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Journalist Down - the Youngest Reporter in Rochester

A Sloppy Piece

The June 20th Philadephia Inquirer article is rather a sloppy piece but the subject is so visceral that such things are overlooked.

All is told from the point of view of the wronged girl. I don't claim she speaks untruthfully. It is simply that, humans being what they are, we are inclined to remember things the way we remember them...embellish certain points and downplay or forget others. For example, when the judge recalled certain things in a matter-of-fact way, the victim says that's not how she recalled it, and the reporter at that point forgets all about the judge and runs with the victim. I suspect that the judge recollects it more accurately, because he has not carried the emotional baggage for two decades.

When Lett, many years later, speaks of 'apostate lies,' the reporter presents it as though he is calling his old friend a liar. Of course, he is not. No one says that the bare facts of the abuse case is a lie; it is the spin that enemies (which now seem to include the Inquirer) put on it that is the lie.

I answered at some length the Inquirer's first story and emailed it to two editors and the reporter. It was never acknowledged in any way. Instead, the reporter followed through on remarks he had made on the Reddit forum, that he had more material in the hopper that he considered damning to the Witnesses. This story appears to be what he had in mind.

I take it as evidence that the Philadelphia Inqurer wants this story told one and only one way. If there is anything to mitigate a damning verdict, they do not want to hear it. Of course, they have a story. No one would say that they do not. It is a variation of the "If it bleeds it leads" theme - a familiar staple of journalism and not so terrible in itself, but the refusal to consider or even acknowledge a different lens through which the topic might be viewed, is to paint the Inquirer, imo, as a not very good newspaper. Adding to this perception is that the paper does not seem to have a comment section for its online articles.

Comment sections are not necessarily great, as they attract many a moron, especially on 'hot' topics. But they have become standard fare, and the fact that the Inquirer does not have one seems but another indicator that they will breach no dissent on what stories they report.

It is the religious version of the shabby journalism that has become the norm today. Reporters of the right or left hype up their view to the point of hysteria, and refuse to look at things that in any way confound their conclusions.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'



Yes Tom, I two emailed the reporter on his first hit piece, cleared up several of what were obviously outright falsehoods, and never got a reply. That tells me that they are not a good newspaper and probably only want a sensationalize story.

But these stories are really told by lying apostates, using papers as a vehicle, designed to take people down an emotional rabbit hole that they can’t climb out of. Some fall down it, others don’t.

To avoid it, I usually recommend learning the facts from the source, and that is a huge advantage. As a secondary, promise yourself you’ll never get angry or upset if you read something like that. It design to stir the
emotions anyway. Keep that in mind.

tom harley

It is true in some cases that we are talking "lying apostates," but I would not say all, or necessarily even most. Or to the extent some of them are, they became so triggered by experiences they suffered through. As to the reporters themselves, most are crusaders of one sort or another. A few may specialize in this one story, but most go on to uncover sordid stories in many other contexts.

Apostates may have caught their ear, but when the ones affected tell stories of sexual abuse...yes, it is gut-churning. Of course, it is gut-churning no matter where one reads it, and while a reader is directed to target his wrath in this article at a certain group of people, he should read all the other reports too, and he will explode with outrage at nearly everyone. Overall, it does not speak well for humanity.

There have been many child sexual abuse cases with a JW connection. However, there have been many more almost anywhere else, and overall the Witness record of prevention is most likely well above that of general society. I hope to be developing such points in future posts.

It is not the Philly Inquirer here, who decline to print alternate views. When it comes to giving an answer to accusations, this is very much a David vs Goliath story. But we will do what we can. Sometimes with shares and retweets some imbalance can be corrected.

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