Update - 5/11, 7:15 PM | Lachlan Markay: Associated Content responded to Mr. Schneker's allegations in an email. Details below.
A conservative writer is calling for a boycott of the popular online news site Associated Content after it allegedly heavily edited or deleted much of his work, and refused to compensate him properly.
Marc Schenker, the writer who claims he was censored, says his conservative views were the cause. Associated Content, as Schenker notes, gets roughly the same number of monthly unique visitors as the Huffington Post and the Washington Post website.
"Associated Content claims to be a non-partisan website, encouraging its contributors to publish articles at will on any topic without prohibitions towards political ideology…unless, as it turned out in my case, YOU ARE CONSERVATIVE," Schenker wrote at the Jawa Report. Associated Content seems, in that sense, to reflect the same values of its non-digital media counterparts.
The actor Jon Voight recently appeared on Fox News’ Huckabee program on April 10, where he read a letter to the American people criticizing Barack Obama. Among many choice criticisms, Voight correctly said Obama was raping America due to his policies. I, being an observant political freelance writer, noticed how absolutely no one in the media covered this electrifying Voight speech, so I decided to write a report on Voight’s Obama criticism and, since I’m conservative, gave it favorable coverage in my analysis. That’s when my publisher, Associated Content, immediately started punishing and retaliating against me for being conservative and expressing a conservative viewpoint in my Voight report.
Associated Content heavily edited my Voight article by censoring exact descriptions of his criticism against Obama as well as the embedded video of his speech that I included; they, without explanation, deleted previous articles that I had written where I criticized Obama and Al Gore; they cheated me, to boot, by actually denying me the payments I had earned for said articles; they threatened to ban me outright from their site when I dared to complain about their unjust anti-conservative bias; they revoked my ability to publish without editorial control; and they subjected all my future articles to first pass through their editorial panel before publishing, a total turnaround from their policy before I authored my Voight article!
In conclusion, it’s beyond undeniable that Associated Content is punishing me, a conservative freelance writer, for reporting on Jon Voight’s criticism of Obama. The issue here is not that Associated Content can do this (they likely can since they’re not a government website), but I think that they are defrauding everybody by not advertising themselves as they should, which is a liberal website that crushingly censors criticism of Obama and Democrats! They claim that they’re simply an open-content publishing “news” site, but they aren’t.
To further prove my point, Associated Content shamelessly allows cheap shot, character assassination articles on their site which tear into conservatives like Glenn Beck. In example, AC contributor Timothy Sexton calls Glenn Beck a 13-year-old special needs kid, yet he wasn’t punished by Associated Content like I was; his Beck-defamation article was even featured on their political section!
What I’m asking is that all conservatives and those who value honesty in advertising and freedom of speech boycott Associated Content absolutely. If you don’t go on Associated Content, you still may find yourself there if you search on the internet for news, as they appear quite frequently at the top of search results, so be cautious. For what I think is their fraud, censorship and anti-conservative bias, Associated Content ought to lose business and thus income as a consequence.
Associated Content did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The website claims to be "a place to satisfy your varied interests by tapping into a massive contributor base to create articles, videos, audio and images on every topic." It claims to sport articles from people "just like you."
Tim Skillern of Associated Content emailed me the following statement at 7:11 PM:
Thanks for your inquiry. My name is Tim Skillern, the news director for Associated Content. Marc Schenker used our publishing platform to write political editorials, including the Jon Voight piece. In that article, Mr. Schenker embedded a video about Voight and Obama. The video was removed because video-embedding without prior permission is a violation of our publishing policy. This policy applies to all contributors and all content on the site - whether it's politics, gardening, travel, etc.
Other than removing the video, nothing in the article was edited or changed.
Associated Content is apolitical. Tens of thousands of contributors of all political stripes publish on our site. Many conservative and liberal voices find a home here. Specifically, Mark Whittington, a widely read and respected conservative writer on Associated Content, won our "Best of Politics" award in October 2009. Below, I've included links to other contributors who write from conservative principles.
Mark Whittington -- http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/1659/mark_whittington.html
Kim Linton -- http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/62680/kim_linton.html
Sheryl Young -- http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/113200/sheryl_young.html
Anthony Ventre -- http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/18196/anthony_ventre.html