WASHINGTON – A Senate Press Gallery official tried to convince me in a private conversation the other day that politics wasn’t behind the decision to deny press credentials to this newssite.
“Trying to paint WorldNetDaily as a conservative website was the last thing on our mind,” the official said.
He claims the gallery is a de-politicized zone.
“We don’t even talk politics,” he said. “We talk about our kids and baseball.”
And the 89 percent of Washington editors and bureau chiefs who voted for Bill Clinton – at twice the national rate – are just a bunch of apolitical monks, too.
Fact is, the liberal media gatekeepers on Capitol Hill tried to tie WND to the alleged “vast right-wing conspiracy” against their scandal-bloated hero, and they got caught. Engaging in content-based discrimination is unconstitutional. And now they’re trying to spin.
But they can’t spin away a two-page document listing so-called research items they used to consider WND’s application for a hard pass to freely cover Congress.
The list, discovered by WND counsel Rich Ackerman of the U.S. Justice Foundation, is replete with references to “Judicial Watch,” “conservative,” “conspiracy,” “Richard Mellon Scaife,” “Clinton,” and “Vince Foster.”
This is the smoking gun they’re worried about. And once WND’s legal team files its bias lawsuit, there will be more uncovered as the gatekeepers are forced through discovery to finally cough up notes, e-mails and other documentation they generated in vetting WND. Depositions taken under oath will also no doubt be revealing.
The same gallery official insists it was no political witch hunt. The investigation of WND, which also dug into its finances, was more a check-up of its health, he says. They had to be sure the Internet-based newspaper wasn’t just another dot-com that would flame out.
“Many dot-coms have failed in the matter of two weeks between when they submitted the application and before the committee looked at them,” the official said. “That’s how fast they would go.”
“And I have to admit that if they didn’t call back, we wouldn’t even bother reviewing them,” he added.
He confessed to an anti-Internet prejudice, but that’s it.
“The only prejudice we have is we know dot-coms come and go very quickly,” the official said.
Sounds somewhat plausible.
Only problem is, the gatekeepers waited a full year to finally deny WND a press pass. And within that year, WND not only didn’t fold, it grew and grew. By April 15, when they heard our appeal, WND’s readership had climbed to well over 2 million.
Gatekeepers also knew last year that WND had been around for four years (see item No. 10, “WND’s 4th anniversary,” cited in their own research list). Not exactly a flame-out candidate.
The official tried again, claiming that they would handle columnist David Broder, a 30-year member of the gallery, just as roughly if he left the Washington Post and started a website.
Broder, the dean of the liberal Washington press corps, stonewalled for a year? Offered a day pass? R-i-i-i-g-h-t.
Now I knew they were reaching.
This is the same gallery that credentialed the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, which is run by a bunch of “leftist San Francisco hippies,” as one media critic put it, that includes a Reuters colleague of one of the current gallery gatekeepers.
CIR, the feedstock of leftist propaganda for the Old Media, counts among its clients Salon.com, the indefatigable Clinton apologist.
Salon.com got a congressional press pass.
But there’s no left-wing conspiracy at the gallery. They just talk about baseball.
If you would like to help WorldNetDaily in its battle with the press police, you can donate to help pay legal costs.