Friday, April 6, 2012

The Media Is Intentionally Misleading Its Viewers On Mitt Romney's Mormon Faith

When it comes to the media covering the Presidential elections, conservatives don't have a lot of trust in these institutions to present all the facts in a straightforward manner. The famous example is "Rathergate" in which Dan Rather attempted to create news about President George W. Bush in which he claimed to have authentic documents about Bush's service in the national guard only to have those documents exposed as forgeries.
The media has learned not to repeat the same mistake again. Rather than manufacture news based on falsified documents, the have shifted to a more subtle form of creating news by selectively editing important key facts. The most recent example of this tactic can be seen in the Treyvon Martin case in which NBC edited the 911 police call to make it look like George Zimmerman said "This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black" when in reality that is not what he said on the 911 police tapes. As a result, NBC is now conducting an internal investigation into a major breach of journalistic practices.
NBC pulled the same trick on Mitt Romney in which Martin Bashir aired an edited audio clip of an audience member asking a question about Romney's faith. Jeffery Meyer, pointed out that NBC distorted what Mitt Romney said because of their bias towards Republicans:
Bashir, who loves to attack Republicans on a daily basis, has decided to deliberately distort Romney and selectively edit his words so as to create a controversy where none exists.  Such journalistic malpractice is unacceptable and MSNBC needs to be held accountable.
The media isn't always subtle in its distortion of the facts. Sometimes it throws journalistic integrity out the window and reports false facts as if they were true. Watch the clip below for a good example of this:
CNN should be ashamed because the LDS Church has no position on interracial marriage amd it has never forbidden interracial marriage. Consider the following statements from past Mormon leaders. President Spencer W. Kimball, in a speech given to BYU students in 1965, had this to say about interracial marriage:
"Now, the brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation. We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages." (Source: Interracial Marriage Discouraged", Church News, June 17, 1978, p. 2.)
Here's another statement from Spencer W. Kimball: 
“When I said you must teach your people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage. I mean that they should be brothers, to worship together and to work together and to play together; but we must discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin. I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn’t a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty. But it is not expedient. Marriage statistics and our general experience convince us that marriage is not easy. It is difficult when all factors are favorable. The divorces increase constantly, even where the spouses have the same general background of race, religion, finances, education, and otherwise. ” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,” p. 302)
Another favorite tactic of the media is not distort the facts but to distort the viewer's perception of the facts as to elicit the desired response or reaction from the viewing audience either by reaffirming their biases or introducing them to it. Watch the clip for textbook application of this tactic below:
What Larry O’Donnell has done is use legitimate polling of people's willingness to vote for a candidate based on their religion as a means of cementing people's unwillingness to vote for a Mormon by distorting the history of the LDS Church. Noah Glyn, writing for National Review Online, summarizes O'Donnell's blatant and false distortion of the beginnings of the LDS religion:
Last night, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell attacked Mitt Romney, Mormonism, and Joseph Smith. According to O’Donnell, Smith only created Mormonism to justify his lax sexual mores.
In this case, O'Donnell admits his bias towards the LDS religion. As a result, O'Donnell isn't educating the public about the news as a news reporter should, but is preaching his gospel of religious bigotry to anyone who will listen. As a result, those who are already biased towards the LDS faith will have their beliefs reaffirmed and those who haven't had such a bias are now potentially infected with it.
The reason why the media has been dishonest in the way they cover Mitt Romney's faith is because many members of the media are liberal and are hostile to religion. Nancy French explains why the media has been untruthful about Mitt Romney's faith:
Secular leftists are often quite religious in their zeal to attack traditional values, and I’d say that they have Mormons in their crosshairs in large part because they’re quite effective in defending our culture. After all, there’s only 6 million Mormons in America, yet the media Left — from HBO to PBS to Broadway — has spent much of the last two election cycles flailing away at the LDS church.
In other words, the secular Left hates Mormons because they see the LDS church as a part of the same Judeo-Christian tradition we belong to; the same Judeo-Christian tradition they so despise. 
John Schroeder over at Article6 blog explains why the intentional distortion towards Mitt Romney's faith is unacceptable for a religiously diverse country as ours:  
We cannot take this bait.  These kinds of assaults – the “weirdness” of proxy baptism, polygamy as a justification for illicit sex – may have some appeal if you think Mormonism a “false” religion.  But here is the thing.  In a religiously pluralistic society like ours, if it stands against them, something similar will stand against us. 
Last year, it was revealed that Obama planned on attacking Mitt Romney's faith but that idea was immediately ridiculed. Recently, Senator Orrin Hatch asserted that Obama would go after Romney's faith and many Democrats immediately denied Obama would do that. The President knows he can't get 6 million Mormons in the United States to vote for him and that he may not have it in his election strategy to make Romney's faith an issue in the campaign. However, those in the media have already made it an issue in this election in which they will discourage as many Americans as they can to not vote for Romney by intentionally distorting their coverage of his faith.

1 comment:

  1. The Latter-day Saints are very familiar with persecution coming from every quarter. In the first half of the church's life it was attacked by almost every news outlet in the country with outrageously false stories. In the early days the saints were driven like cattle across the country by lawless mobs (sometimes by state malitas acting as lawless mobs) being raped, murdered, possessions stolen, farms burned etc. When Joseph Smith made a direct appeal to Congress and Pres Martin Van Buren for protection of their constitutional rights, the pleas were ignored. Finally the Saints went to SLC, a desert in hopes no one would follow them there, but they did. Through it all, the LDS people never stopped being Patriots, believing in the Constitution and it's divine origins, and the principles of the founding fathers. The real story today is that there are good citizens that do stand up for the LDS people's rights and defend them. This is refreshing and wonderful for us. Many news outlets continue with their bigoted lies as usual (MSNBC in particular), but there actually are some who are trying to get their stories right, again something new and glorious for us. We thank all American's like us, that stand for religious freedom and the principles of goodness and integrity. Somethings remain the same, but how they have changed!