“We welcome the opportunity to clarify Dr. Dobson’s remarks that were first reported in Dan Gilgoff’s online article titled ‘Dobson Offers Insight on 2008 Republican Hopefuls: Focus on the Family Founder Snubs Thompson, Praises Gingrich.’
“At the outset, it’s important to note that this headline is an outright mischaracterization of the views Dr. Dobson expressed. His words weren’t intended to represent either an endorsement of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or a disparagement of former Sen. Fred Thompson. Dr. Dobson appreciates Sen. Thompson’s solid, pro-family voting record and his position that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
“In his conversation with Mr. Gilgoff, Dr. Dobson was attempting to highlight that to the best of his knowledge, Sen. Thompson hadn’t clearly communicated his religious faith, and many evangelical Christians might find this a barrier to supporting him.
“Dr. Dobson told Mr. Gilgoff he had never met Sen. Thompson and wasn’t certain that his understanding of the former senator’s religious convictions was accurate. Unfortunately, these qualifiers weren’t reported by Mr. Gilgoff. We were, however, pleased to learn from his spokesperson that Sen. Thompson professes to be a believer.
Read the rest, as it gets into Dobson’s recent conversation with Newt Gingrich as well.
The MSM pulled a similar stunt on Jerry Falwell regarding the Teletubbies a while back. Very few bloggers of any stripe bothered to wait for the facts or correct the record then, and I suspect an equal number will do the same now. When the MSM’s target is a much villified Christian leader, corrections and retractions are hard to come by.
There’s a lesson in this, both for Christian leaders and for bloggers. For Christian leaders, expect your words to be twisted by MSM reporters. Grant them interviews, but have your own tape recorder standing by so that you can publish your remarks in full when your words get twisted. Because they will get twisted — you can count on it.
For bloggers, many of us got into this game to counter MSM spin on the war and politics. But many of us accept MSM hit jobs on Christian leaders whole. We ought not to do that. I for one am fed up with bloggers jumping to the attack on Christians and Christian leaders. The MSM gets very few things right, and treats very few subjects fairly. Christian groups and leaders are perennial MSM targets, usually getting either an anthropological treatment a la the NYT or getting treatment that is outright dishonest and hostile. Treat every MSM report on both with the same skepticism that you treat MSM reports on war and politics, and expect that there is another side to the story that the MSM is leaving out. That’s almost always the case.