The following is an article I wrote on August 16 and posted on The Way I See It Blog hosted by the Christian Post. Within a few hours, the post was removed from the website and I was denied access to my blog. You can still get to my articles on Christian Post if you use their search engine. However, all of my blog posts on The Way I See It blog have been delisted from the blog page.
The reason given by Michelle Vu, managing editor, for removing my article, dropping me as a writer, and delisting all of my past blogs was that I had disrespected their news staff by writing about the August 15 article before they had a chance to address it. I did contact them prior to writing the article but the editors felt I had not given them adequate time to response. Since then, I have been in contact with the CP managing editors to resolve the situation but there has been no change.
This is distressing to me. I have written for Christian Post since near the beginning of the website. In 2004, I wrote a benediction for the initial print run of CP. Until recently, I was listed on their website as a senior editorial consultant.
I will acknowledge that the title of the piece was more inflammatory than necessary. However, the editors of CP did not disagree with my analysis or that the Romney campaign or a Romney supporter should have been allowed to comment.
Having read additional coverage of the campaign at CP since mid-August, I do wonder if CP leans toward Perry (or at least away from Romney). In a fairly balanced piece on Wednesday, CP Executive Editor Richard D. Land was quoted raising Romney’s Mormonism as a concern for voters to consider. The article did not disclose that Land is the Executive Editor of CP but cited instead his role with the Ethics and Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptists. And Perry’s Ponzi Scheme comments about Social Security were sympathetically analyzed in this piece. As far as I know, the piece attacking Romney on social issues has not been addressed.
I suspect many readers will see this as inside baseball. I decided to go with this because of a broader question: Will Mitt Romney be able to get fair coverage from Christian media? Some evangelicals support Romney (at this moment in time, myself included) but he is battling a considerable establishment that may include the sources from which many Christians get their information.
Some readers may disagree with my approach; I encourage you to speak your opinion. Here is the blog post in question. To evaluate this piece you will also need to read the original article:
Christian Post runs hit piece on Mitt Romney
(posted on CP August 16, 2011)
Yesterday, the Christian Post’s politics editor, Paul Stanley posted an article sharply critical of current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney based on a book by Mass Resistance’s Amy Contrada. The book purports to uncover Mitt Romney’s positions on social issues which, according to Contrada, demonstrates that Romney is “not a constitutionalist nor is he a man of deeply rooted values.”
In my view, the article comes across as an attack on Mr. Romney and did a disservice to CP readers in several ways. First, the article presented Contrada’s book as a new release, when in fact the book was released in February of this year. Why is CP just now running an article on the charges Contrada makes, implying that these are new or newly discovered?
Second, CP does not provide any context to help readers assess the stance of the author or the actual positions held by Romney. Amy Contrada is a writer for Mass Resistance, a group that has been at odds with Romney politically for years and one that is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to their incendiary rhetoric towards gays as a class of people. Many conservatives dismiss the SPLC but nonetheless, in an objective news report, the fact would be noted. Romney would not be considered pro-gay by any gay activist, but because he is not sufficiently anti-gay for Mass Resistance, he has been a target of their ire.
An illustration will help. Contrada contends that Romney has not condemned same-sex marriage as immoral. Quoted by Stanley she says,
I examined every statement I could find that he [Romney] made about homosexuality and nowhere could I find where he condemned same-sex marriage. He will never call it immoral. Every Mormon I know personally … the rank and file Mormons … I know … are very clearly opposed to homosexuality and see it as a moral issue. The church on the other hand seems to be a bit wishy-washy on the issue. I think Romney is the same way and wants to please everybody by playing every issue down the middle.”
Contrada wants Romney to not only oppose same-sex marriage, she wants him to morally condemn gays who want to form unions. Romney spoke to this issue to the Associated Press several years ago, saying
“I don’t think that a person who’s running for a secular position as I am should talk about or engage in discussions of what they in their personal faith or their personal beliefs is immoral or not immoral,”
In the same interview, Romney repeated his opposition to gay marriage but believes that all should be treated with respect.
“I oppose discrimination against gay people,” Romney said. “I am not anti-gay. I know there are some Republicans, or some people in the country who are looking for someone who is anti-gay and that’s not me.”
He said he is opposed to gay marriage because it’s not in the best interest of children.
Shouldn’t CP readers have this context?
Romney’s position is similar to the stance that Ronald Reagan took as California governor and then later as President. In California, Reagan opposed the Briggs Amendment which would have allowed schools to fire or refuse to hire gay teachers. As President, Reagan was on record opposing job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Finally, the CP article does not bring in any contrasting view of Romney’s positions from any other observers, nor as far as I can tell, sought comment from the Romney campaign.
In short, this article, if published at all, should have been better placed in the Opinion section of CP. As it is, the piece probably hurts Romney with evangelical voters unaware of the context of his views and definitely hurts the perception of CP’s objective reporting with those who do. Through the campaign, I hope that CP will do a better job of providing balance in future articles.