The state of the media

By Joseph Farah

Have you ever noticed the way WND credits other media all the time?

If we get information from another news source, we typically cite that source – whether it’s a major newspaper or wire service or a one-man blog.

We do this because everyone who works in the editorial department of WND formerly worked in what is euphemistically called “the mainstream media.” And the standards of the “mainstream media,” at least when we all worked there, required such citations. It’s just the right thing to do – the honest thing to do.

But I’ve been noticing a trend, of late, that suggests those standards of the “mainstream media,” which is really not mainstream at all, have changed – at least as concerns WND.

Twice in one week, two big newspapers – one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. – chose to rewrite WND news stories, using content exclusively from WND, without ever once citing their source for the information.

Both the New York Daily News and the London Daily Mail picked up on WND’s high-profile Jan. 18 story about Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie expressing frustration at his inability to get his hands on Barack Obama’s birth certificate after promising the world he would bring forward the proof that his old pal was born there.

No big deal. I didn’t squawk about it. But one week later these two journalistic parasites were at it again – re-reporting WND’s big scoop about the Arizona legislature’s bill to require future presidential candidates to prove eligibility before getting on the state ballot.

Again, neither of these big news agencies had one fact or one comment not previously reported by WND – pretending, if you will, that they had made the discovery themselves.

Joseph Farah’s book “Stop the Presses: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution” is a fascinating account of his life as a cutting-edge newsman

One of the reports, in the Daily News, even had a byline attached to its story, suggesting a reporter had demonstrated some enterprise in gathering the facts. Well, to me, it was like a thief who left behind a calling card.

So, I dashed off a note to Daily News staff writer Michael Sheridan with a little challenge: “I’m getting pretty sick of your uncredited rewrites of WND content. Do I need to complain to your editor and go public with this example of shameless unprofessionalism? Or do you want to just knock it off because it’s the right thing to do?”

I never heard from Sheridan – so here we are.

What I’d like you to keep in mind as you consider my peeve is this: I was running major-metro dailies when this little twit was in kindergarten. Robert Unruh, the WND news editor who wrote the story, toiled at the largest news-gathering organization in the world, the Associated Press, for 30 years before stepping up to WND. Michael Sheridan is the online news editor of the Daily News. I’m unaware of any journalistic credentials he might have other than that.

And that’s why I say there is nothing “mainstream” about these big corporate news organizations. They are the farm teams for the real “mainstream,” which, increasingly, is the work of WND.

Trashy tabloids like the Daily Mail and the Daily News have their place. But understand what they are – tomorrow’s birdcage liners.

They have no professional standards.

They do very little real reporting.

They are purely entertainment vehicles.

They are mouthpieces for fat-cat corporate owners who have agendas.

And they are going the way of the lumbering brontosaurus.

OK, I got that out of my system.

Maybe what I should do in response is have my editors rewrite copy from the Daily News and Daily Mail every day and not credit them for their stories.

I might actually do it if there were anything worth stealing.