shares some form of sympathy for these views in that the editor has allowed these people to use WND as an outlet for their views, which may not always be backed up by factual evidence. It is extremely poor on the management of WND’s part to allow these views to be promulgated though, examining the content of other articles, it is probably entirely in accordance with management’s worldview that these authors be allowed to post on the site.
The Racist’s Barnes & Noble
It is important to remember that WorldNetDaily is not only a website for news and current events, yet they are a media conglomerate, having their own film production section and book publishing department. Most of their content too is sold on their Superstore, where books, films, and other merchandise is sold. All of these items are heavily aligned along either a Conservative Christian, right-wing, or sovereign citizen mindset, selling books and films that are pseudohistorical and conspiratorial. While the majority of the films are produced by independent filmmakers or by WND themselves, there is a strange listing of films that do not seem to correspond to anything the site offers such as 1984’s Amadeus, 2005’s Cinderella Man, and 2001’s Enemy at the Gates, big, blockbuster movies that don’t really seem to relate all that much to WND’s other content. As far as films go, there is a significant amount of films in stock that support those Conservative Christian or far-right views
Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps around the US (According to CBS News when the film first came out in 2009, “Officials describe the film to CBS News as “sensationalistic” and without any real foundation. According to one official, it is strictly designed to upset and inflame people and does not present a true picture of any so-called “homegrown Jihad” danger. No current intelligence exists to suggest any threat connected with this group, which officials describe as “wannabes” and not terrorists”. The film was also made by the previously mentioned Joel Gilbert)
IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America (The film basically alleges through, “the occasional fudged fact… [and] repetition and emotional manipulation,” that public schooling is bad for students everywhere and, to receive a more Christian (and better) education, homeschooling is the only solution)
Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger (The film tries to make the argument that, “Socialism is ungodly. Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist. In fact, all Democrats are socialists. And Democrats run the government. Ergo, our government is ungodly,” and tries using the Bible to prove this theory)
Handguns 101: A Guide for New Shooters (One of almost a dozen DVDs on defensive shooting, gun handling, survival skills, and self-defense, obviously appealing to those readers who are amateur survivalists and gun nuts)
In addition to these films, there is an abundance of content being sold that is from PureFlix Entertainment, an Evangelical Christian film studio that is probably one of the most well-known Christian film companies, though being detracted by both Christians and film critics for, “[reinforcing] prejudices and lines in the sand”.
In terms of books, WND has a significant amount of literature, all of which falls in line with the tastes of the demographics they are appealing to. Many of the authors, documentarians, and other writers/op-ed contributors for the site have their books, films, and other merchandise available on WorldNetDaily’s Superstore. Jerome Corsi’s book Partners in Crime: The Clintons’ Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit, Ann Coulter’s Adios America, and Ben Shapiro’s Brainwashed: How America’s Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth are all available on the store.
However, the books that are more interesting are those that are not written by contributors to the site. It should not be surprising that a decent amount of material available is pseudohistorical, lacks documentary or forensic evidence, approves of a far-right policy, or simply is a conspiracy theory that is unproven and baseless, yet presented as fact. A short listing of the works is included below;
The Jefferson Lies: Exposing The Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (The book was promoted, “as clearing up numerous myths about one of America’s founding fathers,” primarily claiming that Jefferson did not father a child with one of his slaves and did not rewrite the bible to his liking in addition to claiming he was not a bigoted colonist. The publisher eventually pulled the book due to well-founded complaints about the historical accuracy of the content. However, WND Books published the title and advertised the book on their own site. Scholars and independent researchersall found issues with Barton’s book, from his claim that, “the founding father started church services as the Capitol,” and “religious persecution was the reason that Rhode Island opposed a strong central government and refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention [in reality, RI’s government was highly corrupt and was a smuggler’s haven, so a strong central government would hinder much of the money scams and illegal activities occurring in the state]”)
White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence (The book deals with race and crime in the United States, discussing incidences of violent flash mobs and games where people will try to knock out unsuspecting persons, but most notably black-on-white crime. Salon discusses this expertly, writing, “this Flaherty guy [the author] is pretty sure that there’s a black crime wave going on, and also that there is a conspiracy — by the media and the police — to cover up this crime wave by not always pointing out when the perpetrators of crimes are black. His evidence? YouTube clips and newspaper comment sections, mostly. The book seems to be a collection of literally every single crime Flaherty could find, over the last few years, involving black perpetrators and white victims (though some involve incidents where the victims were black, and in many incidents the “victim” was property owned by white people), plus a lot of material on roving, rampaging gangs of black teenagers… But this epidemic of racial crime isn’t an epidemic. It’s barely a blip. According to the FBI, there were 575 crimes motivated by anti-white bias in 2010, nationwide. There were 545 anti-white crimes in 2009 and 716 in 2008. There were more than 2,000 crimes motivated by anti-black bias in each one of those years. Of course, the book insinuates that all black-on-white crime is racially motivated… The point, of course, isn’t to make an argument supported by statistics. It’s to marshal all available anecdotal data to support the paranoid white conservatives’ gut feeling that this country is on the brink of Charlie Manson’s Helter Skelter”. HuffPost too examined the book and the author’s various articles on WND, finding the article’s evidence (photos of indigenous Aborigines in Australia while discussing black mobs in North Carolina, various statistics) to be misrepresented and, in some cases, outright false and dishonest. The SPLC has gone a step further and called the book and its’ author a white nationalist, which, based upon the evidence, seems to be rather accurate.)
The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists, and Other Anti-American Extremists (The book details, “just how dangerous Barack Obama really is as America’s president and commander in chief,” allegingObama is ineligible to be president, his associations with “Communist extremists” and “terrorists” and his “deep associated with the Nation of Islam”. The book further alleges that Obama was first exposed to Bill Ayers’ ideology at the age of eleven at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (which, by all accounts, Ayers has had no connection with), that Ayers wrote Obama’s memoir (a theory which another right-winger who wrote an Obama bio called, “all conjecture and no concrete evidence,”), that Obama was not born in the U.S. (citing pre-1898 legal statutes), and that Obama’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett is a Communist by association to her father-in-law. Naturally, the vast majority of the book’s assertions are not based upon solid, undisputable evidence and uses tentative linkages (like Jarrett’s father-in-law) to try and create evidence or proof of a point where there is none)
Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of how Foreign Governments and Businesses Made Bill and Hillary Rich (The book, “seeks to show that since they left the White House in 2001 the Clintons have engaged in a succession of seedy dealings with shady characters around the world, amassing more than $130m for themselves in exchange for favors,” however, the author admits he fails at the conclusion of the book writing, “We cannot ultimately know what goes on in their minds and ultimately prove the links between the money they took in and the benefits that subsequently accrued to themselves, their friends, and their associates”. The book (and the author) has also alleged that Hillary Clinton changed her position on a nuclear deal with India once a serious amount of money was given to the Clinton Foundation and that Hillary, as Secretary of State, had the power to stop Russia from purchasing a company that specialized in uranium mining; both of these were found to be false by PolitiFact and FactCheck. The book also tries, “to link three lucrative speeches given by Bill Clinton in Ireland for a total of $600,000 to the awarding of a major contract in Haiti to Digicel, the telecoms company owned by Irish magnate Dennis O’Brien who had arranged Clinton’s appearances. But as Buzzfeed pointed out, Bill Clinton was not paid on those occasions. Perhaps the most seriously misleading element of the book involves the purchase by the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency (Rosatom) of a Canadian company, Uranium One, that had a large stake in US uranium output. Schweizer claims that a “central role” in the decision of the US government to approve the purchase was played by Hillary Clinton at the State Department at the same time as large donations were being made to the Clinton Foundation by individuals directly involved in the deal. Yet in this case, as Time has shown the State Department was only one of nine members of the inter-agency committee that made the final call, and even then there is no evidence that Clinton herself ever took part in the discussions”. While the book does analyzing the conflicts of interest in the Clinton Foundation and foreign nations (and it is valid to do so and make such criticisms on that front), the book’s primary goal of finding corruption within the Clintons is unfounded, lacks the necessary level of solid evidence to back up such claims)
Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance (The book itself basically tries to convince the reader that Islam is a horrid religion and is out to preach, “the doctrine of jihad and the ideology of Islamic supremacism, which any Muslim anywhere can hold”. The author, Pamela Geller, also co-heads the American Freedom Defense Initiative which has as its goal, “challenging a powerful and dangerous “Islamic machine” that threatens the security and cultural fabric of the United States”. The text claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has been able to infiltrate DOJ and use their influence to change policy, something that, while repeated by politicians, seems to have been repudiated at one point by the establishment GOP and scorned. The book is also written by Pamela Geller, a notable right-wing commentator and author who has been frequently called a conspiracy theorist and Islamophobe. She has openly opposed the Park51 project in NYC, the Islamic community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero by insinuating, “[with little evidence] that the project’s financing might be tied to terrorists… absurdly describe[ing] the project as an Islamic “victory mosque” to celebrate the 9/11 attacks, modeled after Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, though no Muslim had ever suggested such a thing”. She also has, “promulgated some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories found on the extreme right, including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X; that Obama was once involved with a “crack whore”; that his birth certificate is a forgery; that his late mother posed nude for pornographic photos; and that he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam. She has described Obama as beholden to his “Islamic overlords” and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America. In April 2011, Geller accused Obama of withholding evidence in the then-upcoming trial of accused Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Geller uses her website to insult Muslims in a revolting fashion: she posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats, and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a pig’s face (observant Muslims do not eat pork). Geller also has denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in Srebrenica — calling it the “Srebrenica Genocide Myth,” even though the Serbian government itself issued a state apology for the massacre”. While she may be a credible source for WND, she has proven herself to be flippant in her usage of sources and evidence and cannot make a coherent argument that is not inherently biased towards an Islamophobic point of view)
It should be apparent to anyone that these works (both literary and cinematic) available on the site are quite historically inaccurate and are something that would not be sold or published by any publishing house or bookstore that has any sort of self-respect. The books are pseudohistorical and deny what is commonly held about historical matters in addition to politicizing and revising history and doing so based off of little to no credible evidence as well as being so biased they are academically unusable.
The First Pioneer, Joseph Farah
Joseph Farah is the editor-in-chief and founder of WorldNetDaily, having founded the organization in 1997. Unlike other fake news promulgators (who have a background in business or politics), Farah actually has, at one point, been a relatively credible journalist and was a member of a legitimate news media organization.
Farah was born in New Jersey and gained a B.A. in Communications from William Paterson University, before, according to the Los Angeles Times honing, “his skills as a newsman working from one end of California to the other. The liberal-leaning Herald Examiner, an irreverent competitor to the Los Angeles Times, was an improbable launch pad for a man who would go on to make his fortune giving voice to conservative fury. Back then, Farah was executive news editor and about the only thing that agitated him was being interrupted while watching “Miami Vice,” his colleagues recollect… In 1990, Farah moved upstate to become editor of the Sacramento Union, which was losing money. “We just thought the way to go was to be unabashedly conservative in our approach,” Farah said at the time. His political leanings flourished. Rush Limbaugh, a relatively unknown local radio host, caught Farah’s ear, and Farah persuaded him to write a daily political column, which he put on Page 1”. The SPLC provides a more in-depth documentation of Farah’s time as editor, writing, “[the] paper’s new owners hoped that fresh blood would help turn things around, circulation dropped by more that 25% as Farah dragged the already conservative paper sharply to the right during his 15 months at its helm. Journalist Daniel Carson described the Union under Farah as “a mouthpiece for the fundamentalist Christian right, preoccupied with abortion, homosexuals and creationism.” Under Farah’s direction, pro-choice advocates were described as “pro-abortion” and environmentalists were reportedly called “eco-fruities.” The word “gay” was reportedly forbidden, replaced by “homosexual” — and once, in a column by the late David Chilton, with “sodomite.” Farah altered a news story to call the National Organization for Women a “radical feminist group,” according to Carson. A front-page story speculated about whether the confrontation in the Persian Gulf represented the political beginning of Armageddon. A column by Rush Limbaugh became a front-page fixture. An exodus of editors, managers and writers ensued. “The feeling is it’s not really an objective newspaper anymore,” former Union reporter told The Washington Post in 1990. “We didn’t go into journalism to work for some slanted publication.” In October 1991, Farah resigned, and a little more than two years later, the Union closed for good”. It seems that an argument could be made that, solely due to Farah’s running and shaping of the Union in that short time frame, he assisted in the 139 year old paper’s downfall.
