WASHINGTON – Has the biggest press release factory in the world set itself up as a new gatekeeper of political correctness and journalistic propriety?
That's the question being asked by the leaders of the Beat Obama Committee, or BOPAC.
PRWeb, which seems to indiscriminately distribute press releases from businesses, politicians, bloggers, activists and just about everyone, drew the line at sending out a paid report from BOPAC, explaining that it cited information from WND, which management considered not "credible" and a "biased source of news."
After days of delay and negotiations with PRWeb management, BOPAC reworked its press release, citing other news agencies – and that did the trick.
Delays in getting its press releases out through PRWeb are nothing new, says Robert Mallory of BOPAC. He believes it's because of bias within the company for Barack Obama.
"BOPAC has been trying to issue press releases in a timely fashion, but our releases continue to be held up and delayed based on ideologically biased treatment from PRWeb's editorial staff," he said. "There appears to be a double standard in PRWeb's treatment of conservative anti-Obama groups versus pro-Obama support and fundraising groups."
But push came to shove when BOPAC submitted a press release promoting a fax campaign directed toward Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who was calling on the state of Hawaii to validate Obama’s birth certificate. The release cited WND reporting.
In a conference call with the editorial staff of PRWeb, BOPAC was told it could not cite WND and get its press releases disseminated.
"What's absurd about this policy is that press releases are, by their very nature, one-sided, biased reports that are based mainly on the claims of those preparing them," said Joseph Farah, editor, chief executive officer and founder of WND. "It's astonishing to me that the 'editorial staff' is worrying about anything other than spelling errors and typos but is rather making determinations about which news agencies are credible and which are not."
PRWeb is owned by a publicly held company called Vocus, which doesn't even include any editorial managers among its top executives.
"The question I have is who might Vocus or PRWeb have within its team with the journalistic credentials to make such a call," wondered Farah. "I have more than 30 years of experience running major-market daily newspapers, doing investigative reporting, hosting a nationally syndicated talk-radio program, consulting with NBC and other major media outlets, teaching journalism at a major university. The WND editorial staff has hundreds of years of combined experiences like mine. Is there even one person at Vocus or PRWeb who has those kinds of credentials?"
"Of course there's nothing wrong with shameless promotions if what you do is disseminate press releases without regard to politics and without trying to suggest you have some editorial standards to uphold beyond proper use of the English language and avoiding defamation claims," said Farah. "But PR Web and Vocus, far from giving an equal voice to all, seems to be quite arbitrarily playing favorites – and, defaming people actually working in journalism. All I can say is they better be careful about the making defamatory and malicious statements about me and my company in the future."
Seeking comment from PRWeb, WND called the company's number for editorial assistance. There, Lacey answered the phone, and to WND's request for a comment, said, "I'm not authorized to do that" and hung up.
At a second number, Frank Strong took the request and said he would call back. He never did.