I got the call from Joseph Farah late in 2001. At the time, I was living in Canada. We had emigrated there from South Africa in 1995, and were in the process of relocating to the US. My writing trajectory in Canada had been brief and rather spectacular. Within a year of my first editorializing efforts, I had a regular weekly column with a gem of a little newspaper, the North Shore News. I also published provocative pieces in the prestigious Financial Post, the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, the libertarian Ottawa Citizen, the paleoconservative Report Newsmagazine, and the left-liberal Vancouver Sun. There were essays in symposia for Insight On the News and other assignments for American publications.
It got better. Writers at the Calgary Herald commenced a year-long strike intended to cripple newspaper magnate Conrad Black. (He owned most of Canada’s newspapers.) Since the kings and queens of Canadian organized labor were convinced they owned their jobs, they wanted to prevent the poorest workers—scabs—from competing for these positions. I considered it my moral duty to strike out for the real underdog in this cast system, and happily crossed the picket line. A glorious year on that fine editorial page ensued, during which I made it my mission to inveigh against coercive unions. I also wrote freely against that disorganized criminal organization—government—and about everything from sex (the good kind), to pseudo-science, and the Zeitgeist, in general.
I was becoming part of “mainstream” media (the good kind), when a cataclysmic event occurred: Conrad Black’s Hollinger Inc. transferred more than 100 Canadian newspapers, including half-ownership of the National Post, to Izzy Asper’s CanWest Global Communications Corp. Whereas Black was a conservative (to be claimed by neoconservatism), and a relatively hands-off proprietor; Mr. Asper backed Canada’s Liberal Party and was an editorial activist. Consequently, I was booted from both perches.
The North Shore News’ feisty conservative editor was summarily dismissed, as was I, his protégé. The Calgary-Herald strikers got tired of posting photos on the Internet of us scabs with nooses around our necks. The picket—that vigorous bedlam-corridor shuffle along the paper’s property line—became a chore for these flaccid folks. So they returned to work. My copy was never again published in the Herald.
Against this backdrop, and just before making the move to the US, I began acquainting myself with the “New Media,” submitting a few editorials to one particularly attractive site. How I stumbled upon WorldNetDaily.com, I can’t quite recall, but I have a good idea. I must have been researching a particularly incendiary topic, taboo in the mummified media, when WND.com popped up first on the search. Try it; it works like a charm.
Before long, a rather unconventional man by the name of Joseph Farah called me. WND.com’s CEO was funny and frank. I had lived among the Nordic, morose Canadians for seven lean years. So this lively American, who cocked a snook at the media establishment, was a breath of fresh air. Mr. Farah told me that launching the odd blowhard with limited cerebral agility was lucrative, but that WND also intended to nurture real talent. “This is where you come in,” he said, and forthwith made me a featured columnist for WND.com.
Consider this: I have been fired from a libertarian website for deviating from dictated dogma. Yet in all my years with WND.com, the Internet’s leading, largest independent website, I have never so much as been censored—not even when I likened Bush’s “Bring ’em on grin“ to the grimace “on the face of a demented patient with end-stage syphilis.”
Indeed WND’s intrepid editors have fielded many a missive demanding I be dropped. “Guys,” complained one devotee, “I am about to boycott your splendid website…Ilana’s views are just too … out of synch with other contributors on your site [when it comes to the invasion of Iraq].” What the reader failed to comprehend was that WND was not looking for conformity—at least not from me. And for that I am grateful. I am temperamentally not suited to obedience, not when truth is at stake.
I’ve never been censored, but I have been censured by Joseph Farah, and in the process learned an important lesson from a veteran journalist. I had penned a devastating essay in reply to some serious, but insignificant, creeps. Mr. Farah e-mailed one of his laconic, but lacerating, letters: “Brilliant,” he wrote, “BUT WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE? In future,” he admonished, “tackle the issues only or the big fish; you’ve given a sizeable platform to puny nobodies!”
And may that platform continue to grow. A happy 10th Anniversary to WorldNetDaily.com.
©2007 By Ilana Mercer