It was a pretty big charge, given I have been a part of this business for 30 years – having worked as the top editor at daily newspapers before going on to found the Internet’s largest independent news source in WND.
Did it cause any introspection among my colleagues?
Did it prompt any debate among my colleagues?
Did it stir any reportage in the industry trades?
In fact, let me give you an idea of the kind of stories Editor & Publisher was covering as my book “Stop the Presses!”was released last week.
- The editorial page of the Chicago Tribune was being hailed for its courageous stand against capital punishment. Tribune public editor Timothy McNulty was a little surprised, however, by how little feedback and reaction the editor evoked. It apparently never occurred to him that 1) nobody read the editorial except the E&P staff, and 2) nobody cares what the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune thinks about capital punishment or anything else for that matter.
- The Toledo Blade, that paragon of virtue in print, fired photographer Allan Detrich for manipulating a photograph published on the front page. What did Detrich do? Did he attempt to distort the meaning of the image in some way? Did he insinuate his own views and values into the picture? No. He inadvertently sent the paper the wrong image, one in which he had airbrushed some unidentified feet irrelevant to the meaning of the photo.
- The Savannah, Ga., Morning News sparked controversy in its newsroom by publishing (gasp!) a column by a U.S. Army commander in Iraq who had the audacity to say the mission is making significant progress. Editor Susan Catron is taking the really courageous position of saying it was not her decision to let the column run and she is still not sure it was the right thing to do. “I’m on the fence about this,” she said. “My first reaction is that we need to get this man’s view in the paper. This is the viewpoint from someone who was there and that is how we looked at it. We will start off and see where it goes. I knew it would be controversial.” Maybe she’ll ask for a vote from her editorial staff.
This is what passes for debate inside America’s newsrooms.
The big issues – like radical political activism and special-interest lobbyists running the show – are not even acknowledged or discussed. No one is willing to go there – except me.
This is one reason I wrote “Stop the Presses!” Believe me, I have better things to do than criticize other journalists, point out their faults, watchdog my own industry. That’s not how I have spent my time in the press for most of the last 30 years. It’s not what I do as editor of WND.
But I cannot ignore that I am uniquely positioned as a whistleblower on this issue. I know my craft. I have impeccable credentials to do virtually any job in the media. I have done virtually every job in the media.
And so, I will continue to expose what no other media insider will expose – the dark underbelly of deceit, fraud, bias and shameless proselytizing that goes on inside what was the once-great institution of the American free press.
I encourage you to help me spread the word.