The Daily Signal Won’t Be Bullied by the Establishment Media
Commentary by Rob Bluey
“What’s a legitimate news outlet?”
Apparently not The Daily Signal, if you believe the self-proclaimed arbiters of journalism who represent the “mainstream” media.
The Washington Post published a story Friday with that audacious headline, questioning the “unusual” development of our White House correspondent’s handling pool coverage for Vice President Mike Pence.
Fred Lucas, who joined The Daily Signal last June after a stint reporting from the White House for The Blaze, is no stranger to pool coverage. As a member of the White House Correspondents’ Association, he did it for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and first lady Michelle Obama while working for The Blaze. On Feb. 27, he was the pool reporter for another Pence event.
At the White House, the press pool is a necessity. One reporter from print, radio, and TV is assigned by the White House Correspondents’ Association to provide an account of the president, vice president, and first lady’s activities. Lucas’ reports have never been an issue.
So why is The Washington Post suddenly so concerned that a highly respected White House reporter is providing these pool reports?
It’s because The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. And a news outlet associated with Heritage can’t possibly be “legitimate” in the eyes of the highfalutin establishment media.
It was a Wall Street Journal reporter, Reid Epstein, who raised alarm Thursday shortly after Lucas filed a brief report about Pence’s event.
Epstein incorrectly stated that The Heritage Foundation was providing the pool reporter. The Daily Signal doesn’t hide its affiliation with Heritage, but there is a distinction.
The Daily Signal is in the business of reporting news while Heritage formulates and promotes conservative public policies. Lucas is not a policy analyst; he’s a veteran Washington reporter.
Lucas’ two recent pool reports are reprinted in full at the end of this article, if you want to read them for yourself. No one has challenged any aspect of them. They’re merely objecting to his employer, The Daily Signal, which isn’t even formally part of the pool.
So who is part of the White House pool rotation? The list (below) includes unabashedly liberal outlets such as Huffington Post, NPR, Talking Points Memo, and Washington Blade.
After first seeing Epstein’s tweet and then fielding Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi’s questions, I recognized immediately what they were attempting to do. They want to delegitimize news outlets such as The Daily Signal to protect their cabal. After all, we exist in no small part because of the establishment media’s failures.
American trust in media is at a historic low because these news outlets boast they have no agenda, yet it is painfully clear they overwhelmingly cover liberals glowingly and conservatives critically. They dismissed or ignored scandals of the Obama years and nodded in agreement when the former president said he was scandal-free.
Today, they believe or spread false, negative rumors about President Donald Trump before any evidence is produced.
The Daily Signal takes a different approach than The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or any so-called mainstream outlet. Since our founding nearly three years ago, we’ve labeled every story either “news” or “commentary” to be clear about what you’re seeing. And we don’t hide from the fact we report from a conservative perspective.
That doesn’t affect the fairness and accuracy of our journalism. In fact, Lucas is a great example of a respected journalist who has a well-earned reputation for the quality of his work.
Meanwhile, we’re constantly told to believe that the “mainstream” media operates objectively and its owners have no agenda. Give me a break.
Here’s just one example: Last October, a Center for Public Integrity analysis revealed that more than 96 percent of presidential campaign contributions from people who work in journalism went to Democrat Hillary Clinton. At the time of the center’s analysis, Clinton received $382,000 from journalists compared to Trump’s $14,000.
Writing on FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver admitted Friday “there really was a liberal media bubble.” Yet many of these journalists still live in denial.
You see it in the flawed arguments in The Washington Post’s attack on us.
The Daily Signal takes editorial independence just as seriously as The Washington Post. Yet because we’re associated with The Heritage Foundation, somehow the standard is different.
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint has never directed our news coverage at The Daily Signal. I certainly have discussions with him, as happens between editors at The Washington Post and billionaire owner Jeff Bezos.
Stop pretending that Bezos is devoid of an agenda. After all, that’s why he purchased the newspaper.
Why is The Washington Post suddenly so concerned that a highly respected White House reporter is providing these pool reports?
