In a recent post we called attention to an odd article at CitizenLink from June 28. The author claimed to know the attendance figures of the Ex-Gay Survivors conference held last weekend in Irvine, California. Strangely enough, the article was posted a full day before anyone was to even show up for the conference — there is simply no way it could have been true. The numbers are irrelevant, there was no conference yet from which to gather the information.
Jennifer Mesko, associate editor for CitizenLink and apparently the author of the first article, wrote another one on Tuesday in which she rants and ravs about “gay-activist bloggers” (namely yours truly).
Apparently miffed at the reference to “100 people,” Roberts accused me of “supplying attendance figures seemingly out of thin air.” But I got the numbers from reliable people who attended both conferences – although their thinness is not a matter of record.
Soulforce, which sponsored the counter-conference — although the group denies it was a counter-conference — notified Focus by e-mail about my “errors,” and Roberts told everyone about that.
Skipping the idea that I was miffed over the number itself, how can Ms. Mesko truthfully claim that “reliable people” had attended a conference which would not start until the next evening? Is this honest reporting? She even admits to having received the correction request from Soulforce yet still she did nothing to fix it.
Mesko goes on to confuse commenters with blog authors so it gets muddy, but one can almost hear her giggle with excitement as she mentions “the photo.” She links to a photo of some Survivors conference attendees taken Saturday evening as validation. She claims there are just over 50 people in the photo (I didn’t count them) and springs this in an “ah ha” moment, proof that she was right all along. As others who attended can verify, those who did not feel comfortable being photographed wore a green dot on their name tags — a practice similar to that of Exodus at their conferences. Also, this was late in the day, long after the official events had concluded and many had gone home. Still more people were being interviewed by media and so the group photo was not meant to be comprehensive.
All that said, and it really should have been obvious anyway, Mesko has totally ignored the original point. How did her “reliable people” attend and report on the attendance of a conference that was not there? And one must also ask, how many other reports on CitizenLink use equally “reliable sources”?
Edit 7/4: Corrected the day the picture was taken, it was late Saturday, not Sunday.