Numerous GOP candidates are raising money through a conspiracy theory site best-known for birtherism
Numerous Republican candidates, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Madison Cawthorn, and John James, have been advertising in the email list of conspiracy theory website WorldNetDaily. The right-wing website gained notoriety and readers by leading a smear campaign regarding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and has also pushed virulently anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim content.
WorldNetDaily is led by right-wing publisher and conspiracy theorist Joseph Farah. Alyssa Farah, the current White House communications director, is Farah’s daughter and a former writer for the site.
The Southern Poverty Law Center states that WND is “devoted to manipulative fear-mongering and outright fabrications designed to further the paranoid, gay-hating, conspiratorial and apocalyptic visions of Farah and his hand-picked contributors from the fringes of the far-right and fundamentalist worlds.”
WND was one of the main promoters of the false claim that Obama was not born in the U.S. The site ran numerous articles casting doubt on Obama’s birth certificate and organized a billboard and petition campaign asking “Where's the Birth Certificate?" The country’s most-famous birther, President Donald Trump, is a fan of the site’s birther stories.
The site has peddled white nationalist propaganda. It has also frequently posted hate content against LGBTQ people and Muslims.
The Washington Post reported in April 2019 that the WorldNetDaily empire has collapsed since its birther heyday because of financial problems.
The site is still trying to make money by renting out its email list to various politicians. In 2020, Media Matters has received fundraising emails from the following congressional candidates through WND’s email list:
- Sen. Thom Tillis (incumbent running for reelection from North Carolina)
- Madison Cawthorn (running for the House from North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District)
- John James (running for the Senate from Michigan)
- Rep. Elise Stefanik (incumbent running for the House from New York’s 21st Congressional District)
- Rep. Jim Jordan (incumbent running for reelection from Ohio’s 4th Congressional District)
- Laura Loomer (running for the House from Florida’s 21st Congressional District)
- Kathy Barnette (running for the House from Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District)
- Lacy Johnson (running for the House from Minnesota's 5th Congressional District)
- Kyle Van De Water (running for the House from New York’s 19th Congressional District)
- Tre Pennie (running for the House from Texas’ 30th Congressional District)
The Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which is “a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee,” has also advertised on WND’s list.
Like writers for WND, Loomer has frequently pushed anti-Muslim bigotry. The right-wing commentator has described herself as a “proud Islamophobe,” has stated that she didn’t “care” about the anti-Muslim mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has said that she would like to see “more” migrant deaths.