Activists in the newsroom

By Joseph Farah

There’s an indelicate old newspaper saying that summarizes succinctly the
way the industry traditionally viewed the issue of personal and journalistic
conflicts of interest.

The curmudgeonly city editor would say to his reporter: “Hey, I don’t
care if you sleep with elephants, just don’t cover the circus.”

That was the American journalistic standard for a long time — right up
until the 1970s. Today, I’m sorry to say, the circus is being covered by
people sleeping in the elephant tent, the hyena cage, the sheep exhibit and
the gerbil display.

We have witnessed in the last quarter century the transition of American
journalism from a profession of disinterested chroniclers to one more akin
to a band of lobbyists using the press to support activist causes.

One of the most effective pressure groups in this brave new media world
is the

National Lesbian and Gay Journalists
Association.

Not only is the organization successful at working inside the media to ensure favorable coverage of homosexuals and their political agenda, it even persuades the corporate press barons to pay their freight! The Hearst Corp., Knight-Ridder, the New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Time, ABC, CBS News, CNN, Fox News Network, Brill’s Content and Newsday are among the Big Media companies that lend financial support to this cause. The Ford Foundation and American Airlines are two other major patrons.

Have you ever wondered why coverage of homosexuals and their cause is so universally positive? Now you know. The NLGJA’s president works at the Dallas Morning News. One vice president works at CNN. Another works at Newsday. The treasurer works at the New York Times. The secretary works for USA Today. Looks like they’ve got most of the bases covered.

How is it that I know so much about NLGJA? OK, I have a confession to make. I’ve been personally invited to the NLGJA’s convention in San Francisco next month. Why would they invite me? No, folks, this is not my “coming out” column. I assure you I am 100 percent heterosexual and monogamous. I don’t think they’ll be asking me to make a keynote address.

No, the NLGJA will be looking for bigger names — people like Barbara Walters, Lesley Stahl, New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, all of whom have participated in previous NLGJA events. In fact, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings have been invited to lead a town hall discussion at the event Sept. 7-10 in San Francisco.

All of these heavyweights lend their support to this pressure campaign simply because it is chic. Try to imagine what would happen if a group of Christians in the news media got together to try work toward “fairer and more accurate coverage” of their faith. Would the cause be underwritten by the press establishment? Would it be supported by the big names?

Of course not. And that’s one of the reasons you don’t get the straight story, pardon the pun, when you read the establishment press. The thought police are hard at work in the newsroom. They are busy filtering and spiking and spinning.

That’s OK with me. I used to get upset about it. Now I realize it represents an opportunity for us, for me, for WorldNetDaily, for the truth, for old-fashioned journalistic standards.

Maybe you’re thinking: “Well, Farah, you’re not exactly a paragon of objectivity yourself. Where do you get off chastising those people with different viewpoints who work in your industry?”

Ahhhh, that’s the point. It’s not about viewpoints. It’s about organizations. It’s about memberships. It’s about loyalty to causes above one’s loyalty to journalistic ethics.

You see, I don’t belong to any organizations. I’m not even registered to a political party. That’s how seriously I take my professional obligation to impartiality. Since I’ve been a journalist, I’ve never worked in a campaign, I’ve never worked in politics or government and I’ve certainly never lobbied my colleagues for special kid-glove treatment of my pet causes.

Yes, I have pet causes. I have strong beliefs. And I think it’s great to be open and honest about them. That is part of the great tradition of American journalism.

So, let the establishment press cater to activists. Let it scrape and bow to an elite and narrow constituency hopelessly out of touch with mainstream American values. Let it throw its money and glamour behind pressure groups.

Meanwhile, the renewal of the great American press tradition of independent, fearless crusading, fairness and truth begins right here — at WorldNetDaily.com.