Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Focus on the Family editor lies to her readers.

Here is a question. What makes a lie a lie? Two things: one is it intentional and does it conflict with reality or the facts.

I say intentional because if someone gives you directions but misunderstood where you wanted to go they didn’t lie to you they made an error. A lie is when you have information that one thing is true and say the other.

And that brings me to an editor over at the Theopublican outfit Focus on the Family. They run a website called At that site a editor, Jennifer Mesko, told an outright lie. They lie a lot and the make a whole lot more mistakes as well. I ignored Mesko’s first lie. If I wrote about lies told by fundamentalists I wouldn’t have time for anything else and still not even scratch the surface.

But now Mesko repeats the first lie and then doubles it. But she brags that she’s a “Christian journalist” who adheres “to truth and accuracy.” I have no doubt she’s a Christian. I don’t know if writing for Focus on the Family makes her a journalist. But I do know she is a bald faced liar.

The fundies at Focus on the Family are vehemently anti-gay but that’s no surprise. And they push a series of fraudulent ministries that claim to be “ex-gay”. That is their right. If people are screwed up enough to get involved with them there is little I can, or would, do about it. That is their problem. A gaggle of these misfits were holding their annual convention where they spout the fundamentalist line. Except they were unhappy because this year a number of their former “cures” were gathering across not far away to denounce their previous ministries as fraudulent.

So you have the picture. A group of “exgays” are on one side and a group of “ex-exgays” are on the other side. Not real exciting. But Jennifer claimed in her article that the ex-exgays conference only attracted 100 people versus an alleged 1,000 at the exgay conference. (For the record a large percentage of the people at the exgay conference were just people who hate homosexuals or fundamentalist parents who can’t understand how one of their kids could be gay.) Now on the surface this is even more boring. Who cares who had what number of registrations? It proves nothing. The problem is that Jennifer invented her claim. How do I know this? Simple: she published her claim about the ex-exgay conference one full day before it actually started. If you go to the Focus on the Family site you will see the article is dated June 28th. The ex-exgay conference began the evening of June 29th. Any claim as to actual attendance at that point would be fraudulent.

Clearly Jennifer knew nothing about the attendance at the conference in question since it had not yet started. She claimed she did. And various blogs and websites noted her claim and questioned how she knew this figure before the conference actually took place. Of course because her dishonesty was question Jennifer claims she is under attack by “gay activists”. She ignores the fact that she wrote an article about the results of a conference before it took place.

Was this intentional? Of course, I don’t know how one could write that unintentionally. She could not have a source for the number since no one in the world knew what the attendance would be in advance. Without a source for her claim she could only have made it up. And since the conference did not yet start she knew any number she put down would be dishonest.

Now we go to Jennifer’s second lie also published by Focus on the Family. She wrote:
The article I wrote on Thursday included this line about the Exodus conference: "The meeting, which began Tuesday and wraps up Sunday, has drawn close to 1,000 people – and no protesters so far. Across town, a counter-conference drew about 100 people."
Apparently miffed at the reference to "100 people," Roberts accused me of "supplying attendance figures seemingly out of thin air." But I got the numbers from reliable people who attended both conferences – although their thinness is not a matter of record.
Note how she leaves out the fact that her article was published in advance of the actual ex-exgay conference. And she claims “I got the numbers from reliable people who attended both conferences”. That is actually two lies in one. No one gave her those figures based on attending the second conference since no one had yet attended it. She never tells her gullible readers at Focus on the Family that she published her claims BEFORE the actual event in question. The complaint was not about her claiming a specific number but claiming any number prior to the actual event.

The starting date of the conference is not in question. The publication date of Jennifer’s article is not in question. And anyone can see she published prior to the event. She covers that up and then makes it out that she is under attack by nasty gay activists. Actually she is under attack because she lied to her readers and is now lying about the lies. This seems morally acceptable to Focus on the Family.

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