By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 18, 2007
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WorldNetDaily.com, the largest independent news site on the Internet. He’s also the founder of WND Books, Whistleblower magazine and the G2 Bulletin online intelligence newsletter. He previously served as editor in chief of major-market daily newspapers including the Sacramento Union. He’s a syndicated columnist and his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, TV Guide and the Jerusalem Post. Farah has written or collaborated on more than a dozen books, including Rush Limbaugh’s 1994 No. 1 best seller “See, I Told You So.” His previous book, “Taking America Back,” was first published in 2003 and again in paperback in 2005.
He is the author of the new book, Stop the Presses!: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution.
FP: Joseph Farah, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
Farah: Thank you.
FP: What inspired you to write this book?
Farah: About 30 years of news media experience! It occurred to me in the last few years that I am uniquely positioned as a veteran newsman from traditional media who transitioned into the new world of media as a successful entrepreneur. There are others, of course, who have done this, but none — I don’t believe — with the breadth of experience that I brought to the New Media.
For one thing, I was an eyewitness to the takeover of
America‘s newsrooms by radical activist special-interest pressure groups. That’s a story that has never been told before “Stop The Presses!” It is an important story.
Also, surviving in this new media environment for 10 years is an achievement few others can boast. Some amazing and exciting stories occurred along the way and only a book would provide the kind of forum needed to share those.
Lastly, I wanted to make a point emphatically about the way journalists have lost their moral bearings, their sense of mission and their professional compass. Two of my favorite chapters in the book deal with the history of the free press and the long-forgotten purpose of the free press. American journalists desperately need to have a dialogue about this.
FP: What do you think are some factors that account for journalists having lost their “moral bearings, their sense of mission and their professional compass”?
Farah: 1.There is a lack of intelligent debate about these subjects within the industry. I’ve been trying to stimulate one for 25 years and I’m still awaiting my first invitation to speak to an industry group. 2. As much as the news media champions ”diversity,” they don’t champion the one kind of pluralism that is actually meaningful — the philosophical kind, the ideological kind, the kind the permits those holding different worldviews clash and collaborate creatively. 3. For whatever reasons, the multinational corporations that control most of the news media tolerate and even feed the politically correct mind control laboratories that are today’s newsrooms. 4. Journalists are products of their education system. And that education system — from kindergarten through post-grad work — provides an exclusively morally relativistic worldview. 5. There’s been an active rejection of traditional American journalism because it is uniquely and historically positioned to serve as a watchdog on government — a mission uncomfortable for socialists and humanists.
FP: Could you kindly tell us a bit about what made you a radical and then some of the key events and developments that turned you on the road toward leaving the Political Faith? Farah: I was reared at a tumultuous time in American history — the 1960s. I was part of what David Horowitz termed “The Destructive Generation.” Sparked by my own opposition to the Vietnam War, my views grew more and more extreme, fed by the paranoia and lies of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Tom Hayden and their ilk. Seeing the aftermath of that war — the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the re-education camps of
Vietnam — awakened me to the evil to which I had been a small part. The abject rejection of that reality by the Fondas and the Haydens and the Kerrys demonstrated for me that these people had no conscience, had no sense of morality and were incapable of decency. From there, a spiritual conversion in my college years led slowly and surely to the development of a new worldview — a Christian worldview. As I point out in my new book, that worldview is not conservative. In fact, I think it’s quite radical — more in line with our American revolutionary heritage than with, say, George W. Bush.
FP: What makes the news media so biased?
Farah: I should know, because I was attracted to the news media for the same reasons as most of my colleagues. I was inspired by Watergate — the idea of two lowly reporters for the Washington Post overthrowing a president of the
United States had great appeal to my generation. You might remember that journalism school enrolments hit an all-time high in 1973 and 1974, as a result of the scandal, the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and especially the movie version of “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
As you know, I am a “second thoughter.” I was not a “liberal” in those days. I was a radical. I wanted to change the world — and especially the
United States. That’s what that generation of reporters had in common. They didn’t join the press because they wanted to seek the truth. They joined the press because it seemed like a good way to subvert the establishment. It turned out they were right. And most of those who took those jobs back then are in positions of real power today. They ARE the establishment today. Most of them did not have second thoughts. They are still promoting the same old hackneyed socialist and humanist ideas they started with.
