Thursday, July 10, 2008

One News Now 'journalist' gets taught a lesson in truth

I am watching (and taking part in) an interesting war of words on a blog site.

But first a little background:

I have talked about Ken Hutcherson many times on this blog, especially that so-called protest he organized against the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School in Washington.

But as it is, the war between Hutcherson and Mount Si goes back farther than the Day of Silence.
It began when Hutcherson was invited to speak at the high school during Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His anti-gay reputation got some teachers and students upset at the invite. One booed him during the assembly (that wasn't good taste and the teacher was reprimanded).

Another teacher questioned Hutcherson's opposition to lgbt rights.

Needless to say, Hutcherson's ego was hurt and he has had it in for the Mount Si High School ever since.

A group of concerned parents began a blog to support students and the teachers at Mount Si High School. It is called Mount Si Parents and is a very informative site.

Hutcherson, meanwhile, has continued to pursue action against the teachers of Mount Si High School. He recently complained to Rosalund Jenkins, the executive director of the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs.

Apparently he didn't get what he wanted from her because he has now accused Jenkins of making racist comments.

It boggles the mind, doesn't it.

But I am getting the crux of this post.

One News Now in their familiar biased fashion published an article regarding the situation. I would link the article but One News Now has banned any linkage from me.

The Mount Si Parents blog published a post accusing One News Now of biased reporting. The blog also clarified several issues.

And now comes the rub.

Allegedly, the author of the One News Now article, Jeff Johnson was very, shall we say, offended by what was said. He took it upon himself to say so. You can read his entire post if you pan down to it.

In part, it said:

Anonymous #1 said "One News Now is known for spinning incorrect and biased stories." Really? We report news from a biblical perspective and clearly advertise that fact in the "About" section on our site. If you reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God, you're not going to agree with our perspective on stories involving homosexuality. Similarly, if you are politically conservative, you're not going to agree with the perspective from which The New York Times reports political news. All news outlets report from a perspective. The difference is, we admit ours.

Anonymous #2 wrote: "Just in case there's any doubt about the credibility of One News Now as a legitimate news source, check out this PI Big Blog post about their story which identified sprinter Tyson Gay's name as Tyson Homosexual in stories about his record-setting run at the Olympic Trials."

Yes, we set up an automated filter to catch the politically correct word "gay" in reference to people who choose to have sex with others of the same gender, who are more accurately referred to as "homosexuals." And, yes, we forgot to take into account that there are some people whose first or last names are "Gay." The error has been corrected.

The Associated Press uses the word "gay" instead of the word "homosexual" because that's the word homosexual activists prefer. Those activists prefer the word "gay" because it's a very positive word that takes the focus off the fact that the issue under debate is their choice of sex partners.

By that reasoning, the Associated Press should refer to people who oppose abortion as "pro-life" because it is the term that group prefers and it's a positive term that takes the focus off their advocacy for restriction access to abortion.

But the AP is biased in favor of homosexuality and in opposition to restricting abortion. So they use the positive term "gay" to refer to those they support and the negative term "anti-abortion" to refer to those they oppose.

OneNewsNow tried to automatically write the AP's obvious pro-homosexual bias out of their stories as published on our site and the initial way we chose to do that didn't work out so well. Another News Flash: We're human. We made a mistake. The difference between us and the "mainstream" media is, when we became aware of the mistake, we admitted it and corrected it. Try to get that kind of response from a major newspaper or television news network. . .

But I will challenge anyone who uses the word "lie" to describe my reporting. You may not agree with the biblical perspective from which I report the news. That is your right and I am thankful that we live in a country where we can agree to disagree on that issue. But I ALWAYS endeavor to report the truth as accurately as possible within my human limitations of gathering information and discerning who is and is not being honest with me.

A "lie" is an intentional misrepresentation of the truth. There are no lies in my reporting, unless I quote someone who is lying, and I will not knowingly report even that kind of statement.

Needless to say, Jeff got his ass handed to him. Various returned comments said the following:

No one is accusing YOU of lying, you are merely printing Hutchersons LIES!

Any good reporter would actually fact check their sources before making such allegations.

All of the facts are readily available to anyone who wants to be informed.

Tell me Mr. Reporter man, did you contact Dr. Potratz for his side of the story?

Have you read through the archives of the local media covering this story for the past six months?

Of course not! You just take the word of a blow hard bigot like Hutch as the truth!

Do some research and pretend you are a journalist!


This isn't the first time you have printed falsehoods because you failed to research. Here is just one example;

As previously reported, one of the teachers who booed Hutcherson sponsors the school's Gay Straight Alliance -- and also happens to teach his daughter's advanced placement British literature class. According to the pastor, his daughter has continued to suffer emotional stress in that classroom since the school assembly. But his requests to have the teacher removed from the class have been denied, forcing him to enroll his daughter, who is a senior, in an online class with the University of Washington.

This is NOT true.

Dr. Potratz booed the blow hard, NOT Kit McCormick who is the GSA advisor in question.

FACT CHECK, it's not hard


As for you ONN apologetics, you folks are nothing like the New York Times, they make an effort to report the truth, you folks "report" pleasing spin for your fundamentalist audience.

As for your rewriting of AP stories to conform to your version of Political Correctness, just where was your published correction on the Tyson Gay debacle? I must have missed it, from what I saw you merely corrected the story and pretended that the error never happened. Unlike a real news source (e.g. the NYT, which publishes a correction when they make a mistake.)

So maybe you didn't intentionally misrepresent the facts in your story, but for someone, who labels himself a reporter, you showed an appalling disregard for the accuracy of your reporting. Where is your interview with Potratz to get his side of the story? Did you even bother to speak to him? Or did you just accept Hutcherson's version of events because you knew it would be pleasing to your readers (and undoubtably your bosses as well)?

Another thing journalists do is investigate, rather than just regurgitate one sides talking points. Your story reads like a Ken Hutcherson press release from a conservative activist(a fairly common thing on ONN).

Your work may not be intentional lies, but it is dishonest and disingenuous, just like your defense of it here.


dear jeff,

A lot of times, One News Now articles are just one-person interviews with someone who takes their point of view.

If you doubt me, take a look at their site now. There are several Barack Obama articles present but none of them have any comments from the Obama campaign.

Being Christian is no excuse for bad journalism.


and let's not forget when one news now (when it was agape press) used to freely cite paul cameron as a pro-family expert without filling its readers in on his history of distortion, censures and organizational rebukes (like from the APA for example)

This discussion is still going on. Of course there are some people who are actually trying to defend Johnson. My favorite is the following:

where in the Bible (the guide for a Christian’s life) does it say “Thou shalt not be biased”??? I don’t seem to see that anywhere and since you obviously can’t accept that two people can see the same situation differently (which I alluded to in an earlier post), let me remind you of the MOST biased of all Christians, Jesus Christ Himself, when in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verse 6 He states: “I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.”

But I have noticed that Johnson has not posted anything else as a response.

It must be hard when you have to deal with the real world instead of the world of Dobson and Wildmon.