Last night, the Church released a more extensive statement to the inflammatory story of the unreported sexual abuse in Arizona and the time line that accompanied it.

Well, it's time to revisit a prior posting of mine entitled, Monumental Missteps Makes Members Doubt News Media.

All my bullet points there apply to the Associated Press (AP) story and its aftermath the Church is responding to in its statement.

I've got two more bullet points to emphasize:
  • Allegations and accusations are quickly trumpeted wildly.
  • Resolutions and retractions rarely if ever appear.
If the news media truly is interested in reporting the truth why aren't they just as zealous in reporting the resolution of these issues and/or making retractions when more facts come to light?

No one expects them to be right all of the time. No one can be. If they actually corrected themselves on occasion, I may be more apt to believe they are trying hard to be accurate.

In the Deseret News' coverage of the Church's most recent statement, they report that:

“The Associated Press stands by its story,” Lauren Easton, vice president of AP Corporate Communications, said in an email to the Deseret News.

Great, a knee jerk reaction and a circling of the wagons. I'd have more respect for the Associated Press if they said they were conducting a review and would get back with a statement.

In addition, their reporters may try harder to be accurate if they knew the AP would check up on their accuracy on occasion to ensure they are doing their jobs properly and not exposing the AP to ridicule, unreliability and ridiculousness.

The Church's time line in it's complete statement simply highlighted important and pertinent facts. I was able to piece together these myself from disparate coverage from numerous articles in numerous pieces of coverage from multiple sources. If the AP can't do this itself, it's a remarkably dim bulb.

Allegations and accusations are easy to make. Most of them against the Church simply disappear because there is rarely any merit in them. However, THAT doesn't generally make it into news coverage.

The AP article was contemptuous of the Church's special hotline for Bishop's in dealing with abuse situations. From what I've discovered over the years, the abuse hotline is an important protection for everyone when it comes to aiding abuse survivors and reporting it properly.

One of the most compelling commentaries I read came from an abuse survivor and attorney that actually worked on the abuse hotline but wasn't involved in the particular Arizona situation:

I can speak to what I know.

And I know my former colleagues are diligent, competent, compassionate and deeply committed to the work of protecting kids from abuse. We were a small team so I know each attorney personally. We often reflected on how lucky we felt that we got to use our law degrees to rescue children and help victims.

To suggest that any attorney on the helpline is “hiding” abuse from law enforcement seems disingenuous or inaccurate. From my experience, it just wouldn’t happen. Not only is it illegal, it is immoral. The very fact that criminal charges have not been brought against anyone from the church is the first indication that the AP article may not have the complete story.

Because I follow issues about the Church so closely, I know the resolution of most of these stories go in the Church's favor. Obviously, I can think of a few exceptions, but they are rare. Honestly, they usually don't even turn out to be very important.

News coverage of resolution and retractions is just as newsworthy as the allegations and accusations that get trumpeted so strongly.

Continue reading at the original source →