MRFF vs. MISLEADING JOURNALISM: Holman Military Bibles on KOAT ABC Channel 7, ABQ Journal, Stars & Stripes

MRFF MEDIA MOMENT

Mikey Weinstein Featured on
KOAT ABC Channel 7 Albuquerque


MRFF’S FIGHT AGAINST MISLEADING JOURNALISM

MRFF Demands Immediate Correction of Major Misleading Errors in Albuquerque Journal Article

Monday, July 2, 2012

MRFF’s Senior Research Director, Chris Rodda, sent the
following demand letter to the article’s author, Charles Brunt:

Mr Brunt,

I’m Chris Rodda, the Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

In your front page (Monday, July 2, 2012, page A-1, below the fold) Albuquerque Journal article titled “Credit for Bible Change Disputed,” [see below] you say that the military’s revocation of Holman Bibles’ permission to use the military emblems on their Bibles “occurred months before Weinstein’s organization raised the issue with Panetta in January 2012.” This is simply NOT true. Therefore, we are demanding an immediate correction to your clearly erroneous story.

MRFF raised the issue with a FOIA request in June 2011, months BEFORE the military revoked its permission for Holman Bibles to use the emblems.

As I explained (two weeks ago) in a piece I wrote on the Huffington Post titled “The Lies You’ll Probably Be Hearing About MRFF and the Military Bibles,” (which is currently prominently featured on the homepage of the MRFF website), documents obtained from that June 2011 FOIA request include emails from as early as June 6, 2011 from AAFES to Lifeway saying that these Bibles had “become a hot issue,” and referencing and linking to a June 2, 2011 article on MRFF’s website as the reason they were becoming a hot issue. (Copies of these documents will be supplied upon request.)

From my Huffington Post piece:

Although this is an issue that MRFF has been working on for quite some time, the military is now claiming that its revocation of permission for Holman Bible Publishers to use the military emblems on the Bibles had nothing to do with religion, and is merely the result of a revamping of its trademark licensing programs. But this explanation is pretty hard to believe.

The first is that the purpose of the revamping of the military’s trademark licensing program was to expand the licensing of military trademarks into the retail sector. Under a 2004 act of Congress, each of the military’s branches was given the authority to create its own trademark licensing office and earn revenue through the licensing their branch’s trademarks to manufacturers of toys, clothing, and many other commercial products. The manufacturers pay royalties on the use of military logos and emblems, with the proceeds being used to fund Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs. There has been no explanation from the military as to exactly how this expanding of its licensing program could possibly have led to the Holman military Bibles suddenly being deemed ineligible and having their license, approved in 2003, revoked. But the military wants the official story to be that the revoking of Holman’s license had nothing at all to do with religion or complaints about these Bibles. The recent revamping of their licensing programs just seems to be nothing more than a convenient coincidence.

The documents obtained by MRFF in response to a FOIA request submitted in June 2011, three months before the first of the military branches suddenly decided to revoke the license held by Holman Bibles for over eight years, show that AAFES (the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which runs the BXs, PXs, and other stores on military bases) was clearly concerned about the complaints about the Holman Bibles, with emails as early as June 6, 2011 from AAFES to Lifeway saying that these Bibles had “become a hot issue,” and referencing and linking to a June 2, 2011 article on MRFF’s website as the reason they were becoming a hot issue. The article referenced by AAFES was an email from a MRFF client, an active duty JAG officer, about the use of the military emblems on these Bibles. In the article from FOX News, it sounds like the military had already decided to stop the use of the military emblems on the Bibles prior to being contacted by MRFF, but this is simply not true.

Again, as you left out this extremely critical and telling fact, MRFF demands a correction to your story immediately!

Chris Rodda

Senior Research Director

Military Religious Freedom Foundation


LATEST SALVOS IN
MRFF’S FIGHT AGAINST
MISLEADING JOURNALISM

Albuquerque Journal Sticks Head in Sand, Denies Falsity of Recent Article in Response to MRFF Demand for Correction

Monday, July 2, 2012

The following is the Albuquerque Journal’s response to
MRFF’s Senior Research Director, Chris Rodda:

Dear Chris,

In your “demand” for a correction to Charles’ story you quote from a paragraph about midway through. Unfortunately, you neglect the beginning of the paragraph, where the statement you quote is attributed to correspondence from the military.

Mr. Weinstein was given plenty of space in the story to refute the military’s claims and to lay out just what the Military Religious Freedom Foundation had done on the issue and why.

Charlie Moore


The following is Chris Rodda’s response:

Mr. Weinstein absolutely DID “lay out” when he was interviewed that MRFF had submitted a FOIA request in June 2011, and that in the response to that FOIA request MRFF obtained the emails between AAFES and Lifeway dated in June 2011. Mr. Brunt chose not to include this information, and to only include the military’s statements, even though they are inaccurate and can be proven so by the dates of MRFF’s June 2011 FOIA request and the documents obtained from that FOIA request.

Additionally, my piece that appeared on the Huffington Post and Alternet two weeks ago, titled “The Lies You’ll Probably Be Hearing About MRFF and the Military Bibles,” is still prominently featured on the homepage of the MRFF website. You can’t miss it. Did Mr. Brunt really not even go to MRFF’s website in his “research” for his article? And would he not have even bothered to open and read an article staring him right in the face titled “The Lies You’ll Probably Be Hearing About MRFF and the Military Bibles” while writing an article about MRFF and the Military Bibles?

Mr. Brunt states TWICE in his article that MRFF did not raise this issue with the military until January 2012, even though he was told by Mr. Weinstein that this was not true.

We therefore repeat our demand that you issue an immediate correction to this article, stating that MRFF first raised this issue with the military in June 2011, months BEFORE the Holman Bible revocation, not in January 2012 as Mr. Blunt’s article says.

Chris Rodda

Senior Research Director

Military Religious Freedom Foundation


MRFF FEATURED BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL,
STARS AND STRIPES

Credit for nixing military
logos on bibles disputed

Monday, July 2, 2012

Note: Please keep MRFF’s correction demand in mind
as you read this misleading article

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • For years, the different branches of the military allowed a private publisher to use their official logos on its Bibles, selling them at military stores as the “Airman’s Bible” or “Soldier’s Bible” or “Marine’s Bible.” The Pentagon has stopped allowing use of those logos, a decision lauded by Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein as “a clear win” for his group, the American people and the U.S. Constitution.
  • “We have no problem with Bibles being sold in post exchanges or base exchanges,” said Weinstein, who founded the locally based Military Religious Freedom Foundation in 2005. “It’s just that you can’t put the logos of the United States military on them.” Weinstein says his organization was instrumental in the Pentagon’s decision to stop the use of the logos; the military disagrees.
  • The military says the decision to revoke Holman Bible Publisher’s authorization to use the logos on its series of military Bibles was the result of the revamping of each branch’s trademark and copyright policies. Military officials say the decision was “unrelated” to complaints by Weinstein’s group, whose goal is ensuring religious freedom for those serving in the U.S. military. “The Pentagon says it was due to a routine review of their trademark stuff, and our response to that is it’s a complete, utter, unadulterated lie,” Weinstein said. “They did it because of the pressure we applied.”

Click here to read this article at
Stars and Stripes

Click here to read this article on The Albuquerque Journal*

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