Just a day after it was reported that publicity giant PRWeb refuses even to mention WND, because it’s considered an “unreliable” news source, WND has been officially accredited by the United Nations for all its departments and affiliates worldwide.
Confirmation has been delivered to the independent news site that the U.N. media accreditation department officially has approved WND’s letter and accompanying application.
It was another step in the growth of WND, founded in 1997 by CEO Joseph Farah and his wife, Elizabeth, who is a marketing executive for the site. WND now includes worldwide, national and local daily news as well as one of the best lineups of commentary writers in the world and a book-publishing arm.
Ironically, it was only days earlier when PRWeb, described by some as the “biggest press release factory in the world,” refused to distribute a press release because it cited WND reports.
The press release promoted a plan by leaders of the Beat Obama Committee, or BOPAC.
BOPAC reported that while PRWeb appears indiscriminately to distribute press releases from businesses, politicians, bloggers and activists, it drew the line at sending out a paid report that 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.
The delay in getting its press release out through PRWeb is nothing new, says Robert Mallory of BOPAC. He believes it’s because of bias within the company favoring 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.
“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?”
PRWeb did not respond to WND requests for comment.
But the incident was not the first time WND has been maligned. Just weeks ago, the office of U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice at the United Nations rejected a request from a longtime U.N. reporter, writing for WND, to attend a routine event.
WND has fought many previous battles over media access barred by government gatekeepers. One of the biggest was a decade ago, in February 2002, when WND was denied accreditation to the Senate Press Gallery for routine access to cover the Capitol. But 10 days after WND threatened to sue every member of the Senate Press Gallery’s Standing Committee of Correspondents, who decide who is a “legitimate” news organization and who is not, WND was granted accreditation in September 2002. Subsequently, WND’s case against the Senate Press Gallery would be considered a groundbreaking legal precedent, paving the way for other online news groups to enter sacred ground previously reserved only for traditional Beltway news organizations.
More recently, WND was denied access by the Department of Transportation to a routine news conference in which then-Secretary Mary Peters defended the controversial Bush administration program allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads.
Agency spokesman Duane DeBruyne, who was screening reporters at the security entrance of the federal building at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., said he did not have the authority to allow entry to WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi, who has reported extensively on the program and attended other news conferences on the subject.
DeBruyne telephoned his supervisor, DOT spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney, who declined permission without explanation, demanding that WND leave the premises.
In a phone call to the DOT public affairs office, the agency explained it was requiring “press credentials” for admittance, and no one without them was allowed to participate.
The news conference was only for “credentialed members of the media,” spokesman Bill Moseley told WND. “There’s a specific credential. He did not have a media credential.”
And how can a reporter obtain such a credential resulting in permission to attend?
Responded Moseley, “I don’t know.”
Corsi, however, maintained he never was asked to produce media credentials of any kind, noting he had his usual press ID card issued by WND. Rather, said Corsi, DeBruyne immediately recognized him and apologetically explained that the department would “not accept your press credentials.”