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Friday, August 31, 2012
What Would A ConWeb Writer Have to Do to Get Fired?
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb was, unsurprisingly, incredibly happy that Yahoo Washington bureau chief David Chalian was fired from his job for being caught on a hot mic saing that Mitt Romney was "happy to have a party with black people drowning." For example:
  • NewsBusters' Matt Sheffield, who broke the story (but originally falsely identified Chalian's voice as that of an ABC News employee) declared that Chalian's remark was "the perfect example of the pervasive anti-Republican bias Mitt Romney faces in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama." Sheffield later touted Chalian's firing, then bashed NPR's Gwen Ifill for defending him.
  • WorldNetDaily columnist Diana West called Chalian's remark "a race-bait too far."

The thing is, though: Such firings for making outrageous remarks very rarely happen in the ConWeb, where writers are simply not held to the same standards as those in the so-called "mainstream media." The most outrageous remarks and unprofessional journalistic behavior have not only gone unpunished but have been rewarded in some cases.

In 2009, CNSNews.com reporter Penny Starr called Harry Reid a baby-killer by likening him to King Herod. She's still employed as a reporter.

In 2005, WND was forced to retract a story by Aaron Klein that falsely smeared the charity group Islamic Relief by claiming it is linked to terrorism and accusing it of making a fraudulent appeal for money for orphans that don't exist. Not only is Klein still employed by WND, he now hosts a talk show on a New York radio station.

in 2009, WorldNetDaily's Erik Rush likened President Obama to a cellblock rapist. Not only does WND still publish his columns, Rush was named "Vice President of Administration and Strategic Alliances" for Pink Pagoda Girls USA, a group that claims to be "involved in rescuing baby girls in the People’s Republic of China from infanticide as a result of that nation’s 'one child per family' policy."

In 2011, WorldNetDaily executive news editor Joe Kovacs utterly botched a story by claiming that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's name came up "at least nine times on [Supreme Court] dockets involving Obama eligibility issues" stemming from her connection as Obama's former solicitor general. In fact, none of those docket items has anything to do with "eligibility issues." Kovacs remains employed at WND, still dutifully transcribing pearls of wisdom from his idol, Rush Limbaugh.

In 2006, NewsBusters blogger Dan Riehl led a personal attack on a Democratic campaign tracker who was the target of Virginia Senate candidate George Allen's notorious "macaca" remark, falsely accusing him of making racial slurs. Riehl remained a regular blogger at NewsBusters for the next year and a half; he later became a regular blogger at Breitbart.com. Earlier this year, he hurled sexually explicit tweets at Salon editor Joan Walsh, which has not affected his blogging status at Breitbart.

In 2001, WND published a column by Anthony LoBaido in which he blamed America for the 9/11 attacks: "All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, WallStreet greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let's remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York." WND editor Joseph Farah defended LoBaido's right to say what he did, and WND has continued to publish him ever since. (That column, though, was mysteriously deleted without explanation.)

The only direct dismissal for a beyond-the-pale statement we can recall in our 12-plus years of monitoring the ConWeb is Newsmax columnist John L. Perry, who was dropped after a 2009 column in which he rooted for a military coup to resolve the "Obama problem." 

For anyone in the ConWeb to chortle over Chalian's dismissal is utterly hypocritical, since none of these right-wing "news" organizations holds their employees to the same standards.

UPDATE: Remember, the head of the MRC, Brent Bozell, has set the extremist bar pretty high by calling Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead." If nobody at the MRC was outraged by that, it's no wonder that Penny Starr is feeling a lot of job security.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 8:06 PM EDT

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