The journalistic standards of World Net Daily

WND contributor Melanie Morgan wrote an article that didn’t bother presenting a single piece of evidence backing up its statement that the left had subjected Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra to a “verbal firing squad of hate” for their announcement of the discovery of some old WMDs in Iraq. I wrote to her about it:

Dear Miss Morgan:

You write:

For disclosing the existence of chemical weapons in Iraq, Santorum and Hoekstra have been subjected to a verbal firing squad of hate from the anti-war left.

Yet you don’t give a single quote to back this up.

As a general point of journalism, I don’t think it’s right to make a claim about a “verbal firing squad of hate,” without having some quotes of this firing squad to show that it’s true. Otherwise it’s simply an empty claim.

Best regards,
Lawrence Auster

Miss Morgan wrote back a brief note in which she said that should she “could not” provide evidence because of “word restraints” in her column, and suggested that I “google Santorum and Hoekstra to find these statements to be true.”

I replied to her:

I don’t agree. If, for whatever reason, you were not able in your article to back up such a large claim with at least one example, then you shouldn’t have said it in the first place. For you, the author of the article, to tell me, the reader, that I need to do a google search to find examples of what you left out of your article, is not an acceptable attitude on the part of a journalist.

I then looked up the reporting on the Santorum-Hoekstra announcement at the Daily Kos, a leading liberal blog, and its discussion of the story is no more like a “verbal firing squad of hate” than the blog entry I’m writing here. Which of course is not to say that such a firing squad of hate doesn’t exist, since the left’s insane bigotry against Republicans is a salient and very troubling fact of our time. Nevertheless, it is indicative of the degree of intellectual seriousness prevalent on the pro-Bush “right” that Melanie Morgan did not feel any necessity as a journalist to support her specific charge against the left in this instance. If she had had any intellectual standards, she would have been abashed by what I pointed out in my initial e-mail to her, she would have admitted that she had slipped up, and she would have tried to provide the missing quotes. Instead, she did the journalistic equivalent of telling me to eat cake.

—end of initial entry—

Ben writes:

On the topic of Mrs. Morgan, this really is amazing. Make a claim, don’t back it up, and then say (as if its obvious) to google it. Amazing “journalism” there.

LA writes:

I hear from someone who has written articles for WND that have been longer than Melanie Morgan’s piece, and that have included long quotations, and they have never been cut.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 24, 2006 01:42 PM | Send

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