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Update: The End of Plagiarism?

Plus: WorldNetDaily discovers there is more than one side to the Clinton disbarment story -- sort of.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/1/2000

NewsMax hasn't gotten any less lazy, but at least now they're giving credit where credit is due.

After ConWebWatch pointed out three separate incidents in which NewsMax ran nearly verbatim Judicial Watch press releases under a NewsMax byline, NewsMax fights back -- with another verbatim Judicial Watch press release, this time on alleged rape victim Juanite Broaddrick's reported IRS audit.

The story falls under a Carl Limbacher byline (unlike the others, which got a generic NewsMax byline), and he actually bothers to preface it by stating "In a press release issued Monday morning, Judicial Watch announced:".

It seems Limbacher has somewhat higher standards that the rest of the NewsMax staff. Now if we can just get them to acknowledge that there is more than one side to a story....

* * *

Back in April, NewsMax made a big deal when legal expert Alan Dershowitz -- who supported President Clinton during impeachment proceedings -- made statements opposing the armed INS raid that took Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives. They even went so far as to call him a "renowned Harvard law professor."

But expect NewsMax to ignore Dershowitz's latest pronouncement in the May 25 Los Angeles Times that disbarment is too severe a sanction for Clinton for lying under oath. Among the reasons he cites: Caspar Weinberger and other Republican lawyers were not disbarred for lying under oath during the Iran-contra scandal.

Also bothering Dershowitz is that he has "challenged several of Clinton's detractors, including the Southeastern Legal Foundation, to come up with a precedent. Thus far, they have failed."

* * *

WorldNet Daily was happy that an Arkansas Supreme Court committee ruled that Clinton should be disbarred. So happy, in fact, that unlike previous stories, they actually quoted people who don't belong to the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which brought the complaint that led to the ruling.

Unfortunately, the two articles written by David M. Bresnahan, author of the previous one-sided accounts, take the straw-man approach.

In a May 23 article, Clinton and his lawyer, David Kendall, get two paragraphs of an 18-paragraph story. The rest belong mostly to three SLF officials who make certain to contradict Clinton and Kendall.

In a May 24 story -- which covers more or less the exact same ground -- Clinton and his lawyer get the first three paragraphs; the following 25 paragraphs are devoted mainly to the SLF's L. Lynn Hogue ripping apart the arguments of Clinton and Kendall and expansively promoting the SLF's side of the story.

Bresnahan gets a gold star for belatedly realizing that there are indeed two sides to this story, and a demerit for trying to ensure nobody believes one of them -- hardly the mark of quality journalism.

* * *

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah does a fine suck-up piece on the new owners of what's left of United Press International, News World Communications (the folks who also own the Washington Times and have strong ties to Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church). Such a fine job, in fact, that he launches an ad hominem attack on everyone who doesn't agree with the deal.

"Those who are making the sideways comments about UPI's new owners are, to cut to the chase, racists and bigots," Farah writes in his May 22 column. "If UPI's new owners were not Asians, were not conservatives and were not religious people, there would be no problem with this deal in the eyes of the critics. That's bigotry. That's small-mindedness."

Isn't this the kind of attack conservatives usually accuse liberals of perpetrating?

Funny, I don't recall anybody being bothered by the fact that UPI has been owned by Saudis for the past several years, so racism isn't a problem. And I suspect few would have a problem with the general concept of religious conservatives owning UPI.

No, I think what most people have a problem with is that there is ample evidence to demonstrate that said "religious conservatives" have a specific agenda to push and are not shy about spending what it takes to advance it. Plus, most "religious conservatives" denounced the Unification Church as a cult -- until the Moonies started spreading their money around to advance conservative-friendly causes.

Therefore, the Moonies aren't a cult any more; Farah notes that they merely have "unconventional religious practices." True, spending billions to create a worldwide media presence with the expressed goal of disseminating your religious views and influencing public policy is indeed unconventional. And sure, the fact that there are groups organized to criticize your "unconventional religious practices" might also be considered unconventional.

Of course, Farah also fancies another unconventional notion: that WorldNetDaily is "the next great journalistic institution." Perhaps when WorldNetDaily learns to provide a fair presentation of both sides of an issue, people might start taking that claim seriously.

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