[God+Media] Everyone's favorite Mormon news wire the D-News' Mormon Times, regurgitated some remarks from a warning Elder Dallin Oaks from the LDS church's Quorum of the Twelve gave to members Friday about why they shouldn't trust the media.
The article framed from the context of a warning Oaks had given members in 1985 regarding the Hoffman Mormon document forgeries was a kind of 'I told you so' warning to members to make sure they realize the problem with the media these days.
He made some common sense pointers like:
* Newspapers print things out of context
* Newspapers are biased
* Newspapers can be imbalanced
I took these lessons to heart as I read the Mormon Times and began to worry that perhaps this article might have been biased and imbalanced. It did after all only cite Church leader Oaks and didn't talk to anyone who's done religious reporting. I also feared it might be out of context because the article didn't explain why Oaks felt he needed to repeat this message from 1985 (though it may have something to do with the new book that does fault Brigham Young for contributing to the hysteria that led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre).
I had a little crisis here because I wasn't sure what to believe from a religious news article warning against biased, imbalanced, out of context religious news reporting that was itself biased, imbalanced and out of context. Who do I trust?
Then the conclusion of the article cites Oaks, who like a still small voice, clearly makes some helpful indicators to befuddled readers like me.
The first was that if you evaluate articles spiritually you'll never go wrong...if you have the spirit of the holy ghost helping you. Tough luck heathens, you'll just have to decide by yourself if an article is biased by comparing it with other news sources and using your own judgment, ha!
The other indicator you can use to see if an article is biased or not and the one that the article doesn't actually do itself, is just make sure you don't read something that would dare to criticize a church leader:
Elder Oaks' 1985 talk also contained the caution that "criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward church authorities, general or local."
"Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true." (My bold added)
Gotcha, lets break this down: true criticism of church authorities = evil speaking. Huh, enough said really. (Eric S. Peterson)