Imagine reading a headline like that in your local newspaper. Christians and non-Christians alike would be outraged. But upon reading the article, you discover that ‘Christian Freedom’ is the name of an organization engaged in a nation-wide smear campaign against atheists, and some atheist organization responded by denouncing the activities of the ‘Christian Freedom Organization’.
Now, read this headline which actually appeared in today’s BBC News:
‘Free Thought Takes on Organized Religion’
It sounds like “Freedom of thought stands up against organized repressors” at first glance, but actually it’s an organization called “Free Thought” which is engaged in a national ad campaign against faith. They’re putting up billboards that look like this:
What I find astonishing is not the billboard campaign (even though–sniff! sniff!–it’s about Columbus, my beloved hometown), but rather the reporter which gave this campaign a good publicity headline for what can only be described as a venomous attack against religious faith. ‘Free Thought’ is attacking, not being attacked!
The reporter (and his editor) made the amateurish mistake of reporting what the “Spin Doctors” at FFRF.ORG wanted reported. In Journalism school way back in the early ’80s they taught us that Public Relations people will often name their organization in such a way that provides free, good publicity whenever the press refers to the organization. The press fell for it! Headlines are especially vulnerable to this free publicity, because space is limited, and some editor, not having enough space for “Freedom From Religion Foundation” simply condensed the essence of the title to fit the space.
I just thought you’d be interested in what they teach you in journalism school.
Also, I wanted to blog this quickly before my good friend Joesnake blogged it, because it’s actually Joe’s discovery, and a good one at that. Thanks Joe! I love you, man!
- What NOT to Do!
- The Laodicean Revolution