CW really went to town this week by spreading a rumour that was categorically scotched by Hillsong after CW published a story by a Hollywood gossip rag which claimed Justin Bieber was about to step into the pulpit at Hillsong as a lay preacher.
Rather than fact check, which seems to be beyond their capacity, or ask Hillsong for any comments, which is responsible journalism, CW ploughs on with the gossip rag’s disproven claims and makes it a stop press headline (since changed).
The original tagline CW put up said, “Breaking News! Justin Bieber turns from Hollywood popst*r to Hillsong huckst*r”, which was followed by a rant, accompanied by Bible verses, about placing novices in leadership positions, and several subsequent comments on the thread condemning both Bieber and Hillsong.
Now they’ve had to backtrack. Hillsong, aware of the gossip rag’s unverified claims, made a clear statement denying that there were any plans for Beiber to speak from their pulpit, or that he was now a lay-leader.
So CW removed the provocative headline, and replaced it with the new headline “Has Hillsong asked Sunday World to retract their story?”
They also removed the comments by indignant followers in the ensuing thread which unkindly laid into Bieber, who is reportedly a recent convert to Christianity.
Plus, they took out the accusation in both the post and thread that a novice has been placed in the pulpit and, instead, questioned the authenticity of the Hillsong statements which bury the rumours forever.
No apology. No admission to having been duped by a gossip rag. No confession that they had preferred to run with an unfounded rumour rather than fact-check. Shoddy, lazy, inept worldly gossip journalism is preferred to truth.
They potentially hurt people’s reputations publicly with their incompetent reporting and willingness to spread a bad report regardless of checking their facts, and not for the first time.
Then, to top it all off, rather than drop the hot potato they picked up, they question whether Hillsong has asked the gossip rag to retract their story. Why? The statement Hillsong issued dealt with it perfectly, unless you decide to be boneheadedly stubborn.
What they should be asking themselves is why they haven’t already retracted their own rumour and apologised to all concerned.
Repentance is actually less painful than judgement.
CW still refuses to acknowledge any error in their judgment of this situation.
In response to commenter thinker who, on another of their sites, asked, “On a totally different topic, see that a certain entry on another blog has been deleted…. am curious – was there an order to remove it or else?”, which, again, is pure conjecture laced with innuendo, they make an extraordinary claim.
‘We had to make additions considering Hillsong’s hasty and dramatic response. Clearly they did not like this information being leaked.’
That is utter nonsense. Hillsong were neither hasty nor dramatic. In fact, their response was calm, clear and measured. It completely rejected the claims in the article in a single sentence.
“Lyall Mercer who is a PR agent for Hillsong says that Brian Houston has issued a statement saying “Not true that Justin Bieber has qualified to be lay preacher or plans by Hillsong to rush him onto our platform.”
Even for CW it should be very easy to understand this statement, which is neither hasty nor dramatic, but, in fact, to the point and clear.
CWs claim that they did not like this information ‘leaked’ is mischievous and irresponsible. There was no ‘leak’. The story was contrived. That is not a leak. It was merely innuendo from a gossip rag.
It was CW who was hasty and dramatic when they were faced with the certainty that their report was contrived, so they took it down and rewrote it. They were the ones doing the leaking.
The question is, why is CW spending so much time reading, quoting and promoting the world’s press? It’s time to come clean.
Repentance is free, judgment costly.
The original headline remains on the CW Facebook page under the ‘Fergusson Macray’ nom-de-plume.
(Interesting that Fergusson has absolutely no history of contributing to the page before his creation. Also, that, from being the top secret strongly guarded pseudonym CW entity, they suddenly have the name of a ‘person’ to fulfil Facebook requirements. Now there’s a story.)
You couldn’t make this stuff up. Or could you?
CW simply won’t let go of this one. Now he adds to his obstinance despite being proven wrong over and over.
‘Also consider Lentz’s unusual behavior in these scenarios. Lentz pastors Hillsong NY. Beiber attends Hillsong LA. Why wasn’t it Ben Houston to react? It should have been him that should have denied it so boldly.
But for Carl Lentz to act so fast and to be so tied up in this so called “fabricated” story? Lentz has not been honest with the facts over this story. There is definitely some truth. We can see it. However, we would like to hear Carl Lentz be upfront with what is true and what wasn’t.’
For a start the person who gave the statement was Lyal Mercer, PR agent for Hillsong. Hillsong have not responded to a ‘so-called “fabricated” story’. They have released a statement through Lyal Mercer, PR Agent, quoting Brian Houston which unequivocally denounces the claim that Bieber was going to preach from the pulpit as a lay-leader. They have made it clear that it is completely untrue. Nothing ‘so-called’ about it.
Rather than admit they were wrong, CW attempt to keep the pot boiling by obfuscating.
As far as Carl Lentz is concerned, he is absolutely ‘up-front’ because he is in tune with the statements put out which refute the gossip rag’s story. As Lyal Mercer advises, “Dangerous to believe Hollywood gossip stories.”
CW, however, seems determined to post anything that agrees with his poor opinion of Hillsong, Justin Bieber, and anyone associated with them.
Again, we ask, why is CW spending so much time reading, quoting and promoting the world’s press?