Love, Lee and Lack of Integrity at Deseret Digital Media

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On November 14, 2013 I read a front page article  in the Deseret News on Congressional candidate Mia Love headlined “Love rejects tea party label, didn’t like tactics.” It was disparaging Utah’s Senator Mike Lee and the group of citizens that supported Mia, but it did not sound like Mia. So I texted her cautioning her not to lose her anchor and to stay true to who she is. She immediately called back and expressed her displeasure with the false coverage.

She does support Senator Mike Lee. She does welcome Tea Party support. And she has asked for the Deseret News to retract its false and misleading statements. Here’s a snip of Mia’s statement she sent to me:

“The article that all of you are referencing is a calculated effort to attack Senator Mike Lee. I was miss-quoted, words twisted and some of the statements mentioned, never left my lips. I have called the editor Paul, and asked for the whole story to be retracted since there were too many errors to count.

“I spoke to Boyd Mathesoon, Senator Lee’s Chief of Staff, and he has told me that [reporter] Lisa Riley Roche has done this to a few people in her efforts to discredit Senator Lee. I did say, ‘I don’t allow people to label me with any term.’

“Mike Lee has said to reporters (that want to discredit him or put him in a box) that “Tea Party is not a Party.” When did those statements ever mean that both Mike and I aren’t fighting to preserve the Constitution?

“The question is, will you believe the media? Or believe the person who stood with Mike at the rally and got bashed for doing so. I support Senator Lee 100%. He is my Senator and he supports me. DO NOT let the media do this to us or all of our efforts are lost and we end up with Jim Matheson again. We are smarter than they are.”

Yes we are. And I am speaking out vigorously now to let concerned members of the church that owns Deseret Ditigal Media (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) know that “Houston, we have a problem.”

All to often, the principles the LDS Church has asked its members to uphold, and that are clearly defined in LDS Church materials and Sunday School lesson manuals are sabotaged by disparaging articles published in the Deseret News or on its radio/TV holding KSL.  Those official Church materials identify this nation as a constitutional representative republic, not a participatory democracy, because the later is the historical formula for allowing Caesar to become God.  And this is the ongoing war between the two.

We live in a nation and a state that has elected a majority that is now more supportive of Caesar than God, and by virtue of who they elect, believe that Caesar is or should be God.  Public sentiment leaning increasingly more toward a secular, government controlled society has been largely due to the damage the media does to sincerely good candidates who are fighting for limited government but, as with Mia and Mike, are criticized daily.

Perhaps it is that reporter Lisa Riley Roche has a personal gripe against Senator Mike Lee. I also suspect that the Deseret News‘ advertisers are among the “mainstream Republican” clique (namely the Karl Rove Wing of Republicans in Name Only) who want to diminish and eliminate anything conservative or anyone who supports the grassroots neighborhood elections.  They know that is the only way their big money can control the outcome of future elections.

I’ve had my own history with media outlets including the Deseret News. Because of its LDS Church ownership, I’ve joined many others that have been confused and perplexed by articles that appear to sabotage the action its leaders in an LDS General or Semi-Annual Conference admonish its members to take or to support with this or that moral cause. Then I open up the paper, and I read an article promoting exactly the opposite, or advocating something so confusing that it leaves many scratching their heads saying, “So which is it – what we just heard in the LDS Conference or what we just read on the front page of its newspaper?  What does THIS mean?”

In fact, at times, I’ve received a much friendlier response from the Salt Lake Tribune, considered the more liberal of the two papers.

On several occasions I’ve submitted letters to the editor and opinion editorial pieces and requests to the Deseret Digital Media enterprises at Deseret News and KSL Radio, the Doug Wright Show. Without any success.

Simply put:  The Deseret News is media and as with most media it is biased to the Left. Unless we begin speaking out, it will continue to  silence those of us who wish to oppose those views in intelligent, well-researched ways. It accomplishes that by either misconstruing what a person such as Mia Love may say, or by censoring the truth that you submit but is rejected. And ultimately, the Left’s strategy is to pit conservatives against each other and driving a wedge or to force conservative candidates to admit to being – horrors – supportive of the Tea Party.

