CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman kept up the Media Research Center's misguided defense of his alleged reporter Sam Dornan in the flap over his asking a loaded gotcha question of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, redirecting his ire toward the Washington Post instead of his own reporter. Chapman whines in an Oct. 2 CNS article:
In Kelsey Snell’s story posted at 12:14PM at The Washington Post’s PowerPost, the headline incorrectly read, “Nancy Pelosi shut down an abortion protestor’s question in a press conference.”
There was no “abortion protestor” at the press conference; the question was asked by a CNSNews.com reporter, who is credentialed with the U.S. Capitol.
In the lead of the story, Snell also incorrectly reported that Pelosi “was not interested in entertaining questions Thursday from an anti-abortion protestor who shouted a question to the California Democrat during her weekly press conference.”
There was no “anti-abortion protestor” and the question was not “shouted.” (See the video.) In addition, the lead is further misleading because it has changed from the headline’s “abortion protestor’s” to “anti-abortion protestor.”
In the second paragraph of her story, Snell wrote that, “the protestor sat in the first row of the presser and spoke up over several reporters vying to ask a question of the Democratic leaders.”
Again, the reporter, Sam Dorman, was not a “protestor.”
Snell then wrote, “It was unclear who the questioner was and for which news organization they worked.” Here the facts changed again somewhat, with Snell claiming the “questioner” – not the “anti-abortion protestor” – worked for a “news organization,” the identity of which was “unclear.”
Snell did not speak with CNSNews.com ‘s Sam Dorman at the press conference. She did not ask for his name or his news affiliation; and she did not email him or, even later, make a telephone call to CNSNews.com to clarify her report.
One hour after Snell’s inaccurate story was posted, CNS’s Dorman did tweet Snell, saying, “I am not an anti abortion ‘protestor.’ I am a credentialed member of the press. Please correct your story.”
Chapman seems not to understand the fact that he has to state three times in five paragraphs that his reporter is not an "anti-abortion protestor" is evidence of how unclear that was to Snell and other journalists present at the press briefing. Chapman also provides no evidence that Dorman identified himself and his employer before asking the question, thus further raising legitimate questions about whether he was a protester.
Chapman also failed to mention that, as we've pointed out, Dorman's tweet at Snell came from an account that did not identify his real name nor his occupation, so Snell could not possibly have known who he was. As of this writing, Dorman's Twitter account still does not list his real name or his occupation.
Chapman continues whining:
Snell did not name the “news organizations with an ideological perspective” to which she was referring. When CNSNews.com asked her by Twitter Direct Message if The Washington Post was one of the “news organizations with an ideological perspective,” Snell did not respond.
She also did not answer numerous questions that CNSNews.com sent to her by Direct Message, including who told her that the questioner was “an anti-abortion protestor”? Also, if it was “unclear who the questioner was,” then why did Snell report that it was a “protestor”? Where did she get this information? And is she credentialed as a reporter at the U.S. Capitol? Snell did not reply.
Is Chapman actually denying that CNS has an ideological perspective? Dorman's question alone -- whether "an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being" -- should answer any questions about intent and ideology.
Curiously, Chapman recites Snell's journalistic background (Medill, Politico, NPR) but not that of his own reporter, while still complaining Dorman was labeled as an "anti-abortion protestor." Does Dorman have an anti-abortion background Chapman doesn't want to mention, or some other activities in his past that betray Chapman's attempt to portray him as a straight-news reporter?
We'd ask Chapman about this, but he has blocked us from following him on Twitter, and questions we've previously sent to CNS through its "Contact Us" page have routinely gone unanswered. So Chapman should perhaps not whine about Snell not answering his questions unless he can start handling his own queries.
And instead of complaining about how the Post reporter misidentified Dorman, Chapman should be asking why his reporters are indistinguishable from protesters.