Saturday, February 21, 2009
By Al Holm
I very often begin to write here and stop myself short. It is because I look up at the title of this blog and say Whoa! Is my “view” truly an FLDS view? And then reality hits me like a ton of bricks. Yes, the metaphor “a ton of bricks” for me it is more than literal, in fact “a ton of bricks” doesn’t do what I actually feel justice. Try to imagine a ton of bricks hitting you, and saying “well, that was much nicer”. I cannot begin to do justice for the truth of this religion and this humble man that I revere. But I proceed anyway, after a sincere look up with my head down. I proceed out of a desire to help those who really don’t want to be a part of the bigoted masses, and to counter the “hate cult” crusaders who prefer to believe lies; many of whom are in the government and the media.
True objectivity is a myth. Neutrality of opinion is not humanly possible. I can tell a dishonest person when I hear the words “I have no opinion one way or another”. I don’t mean that they are intentionally dishonest; perhaps they do not realize it is not possible, and "try" to be neutral, or perhaps they would rather not say and excuse themselves by claiming no opinion. Certainly I respect silence on any issue, especially when it is out of the lack of relevant true information. Tolerance is the opinion that even IF someone else is "wrong", they have that right to be wrong if they desire.
News reporters do not have the luxury often times to wait for the actual truth, even if they want it, which doesn't seem to be true all that often. The profession of journalism is not one that is based on truth, it is based more on getting attention, so certain things are portrayed as facts, or “newsworthy” when they are not true. Their paycheck is based on the amount of attention they get, so that is usually their main goal.
A journalist is telling the truth when they write “Joe said there are Martians in Texas”. The problem is the news reporter doesn’t know if Joe is telling the truth or not, and quite often the reporter will trust Joe because the reporter actually believes or agrees with Joe, and yet they both could be wrong. The credibility of Joe is not questioned just so long as the reporter doesn’t question it. And then there is the “editing” I have personally seen Mike Watkiss take an interview and chop it to smithereens in order to vilify the person he was interviewing. I have had the same thing done to me by a reporter out of Texas named Lisa Sandberg. They start with an agenda, and report only the information that fits their agenda, and cut out the parts that put the agenda into correct perspective. She even wrote without quoting me, but implied I was saying things that I was not. “He has struggled with whether Jeffs was the one man on earth with a direct connection to God” Which is a complete lie. I wrote about this. The same thing has happened to Ben Barlow. This “spin” is a lie because it portrays as a doctrine things that are only relatively true. “Barlow says its part of their religion for older men to marry underage girls.” He meant to say it is part of the religious belief to ALLOW girls to get married under 18. Marriage is important to the religion, not specific ages. Even in "good" stories, such as the recent CNN interview with Betty Jessop, the CNN reporter, Gary Tuckman, implies agreement with Carolyn by specifically quoting Carolyn's assertion that Betty is "afraid" to tell the truth. She did admit to "wanting" to break the law didn't she?
I have never seen a story in the news that was completely true about the FLDS people. Not one. But I realize and understand the truth from my own perspective, closely aligned with those I love.
I do know that of all the reporters out there, Brooke Adams of the Salt Lake Tribune has done the most admirable job of humanizing the FLDS people, especially since the raid in Texas last April. I do want to acknowledge her efforts to avoid the John Dougherty/Terry Langford style “reporting” for the most part. But I know she has a fairly strong bias against our leader. The recent dumping of sacred and private information on her blog by her and the Anti-FLDS crusaders is more proof to me. I wonder what she would think if her own fathers journal was stolen and critiqued publicly in such a way.