Insight on the News
|Format||magazine and website|
|Owner||News World Communications, and the Unification Church|
Insight on the News (also called just Insight) was an American conservative print and online news magazine. It was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate then owned by the Unification Church, which owned The Washington Times and now owns United Press International and newspapers in Japan, South Korea, Africa, and South America. Insight's reporting often resulted in journalistic controversy.
Background and history
In 1991 Insight was one of the first publications to use the word "Islamophobia". In 1997 Insight reported that the administration of President Bill Clinton gave political donors rights to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This charge was widely repeated on talk radio and other conservative outlets; but was later denied by the United States Army, which has charge over Arlington Cemetery. Media investigations turned up the burial of M. Larry Lawrence, a former United States Ambassador to Switzerland at Arlington, which led to a congressional investigation. Republican Party members of congress searched military records and found no evidence that Lawrence was ever in the Merchant Marine. As a result Lawrence's body was disinterred in 1997 at taxpayers' expense and moved to California. Richard Holbrooke, an assistant secretary of state, had helped obtain the rights to bury Lawrence at Arlington, and had written a letter to the White House praising Lawrence and saying that he deserved burial at the National Cemetery.
In 1998 CNN reported that Insight "created a stir" when Paula Jones, who had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton, was the magazine's guest at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner where Clinton spoke. In 1999 Insight criticized Project Megiddo, an FBI report on possible right-wing terrorism predicted for the year 2000. In 2000, Insight published a cover story listing what it considered the top 15 colleges in the United States. The list included 3 state-owned schools, 2 evangelical Christian schools, 3 Presbyterian schools, 3 Roman Catholic schools, and 4 secular private schools.
In 2001 Insight published a story on the Soviet Union's shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 which claimed that both the Soviet and American governments had covered up information about the incident. In the same year it printed an article by Dan Smith which said that immigration and an ethnicly diverse population helped to protect the United States against terrorism. This article was reprinted as a chapter in the 2004 book Terrorism: Opposing Viewpoints.
In 2002 Insight printed a story by Washington Times reporter Steve Miller saying that African Americans were doing well economically. This story was reprinted in the 2005 book Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints. In 2004 Insight printed an article by Abdulwahah Alkebsi defending the role of Islam in bringing democracy to the Middle East. The story was reprinted as a chapter in the 2004 book: Islam: Opposing Viewpoints.
In 2003, Insight misquoted President Abraham Lincoln as saying during the American Civil War: "Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged." By 2008, this statement was being repeated as if it were true, although Lincoln never said or wrote it.
In 2004, News World Communications discontinued publication of the print magazine and hired Jeffrey T. Kuhner to run Insight as a stand-alone website. Under Kuhner, Insight did not identify its reporters, in what Kuhner described as an effort to encourage contributions from sources who "do not want to reveal their names". Kuhner said about this:
- “Reporters in Washington know a whole lot of what is going on and feel themselves shackled and prevented from reporting what they know is going on. Insight is almost like an outlet, an escape valve where they can come out with this information.”
Clinton/Obama controversy in 2008 Presidential Campaign
On January 17, 2007, Insight published a story which claimed that someone on the campaign staff of American presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton had leaked a report to one of Insight's reporters which said, according to the Washington Post, that Senator Barack Obama had "spent at least four years in a so-called madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia" According to the International Herald Tribune, Insight claimed that the source said that the Clinton campaign was "preparing an accusation that her rival Senator Barack Obama had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6." Senator Clinton denied the allegations. When interviewed by the New York Times, Kuhner did not name the person said to be the reporter's source.
Soon after Insight's story, CNN reporter John Vause visited State Elementary School Menteng 01, a secular public school which Obama had attended for one year after attending a Roman Catholic school for three, and found that each student received two hours of religious instruction per week in his or her own faith. He was told by Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the school, "This is a public school. We don't focus on religion. In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment." Students at Besuki wore Western clothing, and the Chicago Tribune described the school as "so progressive that teachers wore miniskirts and all students were encouraged to celebrate Christmas". Interviews by Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press found that students of all faiths have been welcome there since before Obama's attendance. Akmad Solichin, the vice principal of the school, told Pickler: “The allegations are completely baseless. Yes, most of our students are Muslim, but there are Christians as well. Everyone's welcome here ... it's a public school.”
In May 2008 Insight ceased publication and said to its readers: "The kind of cutting edge behind-the-scenes political intelligence you have come to rely upon from Insight will now be available from its sister publication, The Washington Times."
- Insightmag, a Mustread Columbia Journalism Review 2007-01-27
- Kirkpatrick, David D. (January 29, 2007). "Feeding Frenzy For a Big Story, Even if It's False". NY Times. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "Resources: Who Owns What". The Columbia Journalism Review. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02. "News World Communications is the media arm of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church."
- Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic studies p. 218, Routledge 2003. Routledge. 2003.
- Arlington Claims 'Just Not True' CNN November 21, 1997 "The current issue of Insight magazine, which is owned by the conservative Washington Times, says in a thinly sourced article, 'Clinton and Co. may have "sold" not only burial plots for recently deceased but also future rights.'"
- CNN, Arlington Controversy Stirs Again, Dec. 4, 1997
- CNN, Arlington Controversy Continues, Dec. 11, 1997
- Paula Jones Rubs Shoulders With Washington Elite At Dinner CNN April 25, 1998 "A guest of Insight magazine, Jones entered the dining room holding the hands of the security guards who guided her to the table."
- FBI Targets `Right Wing' - Project Megiddo lists possible threats in the millenium
- Insight Magazine Names Thomas Aquinas College To List of Top Fifteen in Nation Saint Thomas Aquinas College website
- KAL 007 Mystery Insight Magazine April 16, 2001
- "Q: Is Multiculturalism a Threat to the National Security of the United States? NO: Our Diverse Population Is Useful Both for National Defense and As a Model for International Peace," 31 December 2001
- Laura K. Egendorf editor, 2004, Terrorism: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven Press (Farmington Hills), hardcover (ISBN 0-7377-2246-0 ISBN 0-7377-2247-9 ISBN 0-7377-2246-0) and paperback (ISBN 0-7377-2247-9)
- Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints, James D. Torr editor, 2005, Greenhaven Press (Farmington Hills) (ISBN 0-7377-2955-4) and paperback (ISBN 0-7377-2956-2)
- Dudley, William, (editor) 2004, Islam: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven Press (Farmington Hills) (ISBN 0-7377-2238-X) and paperback (ISBN 0-7377-2239-8).
- Candidates victims of disinformation Gary Sawyer, Herald & Review August 11, 2008 "But Lincoln never said or wrote any such thing. The problem comes from a 2003 article by J. Michael Waller in Insight Magazine. Waller admits that Lincoln never made that statement and that the quote appears in the magazine, with quote marks around it, because of an editing error."
- Bacon Jr, Perry (November 29m 2007). "Foes Use Obama's Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him". The Washington Post.
- "Anatomy of an anonymous political smear". International Herald Tribune. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- "CNN debunks false report about Obama". CNN. January 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- Higgins, Andrew (August 19, 2010). "Indonesia Catholic School Promotes Ties to Obama". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- Barker, Kim (25 March 2007). "Obama madrassa myth debunked". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
- "Obama attended an Indonesian public school". PolitiFact.com. December 20, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- Pickler, Nedra (2007-01-24). "Obama challenges allegation about Islamic school". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-10.