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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tapscott Pushes Right-Wing Agenda Journalism at the Examiner
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner has been piling up the right-wing hires of late, most recently's Mary Katherine Ham and NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield. Is the paper heading in a rightward direction, where the editorial page already is under Mark Tapscott, late of the conservative Heritage Foundation? It would seem so.

Tapscott let the evil plan out of the bag a bit in an Oct. 29 blog post pondering where "the Right side of the Blogosphere goes post-election 2008":

The RightRoots must make a top priority of equiping vastly more of our sites with the reportorial and investigative skills required to dig up and present credible exposes, fact-based analyses and concrete news stories.

In short, we've complained about liberal media bias for decades, but now that the mainstream media is steadily being displaced by online media, many of us need to become ..... journalists, or capable of doing the online analogy of traditional journalism, particularly in its investigative phase.

To be sure, we've not been without some capacity in this regard. Right bloggers regularly break new stories and advance existing ones. But there are no Right blogs primarily devoted to gathering and breaking daily and investigative news in politics, public policy and related venues.

If we are to have decisive influence on the public policy agenda, we must wield a significant voice in shaping the daily media narrative about that agenda. That means being able to unnearth facts, figures and documents that break or advance important news stories.

In other words, it's time for the RightRoots to begin working to raise up a new generation of Right online reporters and editors who happen to publish on blogs and other sites devoted to doing what traditional print and broadcast outlets in the Mainstream Media have done for decades.


Also of interest here is the role of my present organization, The Washington Examiner and its web site, We announced today that Matthew Sheffield is coming onboard to oversee a thorough-going redesign of the site that should make it one of the leading edge media sites bar none.

In other words, Tapscott is trying to position the Examiner as an outlet for right-wing information -- which would seem to undercut its basic mission as a source of local news and information for the greater Washington area.

Tapscott also touted organizations such as the National Journalism Center and the Phillips Foundation for their work in "training aspiring conservative journalists." But in doing so, Tapscott misunderstands the concept of modern journalism.

The term "conservative journalist" (like "liberal journalist") is something of any oxymoron: Once an ideology is placed before the journalistic mission, that mission ceases to exist as journalism. "Conservative journalism" is activism, not journalism. To see how this operates in a worst-case scenario, read WorldNetDaily.

In a comment, Tapscott adds:

You are right about MSM reporters, but they have perverted the practice of genuine journalism of the sort I am suggesting. I'm talking about doing journalism right, not as a tool of propaganda for any particular ideological view or candidates.

But by definition, conservative journalism -- which Tapscott indicates he wants to practice -- is a tool of propaganda for a particular ideological view.

So, as we've previously suspected, the Examiner is on its way to becoming the new Washington Times, at least if Tapscott has his way. Is that even necessary?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EST

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