A series of interesting posts here on MediaWatch the upshot of which is that Arthur “Good News!” Chrenkoffadmitted that he is paid by the Wall Street Journal for his efforts. Arthur sort of …uh, denied this at first, but finally came clean.
Media Watch: Where we were wrong was in our report of Arthur Chrenkoff’s relationship with OpinionJournal.com. We said that Arthur was not paid and that his blog (Arthur’s own description) was published without editing.
That information came directly from Dr Chrenkoff. I spoke at length to him before this story. Naturally I contacted him after your latest column to clarify why he had given us false information.
Arthur has apologised for misleading us and given me permission to provide this quote from our conversation:
Media Watch: Do they pay you?
Arthur Chrenkoff: They do actually – a pretty insignificant amount – I started doing it for free but they suggested they might pay me a rather a nominal amount. It’s certainly not in line with what is paid for opinion pieces … I do apologise, with hindsight I should have told you the truth. As I said I was a bit taken aback. I didn’t see how it was relevant to the story but having said that I do apologise.
MW: What about editing. Do they edit your pieces?
AC: I told you they didn’t edit it because to my mind editing means to make substantial changes, but they do have a look at it before they publish it.
The false information that Dr Chrenkoff provided was not significant, but we apologise for those small errors. We’ll put a correction on our website.
We stand by our argument that The Australian’s columnist Janet Albrechtsen misrepresented the nature and source of “Good News from Iraq”.
The various back and forth posts are linked on the right sidebar.
Via Tim Dunlop at The Road to Surfdom, who adds a discussion of the difference between journalism and trawling the internet in search of good news, as well as addressing Chrenkoff’s false claim that he does “no commentary.”
Mr Chrenkoff’s comments that he “doesn’t do any commentary” and that he merely tries to “redress the balance” are palpable nonsense. The simple fact of presenting a highly edited selection of media and US government stories on Iraq under the heading of “Good news from Iraq” is itself a form of commentary. The idea that leaving out the “bad news”–part of the reality of what is happening–is merely “redressing the balance” is a joke. His blog is a transparent project of propaganda posing as a site of unbiased information (as he says, “I just save people the effort and present in a convenient form the other side of the story”).