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Official UM News Bias Draws Comments And Suggestions


From: Charles F. Cooley candlc2@juno.com
To: jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 5:15 PM
Subject: AN OPINION ROUNDUP

UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

Serious questions have been raised about the Reporter and its value to the United Methodist Church because its writers and editors seem more interested in changing than upholding the denomination’s stand on important issues.

Here is a compilation of comments and suggestions that have been made:

"It is hard to accept the fact that our leaders have such little integrity when it comes to their role in "guarding" and "declaring" the truth. They have an agenda and regardless of what it takes, they are moving to accomplish their task. We do not have objective journalism today but people drunk with the possibility of shaping a different future."

"The Reporter is a for profit business. They sell papers to UM Churches. If enough UM Churches discontinue purchasing their work, they are out of a job. . . .Our church discontinued them before the shift in editorial policy, we are now very glad we did."

"...there is a distinct difference between a general news agency and a church organ: the former quite rightly covers a waterfront of public opinion, the latter lifts up its sponsor’s tenets, ministry, and program. The reporter has tried too hard to talk about religion, not hard enough to support basic Methodist concepts. It is too much like Newsweek, not enough like a Wesleyan Journal."

"For over 20 years I have been asking UMR to balance its coverage."

"For three years they have refused to print letters I have sent to the editor, none of which have been unkind in any way, and all of which have chosen an angle somewhat different from any of the letters they have printed.

"Once Cynthia Astle (UMR editor) told me that the way she was going to assure balanced reporting was to prevent people like me from being printed. Go figure. I still have the e-mail she sent me."

"Forget about cleansing official publications. What we need is an alternative voice in newspaper format. . . .Best example is PRESBYTERIAN LAYMAN -- very effective, read by tens of thousands in and out of PCUSA, and extremely well greased with dollars. . . . UMDECISION2000 was very effective as a short-lived effort -- and well greased with dollars. We need SCOTT FIELD to continue networking and disseminating for us -- right through the run-up to Pittsburgh 2004."

"The question is: Is Scott or some one else with Good News willing to undertake such a task?"

"I also participated daily and was encouraged by the UMDECISION200 effort. It was outstanding, and Scott Field was absolutely outstanding. An example of the right man at the right place at the right time."

"Have you considered Good News Magazine? I know it does not come out as often as the Reporter. They will be doing an issue on General Conference with should be out soon."

"That would be a good move. But an online service would be better."

"The best thing to do with the Reporter is put it in your bird-cage. . . . The question is: will the resolve of those who want United Methodism to be true to the historic orthodox outlast those who would lead us down the primrose path to perdition? The Reporter is in the same category as the board of Church and Society, the Women’s division, etc. Let’s pray for them and one another."

"....we want SCOTT FIELD & GOOD NEWS to provide ongoing briefings. . . . We want briefings more frequently than the Magazine itself can provide. We want our news hot. We don’t want to read cold analyses in the rear view mirror. We don’t like waiting. we want to follow breaking stories. We want to bivouac with the troops in the field. . . . We sense that the Coalition formed around UMDecision 2000 wants frequent briefings and analysis and close-ups of what’s happening now. We believe the Revival is happening now (even as hell is breaking loose in California and we want to be in on it."

"One suggestion would be to flood the GC2004 with hundreds of Evangelical, Spirit led petitions that will "blow the socks off" of moderates and all the rest, plus all the non-Christians. Come, Holy Spirit. Start typing."

"Yes, We believe in Good News Magazine -- and pass out free copies like hot dogs at a picnic around here. But most of us nearly die between issues. Information will convict and convince, but first it’s got to flow. The Revival won’t wait for everyone to subscribe. . . . Could Good News do a pre-empt on Newscope? I like the pre-emption idea. That’s really what I’m looking for. The fishing is very good right now. We’ve got to get our lines in the water. The fish are biting."

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Friends: A great exchange! If we keep at it changes for the better will come. A note I want to add is about the great work John Warrener did for us with his daily briefings. He told us the good and the bad, even as he made it clear where he was coming from. I would add his name to any nomination list for editor of a new United Methodist Advocate.

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