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Not-So-Friendly Fire

WorldNetDaily's anti-NewsMax sniping might be more credible if it didn't act just like NewsMax.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/22/2002

WorldNetDaily was in a fight-picking mood against its fellow conservatives in its July 6 "Backroom" e-mail newsletter.

The newsletter details an argument with conservative chat site over reposting of WND material. WND doesn't oppose it, mind you -- actually tried to block postings because it considers WND a "special interest" site whose traffic could be hurt by such mass reposting while it allows reposting of stories from "hard news" sites like the New York Times and CNN.

"Long ago we blocked Newsmax, Antiwar, Freep, and a half a dozen others as we preferred to concentrate on hard news," "Backroom" quotes site operator Lucianne Goldberg as saying. And that's where WND's problem lies -- that it wasn't considered a "hard news" site.

"We took the time to explain to Lucianne that we didn't care how she ran her site, but that her analysis of who we are was wrong. WorldNetDaily is not a 'special interest site' like the others she mentioned, but a newssite with lots of real working journalists who take pride in work they consider superior to the work being done at those other news agencies," according to "Backroom." "That's when old Lucy apparently blew her gasket and decided to stop all posting from WorldNetDaily -- apparently as punishment for such audacity."

Stating "I think we have a failing of vocabulary," Lucianne decided to continue the ban on WND postings. Which prompted WND to sniff, "We'll live. Keep on promoting your favorite hard newssites like the New York Times."

In the same "Backroom" edition, WND decides to go in for the kill on money-bleeding NewsMax. It's an interesting move; until recently, WND dared not even speak its competitor's name, but since the two sites compete for roughly the same audience, if NewsMax goes under that's one less competitor for WND, which claims to be in good financial shape. (Didn't NewsMax claim that, too?) Under the heading, "Troubles at SnoozeMax?" WND notes that "Readers bring three issues regarding the conservative website to our attention:"

  • "'It seems SnoozeMax has lifted one of your graphics -- the one you created for Gary Aldrich's column,' writes one reader. Indeed, he's right. Hard to believe this could be an 'oversight.'"
  • " has "been campaiging for support of 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance. So, they now have an online petition. ... Here's the fraud. They give the signer of the petition the option to vote "Yes" or "No" in support of their cause. But what the signer of the petition does NOT know is that if they select "No," the value of "Yes" is registered. This can be proven by going to this web page, right-clicking the mouse anywhere in the body of the page, selecting "View Source" from the menu, which pops open a Notepad window with the HTML sorce code for the webpage. Looking through the HTML code for the location of that radio button prompt, which is about in the middle of the HTML code, you will clearly see that if a user selects either "Yes" or "No", the value of "Y" is registered."
  • "Lastly, there's the string on about the way Ann Coulter describes NewsMax Editor Chris Ruddy's book, "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster." Coulter ripped it as a "conservative hoax book" that was "discredited" by conservatives. Meanwhile, Ruddy is in the unenviable position of promoting Coulter's book at the top of his page, points out another reader."

It's always nice to have ConWebWatch's work over the past two-plus years detailing NewsMax's questionable behavior validated by other conservatives. WND might taken more seriously in its crticism, however, if it didn't occasionally engage in NewsMax-like behavior.

One recent example of this occured July 9 -- a mere three days after the NewsMax-bashing "Backroom" came out -- detailing the results of an online poll that gave Hillary Rodham Clinton failing marks as a New York senator.

The reporting of unreliable opt-in online polls as actual polls (provided, of course, it makes a Democrat or an Clinton look bad) has long been a NewsMax tradition. In fact, NewsMax reported on the very same Hillary poll three days before WND did.

In his WND story, writer Jon Dougherty (last seen making an anti-abortion extremist look warm and fuzzy) noted that the TV station that conducted the poll observed that the poll got an unusually high number of votes which suggested the poll was " hacked." Well, duh. A quick check at Free Republic would have uncovered a thread encouraging fellow Freepers to vote on the poll -- so it's probably safe to assume 1) not many of the poll voters live in New York, and 2) not many of the Freepers were giving Clinton a passing grade. Did Dougherty learn nothing from his employer's experience in seeing a poll get skewed by organized groups trying to make a statement?

Even some Freepers made fun of WND for reporting on this poll. As one wrote: "Online polls are nothing but fun...They are a Joke and everyone (Except for obviously WorldNetDaily) knows that."

Is this the kind of "hard news" for which WND demands to be recognized? Is getting beaten by NewsMax on a worthless story really something WND wants to draw attention to? Does Dougherty "take pride" in his story and consider it "superior to the work being done at those other news agencies"? (Granted, his bogus-poll story is better-written than NewsMax's.)

As long as WorldNetDaily continues to print such slanted tripe, it's always going to be considered a "special interest" site -- even by its fellow conservatives. Turning on its own is probably not helping matters, either.

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