Elder David A. Bednar answers questions from the National Press Club President Jen Judson during a luncheon in Washington D. C. on May 26, 2022. ©2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

On May 26, 2022, Elder David A. Bednar gave an address at the National Press Club in Washington D. C. It was only the second address by a church leader. The first was President Gordon B. Hinckley back in 2000.

Coverage of Elder Bednar's address to the National Press Club underscores my views of how things get reported in the two major papers in Utah.

Most of the news coverage stemmed from the Question and Answer session that followed his prepared remarks. Little coverage centered on the remarks themselves.

The Two Salt Lake Newspapers

There are two major newspapers in Salt Lake City. One is the Salt Lake Tribune. The other is the Deseret News.

The Deseret News is owned and managed by the Church. The Salt Lake Tribune has typically been antagonistic towards the Church. Both papers covered Elder Bednar's remarks at the National Press Club.

From my perspective, in general, the Salt Lake Tribune tends to print a couple of short, puff pieces that are negatively slanted when they cover something, especially a church story.

The Deseret News tends to print one long, in-depth piece that is generally pretty even-handed.

A Previous Post of Mine

On December 29, 2020, my post was entitled, I Think Peggy Fletcher Stack is Mormonism's Rita Skeeter. Her coverage of Elder Bednar's May 26 remarks supports some of the points I made then.

Coverage by the Two Salt Lake Papers

Below are links to the two articles from the two papers covering the same thing that, I think, illustrate my points:

Apostle David Bednar quizzed on declining LDS growth, same-sex marriage, ‘Under the Banner’ By Peggy Fletcher Stack for the Salt Lake Tribune

At National Press Club, Elder Bednar responds to questions about church finances, portrayal of church in media: By Tad Walsh for the Deseret News

Stack's piece reflect her secular biases. She focused on the issues that she always does in trying to make the Church look bad - LGBTQ, women, etc.

If you watch the entire event, the issues that Stack covers involved very little time and very little substance when you look at Elder Bednar's remarks and the Q&A as a whole. The issues she covered were minor in the whole scheme of things.

Elder Bednar addressed education extensively. Stack's article doesn't mention it.

The Deseret News coverage is much more reflective of what really happened, both in Bednar's prepared remarks and the Q&A session.

The Deseret News includes links to Elder Bednar's prepared remarks and the video where the Question and Answer session can be viewed on YouTube. The Salt Lake Tribune does not offer this courtesy.

One of the criticisms I often hear is that the Deseret News is biased and slants its coverage towards the Church. If you contrast the Deseret News article with the one specifically written for a church audience, I don't think this criticism holds up in this instance. It also doesn't hold up if you view Elder's Bednar's address in its entirety.

How the Church Covered it for the Church Audience

The following is for the Church News which obviously has a Church bias:

Elder Bednar addresses National Press Club, details Church efforts, answers questions By Sarah Jane Weaver for the Church News

It obviously plays to the church audience and covers a great deal. It's interesting to contrast it with the Deseret News article.

Those of us who have been comparing the two papers for years will not be surprised by this.

The Salt Lake Tribune, including Stack, will undoubtedly continue to claim it isn't biased but the rest of us simply cannot believe its assertions.

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