We need to ask good questions now:  What IS “tea party?”  What part of Tea Party do you not agree with? Because in my estimation, the tea party is informed and knows just how far to the Left this nation has moved.  So when you say we need elected officials to compromise and work across the aisle, are you suggesting that we continue with the status quo, because that is precisely how we moved to the Left?  Do you want us to continue moving further to the Left?  How MUCH further?  We’ve already adopted a marxist medical policy and school testing, curriculum and workforce tracking – all part of a socialist playbook.

Media Censorship from the Left and Contradictions

Every time I submit a letter to the editor or an op ed piece, I report here whether or not it was accepted.

My letters and op ed pieces to the Deseret News have been written well enough to be published or edited to fit the space available. In fact, at times I’ve received editorial feedback from a media consultant before submitting just to be sure it is within the guidelines of journalist standard and style.

Only once in the past 25 years has the Deseret News published one of my op ed pieces, but it was related to a congressional candidate for whom I was the communications director and a clarification of his position that the campaign requested.

In 2008, the paper gave me a green light on my op ed piece against the International Baccalaureate, a topic about which I am an expert nationally. Then Deseret News Opinion Editor Jay Evenson read it and obviously realized my editorial would make the paper’s supporting position to which I was responding look ridiculously embarrassing and uninformed.  He claimed it was my “tone.”  Well, here it is, and you can read “my tone” for yourself.

In fact, the paper’s position on the International Baccalaureate supported ideals that its owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, does not endorse, at least when the LDS leaders speak at the pulpit in its semi-annual and annual general conferences.  For example, I’m quite sure it does not endorse a global initiative on population control, condom distribution and pro-abortion and homosexual policies, and redistribution of wealth to save the planet and a focus on critical thinking that removes everything but logic and the scientific method from the equation of “knowing.”

Over the years, I have called KSL’s local talk show host Doug Wright numerous times to respond to topics he discusses, including times he has disparaged, mocked or misrepresented me or a position I have taken. Only one time has Doug Wright allowed me on his show as an individual commenter. That was the first time I requested to be on his show, in the early 1990s when we were debating “outcomes based education,” what we now call “common core.” I made mincemeat of his uninformed position, and that was the last time he connected with me.

The only other time I’ve been allowed on his show was when his producer staged an on-air, four-way debate among the U.S. Senate candidates, of which I was one.

Then after his dubious Eureka friend – Milt Hanks – vomited all over the convention floor with venomous lies about the four leading candidates, of which I was one, and came on Doug’s show to do more of the same, he would not allow me to respond.

Well, yes, there was one other time Doug Wright allowed me on his show: It was a call-in comment on the Broadway show Book of Mormon: The Musical. My guess is that he presumed that I would be very opposed to it, and he may have seen it as an opportunity to have fun with another “close-minded voice” from the “religious far Right.”

Rather, I made a simple and enduring point, “When the world makes fun of you, you know you are making a difference and your detractors are taking notice.” I told Margaret Thatcher’s story that when the pundits ridiculed her she had learned how to respond: If it was false, she ignored it. If it was true, she already knew it.

I gave him nothing to ridicule.

Recently Doug Wright ran a segment on the caucus system, filled with misinformation and outright lies. I posted a piece on my blog site entitled “Time for Doug Wright to Retire?” including the audio of the segments. I pushed it out over social media and to my list.  I was serious.

Doug Wright had a tantrum, and within 24 hours, an attorney representing Deseret Digital Media called me and informed me that I was violating intellectual property, and that I was required to remove the audio or I could be sued. Not easily intimidated, I temporarily sent the post back into draft mode and put a call in to my attorney.

So my church, to which I have paid tithing my entire adult life and to which I am a lifelong faithful, temple-attending member and have publicly defended on every moral issue it has ever asked its members to become involved in, called to threaten a law suit against me for trying to get the truth to a larger audience about principles that the LDS Church believes in and has written about in its manuals of instruction.

My attorney told me that I was not violating any intellectual property laws and I did not need to remove the audio because it fell under what is called the “Fair Use” doctrine. I did not publish the entire Doug Wright Show, only targeted segments. So I posted it again, and the audio is still there.

KSL’s Negative Effect on Moral Legislation

For years Doug Wright has been shaping the opinions of Utah voters and misleading them, rather effectively redefining what “conservative” and “mainstream” mean.  He tells his audience he is a “mainstream Republican.”  But what that means is that he is really a Republican In Name Only, a phenomenon that occurs in states that are predominantly one or the other political party.  (You can read more about him in this linked post.)

