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|Mormon “News”-room and Deseret “News” — Just Merge Already|
Jun. 23rd, 2014 at 4:18 am
Journalism teachers everywhere, rejoice! Utah’s own Deseret “News” continues to provide you with the gold standard for real-world examples of manipulative reporting. Here is the latest specimen, courtesy of Whitney Evans:
Yes, indeed, church leaders, protectors of all that is good and right, are the earnest seekers “trying to determine” poor, deluded Sister Kelly’s fate. She must “describe herself” as a faithful member because she meets that standard in no one’s estimation but her own — especially since (negative verb alert!) she “refuses” her priesthood leaders’ counsel. She does not sustain them. Therefore, she does not understand or have a testimony of the priesthood or priesthood authority.
Kate Kelly’s ideas about gender equality do differ from those of the church. However, the wording emphasizes schism. If she has already “parted ways” with the church, what difference would excommunication make now?
The article then goes on to point out that John Dehlin was at the vigil. Ms. Evans takes great pains to contextualize Dehlin as someone who doubts the fundamental truth claims of the church, to help us understand exactly what kind of person would support Kate Kelly. (Spoiler Alert: Only an emissary from Satan himself!)
We could go on, but the number of examples doubtless exceeds your attention span, dear reader. We will not even attempt to enumerate the many humanizing, sympathetic details which were omitted, such as Kelly’s allusions to her mission and temple marriage during the proceedings.
Of course, the events are all technically accurate, and we all know that there really is no such thing as unbiased media. Moreover, the target audience of this piece relishes reading things which confirm its worldview. (Burn the witch, already!)
Nevertheless, these attempts to influence the reader’s perception of events are embarrassingly heavy handed, even for the Deseret “News.” Their reporting of this whole ordeal, from parroting Church PA press releases to publishing puff pieces on church discipline, demonstrates just how much Utah still needs the Salt Lake Tribune.
Let’s just merge the Deseret “News” with the Mormon “News”-room and get it over with.