The One-Source Wonder Takes a Hike
Guess where Slantie winner Jon Dougherty's working now? Plus: His new co-worker pretends there's no such thing as conservative media bias.
By Terry Krepel
This little saga begins with a Jan. 24 WorldNetDaily story that tries to build a case for the idea that Democrat-friendly billionaire George Soros will try to destabilize world currency markets to the point that it will negatively affect the U.S. economy, thereby making people not re-elect George W. Bush. The main source for the story, written by Kenneth Timmerman as part of WND's deal with Moonie-owned Insight magazine, is Donald Luskin, self-confessed Paul Krugman stalker.
We'd pretty much forgotten about it as conservative paranoia not even worthy of the "Out There" section when we saw a Feb. 2 NewsMax story with the headline, "Is Soros Planning 'October Surprise' for Bush?" that looked an awful lot like that WND story. And then we saw the byline on the NewsMax piece: Jon E. Dougherty.
Yes, it appears our Slantie Award-winning "veteran journalist" has jumped ship from WND to NewsMax -- heck, the Slantie may have even helped him get the job. Dougherty's name has disappeared from the active list of columnists on WND's commentary page, where he wrote a weekly (and at one point, a daily) article. Fortunately for Dougherty, journalistic standards at NewsMax are even more lax than they are at WND.
And, as if to demonstrate that exact point, Dougherty reminds us of how he won his Slantie by stealing from his former employer and doing a not-terribly-extensive rewrite of Timmerman's work (giving credit only to Insight and not to WND). Remember, rewriting other people's work and putting his own byline on it is another of his talents.
WND, meanwhile, is still promoting Dougherty's WND-published book, running on Jan. 24 another softball interview he did with another citizen border-patrol group, this time Chris Simcox of something called Civil Homeland Defense. At one point, Dougherty asks Simcox if he has "had any trouble patrolling armed." Simcox replies: "No. Only from the anti-gun people ..."
Um, not exactly. A year ago, he was cited for having a loaded weapon on national park land and two other offenses. We suspect that little detail, like the arrest record of a previous interviewee and fellow citizen-border-patrol leader for allegedly pistol-whipping and holding a Salvadoran couple against their will, did not make Dougherty's book (which thus far NewsMax is not promoting).
Jon Dougherty, meet your new co-worker.
We've said it before -- the ConWeb is so deluded by its conservative ideology that it doesn't believe there is such a thing as conservative media bias. This gets proven yet again in a Jan. 29 NewsMax article by Wes Vernon touting the Sinclair Broadcast Group's news operation.
Vernon's slant is pretty obvious from the headline on his story: "Sinclair, The Next Fox, 'Fair and Balanced' ." He writes about Sinclair's "News Central" feed that it offers to the 62 TV stations it operates across the country and how "just like Fox News, Sinclair's News Central is getting some heat from some establishment media outlets for offering a more balanced and less liberal-leaning news report."
He quotes Mark Hyman, Sinclair vice president for corporate affairs who offers right-leaning commentaries within the news feed -- one recent commentary bashes Wesley Clark for alleged "deeply flawed character" -- complaining about the alleged liberal bias of other news organization and adds, "I am the alternate viewpoint."
Vernon adds: "As for "alternative viewpoints," the program's Saturday "Mailbag" segment tilts about 80/20 in favor of e-mails from viewers who disagree with his comments." To which can be added: What normal person is watching TV news on Saturdays?
Even if Sinclair really does believe in "alternate viewpoints," Vernon clearly doesn't. The only people quoted in his article are Hyman and another Sinclair executive, thus ensuring that only one viewpoint prevails. Nothing about cuts to local news operations at Sinclair stations with the implementation of the "News Central" program -- in Pittsburgh, for instance, a quarter of the news staff at the Sinclair station there was fired, followed by a 20 percent drop in its news ratings.
As long as Hyman as willing to bash the media the way Vernon likes, Vernon -- who really seems to believe (or, at least, is paid to believe) that the opposite of "liberal media bias" is not "conservative media bias" but "fair and balanced" -- more than happy to be his shill.
We suspect Dougherty and Vernon will get along just fine.