As a child, I was fascinated by stories of exploration. I wanted to be an explorer.
My bubble burst when I discovered that most of the planet on which I lived had already been explored. The remaining parts were unfit for human habitation.
Little did I know that there were many unknown worlds too vast to imagine.
In recent years, the exploration that has had the most impact on the lives of average people is the Internet. It has changed the way we communicate, work, shop, travel, educate, get our news, entertain ourselves and go to meetings. It is hard to image life without it. Yet, as late as 1993, the internet only accounted for one percent of the information flowing through our two-way telecommunications networks.
Today, I’d like to salute a pioneer Internet explorer, Joseph Farah, WND’s founder, editor-in-chief and CEO, who set out to go where no man had gone before. Eighteen short years ago he began his exploration of this brave new world by launching one of the very first Internet-only news organization.
It was a scary undertaking. In 1997, his rocket ship was launched from a desk in his bedroom. His equipment: a solid career in mainstream journalism, which included six years as executive news editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and editor in chief of the Sacremento Union. His fuel: a passion for exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power.
It is safe to say that Joseph Farah revolutionized the way we receive our news. Back in 1997, the Internet was more of a curiosity than a necessity. It was a tool of government, higher education and a plaything for the rich.
In 2002, when WND applied for credentials to cover Congress, Internet-only publications were looked at as second rate. It was through the tenacity of Joseph Farah that the rules were rewritten on Internet-only publications.
It should be noted that WND was the first Internet-only news organization to secure credentials to cover Capitol Hill and the first Internet-only news organization to secure White House credentials.
Today, more people get their news from the Internet than they do from newspapers and, as of 2010, more ad dollars go to on-line outlets than newspapers.
The old-fashioned newspaper is going the way of the buggy whip. Who wants to read yesterday’s news?
In eighteen short years, WND has gone from a staff of two, Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, to a staff of over 50, including Managing Editor David Kupelian, Executive News Editor Joe Kovacs, Commentary Editor Ron Strom, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein and White House Correspondent Garth Kant, in addition to the operations and support staff which is second to none.
However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that WND had an unknowing benefactor, without whom this might never have happened. Her name is Hillary Clinton.
The Clintons rise to power is a direct result of their ability to control the media with one part adulation, one part intimidation. They used both powers to silence reporters who were attempting to investigate their misdeeds in Arkansas and beyond. In wasn’t that hard. Over the years, the media had slowly become a tool of the rich and powerful. The old-fashioned “stop the presses” kind of journalists were all but extinct.
That’s why, in 1991, Joseph Farah founded the Western Journalism Center to sponsor and encourage independent, courageous investigative reporting. One of the early beneficiaries was Christopher Rudy, who was looking into the Vince Forster cover-up. This effort, along with others like Matt Drudge and David Horowitz, led to the formation of a secret hit squad by the Clintons. In 1994, this hit squad produced a document, “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce” which it leaked to “friendlies” in the media.
This document alleged that all the damaging stories about the Clintons were generated by three sources: the Pittsburg Tribune Review, American Spectator and the Western Journalism Center. These stories then spread overseas to the London Sunday Telegraph and ultimately were brought back by the Wall Street Journal. The stories in the Journal led to Congressional investigations.
Meanwhile, the Clintons sicced the IRS on the Western Journalism Center which scared away donors. That led to Farah’s predicament in 1997, which caused him to create what was then called WorldNetDaily.com.
Hillary unknowing pulled this tiger’s tail and it roared. Thanks to Joseph Farah and his incredible staff, WorldNetDaily.com, now simply WND, has become a powerful roar that cannot be silenced and the face of journalism was forever changed.
Happy 18th birthday WND!