I don’t think all the press attention that has come to the church in the last year because of Mitt Romney will go away but I am fairly certain we have just entered a lull. The attention seemed to come to a high point with two recent articles in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Even the church discussed these two pieces in particular in one of the latest press releases found in the Newsroom, part of the online church web sites.
The headline from the Washington Post was “Did Mormons Get A Bounce From Mitt?,” while the headline from the WSJ was “Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlight.” These are two major publications, well read and referred to by many other journalists. I’m sure you know that staff writers don’t always choose their own headlines. My own headline for this post was taken from a line in the Washington Post piece. Headlines are meant to get people to read the story.
I liked both of these stories. I thought they were well written, professional and easy reading. Of course they were interesting to me because I have been following Mitt’s adventures across America for the past year. The WSJ article in particular included some great quotes that have come up during the past year. I always like when Jan Shipps is quoted. She knows her stuff even though she is not a member of the church. She served as the President of the Mormon History Association a number of years ago, the only non-Mormon to ever do so.
But the most interesting piece to me is the church’s press release on the how the church itself perceived all this attention. Elder Ballard expressed concern that there is still so much misunderstanding to be cleared up. In fact, although he did not say it, the WSJ article pointed out that much of the anti stuff on the internet can be compared to anti-Semitism. He said, “What is much more important to us is that people base their opinions on fact, not on myth or mischaracterizations.” It always amazes me what people will believe instead of getting facts.
I know Elder Ballard and Elder Cook have been tireless lately in visiting national editors and in doing everything possible to point them to official sources of information about the church. The Church Newsroom has come a long ways in the past few years and is a great resource. Of course the same can be said for all the church web sites. I guess the truth is just not sensational enough for some readers who only want salacious gossip and hearsay. 2 Tim 4:3 comes to mind.
What do you think? Did Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign do a lot of good for the church?