WND WorldNetDaily – Paranoid Propaganda for the Masses
I would suspect most of my readers have never seen the WND (WorldNetDaily) website, but I sometimes browse mirky backwaters in search of economic news that the press is largely missing. In the process, I stumbled into a cesspool of propaganda known as WorldNetDaily or WND, which is a watering hole for people with views so far to the right they fell of the page.
It’s publisher, Joseph Farrah, a journalistic hero to many on the right, is the former editor of the also former Sacramento Union. That newspaper was foundering, but I think he single-handedly buried it. He resigned from the Union after the paper lost 25% of its readership and a sizable number of its reporters and editors who ran like a herd of wildebeests from his journalistic changes. Not long after resigning, Farrah started his own publication to “seek and proclaim truth” — WND WorldNetDaily.
Fall into WNDs little rabbit hole for a day, and its convoluted loops of logic will twist your world into a dizzying upside-down land in which this world’s events that seem normal enough to most of us all read like conspiracy theories. Any rational reader will feel like his head went through a linguini slicer. I call it WhirledNutsDaily.
What bothers me most is that I am certain Farrah and his gang of twirling nuts really do believe they are boldly going where few other publishers are willing to trek. It’s not that it bothers me that they believe they are publishing the truth. It bothers me they believe this when their own efforts to manufacture their stories are so transparent that I wonder how they manage to delude themselves. They surely have to know they are making this stuff up. It is scary to think that so many seemingly intelligent people cannot even see that they are manufacturing the vision of the world they believe in. In the following writing, I’ll show a clear example of how they create their own “truth.” (Why would anyone so heartily believe something they know they created? It seems idolatrous.)
An open letter to the editors and publisher of WND WorldNetDaily:
I really have a hard time with organizations like yours that feel it is justifiable to lie for the truth … or, at least, to lie for what you believe is true. Perhaps I live under an odd standard that says, if a worldview is true, it doesn’t need lies, distortions, or even propaganda to support it.
One of your recent articles opens with the following statement:
”Iran’s supreme leader, for the first time, is telling his nation that it must prepare for war and ‘the end of times’ as it continues to develop nuclear weapons.” (WND)
The documents referenced to support all of the article’s brash claims are all written in Farsi, an appropriate source I suppose for such a farcical news agency as your own. Conveniently for you, linking to source documents that are written in Farsi makes it unlikely your readers will try to verify anything that your article claims the Ayatollah has said. Even though I cannot read Farsi, I can read dates. And what I notice is this:
Every Khamenei quote in the first article you reference as a source has a date, and the dates are all fourteen years old or more! Because they’re dated by the Iranian calendar year, it’s hard for your few readers who would actually refer to the source documents to pick out how old the quotes are. It is possible, though, if someone really wants to test you. The top center of the first source document referenced gives today’s date (on any given day that you open that web page), and includes the Iranian year right after the Gregorian Calendar year. By comparing that year to the Iranian years given for the quotes, I can see that the quotes were written, on average, are twenty years older than the current Iranian year shown at the top of the web pate. That immediately establishes that your own article is an outright lie because your article leads off with the brash claim that ”FOR THE FIRST TIME,” the Ayatollah is making these end-times proclamations. Uh, well, it might have been the first time twenty years ago when he said them; but not now when you’re writing your article about them.
I’m sure such nuances of truthfulness and integrity escape you due to the great worthiness you see in your cause because I sent several of your editors a letter about this months ago, but you keep the article up.
An honest and careful reader will realize this article clearly intends to manufacture the illusion that Khamenei’s comments were related to current events. Your article also leads off by saying Khamenei is making these statements in order to prepare his nation for war! By linking those two thoughts — that he’s preparing his nation for war and making these end-time statements for the first time — the article implies the comments relate to the present Iranian Conflict, which I refer to as the Iranium Reaction.
”For the first time” clearly intends to communicate that he’s never said these things before. In truth, the quotes span about ten years. The truth, if it even matters to you when it gets in the way of your cause, is that he has said them MANY times before but in a completely different context than the present nuclear confrontation with the West. You, however, dishonestly state that these statements were made ”as it [Iran] continues to develop nuclear weapons.” And, so, you manufacture a doomsday scenario around the present nuclear conflict that fits your particular view of biblical prophecies and of politics.
In short, you are deliberately creating a heightened impression that the Ayatollah is beating the apocalyptic drums of war over the current nuclear standoff .
In fact, what he was doing all those years ago was drumming up support for the Islamic Revolution within Iran — drumming up support for the idea that the right environment for the coming of the Mahdi would only be found if Iran became an Islamic republic.
To enhance the impression that Khamenei’s words are a current march toward war with the West over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, you make the following blatantly false statement:
”The wide publication of Khamenei’s statements on a need to prepare for the end of times as it confronts the West over its illicit nuclear program is alarming to Western leaders.”
