WorldNetDaily has never been shy about trying to fleece its readers for cash -- after all, it encourages its readers to make voluntary donations, even though WND is a for-profit operation. (WND's rationale: "there is a long and honored tradition in the newspaper business of asking loyal readers for voluntary payments.")
But trying to get people pay for something that's free likely hasn't brought in the cash, so WND must come up with other revenue streams. By getting into the business of having its readers pay it to send letters to politicians, WND seems to have one.
The inspiration for these campaigns appears to have come from one particular source: far-right religious extremist and WND columnist Janet Porter, best known for her rabid anti-Obama conspiracy theories, having once cited a neo-Nazi as credible, and praying for Christians to take "dominion" of the media.
In a Nov. 25, 2008, column uncritically repeating claims by the discredited Ron Polarik that the birth certificate released by Obama's presidential campaign is a forgery, thus making it a scandal akin to "Rathergate," Porter offered ideas for her readers who care about "care about life, liberty or the family, you're going to have to make hundreds of calls to try and fight an agenda that seeks to silence you" to "prevent" Obama from taking office, among them:
Write a letter to the nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court (names are listed below) and put them in a FedEx (or other overnight) envelope to:
U.S. Supreme Court
1 First Street, N.E
Washington, D.C. 20543
A few days later, WND was begging its readers to pay it to send a form letter to all nine members of the Supreme Court stating in part:
With the Electoral College set to make its determination Dec. 15 that Barack Hussein Obama Jr. be the next president of the United States, the Supreme Court is holding a conference Friday to review a case challenging his eligibility for the office based on Article 2, Section 1.
I urge you to take this matter most seriously - and judge it only on the clear, unambiguous words of the Constitution: A president must, at the very least, be a "natural born citizen" of the United States
If you agree that this clear constitutional requirement still matters, the Supreme Court must use its authority to establish, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Barack Hussein Obama Jr. qualifies for the office under that standard.
There is grave, widespread and rapidly growing concern throughout the American public that this constitutional requirement is being overlooked and enforcement neglected by state and federal election authorities. It's up to the Supreme Court to dispel all doubt that America's next president is truly a natural born citizen of the United States.
I urge you to honor the Constitution in this matter and uphold the public trust.
WND editor Joseph Farah joined in the begging: "Please take advantage of this brief opportunity to let the Supreme Court know you care and you are watching. The hearing is set for Friday. That means you have only today and tomorrow to act."
A few days later, WND claimed that it sent out "6,682 FedEx packages of nine letters each that will be delivered before the court reviews a case Friday challenging the eligibility of Barack Obama under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, which stipulates the position can only be filled by 'a natural born citizen.'"
A few days after that, WND kicked off an expanded campaign aimed at the Electoral College, asking readers to pay it $10.95 to send letters "to 470 members of the 538-member Electoral College for whom addresses are available. They will all be delivered Friday morning, giving each elector the weekend to consider the constitutional issues raised by Obama's presidency." The WND article repeated the discredited claim that "two Obama family members have told WND they were present at his birth in Mombasa, Kenya" and Polarik's discredited claim that Obama's birth certificate is " a possible forgery."
The letter claimed: "There is grave and widespread concern throughout the American public that this constitutional requirement is being overlooked and enforcement neglected by state and federal election authorities. There should be no doubt whatsoever that America's next president was truly born in the United States." It added to the electors; "All Americans should have confidence their president is eligible to serve. In this unique and historic case, you may prove to be the Constitution's last line of defense."
Farah justified this campaign too in a Dec. 10, 2008, column, asserting, "If there is any doubt, electors have a sworn duty to find out. And, no matter what you hear from my colleagues in the press, elected officials who chose not to investigate this matter and not to insist that safeguards and checks were in place on a matter so urgent and fundamental, there is doubt -- grave doubt."
And when the Supreme Court was to review another lawsuit attacking Obama's election on "eligibility" grounds, WND struck again with another letter campaign with a mild rewrite of its previous Supreme Court letter. This time, the response was much less than overwhelming; a Jan. 16, 2009, article stated that "1,344 people signed up to send a message to the justices, resulting in 12,096 messages."
Needless to say, all of WND's letter campaigns failed -- neither the Supreme Court nor the Electoral College challenged Obama's election on eligibility or citizenship grounds.
But the campaigns seemed to have given Farah an idea: He can have his readers pay him to spam politicians with letters promoting his right-wing agenda!
And that's what Farah did -- charging his readers more for sending the letters while telling falsehoods in the service of selling them.