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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Conflict of Interest: WND Fails to Mention It's Publishing Book By Author It's Plugging
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 1 WorldNetDaily article by Michael Thompson on YouTube's suspension of "the immensely popular PPSimmons Ministry account" is dishonest in several ways.

First, there's the depiction of PPSimmons as "immensely popular," which Thompson backs up by claiming that it had "more than 23,000 subscribers, 530-plus videos and 21 million views." By comparison, the Fred channel on YouTube has 2 million subscribers and 912 million views. That's what "immensely popular" looks like.

Second, Thompson pretends that PPSimmons has never done anything particularly controversial or offensive: He describes the channel's output as "videos on biblical commentary, startling biblical revelations and, perhaps most controversially, political revelations concerning Barack Obama and his birth certificate." But if you'll recall, PPSimmons was the creator of a 2009 video that fallaciously cited Scripture to claim that Obama is the Antichrist. In the July 2009 WND article promoting said video, Joe Kovacs went through great pains to hide the identity of the video's creator.

We now know that the person behind PPSimmons -- which, as we noted, also had a list of several videos it claimed to have "produced for WND" -- is Carl Gallups, who is identified in Thompson's article. And that brings us to our third bit of dishonesty.

Twice in his article, Thompson notes that Gallups is the author of a "soon-to-be-released book on Christian apologetics" called "The Magic Man in the Sky: Effectively Defending the Christian Faith," and then lets Gallups himself work in a plug:

“To make matters worse, the termination of the YouTube channel occurred two weeks prior to the release of my book, ‘The Magic Man in the Sky,’ and at the same time I was doing interviews across the nation on talk radio concerning the Sheriff Joe Arpaio investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate ordeal,” said Gallups.

Guess who's publishing Gallups' book? That's right -- WND Books.  Guess how many times that disclosure of a conflict of interest appears in Thompson's story? That's right -- zero.

WND has had a longtime problem with violating basic journalistic ethics by refusing to disclose its personal and financial links to the subjects it writes about.

Oh, and guess when Gallups book is coming out? May 15.

One wonders if Gallups deliberately uploaded an inflammatory video that would result in an automatic shutdown of his YouTube Account so he could exploit the controversy to promote his new book.  This is WND we're talking about here, so such underhanded tactics are not exactly out of the question.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:43 AM EDT

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