Citizenlink (Focus on the Family)Not content with predicting the future, Citizenlink now wants to change history by rewriting a controversial article – and saying nothing.

In 2007, Citizenlink, the official news service of Focus on the Family, suffered embarrassment after reporting attendance figures for an ex-gay survivor conference before they could possibly be known. Associate Editor Jennifer Mesko protested her innocence (in an article that has since disappeared from the web), but failed to explain why she felt able to accurately forecast the future.

At that time, Mesko wrote:

As Christian journalists, we adhere as best we can to truth and accuracy. But many of those on the other side of the issues we fight – particularly bloggers – aren’t guided by those principles.

Bloggers can post whatever they want, whenever they want. I admit, it often seems credible. They seem like real journalists. Only without the degree. Without the editors. Without the accountability.

OriginalNow it appears the ideals of truth, accuracy and accountability have been discarded once again, as it is revealed that an article written in early March was totally rewritten over 10 days later, without explanation. Although the views expressed were attributed to FotF’s Glenn Stanton, neither version credited the writer of the article, a curious omission that appears to be standard on Citizenlink.Rewrite

The original article (top, click to enlarge) made the bold claim that anthropologists were agreed on the “traditional definition of marriage.” Box Turtle Bulletin did an excellent job of gathering the views of two anthropologists (including XGW contributor Patrick Chapman), as well as those of the American Anthropological Association – all of whom sharply disputed the claim.

There was no response from Citizenlink; yet by March 14th, an entirely different article (bottom) had appeared, retaining the same date, and available at the same URL, yet softening the original claims in what was, frankly, a very weasely manner.

For the record, we maintain high journalistic standards at Ex-Gay Watch. We will always make it clear when text has been significantly altered, and we will never make a major change without indicating so. Contrary to Ms Mesko’s dismissal, we at XGW submit everything we post to a thorough process of review and edit before it becomes public. There is nothing amateur about the standard we maintain.

Citizenlink shames itself with such unprofessional practices, and makes a mockery of its claims to accuracy and accountability.

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