Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thanks to George Conger for making the Presiding Bishop's point

An article entitled "Episcopalians told they must ignore conservatives" by George Conger begins with this declarative statement:
EPISCOPALIANS should pay no heed to the views of conservative scholars and bishops, but should place their trust in her, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said this week.
Funny ... [I thought] ... that doesn't actually sound like the kind of thing I'd expect to hear from our Presiding Bishop. So in the interest of due diligence, I went back and read what +Katharine actually SAID instead of settling for George's spin on what she MEANT.

Here's what she SAID:
"Episcopalians, like many others, often seek information from the internet. They are looking at sources that are not peer reviewed, or rely on opinions. The representations on the theology of the church as a whole are inaccurate.”
See also: vive la différence

Turns out Bishop Katharine didn't say anything about ignoring -- or not ignoring -- "conservatives." What she said was:

  • Check your sources.
  • Differentiate between fact and opinion.
  • Don't believe everything you read on the internet
  • And recognize that there are representations of the theology of the church -- our church -- The Episcopal Church -- out there that are inaccurate.
So is anyone else struck by the irony that Mr. Conger is castigating the Presiding Bishop in an article that inaccurately misrepresents her press conference statement about watching out for inaccurate reporting?

The head spins.

Perhaps it's just an unfortunate error. And perhaps an apology from Mr. Conger will be forthcoming. Perhaps it will read like this one from last week's American Anglican Council email update:
Correction: Last week's message claimed that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori told Bishop Peter Lee that there was a "new sheriff in town." While, according to the testimony of Father John Yates, Bishop Lee did describe the Presiding Bishop as the "new sheriff in town," she did not describe herself as such. We regret the error.
Perhaps we detect a pattern here.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The pattern of lies, fabrication and spin is a well established one on the Right side of the aisle.

The folks on the right consider this "journalism". I call it "FAN" = "Fox Anglican News".

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I think they took the Decalogue and replaced "Thou shalt not bear false witness," with "Thou shalt hate, loathe, and despise those icky gays."

That's the only explanation for their blatant lying that makes any sense to me...

(I think they have been trying to replace "Thou shalt not steal" too, but they are having a harder time there, since the U.S. court system has a thing or two to say about that one.)


Bruce said...

The best definition of this type of argument is on the Nizkor Project: "The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position."

As a debating tactic, it ranks along the same lines as suggesting someone's parents were unmarried or that they are a Nazi.

It is also a sign of not having a compelling opposing point of view.

David and John said...

It's a shame that he feels justified in resorting to spreading lies about the PB.

As a highly intelligent (professed) Christian person, it is amazing Conger can show such a surprising lack of integrity.

John said...

Elizabeth beat me to the Faux News comparison.

It's interesting that most of the time, the "corrections" never receive quite the airing of the original untruth.