After resigning from the paper, Farah founded the Western Journalism Center. The exact intent of the Center in the beginning is unclear to me, however, the intent is apparent. According to Conservative Web Watch, an independent watchdog website for information on Conservative think tanks, funders, and websites, “The center provided Christopher Ruddy [journalist with Pittsburgh-Tribune Review, CEO of Newsmax Media] with “additional expense money, funding for Freedom of Information Act requests, legal support and publicity” during his investigation of the death of Vince Foster while working as a reporter for the New York Post and the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to Mellon family fortune and known supporter of libertarian and Conservative causes through various non-profit foundations]. This included buying full-page ads in major newspapers reproducing Ruddy’s work and co-producing a video about the Foster investigation with Ruddy. The center accepted $330,000 in donations from Scaife-connected foundations in 1994-95”. In 1997, it appears that WorldNetDaily was started as a for-profit arm of the Western Journalism Center, having a fund of roughly $ 4.5 million USD to start their operation. Farah’s founding of the Center and the Center’s acceptance of donations from Scaife and support of Conservative, far-right conspiracy theories involving Foster are corroborated by the LA Times, the SPLC, and SourceWatch.
It seems that WND was wildly successful for a time, with Farah claiming to a reporter from the LA Times in 2010 that his site generated $10 million dollars annually. However, it seems that the site is becoming old and outdated, with Salonnoting in 2018, “[Farah] told his remaining flock that WND is in “crisis” and that “many loyal WND staffers are working without salary” in order to keep the website afloat. “It’s not easy to make a plea like this to you, our faithful readers, and I do so in all humility,” he wrote, informing readers that he had no billionaire sugardaddy to help. “We’ve never been beholden to anyone other than the Good Lord.” In a Jan. 15 email, Farah went after Google and Facebook, whom he accused of trying to “penalize independent news operations like WND.” However, the reasons for WND’s decline in readership and revenue is interesting.
In an April 2019 article by the Washington Post, Manuel Roig-Franzia documents the decline. He writes;
Even though Farah claimed in WND columns and emails to supporters last year to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations —including tax-deductible contributions — some former employees and contractors have been laid off or had their deals canceled without being paid money they say they were owed. Many authors who signed on with the site’s publishing arm, including former Republican senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, are fuming about allegedly not receiving royalties owed to them. Coburn recalled in an interview that he had a “very frank and disturbing” conversation last year with Farah about unpaid royalties for his 2017 book, “Smashing the D.C. Monopoly.”
“I accused him of not being honest,” Coburn said. “He doesn’t keep his commitments. He doesn’t keep his word.”
Other authors, initially attracted to WND by the image Farah crafted for himself as a devout evangelical Christian, have groused that they paid WND’s pay-to-publish division thousands of dollars to have their books printed but haven’t received the royalties they were promised or other items, such as audio versions of their works. Their complaints, requests for basic accounting statements and pleas for help were largely ignored, according to emails and interviews with more than a dozen authors.
…But interviews and documents show an organization that existed in almost constant crisis mode, chronically late in paying its employees and vendors, and wrestling with internal allegations about questionable spending by its founders and claims they were withholding information from the company’s board and using company funds to support a comfortable lifestyle in the Washington suburbs.
“Where did the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by WND in 2018 from readers and other donors go?” said Felicia Dionisio, a longtime WND news writer and editor who ran the books division before being laid off last year. “It didn’t go toward author royalties, it didn’t go toward rehiring any of the many loyal employees who were laid off, it didn’t go toward providing accurate and timely paychecks, and it didn’t go toward making those who suffered due to cutbacks at WND whole.”
[Farah’s] spending habits, and those of his wife [co-founder and COO of WND], were setting off alarm bells among some insiders who considered the couple reckless and undisciplined, according to interviews and internal documents obtained by The Post.