Really? What Western leaders just expressed alarm over this publication of twenty-year-old quotes by Khamenei? As usual, you fail to support your brash claims. In this case, you provide no quotes by any Western leaders who are alarmed by the publication of these aged statements that you pretend are current. As an avid reader of foreign news every day, I have not read or heard any Western leader expressing the slightest alarm over this publication of old revolutionary diatribe. Western leaders are not even remotely interested in it, much less concerned. The fact is, you cannot support that statement because it is a lie.
You take other statements out of their historic context, as well, such as the following:
”’Today we have a duty to prepare for the coming. … If we are the soldiers of the 12th imam, then we must be ready to fight,’ Khamenei said.”
By taking a statement that said ”today” many years ago, without noting the time and context in which it was said, you intentionally make it sound as if the statement applies to the current Western conflict with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
The WND WorldNetDaily Scam
You are intentionally lying for the sake of the truth … or, at least, what you believe to be true. That’s your regular modus operendi, and I find that to be far more reprehensible than lying for sake of lying or lying for the sake of getting something. If the thing we believe to be truth needs our lies to support it, we should throw that masquerading truth away. Any “truth” that needs lies for its support isn’t worth claiming. This one story of yours has been quoted by dozens, if not hundreds, of other websites (many of which also make big claims about seeking and presenting the truth) who have not even taken the time to check out the brash claims of this article. (And when confronted with this letter, many chose to keep your article up anyway … so committed are they to seeking out truth.)
Now, I, as much as anyone, post articles on my own website that are critical of Iran. So, I generally share your beliefs about where Iran is headed, but I do not share your way of getting there or of trying to convince others of those beliefs. My articles often talk about the religious zeal and prophetic beliefs behind Iran’s nuclear project, too. (See ”Economic Predictions for the Great Recession in 2012” as an example of how strongly I write against Iran.) I never, however, post ”news” articles by WND on this site — even when they agree with my own conclusions — because I have for many years found your site to play free and easy with the truth — embellishing stories, quoting statements out of context, adding your own commentary after quotes in ways that make statements sound like they said more than they did, and especially giving generic sources for most of your material (”a White House insider told WND….”) What White House insider? The woman who cleans the bathrooms? You never say because you know people would laugh at your gossipy source.
How do I know how often your quotations are out of context? As I say, I read a lot of foreign news daily from the Middle East, India and Europe, so I sometimes see the very statements you quote, but in full context elsewhere, and know they did not mean what you claim they meant.
Why the WND scams?
One could cynically say you’re just selling what’s popular because you’ve found a niche market for it, but I think there is something deeper and darker to it than that. You’re selling beliefs that you actually think are true and not caring that you manufacture lies to support those beliefs. There is, of course, a strong commercial side, too, as you have written numerous books and produced videos that you sell and advertise with these articles. Sensationalized news sells a lot more material than the less exciting truth. So, you’re pandering to people’s fears and making a money off it to be sure; but your brand of faith has no problems with distorting the truth to sell itself.
This insidious propagation of what you believe to be true via lies is what really crawls under my skin. Your news agency is nothing more than a Zionist dress-up of The National Enquirer. You are Zionist and Fundamentalist, and the support of those beliefs is so important to you that I don’t think you even stop to ask if your handling of things is fully truthful so long as it supports Zionism or Christian Fundamentalism.
So, I ask, again, that those who published your false article or links to it now publish this disclaimer against it … if they are committed to the truth, as their websites so proudly claim, and simply made a mistake in trusting WND. As a matter of fact, WND, if you are true to your own stated mission …
”WND is an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth…”
…you will also print a retraction to your article to correct your error, so that those who have republished it all over the web will have source links that go back to the retraction, rather than compromising by letting these false impressions stand in people’s minds while merely removing the article. I know, of course, you will not. The nuances of truthfulness and journalistic integrity above escape you entirely. Your pride also will stand in the way. Let those who quoted you watch to see if you are genuinely seeking truth or are willing to create and let stand lies that you believe support the truth by whether or not you, in the very least, remove a story now that its distortions have been brought to your attention. By that, they will know if the misrepresentation was due to journalistic sloppiness or if it was by intention all along.
(Of course, I know it is not a slip because I have seen you publish this pseudo ”journalism” many times, and have written to you about it several times (just as this time); but prove me wrong by publishing a clear rectraction and publishing this as a letter to the editor. After all, respectable journals always publish critical letters to the editor even if they seem a little unfriendly. PROVE your commitment to seeking the truth. Anyone can SAY they seek truth.
How are you any better than Iran, itself, as it lies about its nuclear program? Same willingness to lie for religious beliefs. Different beliefs, that is all.
The Great Recession Blog
For further reading:
Nobody Believes WorldNetDaily (Unfortunately, they do, but maybe many are starting to catch on)