Editor’s note: Do you want to help WorldNetDaily in its battle for press accreditation to cover the Capitol? WorldNetDaily has a Legal Defense Fund, set up originally to help support the newssite in its litigation with Al Gore crony Clark Jones in Tennessee and other legal challenges we face from time to time. Readers who wish to donate to help in these matters may do so in two ways:
- Make a tax-deductible contribution to the U.S. Justice Foundation, the public-interest legal group that is handling WND’s case against the Senate Press Gallery in Washington. This same group is aiding in WND’s defamation case in Tennessee.
- If tax-deductibility is not an issue, readers may donate directly to WND’s Legal Defense Fund.
The Senate Press Gallery contends WorldNetDaily does not have enough original content to qualify for accreditation despite the fact that millions rely on the leading independent newssite as their principal source of news.
An appeals hearing will be held April 15 in the U.S. Capitol on this issue. I will be there at that time as a new Washington, D.C.-area resident to make the case.
Let’s review some of the facts about this insulting conclusion by the gallery:
- WorldNetDaily employs 13 full-time editorial staffers, three part-time, and as many as a dozen free-lance news writers who contribute regularly to the news product.
- WorldNetDaily has archived more than 14,000 original stories and columns.
- About half the content, meaning roughly 7,000 files, is news – the other half commentary.
- WorldNetDaily publishes seven days a week and operates around the clock, complementing its original content with links to news and commentary in other web-based news outlets. There is always original content in WorldNetDaily – some days more than others. Typically, our “front page” of news is dominated by original coverage, whereas Page 2 is dominated by links. Our commentary page is likewise dominated by original content. WorldNetDaily has more original columnists than any other daily newspaper or newssite – including high-profile creators such as Bill O’Reilly, Michael Medved and, if I do say so myself, yours truly.
- In addition to the content on the website, WorldNetDaily publishes a monthly magazine of approximately 48 pages – full of original content. WorldNetDaily’s full-time Washington bureau chief, Paul Sperry, is a frequent contributor to the offline publication as well.
- In addition to quantity, the real story of WorldNetDaily’s content is the quality. Unlike many other news agencies, WorldNetDaily devotes its staff time to reporting of national and international significance only. WorldNetDaily has been credited with breaking some of the biggest stories of the last five years. (See Scoops.)
- The Senate Press Gallery has based its decision to deny accreditation to WND, at least in part, on content – a dangerous First Amendment precedent. Content is a completely subjective criteria beyond quantity. In terms of quantity, WND produces far more original content than many other news agencies accredited for coverage of the Capitol.
- The Senate Press Gallery clearly, judging from a list of items used in deliberation proceedings, has gone on a fishing expedition for “controversy” and criticism of WND and its founders – even to the extent of digging up irrelevant 12-year-old reports dating back to Joseph Farah’s appointment as editor-in-chief of the Sacramento Union and emphasizing its previous relationship with the non-profit Western Journalism Center.
- Besides the issue of original content, the gallery has determined that WorldNetDaily “is not separate and independent from the Western Journalism Center” and is therefore in conflict with its rules. However, the gallery’s rules do not explicitly or implicitly forbid non-profits or news agencies connected with non-profits from accreditation.
- For the record, however, WorldNetDaily is completely independent of the non-profit Western Journalism Center and has been since October 1999. Joseph Farah resigned as executive director of Western Journalism Center and as a board member effective with the establishment of the for-profit WorldNetDaily.
When I attend the hearing next month, I will not just be fighting for WorldNetDaily accreditation, but for a much bigger cause.
The Senate Press Gallery’s rules and processes for determining accreditation are outdated, outmoded and corrupt to the core. While denying WorldNetDaily’s application, the gallery has accredited for coverage of the U.S. Capitol journalists and “news agencies” representing totalitarian states – in other words, paid government propagandists.
This is an outrage we discovered by chance through the excruciating Star Chamber procedures we have endured for more than a year.
I personally appreciate the support of radio talk-show hosts around the country who have rallied to our cause. I appreciate the coverage of this story by the Washington Times. I note, however, that Roll Call, the weekly newspaper covering the Capitol, has joined the gallery in its distortion of the WorldNetDaily mission.
A March 18 story refers to WorldNetDaily as “a popular conservative Web publication.” I don’t have to tell sophisticated WorldNetDaily readers that this kind of simplistic labeling says more about those using it than those it is supposed to describe.
WorldNetDaily is, of course, an independent newssite. It is not “conservative.” But what do you expect from a member of the elite club of inside-the-beltway semi-official news sources?