As the firm’s 10th anniversary approached, the Farahs planned a splashy celebration. They signed a contract with the Washington Hilton in 2006 but were saddled with huge cancellation and other costs when they were unable to generate enough interest to pull it off, according to an internal memo. Executives turned to a wealthy donor to cover the costs.
… [discussing the Farah’s purchasing of a book company and hosting a film festival] “They ran off in more than one direction,” said a shareholder and former board member on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal company matters. “The spending control was less than ideal.”
A change in corporate structure had stripped minority shareholders of much power, which was further concentrated in the hands of the Farahs, according to one internal document. Some complained that Farah needed to be more transparent about how much he and the rest of his family were being paid, according to
emails and interviews.
The shareholders said they wanted Farah to focus on his core business: the website, which was drawing up to 4 million unique visitors a month. Obama’s election had given Farah the perfect foil: In 2009, the site dug in on the birther theory, publishing hundreds of a rticles [sic] pushing the notion that Obama’s birth certificate was questionable. PolitiFact dubbed WND “the conductor of the Birther train.”
Inside the operation, troubles were percolating. A high-ranking executive had been raising concerns about Elizabeth Farah’s spending on a company credit card, citing charges made to a wine shop, a clothing store, a cosmetics seller and a company that supplies materials for home-schooling, according to an internal memo obtained by The Post that lists each charge. “How are these specifically work related?” an internal April 2012 memo states.
“Optically, these types of expenses look bad, especially when the company is upside down in terms of cash flow and accounts payable.”
“Huge red flag,” the memo says. In spring 2015, Floyd Brown, an Internet entrepreneur who served on WND’s board, traveled to Missouri to tour the warehouse that shipped books and other materials sold in WND’s online store, which still sells items including survivalist gear, such as water filtration straws and “Russian gas masks.”
He found pallets of unsold materials.
“Inventory is a stone around your neck,” Brown wrote in an email to a top WND executive. “You need to increase your writedowns so the board actually knows how that division is doing.” When Joseph Farah found out about the trip, he sent an email to the company executive who arranged it, accusing him of an “inexcusable breach of confidence.”
“There is nothing materially new in the condition of the company’s finances that would require alerting the board,” Farah wrote. “We have been consistently behind on payables and obligations for years.” Brown confirmed the substance of the exchange with Farah but added, “I have the greatest respect and admiration for Joseph Farah and what he has done at WND.com”
The article also details how, despite Farah raising $200,000 dollars in funds (and proclaiming the economic troubles over), the staff was still not paid, had their vision and dental insurance canceled and was told by their CEO to purchase “bitcoin in return for donations”. As well, the article’s author spoke to many people who planned on having their books published by WND and sold on the superstore, but, upon paying exorbitant prices (in one case, $ 9,999.00) for a publishing deal (which in some cases included paying a fee for printing and getting some of the sales), many had not been paid and some received copies of their own books “in lieu of royalties”. On WorldNetDaily.com’s Better Business Bureau page (for clarification, WND is not BBB accredited) as well, one person (presumably D.R. Roquemore, the author) posted a complaint, writing, “On 02/09/2017 I signed a contract with WND Books, a subsidiary of World Net Daily, to publish my book titled Wrath. I paid them $7,349.00 for this service. Per the terms of my contact, WND Books is required to provide me with a royalty report within 60 days of the close of each quarter. They have failed to meet this contract requirement for Q2 2017 and Q3 2017. I have asked them multiple times for my Q3 2017 royalty report and they have only provided an “unofficial” report which I have determined to be incorrect… It is now 105 days past the close of Q3 2017 and they have not provided an accurate, official royalty report for Q3 2017. Per my legal contact, this should have been provided on 11/30/2017,” noting that the President of WNDBooks and a member of their accounting department all failed to respond to multiple emails.
