Silly media simpletons, always paraphrasing people to suit their needs and then reporting things that simply are not news.
Seriously, the coverage of Elder Dallin Oaks speech was flat-out embarrassing. His comparison of the criticism of Mormons to the atrocities committed against blacks in the south was ONE LINE in a much, much longer speech (4,325 words, to be exact). Yet almost all of you seized upon that ONE LINE as if that were something noteworthy. And by almost all of you, I include The Bureau of Righteous Thought, whose press release about his speech shone a spotlight on that quote.
I am not including LDS Church-owned KSL or the Deseret News in this condemnation. Their stories were direct and forth-right, without all of the extraneous fluff—such as quotes from the NAACP and gay rights groups—that bogged down other reports. Sure, they missed an opportunity to put the quote in its proper "context" initially, but made amends by including it later and explaining the proper context was that Dallin Oaks said it, so it must be accurate (on KSL) or further explaining that those who took exception to "small, isolated aspects" of his speech were barely swat-worthy. As Pultizer Prize-winning READER and Mormon-in-Chief of the Deseret News Joe Cannon said in his 702 word Sunday column:
Like the scribes and Pharisees of old, these critics strained at a gnat and ignored the camel of the real and present threats to religious freedom to which Elder Oaks' whole remarks were addressed
Oh, and lest we all forget, Cannon reminds us that the Mormons have been through this before, when they were driven from the South, because their view of marriage ran counter to the existing societal norms. Thankfully, a few brave men stood up for their right to marry how many ever people they pleased (or could please them, as the case may be). Now, Cannon urges, that example needs to be followed today by religious people in their fight against those foul gay folks who want to marry each other.
Oh, silly media, you still want to talk about the actual coverage of the speech? Fine. Joel Campbell, a columnist for the LDS Church-owned-Deseret-News-owned-Mormon Times who also is a professor for the LDS Church-owned-Brigham Young University, has 993 words about the topic. In his column, he sets out to prove two things: that he can use cut-and-paste into a word processor and then run a word count. It's really quite an impressive feat.After proving his skills with computer-aided investigative reporting, he puts on his columnist hat and launches an attack on Fox 13 producer Monica Bielanko, who is feuding with the The Bureau of Righteous Thought, because of an early tweet on the Oaks speech. He points out, with links to her blog postings and block quotes—oh, those computer skills— that she is a seriously disaffected Mormon who has, among other things, had an abortion.
Based on her facts of life (and her failure to understand them as a teenager, despite the exceptional sex education provided by the state of Utah), Campbell asserts that she should not be producing or reporting stories about the Mormon Church. And to that, I say: Amen, Brother Campbell.
Let's get ex-sister Bielanko not only off the air (even if she's only ever on the air accidentally), but out of Utah media completely. In fact, let's get everyone out of Utah media who has any sort of issues with the Mormon Church. Start with the gay reporters, first and foremost, although that can't be too hard seeing as how they are spending most of their time tying nooses and building firebombs for the ongoing persecution of the Mormons. After that, better get rid of all them pants wearin' female reporters or editors who actually believe in equality for women. Next, out with the Jack-Mos such as Bielanko, because as Campbell has soundly established in 993 words, they cannot be trusted. After that, we should probably get rid of any non-Mormon who drinks, smokes, swears, doesn't like David Archuleta, is a friend or relative of a gay person, or voted Democratic anytime since Kennedy. And yes, even certain Mommy Bloggers with an obvious Mormon issue should be stopped from writing about all things LDS. Because they all have a reason to hate.
Of course, since objectivity is the goal, we need some balance. So, any reporter or editor who regularly attends the Mormon Church: out. Anyone who proscribes to their moral code (since much of the news about the church revolves around their perceived moral superiority): out. Anyone who has donated money or time to the LDS Church: out, because really, how is that any different than a political reporter donating to a candidate or volunteering for their campaign?
And finally, any media outlet owned by the LDS Church should probably dismiss themselves, as well. You know, in the name of balance.
Well, that's better. Now we'll get some fair coverage.
As a final note, this blog clocks in at 891 words (not counting disclosure), which puts me between Cannon and Campbell's word counts. And, since words counts are apparently the great arbiter of objectivity, I think that means I am very objective. I'm not sure how, but I'm sure Campbell can explain it to me during his next chemistry lecture disguised as a column.
Disclosure: Prior to coming to City Weekly in August, I worked at the Deseret News for almost a decade as a reporter and editor. My grandfather was L. Glen Snarr, chairmain of the board for the Deseret News until 2006, and while he was not a Pultizer Prize-winning anything, he did appoint the newspapers only non-Mormon editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, John Hughes. As for my own conflicts with covering the LDS Church, I drink, I make my own beer, I am not Mormon or even really Christian. On the other hand, I have shared a podium in an LDS ward house with President Thomas Monson within the last year, have plenty of Mormon relatives and friends, and have even donated to the LDS Church's education fund this year. I think everything cancels each other out, which means I am possibly the only journalist in the state who can cover the LDS Church. Yeah!