The Media Research Center may be insisting that CNSNews.com "reporter" Sam Dorman is a real reporter, but its actions show that he really did serve as a "protester" in asking a loaded gotcha question to Nancy Pelosi, as the Washington Post originally called him.
When a real news organization's reporter gets slighted by a public figure, it usually doesn't try to build a PR campaign off it. The MRC, by contrast, is doing just that. An Oct. 6 CNS article by managing editor Michael Chapman touts how his boss, Brent Bozell, "wrote to Pelosi, noting that good reporters 'ask tough questions,' that her answer was 'disrespectful'; and that she should apologize to the reporter, CNSNews.com’s Sam Dorman."
Of course, Dorman's question wasn't "tough"; it was a gotcha question designed to mock her stance on abortion. Dorman had been going around to various Democratic members of Congress asking the very same question before hitting up Pelosi. Hurling the same gotcha question to multiple people is the act of a protester, not a journalist.
If Dorman's question wasn't an act of protest, the MRC wouldn't be trying to raise money off it. And that's exactly what it's doing.
An Oct. 6 email to followers contained a link to a page at CNS where it requests that readers send it money: "It costs $12,000 to fund an Intern at the MRC, and it is an example like Sam’s as to why your continued support for our MRC Internship Program is so vital!"
Wait, the internship program? Yep. It turns out that Dorman isn't even a real reporter -- he's an intern. The MRC has not admitted that until now, not even in the two stories on the situation written by his boss Chapman.
The MRC tries to elide that in its fanciful description of the Dorman-Pelosi encounter (bold in original):
Sam Dorman was excited to be the intern chosen to represent CNSNews.com at the weekly press briefing on October 1st. Armed with a laptop, recorder, and his journalist credentials, he entered the briefing with intention to ask truthful questions directly related to public policy. When called upon, Sam addressed leader Nancy Pelosi, simply asking:
“In reference to funding for Planned Parenthood: Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”
But Pelosi responded with, “I do not intend to respond to your questions”.
Pelosi even went so far as to belittle the credentials of our CNSNews.com intern.
Somehow, we doubt that the Capital's press office would give out credentials to an intern so easily; you might remember that a decade ago, WorldNetDaily essentially complained that the Senate Press Gallery's standards for press passes weren't low enough for WND to get one (which they eventually did). It may be that the credentials belong to CNS, and Dorman simply had access to them that day.
The MRC is just throwing the "credentials" stuff around to pump up the idea that CNS is a real news organization.
But the ultimate evidence of Dorman's intent comes from Dorman himself, in a statement underneath his picture: "At first I was nervous to ask the question, but after Pelosi erupted with anger, I knew I had pushed the right button."
Journalists try to gather information. Protesters try to push buttons. Dorman's admission that he was trying to push a button on Pelosi and provoke the response he got is all the evidence we need that he was in protest mode, not in journalist mode.
So, that settles it. Dorman is a protester, CNS is an ideological news organization, and the MRC is trying to exploit Dorman's ideological clash with Pelosi to raise money. It's almost as if the whole thing was planned this way.