Beware of dishonest Baptist ‘news’ sources


The big news out of the Missouri Baptist Convention meeting last week was a major loosening of the stranglehold fundamentalist layman Roger Moran has had on the convention. Moran, the master of guilt by association, has used his Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association and Project 1000 to solidify control of the convention over the last decade or so.
But last week, all the candidates supported by his group, including Moran himself, lost to loyal, conservative Southern Baptists tired of and often embarrassed by Moran’s heavy-handedness.
In fact, Moran lost the second vice presidency to pastor John Marshall by a whopping 80 percent — 649-160. However, The Pathway, the official news journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention, and Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention public relations effort that pretends to be a news service, didn’t tell readers about this.
An 1148-word news article, vaguely titled “Mo. conservatives vie for office,” by Pathway associate editor Allen Palmeri, did not mention Moran at all.
The editors at Baptist Press ignored the central character in the story too.
Why?
A. They fear retaliation by Moran who still has some influence in Missouri and serves on the SBC Executive Committee that runs Baptist Press?
B. They think Baptists are so stupid they will believe whatever they are told by official convention-controlled “news” sources and not look to more reliable secular or religious news outlets?
C. They are more concerned about protecting their own positions than telling readers the truth?
D. All the above.
It is so interesting that the people who claim to believe the Bible more than the rest of us Baptists are so fearful of truth-telling. Maybe Missouri and Southern Baptist controlled presses believe you can’t handle the truth — or perhaps they cannot handle the consequences of telling the truth.
The spin story is here. An honest account by Bill Webb, editor of the no-longer-under-MBC-control Word & Way, is here.

8 Comments

  1. Excellent post! Those of us in Missouri have been putting up with the inaccurate reporting of The Pathway and the Baptist Press for quite some time.

  2. The Pathway article (http://www.mbcpathway.com/article102531c582644.htm) is extremely uninformative. The Associated Baptist Press or Word and Way (BGCM paper) have very similar (to each other) and relatively informative stories about the election.

    There was a paragraph in the Pathway article about singly aligned churches becoming the order of the day–or something. Any idea what that meant?

    Bennett Willis

  3. Good grief! The BP story spins like a iop! It is full-blown media bias–the antithesis of objective, honest reporting. Thanks for pointing a finger at BP’s misdeed.

  4. Another interesting item, the BP article at least does include several bits of information (like the vote totals for each election of the officers) that were conspicuous by their absence in the Pathway article. Most of the two articles are identical but not all.

    Thanks for the BP link.

    Bennett Willis

  5. Baptist Press updated the online story this Sunday morn at 8:25 to include some mention of Moran’s defeat. Guess they got the necessary approval.
    I’ve learned Moran has now completed his service on the SBC Executive Committee. So telling of his defeat may not be as risky.
    The original sans-Moran story is still up at mbcpathway.com however. That one is like telling “Twas the Night Before Christmas” without any mention of St. Nick.

  6. For me the interesting story is one of numbers. The last time the MBC met at Tan-Tar-A was in 2000. The more than 3000 messengers then were no comparison to the 1300 messengers this year. 2000 was a year of intense “turn out the vote” efforts by those of us with Mainstream Missouri Baptists and by Moran’s Project 1000 group). 2007 also had intense efforts with rallies around the state. SO, how to explain the difference between more than 3000 (in 2000) and 1300 (in 2007)? I believe pastors especially (and by extension churches) in Missouri realized in stark ways the irrelevance of “conventions” and “associations” for the purposes of the local church. What is happening in Missouri is amazing disengagement from cooperative initiatives with Baptist groups. All this in just seven years. Thanks Johnny for keeping Missouri Baptist life on the Baptists Today radar.

  7. One correction to offer to Dr. Bennett– just as Baptists Today is a free paper (not the “CBF paper”) the same is true with Misouri’s Word and Way. W&W is an autonomous paper for all Baptists in Missouri and not a “CBF of Missouri paper” nor a “BGCM paper” nor an “MBC paper”. You would be correct that the Pathway is certainly a mouthpiece for the MBC.

  8. Dr. Phillips,
    Thanks for the academic promotion. More seriously, thanks for the reminder about Word/Way’s independent status. The Pathway seems rather limited in its reporting. Their current article on the election is substantially filled by quotes from Kerry Messer. Things there seem to be quite “up in the air.”

    Bennett Willis

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