My instructor and social media guru Kelli Matthews recently directed me to a story about how the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) ssupporters responded to the late March raid of the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, which ended with 437 children in state protective custody. View the original press release.
Photo from Web site: captivefldschildren.org
FLDS advocates recently posted a Web site, which includes heart wrenching videos and photos clearly designed to tug at the heart strings of visitors. Videos include sobbing little girls being taken away by state officials, who confess to not having a search warrant in another clip.
Watching the videos I can't help but feel manipulated. Seeing pioneer children in tears conjures my childhood associations of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I feel frustrated with the way they are side-stepping the main issue. The Web site does not attempt to defend the FLDS way of life Rather, it frames the story in terms average Americans can relate to, the need to return innocent children to their parents, avoiding the real issue completely.
What would have happened if FLDS had taken a more transparent approach? Instead of insisting that the FLDS does not perform the weddings of underage girls, and the lifestyle is really not different from that of average Americans, the sect could have admitted their lifestyle differences. Then they could have argued that different is not wrong that it does not automatically result in child abuse.
I am not sure if many people would buy this argument, but avoiding the issue completely and producing propaganda will only make people assume that you have something to hide.
Unless the primary purpose of material is to give additional fuel to those who already hold this viewpoint, rather than changing public opinion, the site will be completely ineffective. I do not see a place for propaganda in an age of transparency.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Posted by Hannah at 11:16 PM