Saturday, June 18, 2005

CJR's Hypocritical Double Standard

One thing you have to say about Columbia Journalism Review--it really makes no bones about its ideological agenda, now that word has come out that it is run by The Nation's publisher Victor Navasky.

On Thursday the CJR website posted an item hammering away at one of its favorite subjects--government agencies producing fake news shows. The US Department of Agriculture "has churned out three dozen radio and television news segments since the first of the year that promote a controversial trade agreement with Central America."

The shameless hypocrites at CJR have not said one word about an even worse scandal at the United Nations--as a direct result of the Navasky connection. UN correspondents, including The Nation's UN hack Ian Williams, have been hired to shill for the UN. NBC's UN correspondent Linda Fasulo was paid to write a favorable book about the UN, and others are used by the UN public relations apparatus for everything from media training to anchoring fake news shows.

This is even worse than the USDA thing, from a journalistic standpoint, because the USDA hired people posing as journalists for fake news shows. At the UN, actual UN-accredited correspondents have been caught with their pants down, taking money from the UN and UN-supporting foundations. What's worse--the USDA hiring actors for fake news, or the UN hiring the then-head of the UN Correspondents Assn., Tony Jenkins, to "anchor" a fake news show for the UN?

The correspondent-consultant Williams, a left-wing ideologue who is a leading defender of his sometime employer Kofi Annan, actually boasts about his UN work on his website (he uses his UN work to push for other business here and here on his difficult-to-read website). According to FrontPage Magazine, he even got his wife a job at the UN correspondent association in violation of immigration laws.

The UN payola and illegal hiring scandal surfaced originally in Accuracy in Media and has been picked up by FrontPage and Fox News, but the nation's self-described journalism watchdog, and the mainstream media generally, has not uttered a peep.

You'd think CJR would bend over backwards to avoid even the appearance of bias or conflict of interest. Instead, CJR's atttitude is "Sure we're biased. Sure we're hypocrites. What do you expect? Look who (isn't) at the top of our masthead!"

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