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As you know, WorldNetDaily is involved in a titanic battle with the U.S. Senate Press Gallery, which, for the last year, has denied the leading independent Internet newssite permanent credentials to cover the Capitol.

Interestingly, front and center as an obstacle to WorldNetDaily’s First Amendment rights is William Roberts, chairman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the gallery and chairman of Bloomberg News.

Roberts called me last week after the deputy director of the gallery, Joe Keenan, was flooded with more than 2,000 e-mails in one day protesting the decision to deny WorldNetDaily credentials.

“I request – no, I demand – that you remove Joe Keenan’s e-mail address from your site,” screamed the severely agitated Roberts. His “demands” were sandwiched between some rather, shall we say, unprofessional and unprovoked obscenities of the four-letter variety.

I revisit this little episode, already covered in a news story last week, because of the irony I missed at first glance.

Back in 1989, when Bloomberg News was the new kid on the block in the news business, guess who was denied press accreditation by the same Standing Committee of Correspondents of the daily press gallery?

That’s right. Bloomberg News.

And was the boss ever steamed about it!

The whole story is chronicled in a May-June 1995 Columbia Journalism Review article called “What’s a Bloomberg?” Matthew Winkler, the news service’s first editor in chief, described the frustration of being turned down for Capitol press credentials by people with far less talent, far less experience and far less savvy acting as gatekeepers for the government-media complex.

“I can’t tell you how insulting it is to have someone from the Podunk Gazette tell someone who’s written a jillion articles for the Wall Street Journal that he can’t get his dogtags,” Winkler told CJR.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Bloomberg News has had a decade or so to become part of the establishment and – judging from the hostility I detected from Roberts – the new gatekeeper plans on deadbolting the door to ensure no new access to other upstarts like WorldNetDaily.

Well, I have news for the news police: WorldNetDaily will be successful at securing its rightful place in the Capitol press corps – whether the old guard likes it or not.

A First Amendment attorney I know called the Senate Press Gallery’s decision to withhold credentials from WorldNetDaily based on content considerations “the most unconstitutional decision I have seen in a long, long time.”

I agree. And we will make that case. We will make it to the committee, again, through the appeals process – this time in a hearing with attorneys present and court reporters taking notes. We will make it to the appropriate parties in both the Senate and House, and let them know the little tea party they are running in the press gallery is out of control. And we will make our case in court if necessary. I promise you we will win.

We will not be deterred. We will not grow weary. Like I told Roberts: “You don’t know who you are dealing with, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”

But I am going to continue to ask for your support. You, our dear readers, have responded in force with your e-mail barrage. That kind of support is greatly appreciated. I doubt there is another news company in the world with such a loyal readership.

However, this fight is going to prove costly, too. If we don’t find other financial resources to cover our costs, we will be forced to divert money that would ordinarily be spent on content development on this fight.

So, if you like a good brawl – especially a good First Amendment, David and Goliath-style rumble – maybe you could spare some change to support the spectacle. You see, we don’t have Michael Bloomberg’s big bucks.

We have already established a Legal Defense Fund to support us in our litigation with Al Gore’s bagman in Tennessee and other legal challenges we face from time to time.

You can support us two ways – the choice is yours:

  • If you like to make tax-deductible contributions, you can send them to the U.S. Justice Foundation, the public-interest legal group that is handling our case against the news police in Washington. This same group is aiding in our defamation case in Tennessee.
  • If tax-deductibility is not an issue and you like the convenience of online contributions, you can send them directly to us and our Legal Defense Fund.

Help us bust the media gatekeepers.


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