Thanks to my colleagues

By Joseph Farah

Now that the Senate Press Gallery has relented after a two-year fight and granted WorldNetDaily accreditation to cover the Capitol, I wanted to take a minute to thank all my colleagues for standing with me and my news organization through this battle.

Oh. You mean you didn’t see any of them standing up for the First Amendment and equal access to the most important political institution in the free world? Come to think of it, neither did I.

There were a few notable exceptions:

  • Paul Rodriguez, editor of Insight Magazine, wrote letters to the Standing Committee of Correspondents in support of our application.

  • Patrick Clawson, veteran Washington newsman who was a member of the Senate’s Standing Committee for Periodicals from 1989-91, spoke out forcefully and in person at our appeal hearing last April.

  • Ellen Ratner, a radio talk-show host, Fox News commentator and WorldNetDaily columnist, wrote a strong letter to the committee supporting our right to Capitol access.

  • Les Kinsolving, who became our White House correspondent during the flap, offered sage advice and some commentary on the subject.

  • John McCaslin of the Washington Times covered the controversy in his Inside the Beltway column.

And that’s pretty much the story of the support we received with some other notable radio talk-show hosts who invited us on to discuss the outrage of being denied entry to our nation’s Capitol.

It was a shocker for me. Time after time, I have stood with my colleagues – whether I agree with them or not – when their First Amendment rights were compromised. I always figured we either hang together or hang separately. I guess the rest of the press establishment don’t think like that. They apparently would like us to hang separately. In fact, the two-year ordeal we faced with the Senate Press Gallery was a kind of public lynching orchestrated by members of our own profession who were either jealous or fearful of what an aggressive New Media organization like WND represents.

Am I bitter? No. Will this realization of how alone WorldNetDaily is in this town make the goal of reforming the press establishment harder? You bet.

You might recall I predicted a long time ago – when committee members couldn’t utter the name WorldNetDaily without sputtering obscenities – that this day would come. I also told you that when it came, it only represented a first step for us. The real goal remains the dismantling of this dreadful system that allows agents of totalitarian governments to get press passes while denying lifelong American journalists their access to the U.S. Capitol.

That is an outrage that will not be forgotten just because we got our pass.

At a time when the security of our nation’s most vital institutions is the highest concern, it’s time for a new look at the way foreign “journalists” are being given access to the U.S. Capitol. At best, many of these agents are nothing more than paid political propagandists. But it could be much worse. It is not unusual for totalitarian governments to employ spies under the cover of reporters.

I’m determined to expose this problem. I’m determined to see real change in the way journalists are credentialed. I’m determined to make sure no one ever has to endure what we endured for the last two years in this battle.

There’s no question that this is a victory. And that victory would not have been possible without the valiant aid and assistance of Richard Ackerman and Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation. These men and this organization were heroic in their commitment to our cause and the First Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union wasn’t there for us, but USJF was.

I urge you to send the group a tax-deductible contribution today to help offset the enormous expense it assumed when it took on our case.

They say you find out who your friends are in times of trouble. We found out who our friends were during this fight. And we want to thank the thousands of readers who wrote letters, made phone calls and otherwise made your voices heard in standing up for freedom of the press.