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Intersting site you have here. I found it when I looked for sites linked to NewsMax in one of the search engines. I love sqaubbling between the media. Great fun.

Anyway, saw a couple of things about which I wondered, being a reader.

You wrote: "... both NewsMax and WorldNetDaily like to brag about themselves, their number of readers and the amount of time they spend on their sites."

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I don't look at World Net Daily anymore, precisely because of all the voting for them they ask everyone to do, but I don't really see NewsMax bragging about themselves.

You also wrote: "NewsMax is trying to pass itself off as a legitimate work of journalism, that is the standard to which this organization should be held. And it fails. This is not journalism."

Are you a journalist yourself (I assume I am writing Terry Krepel, the one who writes all the articles on this site)? A democrat? Republican? Any agenda yourself? Just wondering. Seems like you've gone to a lot of effort to keep tabs on World Net Daily and NewsMax.

There are other sites out there that are conservative, like Insight or National Review or Frontpagemag. Any bashing in the offing for them as well?

I seem to recall, considering that it's the Fourth, that ALL the press was biased during revolutionary times and thereabouts. That was the whole point of the press. To get out the opinions of the people printing the papers.

Is bias so bad? Does Dan Rather have no bias? Disney? Please! And don't get me wrong, I see it all for what it is, no matter from whom it comes (I just love the entertainment of it all), but I think you may be trying to pass off your opinions as jouranlism (and critique thereof) yourself, when the whole point of your page is to say that any bias at all is not journalism. That puts you in rather a bind, no? That's a Catch-22.

So, I await your reply, because this whole debate over the right and left is in itself senseless, but a great escape for me, as is the Web and connecting with people like yourself!

Thanks for listening,

Kenneth Davidson

Terry Krepel responds:


Thanks for writing. Let me answer some of your questions:

About “bragging”: WorldNetDaily actually does this to a much greater extent than NewsMax, running stories on a fairly regular basis about how they’re at or near the top of some poll or another. NewsMax will note once in a while that they are at or near the top of an opt-in survey at, which is probably about as reflective of the general public as the polls on WorldNetDaily.

The sites I survey: I try to keep my focus to sites that, like NewsMax and WorldNetDaily, promote themselves as sources of news and information, instead of pure opinion sites like National Review, et al. I’ll explain why below. Plus, I still have a full-time job and have not made a dime from the site (though I’m not doing it for the money), so my time to research is limited. Plus, NewsMax and WorldNetDaily have provided a wealth of material.

My political leanings: I’m a registered independent, and I voted for Perot in ‘92 and ‘96. I’m not thrilled about any of the choices this year so far. I try to keep my political agenda secondary on ConWebWatch to journalistic concerns. My political philosophy tends to lean toward the cynical and semi-libertarian, like Dennis Miller without the quick wit.

My journalistic bona fides: I work for a large newspaper currently as a page designer, and have worked previously for other newspapers as a reporter and a copy editor.

On bias: Everyone has a bias, including (and maybe especially) journalists. Bias in journalism is not a bad thing in and of itself; a lot of change has been sparked due to the bias of journalists. I have my biases, too, based on my experiences in journalism. What I try to concern myself with is the issue of
fairness. Part of what inspired me to start ConWebWatch is the beating the Clintons have taken in the press, both “mainstream” and conservative. (For the record: I’m not a great fan of Clinton, never even voted for him, but seeing the abuse heaped upon him in the name of “journalism,” you can’t help but feel a little sorry for the guy.)

I modeled ConWebWatch after two other “watchdog” sites, Media Research Council and the Daily Howler. I try not to criticize merely for the content itself; I try to show where the coverage of the chosen event went wrong, whether it is incomplete facts or hypocrisy or whatever, and try to do it through fact-based means. The ConWebWatch philosophy is: If you consider yourself as a “news” site, there are certain standards you must live up to. I make an effort to stay away from the explicitly political because it tends to detract from the journalistic message I’m trying to send.

Of course, the whole site is a blend of the journalistic and the political; I enjoy both politics and journalism, and this was a way to blend it. If you accept the notion that the “mainstream” media is liberal (and I don’t, not in the way most conservatives allege it to be), sites like NewsMax and WorldNetDaily, instead of being some “new breed” of journalism, are simply mirror images. They aren’t better or even different; the only thing that has arguably changed is the slant.

And yeah, there’s a certain amount of game-playing here. NewsMax and WorldNetDaily play this game -- and so do I. But they are playing to win on an ideological level, and I’m playing to expose their game. Not merely because I oppose their ideology (though I do have my problems with it), but because I think there shouldn’t be this kind of game-playing at all. But, unfortunately, this is what journalism has come to.

And on that downer of a note, I thank you again for writing. You raised some good questions that were a pleasure to answer. Keep reading....

Terry Krepel

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Posted 7/4/2000

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