Two arms to cling to . . .


We are hearing reports that some Southwestern alumni are increasingly frustrated with the Southern Baptist Texan’s coverage of the recent trustee meeting in Fort Worth. The Texan is a publication of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

In an article written this week by longtime Patterson associate Tammi Reed Ledbetter, the SBTexan published numerous alleged misrepresentations and assertions without proper sourcing or sufficient fact-checking. Some seminary supporters have expressed anger to The Baptist Blogger that Ledbetter’s article leaves a false impression about the spirit on campus during the meeting and overstates disappointment donors have in the school’s new direction. No “longtime contributors” whom Ledbetter characterized as unsure “they would come back to the seminary” were identified in the article. Neither was it disclosed how Ledbetter determined that “most students, faculty, staff and donors could not imagine Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary without Paige Patterson as president.”

A majority of trustees voted this week to ratify the unanimous May 30 decision of the trustee executive committee to terminate Patterson.

We are reminded of what happened to the Baptist Standard when the publication of the Baptist General Convention in Texas misreported matters involving the seminary:

Southwestern files protest, removes Texas paper from campus
Baptist Press — Monday, May 12, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has removed a Texas Baptist newspaper from its campus and filed a formal grievance against the paper and its managing editor.

The Fort Worth, Texas, seminary took the actions in response to controversial coverage by the Baptist Standard over the recent retirement announcement of Southwestern President Ken Hemphill.

In the Standard’s April 21 edition, managing editor Mark Wingfield reported that Southern Baptist Convention officials and seminary trustees had called Hemphill to meetings in recent years and demanded that he resign or be fired. Hemphill, in a letter to the editor in the Standard’s April 28 edition, stated that the reports were incorrect and that he had never been contacted to verify the truth of the allegations. The Standard, in an editor’s note at the end of Hemphill’s statements, said it stands by its story.

For years, the seminary placed stacks of the Standard, which is owned by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, on its campus.

Southwestern’s director of public relations, David Porter, had the stacks removed May 1 after the editorial rebuttal, “which implicitly called Hemphill a liar,” Porter said. He said he made the difficult decision to remove the paper on his own, not at Hemphill’s direction. Click here to keep reading . . .

We are also reminded that Tammi Reed Ledbetter is depicted in one of Southwestern Seminary chapel’s stained glass windows.

Well, we say stand by your man, Tammi.  The Baptist Blogger always looks forward to your unbiased reporting.

Cue the music . . .