Watching the Watchers
Australian blogger Tim Blair calls our attention to an amusing kerfuffle Down Under that involves this website. It began when Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian newspaper, gave a plug to the work of Arthur Chrenkoff:

Good news [about Iraq] is not hard to come by. But when
something positive does happen, it either gets filtered through the
anti-war eyes of the media or is all but ignored. And that is what the
terrorists are counting on. They must detest The Wall Street Journal.
Each fortnight the paper’s website (www.wsj.com) includes a round-up of
good news from Iraq. It makes for refreshing reading, if only to even
up the Iraq ledger.

Last week came the latest instalment, all 27 pages of it.

There’s a small error here. Chrenkoff’s good-news roundup appears not on the Journal‘s
primary website, wsj.com, but on OpinionJournal.com. Our guess is that
Albrechtsen wrote “the paper’s website” and some well-meaning copy
editor inserted what turned out to be the wrong URL.

This prompted one Liz Jackson, a presenter for an amusingly bad show called “Media Watch” on the Australian Broadcast Corp., to file a “gotcha” commentary:

27 pages of good news, from the prestigious Wall Street Journal? We wanted to know more… but couldn’t find it on their website.

Until we followed this link to a spin-off site called OpinionJournal.com, where, if you hunt hard enough, you’ll find this.

Scroll down the page and it’s pretty soon apparent that far from being
the news that no-one else has reported, Arthur’s good news is culled
from stories produced by the BBC, The Washington Post, and other media
outlets…

There’s also a fair swag of material direct from government agencies like USAID.

These pages were not produced by a Wall Street journalist, but a self described blogger…

Arthur is not paid by The Wall Street Journal or the Dow Jones website OpinionJournal.com which publishes his blog without editing…

No Janet.

Good News from Iraq is not published on the highly respected Wall Street Journal website – it’s a blog published by a sister site.

Albrechtsen’s column contains a small and probably innocent error, but
Jackson’s commentary includes several whoppers. OpinionJournal.com is
in fact published by The Wall Street Journal; both its editor
(this columnist) and its assistant editor, Brendan Miniter, are on the
editorial page staff and do work for the print edition of the paper as
well. We do pay Chrenkoff a modest fee, and we do edit his work, though
not for length. (In this case we aim for comprehensiveness rather than
an easy read.)

We’d have been happy to explain this all if someone at the ABC had
bothered to phone or e-mail us (a practice we newspapermen call
“reporting”). Liz, we’ve never heard of you either, but allow us to
offer you some advice: If you’re going to be snotty, at least make some
effort at getting the facts right.