FP: What is the press doing wrong?
Farah: The main thing the press is doing wrong is ignoring or forgetting what is the central role of a free press in free society. That is to serve as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions. That’s out main job — and of course it has little appeal to people who see government as the first solution for every problem both real and imagined.
The free press was born in
America, just as real freedom was in many ways. And it was birthed by founders who understood a free and vigorous press was needed as just one more device to check government power. That’s why they enshrined in the First Amendment special protections for the press that had really never been known previously in the history of the world. How can the press do its job right if the press doesn’t understand what its job is? Thirty years ago, if you went into the average newsroom and asked the veteran city editor about the central role of a free press in a free society, I think you’d have a pretty fair shot at getting the right answer. Today, no one in any major newsroom would provide this one correct answer. I doubt any one is teaching in journalism school. I bet it hasn’t been taught in a university since I stopped teaching journalism at UCLA in the 1980s. Today, if you asked journalists about the central role of a free press in a free society, you’d get all kinds of answers — seeking diversity, promoting tolerance, encouraging multiculturalism, breaking down gender barriers, saving the planet from greedy developers, protecting consumers from rapacious corporations, etc. Nobody is suspicious of government. Government is their friend. Government promotes their agenda. In effect, the establishment corporate press has become the lapdog of government — paving the way for more intrusion into what remains of our private lives.
FP: What is the impact of the new media? Farah: The impact of the new media is, to me, the most exciting thing that has happened since Gutenberg. The only possible antidote to the toxic effluence of what I call “the downstream media” was competition. But, prior to the advent of the Internet, competition was actually drying up. There were fewer voices, not more. Talk radio broadened what was previously a national non-debate. But the new media was really birthed in 1995 by Matt Drudge. The synergy that developed between a handful of Internet information sources — like WND and Frontpagemag.com — and talk radio expanded the reach, the impact and the resources of both media exponentially. You miss the picture if you judge the new media on “reach” alone. WND’s reach is impressive with 8 million unique visitors. But that doesn’t even begin to describe the viral impact of WND because of the way it is used by talk-show hosts as show prep and the way TV producers consult with it daily like they do with only a handful of national newspapers. Now there’s the blogosphere and no one will ever get away with anything again. No mistake will go unnoticed by someone in the blogosphere. No inaccuracy can go uncorrected. No fraud will go unnoticed by one of the millions of self-deputized watchdogs.
FP: What is your view of how the mainstream media has operated on
Iraq? The new media?
Farah: I think there is much good reporting going on in
Iraq. For instance, I constantly hear ”conservatives” bashing the New York Times coverage of the war. In fact, some of the very best reporting done on this war — and still being done — is by John Burns of the New York Times. I don’t like what the editorial page of the New York Times has to say about the fight against Islamo-fascism, but we shouldn’t blame the most experienced and talented reporter in
Iraq for the sins of Pinch Sulzberger. On the other hand, I think there is jubilation in the newsrooms of the major TV networks whenever it appears the
U.S. is losing its grip in
Iraq. More than anything else, it’s the cacophony of the know-nothing pundits on war in
Iraq that has served to confuse the American people and provided cover for the treasonous initiatives of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
FP: What is the future of the new media?
Farah: It is increasingly a future of video — not just text. In the future, you will be watching me deliver this cogent interview rather than reading the words on a computer screen.
So get ready, Jamie. Lights, camera, action.
FP: Am I going to be on camera with you too?
Joseph Farah, thank you for joining us today.
Farah: It was my great pleasure and keep up the great, groundbreaking work at Frontpagemag.com.
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