More SpinApril 16, 2009
Want to know how can to spin bad news into good news? Well, just take advice from The Pathway because no one is better at it. Their latest article about the lawsuits is proof. Last week, a judge dismissed the MBC's second lawsuit against Windermere Baptist Conference Center (the MBC's loss in the first case against Windermere has been upheld by the appeals court). The judge also dismissed the case against several other defendants, including several banks, Windermere's attorneys, and Bill Jester and his companies (although Jester's $10 million countersuit against the MBC is still alive). That is a pretty big loss, especially since the MBC had been pointing to this second case to explain why they were not too worried about losing the first one. Yet, now all defendants were dismissed except Jim Hill and his consulting company. So instead of reporting the true bad news, The Pathway blows out of portion the lack of dismissal for Hill to make that the news item, not the multiple losses. In perhaps their most inaccurate headline ever (and that's saying something), they claimed, "Fraud, Fiduciary Breach Claims upheld in Camden Co. Case." Nothing of the sort occurred because nothing was upheld. The lack of a dismissal does not mean there is merit to the case. It just means it has not been thrown out yet. The first line of the article claims the judge "has approved" the MBC's claims of "fraud and fiduciary breach." All the judge did was not dismiss, unlike the action taken on the vast majority of the MBC's case. Only a throw away line even acknowledges that they actually lost most of the case. When the last defendants are released from the case, it will be interesting to see what the MBC's claims will be then. But they will probably figure out some way to spin it.
The second important issue here is that this article highlights something that many people may not know about the case--the MBC has sued individuals. They highlight such a fact by pointing out that they have sued Hill (as well as Jester and the attorneys who were released from the case). This is significant because when the lawsuit was first filed, some critics charged the MBC with violating the scriptural command in 1 Corinthians 6 to not sue each other. MBC leaders argued that the passage did not apply to their case because they were only suing corporations and not individuals. When they filed their second lawsuit, however, they sued individuals. Now, they are making a big deal about one individual still being sued in that case. So by the MBC's own interpretation of scripture, they are violating a biblical command. This adds to other broken promises about the lawsuits, such as promising not to appeal and promising not to use Cooperative Program money to fund the lawsuit. A recent Ethics Daily article proved the latter is not true. With that track record, it should be obvious why their current legal claims and spin should not be trusted.