In February 2006, “journalist” Bill Sammon attended a high-priced fundraising retreat for conservative activist David Horowitz's organization. At the event, Sammon blasted his colleagues in the media for purportedly having an anti-military bias, and praised the emergence of conservative media like Fox News, Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart.
In 2003, Sammon was also the keynote speaker for the Monroe County Conservative Party's (NY) annual fundraising dinner, according to its website.
Sammon joined the Washington Times in 1997, and was announced as the senior White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner on February 13, 2006. He now serves as Fox News' vice president of News and Washington managing editor. Sources familiar with the situation in Fox's Washington bureau have expressed concern about Sammon using his position to “slant” Fox's supposedly neutral news coverage to the right.
In an interview with Howard Kurtz in December, Sammon expressed surprise that people would accuse him of taking a conservative viewpoint, stating: “Have I said things where I take a conservative view? Give me specifics.”
David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend
On February 25, 2006, Sammon was a panelist at Restoration Weekend. The retreat was a fundraiser for conservative activist David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture (later renamed The David Horowitz Freedom Center). A 2008 brochure noted that “the annual Restoration Weekend brings together policymakers, national figures and conservative activists from around the nation. The four-day retreat is a favorite among conservatives from across the country.”
The 2006 retreat was pricey: an RSVP form for the Phoenix retreat listed registration costs as $1,600 for singles and $2,600 for couples. Sponsorship levels ran from $5,000 to $20,000.
According to a transcript of the event by Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine, Sammon appeared on the panel, “The Media and the War,” with Andrew Breitbart, conservative activist Frank Gaffney, and conservative radio host Tammy Bruce.
Sammon, who spoke after Breitbart, began his remarks by stating: “It's great to be here because I normally spend my days working and traveling with the White House press corps, and therefore it's not very often I find myself in a room surrounded by this much common sense.”
Sammon criticized the media for their coverage of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and claimed that Condi Rice had “the best explanation” as to “the media's obsession with Vietnam with President Bush, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. ... She said, 'You know, I understand these people, Bill. For the Left, Vietnam wasn't just a war: it's nothing less than a lodestar.' 'Lodestar' was the word she used, the lodestar that has come to symbolize the glory days of the Left and specifically the mainstream media.”
Sammon hailed the rise of conservative alternatives to the media. He stated:
If you think about the mainstream media as an institution, it is in the midst of a historic decline. There has been a corresponding rise in the alternative press. Fox News Channel, talk radio, Breibart [sic], Drudge, the internet, the blogosphere, papers like the Washington Times, etc. The mainstream media had some glory years, and those occurred a third of a century ago. The two things they cling to almost romantically are Vietnam and Watergate. Andrew used the word “template,” and it's a great word because the press has two favorite story templates: Vietnam and Watergate, and they are constantly trying to apply those templates to current events when they don't really fit.
Sammon then claimed that the media has anti-military bias, and concluded, “This is what the military is up against when they're dealing with the mainstream media and this is why I think it's so important that the mainstream media is finally getting some competition in the marketplace of ideas, thanks to the alternative press.”
Monroe County Conservative Party
The Monroe County Conservative Party in upstate New York states that Sammon was its keynote speaker at its annual fundraising dinner in 2003.
The party's May 2003 newsletter stated that Sammon is keynoting “its 41st annual dinner on Friday, May 16, 2003.” The party said that Sammon “is a well-respected investigative reporter. He is very knowledgeable about Iraq and the institution of the Presidency.” The party said that the dinner is “our primary source of funds which enables us to operate as an effective and respected political party.”
Since that time, the party's website has made repeated references to Sammon's speech on its website. The website does not report on the content of Sammon's speech, and if Sammon spoke for free or on a paid basis.
Email and phone requests for comment to the local party were not returned.
From the Monroe County Conservative Party's website: