Friday, February 16, 2007

Southern Baptists Predisposed to Accept Lies

Editor and Publisher has posted some quotations from the interviews in the PBS Frontline documentary that aired Tuesday evening. In that documentary Carl Bernstein was asked to compare the lying in the Nixon administration with the lying in the present administration. Here's what he had to say:

I think what we're talking about with the Bush administration is a far different matter in which disinformation, misinformation and unwillingness to tell the truth -- a willingness to lie both in the Oval Office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the office of the vice president, the vice president himself -- is something that I have never witnessed before on this scale.

The lying in the Nixon White House had most often to do with covering up Watergate, with the Nixon administration's illegal activities. Here, in this presidency, there is an unwillingness to be truthful, both contextually and in terms of basic facts that ought to be of great concern to people of all ideologies. ...

This president has a record of dishonesty and obfuscation that is Nixonian in character in its willingness to manipulate the press, to manipulate the truth. We have gone to war on the basis of misinformation, disinformation and knowing lies from top to bottom.

That is an astonishing fact. That's what this story is about: the willingness of the president and the vice president and the people around them to try to undermine people who have effectively opposed them by telling the truth. It happened with [Sen.] John McCain in South Carolina. It happened with [Sen.] John Kerry. It's happened with [Sen.] Max Cleland in Georgia. It's happened with many other people. That's the real story, and that's the story that [the press] should have been writing. ...

It's very difficult, as a reporter, to get across that when you say, "This is a presidency of great dishonesty," that this is not a matter of opinion. This is demonstrable fact. If you go back and look at the president's statements, you look at the statements of the vice president, you look at the statements of Condoleezza Rice, you go through the record, you look at what [counterterrorism expert] Richard Clarke has written, you look at what we know -- it's demonstrable.
As I read this I was struck by how easily the names could be changed to apply to the Fundamentalist takeover leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention. Then the central paragraph would read something like this:
That is an astonishing fact. That's what this story is about: the willingness of the SBC president and the vice president and the people around them to try to undermine people who have effectively opposed them by telling the truth. It happened with Winfred Moore of Texas. It's happened with Richard Jackson of Arizona. It happened to Daniel Vestal. It's happened with many other people. That's the real story, and that's the story that [Baptist Press] was trying to write until their editors were terminated.
When 16 million people grow accustomed to hearing their leading evangelists, mega-church preachers and denominational executives spreading blatant lies about other ministers of the gospel, they are predisposed to accept lies from politicians. That is probably why, at this late date in this administration's tenure, Southern Baptists continue to be this President's strongest supporters.

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