The Daily Signal Won’t Be Bullied by the Establishment Media


“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.

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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.

Fred Lucas joined The Daily Signal in June after reporting from the White House for The Blaze. (Photo: Rob Bluey/The Daily Signal)

Fred Lucas joined The Daily Signal in June after reporting from the White House for The Blaze. (Photo: Rob Bluey/The Daily Signal)

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.


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.

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