But let’s face it, every media organization in America has an agenda. You see it in story selection, photography, editing, word choices — you name it, someone’s bias is showing.
That’s certainly true at The Post, which makes a scurrilous suggestion about The Daily Signal that shows blatant bias. When referencing our White House press credentials, The Post warns that “extremist or racist organizations” could seek similar status as a result.
Putting us on par with “extremist or racist organizations” is highly inappropriate and a typical tactic of the ill-informed establishment media.
It also doesn’t hold up when you consider foreign correspondent Nolan Peterson’s reporting from Ukraine is reprinted regularly by Newsweek and other publications. The Marshall Project often cites our coverage of criminal justice reform. And the Reason Foundation selected one of our documentaries as a finalist for its media awards. These diverse outlets obviously recognize the quality of our journalism.
I have news for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and any other media outlet that tries to bully us: We’re not going to be pushed around. And when it comes to covering the White House, we’re here to stay.
The following are the two pool reports filed by The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas on Thursday.
From: Fred Lucas (DailySignal)
Date: March 9, 2017 at 12:38:21 PM EST
Subject: VP pool report 1
VPOTUS is set to deliver keynote at the Latino Coalition’s Make Small Business Great Again Policy Summit.
Event is in ballroom at JW Marriott Washington.
Pool was in at 11:45 a.m.
More to come on remarks.
From: Fred Lucas (DailySignal)
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:05 PM
Subject: VPOTUS Pool Report 2
VPOTUS came to the podium at 12:52 p.m. after an introduction from Hector Barreto, chairman of the Latino Coalition as the keynote speaker for the luncheon.
He recognized SBA Administrator Linda McMahon in the audience, who spoke earlier at the event.
“The Trump administration will be the best friend to American small business.”
He pointed out that Latino-owned businesses have grown by more than 50 percent over the last decade and have been some of the largest job creators.
He asked all Latina small business owners to stand and called for a round of applause in light of Women’s History Month. He then called for everyone who served in the military to stand, and be applauded.
He talked about executive actions to scale back regulations on business.
“On the very top of that list, I can promise you, the Obamacare nightmare is about to come an end.”
“I don’t have to tell small business owners gathered here today why this failed law has got to go.”
“Premiums have gone up 100 percent in some jurisdictions… In one-third of our nation’s counties citizens only have one insurance company to choose from which means they have no choice at all. And American businesses have been hit too. I’m sure everyone in this room can attest to the fact that Obamacare has hit you with more mandates, more regulations, higher costs and higher taxes… President Trump will work with this Congress and repeal and replace Obamacare with something that actually works.”
“This week the House released its repeals and replace bill to begin that process. The legislative process begins. The president and I are proud to lead the charge.”
“We are going to repeal the individual and employer mandate. We are actually going to get rid of over $500 billion in tax increases when Obamacare goes away.”
He said the new law will among other things expand HSAs, provide a refundable tax credit, provide access to insurance for those wih a pre-existing condition, let parents keep kids on insurance until they are 26, and give states flexibility on Medicaid.
“Our plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will do what Obamacare didn’t. That is give Americans access to affordable, high quality health insurance.”
“We are going to enact policies administratively and through legislation that will give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, just the way they get life insurance, just the way they got car insurance. A national market place is the center of the president’s vision…What we need to do is get that little lizard on television and get Flo out there selling health insurance.”
He went on to talk about administration policies on tax cuts, infrastructure and education reform.
With regard to immigration, Pence talked to the Latino audience about Trump’s goal to secure the borders and uphold immigration laws. But said:
“Make no mistake about it, as we do that, the president’s priority as we move through these issues, the top priority in his words, is removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our community and prey on our citizens. The president and I believe that a system based on the rule of law will benefit every American, including Hispanic Americans. Every community coast to coast will benefit from upholding our laws and expanding our economy.”
He wrapped up at 1:18 p.m. and worked the rope line shaking hands on his way out.
This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the liberal news outlets in the pool rotation.
Rob Bluey is editor in chief of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.