Chookwatcher has made a guarantee that any articles that are found to be incorrect they will put right. Here’s what they promise on every site.
‘We would like to be factual as we can on HillsongChookWatch. If there is any information on HillsongChookWatch that you think is not accurate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All constructive criticism will be appreciated.
Except, when they are publicly corrected, as with the recent accusation that Hillsong’s Brian Houston had deliberately removed youth pastor Diego Simila’s videos to pretend he wasn’t a youth pastor, but was in fact, a prankster, and had contrived to ‘cyber-lynch’ him, they completely and dishonourably reneged on their vow.
Facts or fiction?
They also make the following claim about themselves in the very article in which they produced supposition rather than fact that was later challenged and proven to be inaccurate.
‘We started our sites such as Hillsong Chook Watch and Chook Watch Central for the sole reason to record the FACTS and HISTORY of the cults that we monitor.’
Facts. Well, facts are information that contain verifiable evidence and confirmed truth. A fact is a thing that is known and proved to be true. It is demonstratively accurate information that is part of a report or article.
Fiction is when you make something up that could look true but is a fabrication.
Even the claim that they monitor what they call cults rather than successful churches and movements is based entirely on opinion and bias, and not on fact.
So did chookwatcher come up with fact or fiction in this article?
Here’s what they said about Brian Houston regarding the Naked Cowboy saga.
‘Mr. Houston is spinning the idea that the ‘Naked Cowboy’ was simply a prankster and that because one video was leaked, everything else was “hearsay and rumour”…
…it has taken less than 24 hours when Brian published his statement where he has decided to cyber-lynch Diego Simila, making it look as though Diego himself was never existed as a Hillsong pastor.
Hopefully Hillsong will stop performing this cyber-lynch on Diego Simila and let the dust settle. Doing things like this only prove they are guilty of lying and covering up their sins.’
Now that is a long way from fact. It is highly provocative and speculative. The only fact is that it it is a complete fiction. There is no evidence given for chookwatcher’s conclusion. It is, at best, opinion based on negative bias. But it is published as if it is grounded in fact.
Rumour scotched and swatted
The rumour chookwatcher starts is that Hillsong have scrubbed Diego’s sermons from the internet. Hence the claim that Brian Houston was out to ‘cyber-lynch’ Diego, which is an absurd claim given there was no substance to the contention and it was purely speculation.
A rumour is a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth. It is an unverifiable account that is deliberately circulated. It is hearsay. It is also akin to gossip. The Bible would call it a report, and more specifically, an evil report, given that it had no verifiable substance in truth.
Then, out of the blue, Diego’s pastor, Carl Lentz, adds a comment that clarifies the situation.
‘Hey guys! Diego is 100 percent our youth pastor at Hillsong Church New York City… I’ve seen quite a few silly things on this topic, this blog is right up there w/ the most silly. I have no idea why anybody, is trying to say we are “cyber scrubbing” anything to do with Diego.
There may not be many sermons online of Diego preaching, because he doesn’t travel and preach often! He is typically busy building our local youth ministry…if he has preached at another church and they put it online and now have taken it off, that’s THIER call not ours. Has zero to do with Hillsong Church.
This is now the second time I have had to clarify bad facts and address you on the very same issue you continually attempt to throw at my church.(you stated as fact one time, I had my own YouTube channel, which in fact I do not and cannot control fake accounts posing as me. I think you issued some sort of apology but mostly re-directed…sound familiar?
If I had more time, I would read more of your stuff and im sure there would be profound inaccuracy throughout..) So again, in your rush to write blogs about us, please do your best to at least get facts right.
I realize you hate our church and you get excited to get new material up as fast as you can, that’s your obvious right. But your credibility suffers when you have to retract things, and I want you to be the best church watcher site you can be.
Diego is our youth pastor, I think he’s one of the best I have ever known when it comes to serving and helping young people and if he preaches on a Sunday and we put it online, keep your eye out for it!
I love his preaching too..nobody has ever tried to scrub this man, from anything, so your entire blog here? Lacks truth. That has to be disappointing when that’s supposed to be what you hold dear. Do better and have a great day!
Sincerely: Carl Lentz.. Guy who hired Diego as youth pastor and is confirming his existence.’
Done and dusted, then.
So the rumour that Brian Houston or Carl Lentz had removed Diego’s videos to ‘cyber-lynch’ him was completely rebutted and found to be untrue.
Weasels in the chookpen
What was chookwatcher’s response? Did he immediately keep his word and make the necessary adjustments to his article, or apologise, or even remove the completely wrong and false claims he had made about Brian Houston and Carl Lentz?
In fact, chookwatcher did the most weasel-weak thing he could think up. Rather than man up and fess up, he took it to his fan club. Here’s what he asked them.
‘Do you agree with Carl Lentz’s challenge to us? Do you think he gave us enough information so we could correct our article? What are your thoughts on this?’
So, rather than take on board Carl Lentz’ rather generous explanation and make the necessary adjustments or apologise, chookwatcher claims Lentz is challenging him, and asks his followers to make a decision for him about whether or not to correct the article.
Of course, they merely continue the attack on Hillsong, Houston, Diego and Lentz.
Even when commenter Dave points out that chookwatcher should apologise and remove the false claims, two chookwatchers come back with responses that make it clear they have no intention of either removing the false report or apologising.
So now, to date, they have created at least eleven reports on the Naked Cowboy saga on their chookwatchcentral site, which have been recycled on their hillsongchookwatch site, and published on their Facebook site.
Not only this, but the pirate site has regurgitated the false rumour, and I know not how many other subsidiaries of the chookwatch pendom.
I’m really glad Carl Lentz has such a wonderful sense of humour and is completely unfazed by the rumourmongers over at chookwatchcentral.
Too much kingdom business to do to be bothered with the envious, the spiteful or the malcontents of religiondom.