For example, in Connecticut, a BLUE state, many Republicans could not run or win as Republicans, so they run as Democrats or characterize themselves as “mainstream” or “moderate.”

In Utah, most candidates call themselves “conservative,” – Democrats and Republicans.  Many in “non-partisan” elections call themselves “independent”  – code for “Democrat.”  But then when you go to the state legislature and have to fight so hard with the overwhelming Republican majority to keep Medicaid expansion from becoming law, you know voters have not elected true Republicans.

I do not believe that LDS church leaders at the top can possibly know everything that is happening.  It is a massive enterprise of millions of members internationally now.  But since I have been unsuccessful in communicating this message through other usual and recommended means, I hope this post will make a difference.  The misinformation broadcast through Deseret Digital is too frequently incorrect or in contradiction to its owner’s doctrine or principles.  That should concern any faithful Mormon that listens to its Church leaders who speak at its conferences and then tries to reconcile that with what is promoted on its media outlets.

The Left at BYU

Similar concerns exist on the LDS Church-owned campus at Brigham Young University and the liberal theology-secular ideology that ultimately destroys all religion now being taught in many departments there, including the political science department where Richard Davis teaches. BYU accepts government-funded research grants and student loans, and so it is beholden to government ideology.

For example, a few years ago I was in the Wilkinson Center meeting a faculty member for lunch and saw a BYU Republican booth assisting students from California to sign the petition to put Prop 22 on the ballot (the marriage amendment).  The reason was legit:  they would not be home in time to sign the petition in person.  This was a real service and it was in complete alignment with the LDS Church’s stance on marriage and its urging for members to be involved.

Then I witnessed something astonishing.  An administrator came bounding down the stairs, red-faced and heavily breathing and demanded that the petition be removed, claiming it was sponsored by an outside organization which was against the rules.

It is true that United Families International was assisting with petitions everywhere, but it was the College Republicans’ table and they had received permission to be there.  I got involved and asked what the rule was.  “The university has a political neutrality policy and we cannot allow this petition to be signed on campus.  It will need to find another venue.”

However, two weeks later, BYU allowed a group of lesbians and homosexuals who were on a national college tour to stage a peaceful protest across the campus, talking to students along the way.

Now BYU has a polling arm run by students under the direction of professor Quinn Monson. He was invited to speak at a special Republican State Central Committee meeting during the Utah Republican Party Convention last Spring.   Through this means, BYU is heavily involved in trying to destroy the neighborhood caucus system.  What happened to “political neutrality?”

Richard Davis’ recent opinion piece claiming that the ACA health care legislation (ObamaCare) is not as bad as it seems is outrageously misinformed and has no basis of logic for statements such as:

“…those who received cancellation notices likely will have more options for better and cheaper coverage than they do now.”

He can eat my lunch if we’re wrong that premiums are higher on the exchange than elsewhere and that government subsidized care will increase premiums in the future until everyone begs for a single payer.

Davis should know better and I’m concerned that he is influencing so many vulnerable young students who trust in the imprimatur of this university.

A government monopoly does not provide cheaper solutions because it doesn’t have to compete in the real world. A monopoly controls and because it is subsidized, it is a counterfeit. A person can get a back brace on the internet for $99 or less. But Medicare charges US – the taxpayers – $500-900!

Accountability to Our Ancestors and Our Posterity

Members of the LDS Church have paid billions in tithing funds to build up what is now the for-profit holding company “Deseret Management” of which “Deseret Digital Media” is one of those holding enterprises. These enterprises must be held accountable. Our tithes may not currently be used to perpetuate the capital for these church-owned holdings, but our tithing, our ancestors’ tithing created the ability to establish the corporate holding, and we still have a shared imprimatur.  These opinions impact our future, our posterity, our freedom and our future.

That said, I am deeply committed to the foundational religious principles I have been taught from my youth, as I am today.  It is my opinion that Deseret Digital Media may want to either re-evaluate its alignment with the principles its owners encourage in General Conference and in its church manuals, or its owner must decide what its purpose and mission is to have such a powerful media voice (and educational institution) that does not typically promote its own moral teachings.  It’s a matter of integrity.

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