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Joseph Farah: Alternative Media Pioneer

When I decided that I wanted to do a series on new media, I knew that I had to start with Joseph Farah.

The longtime editor-in-chief of WorldNetDaily, Farah has led an illustrious career in journalism. At the 2018 Western Conservative Conference, which will be headlined by President Donald Trump, his contributions to the field will be honored with the initial M. Stanton Evans Lifetime Achievement for Excellence in Journalism award.

A longtime independent journalist, Farah is well-deserving of the honor.

Joseph Farah

Farah was born on July 6, 1954 in Paterson, New Jersey, a medium-sized city that boasts about 150,000 residents. The son of a schoolteacher of Middle Eastern descent, he was duped into supporting the liberal cause as a young man. The con was a result of the tremendous amount of leftist propaganda that circulated during the Vietnam War, which was raging when Farah was coming of age.

According to Farah, the propaganda “convinced me America was committing genocide against the Vietnamese people.” He retained this worldview for several years, even entering William Paterson University with pro-leftist viewpoints. Farah only embraced conservatism after he was evangelized at college and came to believe in “a God who loved me and would forgive me for my sins.” He became a Christian in his 2nd year at William Paterson and reexamined his political leanings.

Upon closer inspection, Farah realized that “the U.S. had not been committing genocide against the Vietnamese people. Instead, “the Communists were actually enslaving them.” He explains how after the United States’ pullout, Vietnamese people fled the murderous Communists, who committed atrocities beyond belief, on perilous vessels.

Farah was appalled by the lack of media attention on the matter, but his political perspective didn’t change fully until the 1980s.

Without the vote of Farah, Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency on November 4, 1980. Farah personally voted for incumbent Jimmy Carter, a progressive Democrat, but after a short period of time, Farah’s transformation was fully complete. He came to be a “believer in [Reagan] and his policies too” once he saw them in action.

All the while, Farah was making a name for himself as a journalist. After serving as a part-time reporter (and the school newspaper editor) in his college years, Farah became a reporter for The Paterson News and Los Angeles Herald Examiner. At the Examiner, which ceased operations in 1989, Farah fell under the influence of James Bellows and rose through the administrative ranks.

Farah became the head of the paper’s news department in 1981 (at age 27), and from there, he became the editor-in-chief of a Southern California daily and a group of weeklies.

In 1990, Farah was recruited by the Sacramento Union. He accepted a position as editor-in-chief, which he held until he founded the Western Journalism Center in 1991. The goal of the WJC, according to Farah, is “to encourage and foster investigative reporting into fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in government.”

Its early accomplishments included jumpstarting the career of Christopher Ruddy, the later founder of Newsmax, who investigated the suspicious 1993 death of Clinton adviser Vince Foster.

In 1997, Farah made his biggest mark on the conservative media landscape when he launched WorldNetDaily. The site came along well before other independent alternative news sources and they had a full-time news reporting team before anyone else did, making them the true pioneer in the field.

WorldNetDaily's current banner, which celebrates their 20-year anniversary

Interestingly enough, Farah attempted to recruit Matt Drudge – who founded the Drudge Report in 1995 – before the WorldNetDaily launch.

According to Farah, WorldNetDaily took off very quickly. Standing in contrast to the mainstream media due to its adherence to standards regarding ethics and sourcing along with their Christian worldview, WorldNetDaily had traffic in the millions within the first year. Now, the site has five million unique viewers monthly and more than 40 million page-views.

During the 2008 election season, Farah attracted controversy for asking then-candidate Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate in order to verify his “constitutional eligibility.” Farah credits the WorldNetDaily effort, which was combined with the calls of Donald Trump (among others), with convincing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in 2011.

Farah explains that even to this day, the certificate has “never been validated by any independent inquiry or investigation as authentic.”

Although WorldNetDaily’s role in the 2008 election likely garnered the site more readership, Farah explained how the 2016 election – which resulted in the election of a conservative populist, Donald Trump – was a great boon for the site.

Joseph Farah on Fox News

I asked Farah whether he has any big plans for the future, he explained that WorldNetDaily has their “hands full publishing books, making movies and maintaining and growing the foundation for it all – [the] news site.”

Farah personally believes that President Trump has “done an amazing job thus far in less than a year,” although he would like for the abolishment of the IRS and a more stringent line on the national debt.

Farah, who is ardently pro-Israel, is especially happy with the president’s reversal of the “dangerous and anti-Israel course America was following before he took office.” Concerning the debate on whether to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Farah asserts that Israel should have the right to choose their own capital. He continued, stating that their claim to Jerusalem is validated by their Bible.

Aside from his role in turning WorldNetDaily into a major website, Farah has written multiple books. His latest text, The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age, was published in January 2017 and is available on Amazon. In the future, Farah plans to release more books, which will concern spirituality.

It is overwhelmingly apparent that Farah’s lifetime of contributions to two fields – mainstream media and alternative journalism – warrant him the M. Stanton Evans Lifetime Achievement for Excellence in Journalism award.

When I asked Farah whether he had anything to say to the folks that describe WorldNetDaily in negative terms, he said, “I’m doing the same thing I was doing when I was in so-called ‘mainstream media.’ I haven’t changed. They have.”