One way you know a news organization isn't really into news is its willingness to serve as a platform for the views of an ideological group.
CNSNews.com has chosen to do that for the right-wing legal group Judicial Watch. An Aug. 10 CNS article by Rachel Hoover is about how "The U.S. Department of Justice gave $342,168,401 in grant money to 10 “sanctuary” states and cities that shield illegal aliens, even violent ones, from deportation by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials, according to a Judicial Watch report."
It's effectively a rewrite of a Judicial Watch blog post issued several days earlier. Nothing appears in Hoover's article that wasn't in the Judicial Watch post, and Hoover makes no apparent attempt to contact anyone to respond to Judicial Watch's accusations, which would seem to be a violation of the edict by her boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, that "The first rule of journalism is that if you don’t have two independent sources, you don’t have a news story." (She's done this before.)
Then, interestingly, just three hours after Hoover's article was published, CNS posted a column by Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton on the very same subject, ranting that "You and I are less safe on the streets these days because President Barack Obama and his Justice Department reward localities that openly break the law." Fitton actually reprints word-for-word much of the earlier blog post -- which, of course, was rewritten by Hoover for a "news" story.
The near-simultaneous timing of Hoover's "news" story and Fitton's column raises some questions. It certainly appears that CNS worked with Judicial Watch to coordinate its editorial content -- a collaboration with an outside organization that is usually frowned upon from an ethical standpoint.
Also curious is that Judicial Watch lists CNS on its list of apparently approved "sources." Granted, numerous other news organizations are also on the list, most of which are right-leaning like CNS, and there may not be any quid pro quo going on, But it's still brings up the seeming appearance of impropriety and the definite appearance of bias, which CNS doesn't admit it engages in, still insisting in its mission statement that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."
Then, on Aug. 12, CNS' Barbara Hollingsworth devoted an article to Fitton complaining that Congress won't investigate its politically motivated attacks on the Obama administration. Like Hoover, Hollingsworth doesn't bother to seek comment from anyone else about Fitton's work; indeed, she's so content to serve as a stenographer for Fitton that she devotes fully half her article to "a list of its major court filings" that "Judicial Watch provided CNSNews."
Nope, not a lot of balanced or independent reporting that fairly presents all legitimate sides of a story going on here.