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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 12Mar01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Church Criticizes CNN Reporter for Story

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Bruce L. Olsen, Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter Friday to Senior Writer Jamie Allen, criticizing Allen for violating "the most basic tenet of journalism ethics -- objectivity." Olsen was responding to an article posted on Thursday which suggested that the LDS Church's dominance of Utah led some to leave.

Olsen claimed that Allen's article was biased from the beginning. He said that the Church first became aware of the article when Allen put a query on PR Newswire's ProfNet looking for someone "moving from Utah because of the Latter-day Saints." Olsen says that this approach was biased from the beginning, "Any journalist worthy of the name would have asked for people's experience in doing business in Utah, and then allowed the research to drive the story. Instead, you had made up your mind what story you wanted to write." He also noted that Olsen's sources were all critics of Utah and the LDS Church, except for a late call to the Church's Public Affairs Department.

Olsen also objects to Allen singling out Latter-day Saints. "I wonder how comfortable you would feel if you replaced the phrase Latter-day Saints with other religious groups. For example, "moving from New York because of the Jews" or "moving from Atlanta because of the Baptists." When did it become politically correct to disparage members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? This is not an issue the Church takes lightly." As a result, he claims that the article was insulting to LDS Church members. "It is not a journalist's prerogative to pass judgement on a religious faith, especially one whose members founded Salt Lake City."

Allen's article came in the wake of several criticism's of the LDS Church's role in the state. Iomega CEO Bruce Albertson and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson have both claimed recently that Utah's strict liquor laws harm business within the state, and some observers have blamed the liquor laws on the LDS Church. And users in a high tech forum recently debated Utah's business client, with some saying they would not live in Utah because of Church members there.


The Following Letter Was Sent Today in Response to a Story on, To Which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Takes Strong Exception
PRNewswire 9Mar01 N1
By Bruce Olsen

Church and career: The debate in pre-Olympic Salt Lake City
CNN 8Mar01 S1
By Jamie Allen: Senior Writer

Olympic 'Identity Crisis' in Salt Lake City says Christian Science Monitor

Church's Role in Utah Criticized on


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