Let me preface this column by saying that I think the world of Reed
Irvine of Accuracy In Media. I have nothing but the highest regard for him.
He’s a hero in my book.
For more than 25 years, Irvine has exposed bias and outright deception in
the establishment press. Furthermore, Irvine has performed the great public
service of actively pursuing, using the highest standards of journalism,
some of the biggest stories of our time, including the cover-up of Vincent
Foster’s death and the downing of TWA Flight 800.
In the past, Irvine has singled out for praise my work as editor of the
Sacramento Union and later for helping to expose some of the biggest
scandals of the Clinton administration. And that’s why it stung when someone
e-mailed me a copy of a radio commentary he did last week with his longtime
sidekick Cliff Kincaid.
The commentary accused WorldNetDaily of disseminating “sensational but
misleading reports” about the recent Army exercises in Texas. The AIM report
took particular issue with a claim by an official in Kingsville “that the
maneuvers had something to do with a secret presidential directive on U.S.
involvement in U.N. peacekeeping operations, and that the directive permits
the military to violate a U.S. law prohibiting military involvement in
domestic law enforcement.”
“WorldNetDaily is usually a good source of information, but we talked to
this official, who denies making such statements,” Irvine and Kincaid said.
“It was a shock to us, since the directive is classified. That official, a
military veteran, told us he had not seen any secret directive. His only
criticism of the operation was the failure to notify the public at large,
causing some people to panic.”
There are a couple little problems with this backtracking public official
and the report by AIM. No. 1: The interview conducted with this official was
tape-recorded. We still have the recording. There is simply no question
about the veracity of the WND report. No. 2: Nobody from AIM ever bothered
to ask us for this original source material which would verify that, if
anyone is being misleading, it is the public official in Kingsville, not
When I read the transcript of the AIM report, I called my friend Reed
Irvine. He candidly admitted he had not prepared the report. He said the
text was handed to him by Kincaid minutes before it was recorded. He gave me
Kincaid’s phone number.
Kincaid claimed he had contacted our reporter, David Bresnahan, about the
report. Bresnahan, in Ireland on assignment, denied by e-mail any
recollection of an inquiry from Kincaid.
“He never contacted me that I can recall,” Bresnahan wrote. “If he did,
he did it in a way that I did not know who it was. I get at least 200
e-mails a day to go through. No one asked me to produce a tape. What’s wrong
with a phone call? Common courtesy.”
Good questions — especially for those who are going to attack the
journalistic standards of others.
Kincaid told me his biggest concern about the story was the credibility
of the Kingsville official. He did not believe that he had seen a classified
Well, guess what? I didn’t believe it either. But here was a local
official claiming to have seen such a document, and we let him have his say
in a news story. If credibility were a question with every source quoted in
WorldNetDaily, a good many sources would be eliminated — including just
about every government official. In the interest of balance, we often quote
people we don’t believe — including even the president of the United
Kincaid, though, is apparently laboring under the misapprehension that
journalists should only quote sources they deem credible. I suggested to him
that may be the role of the polemicist, but not the journalist.
But is there more to this gratuitous attack on WorldNetDaily than meets
the eye? I suspect so.
In the same commentary, Kincaid also attacked another WorldNetDaily story
he says “implicitly” criticized Texas Gov. George W. Bush for not commenting
on the Army exercises in his state.
“But the governor doesn’t have a role,” says Kincaid. “It’s a matter
between the military and local authorities.”
Evidently Kincaid, who describes himself as a conservative, does not put
much stock in the notion of states’ rights. Let’s see: George W. Bush is the
odds-on favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. He is the
governor of a state in which citizens are concerned, even alarmed, by
live-fire military exercises in their towns. And it’s somehow illegitimate
to ask him his opinion of the matter? Come on.
Kincaid is all wet on this one. I can only wonder what his personal or
political motivation is for attacking the credibility of WorldNetDaily.
Maybe it can be chalked up simply to a misunderstanding of the nature of
news. After all, though Kincaid describes himself as a journalist, he is
actually an activist, a partisan, a crusader, more than an investigator.
Kincaid also describes himself as a conservative, but, interestingly, of
the two op-ed pieces published by him in the Washington Post, one was, of
all things, an attack on Rush Limbaugh back in 1994, when Rush’s star was
very much on the rise. For a brief time, he became something of a one-man
band warning of the dangers posed to the republic by Rush Limbaugh.
I’ll tell you what, folks, I don’t agree with Rush on everything, but I
will say this about him: He remains a powerful force for enlightenment and
one of the last people I would expect to be the focus of a conservative
press critic’s wrath. I guess I should feel privileged to be targeted by
anyone who defines Rush Limbaugh as part of the problem rather than part of