It seems that poor (and in some cases, unethical) business practices are partly to blame for WND’s decline. However, I also posit that one of the reasons why WND is failing to attract viewers is due to the simple fact that they are old and not as attractive or as frequently mentioned as newer sites like Breitbart or The Gateway Pundit. They have become an older variety and some of their news articles display that. Trying to search for an item or click on an article results in a long wait time and someone who is not too terribly interested or desires their news in a faster format will go somewhere else if their needs are not met immediately. As one commentator pointed out, “Google is not ranking WND highly not because it’s ‘independent’ but because it’s not trustworthy. Same for Facebook driving traffic elsewhere. It’s telling that even with Facebook’s problems with promoting fake news, WND couldn’t get a toehold”. The fact that social media is working against them somewhat (for being almost too incredible to be believed) also hinders their entire goal.
Not only does Farah seem to be a poor manager of his business, but he also seems to be truly enthralled with the message of far, right-wing conservatism. Not only does the entire content of his site, including legitimate articles and opinion pieces, indicate that Farah agrees with the author’s works and has an affinity for him, but his own commentary pieces indicate his sympathies. He has made statements alleging that when male Muslims were coming into the U.S. a “rape crisis” was predictable, that the U.S. government under Obama is “facilitating and empowering them [jihadis]” and is aiding ISIS, that the “practice of homosexuality is an abomination”, and that Obama is “doing everything in his power to spread the Ebola virus” in addition to dropping commentators from the site due to their stance on homosexuality and created an event which occurred simultaneously with CPAC which featured far-right speakers and was basically an anti-LGBTQ rally. In disagreement with scientific evidence, he also believes the earth to be six thousand years old, a common Creationist stance. As well, in the entire eight years that Obama was in office and in the time he was running for President in 2008, Farah never once came out and stated he disagreed with the Birther argument. Nor has he once since Obama’s leaving office come out and stated he disagreed with the Birther articles run on the site or stated he never believed in it. In fact, if anything, it seems that due to the wide amount of content concerning Obama’s citizenship on the site, he actively proliferated the content and allowed his site to be utilized as the primary source of information on the subject. Regardless how one considers Farah’s position on the issue, he, as the editor-in-chief, is culpable and has the foremost responsibility for publishing false information, plagiarized content, and information that is baseless or lacks appropriate evidence.
As well, while it is my own belief that Farah genuinely believes in the far-right conservative message and is taken in by many conspiracy theories, I also believe he sees some benefit in the tactics he has utilized, such as sensationalizing headlines and content for more appeal and viewers. In the previously mentioned LA Times article, Farah talks about the business aspect of the news site by saying, “We’re about the news and marketing the news,”; however, later, when asked about the birth certificate issue, he says, “It’ll plague Obama throughout his presidency. It’ll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration…It’s not going to go away”. These two comments are not, by themselves, important, but examining them together, they offer a different view. Perhaps Farah desired to engage in this type of discourse (the continued publication of birther material), because he saw it as a method of making easily attractive and eye-catching content, the ability for more revenue, and the desire to, in some way, endorse his own opinions on politics and society in the world. Conspiracies certainly are a hot topic and easily make loads of money in film, print, and on the internet. Some commentators, including a former Clinton aide, seem to believe that WND is a, “moneymaking scheme”.
It is appropriate to call WorldNetDaily the grandfather of all fake news enterprises online. They were years before many of the more notable and commonly referred to news media organizations of today and engaged in conspiracies and stories that had severe effects upon American politics, society, and foreign policy. However, unlike other news media organizations like The Free Thought Project, The Bipartisan Report, or GlobalResearch, WND does not engage in fake news or false information promulgation for profit or for a larger geopolitical goal.
They are much more along the lines of The Gateway Pundit, in which they truly believe in the content that is being produced and published on the site and simply do not care if the information is false, biased, or otherwise inaccurate. In fact, they thrive upon information that is false and inaccurate or the articles that are more sensationalized and appeal to their reader base (right-wing conservative Christians with a decent helping of racists and white nationalists thrown in) as they are known to make money (something WND seemingly has a big problem with retaining) and can be very effective in swaying opinion on a certain issue. WND engages in the production of baseless conspiracy theories, takes the word of incredible and unreliable sources (if they utilize any evidence at all), misquotes and takes quotes out of context, and actively works to misinform their audience and severely twists every story so it supports a Conservative point of view.
Quite simply, WND is the epitome of fake news and have proven themselves, time and time again, to be untrustworthy and completely incapable of telling the truth.