A Pastor and Biased Media

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and respected public relations experts. Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the 25 largest independent American PR firms, which was named PR Agency of the Year by the American Business Awards. He is the best-selling author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations,” a book known as an industry “must read.” Torossian is a featured op-ed columnist for The Huffington Post, Newsmax, Wired Magazine and others. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including PR Executive of the Year and is a past semi-finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Torossian lives in Manhattan with his wife and children. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.


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Owning a PR Agency, we represent a client, a preacher with a large church and following, including on television, and I challenge him every single time he wants to do secular media interviews. I fight him every step of the way because this minister feels in his heart that people are naturally good and fair-minded, and if they hear what he has to say, he will win them over. Problem is, neither he nor I are going to write and edit the final story, and the media has a certain picture of him they don’t want to change.

I remember fighting off a producer from 60 Minutes on behalf of another religious ministry. The producer “threatened” not to call me again for an interview with this client if I didn’t grant this one (the show had been asking for an interview for a long while). My response was, “Is that a promise?” I wanted him to assure me he wouldn’t call again, but he thought he was threatening me. Really, though, we were on the same page.

This particular client is better off without 60 Minutes. We don’t need to do an interview that we know from the get-go will be hostile and won’t score points for our client. When we want to do an interview for this client, we’ll be better off doing it with Fox News or a Christian broadcaster, for example, where the odds would be in our favor for a fairer outcome. At any rate, both of these outlets reach the client’s core audience more frequently than 60 Minutes does.

I had a similar situation involving a reporter from a daily newspaper who had dogged a client, the head of a church, for a year. She was a religion reporter who also happened to be a member of a church diametrically opposed to everything my client’s church stands for. We knew that someone from inside our client’s church who had an ax to grind was feeding the reporter rumors and information—some true, most not. The things that were true were made to sound scandalous when, in fact, they weren’t. It was doubtful the reporter would give the pastor we were representing a fair shake.

In fact, given the tone of the reporter’s questions, and the questions themselves (which centered around his finances and success), it was clear she had already made up her mind about my client and wanted to set about “proving” a set of nasty preformed beliefs she had about him. Part of her point of view was that spiritual or religious people are doing something unethical and dishonest if they are financially successful. At issue, in the reporter’s mind at least, was the pastor’s alleged “lavish lifestyle.” He is a successful minister, writer, and speaker, and leads a large congregation, which he had grown quite successfully. The reporter had a problem with someone being successful and spiritual (and made her position on this clear in discussions we had).

Once she makes that assumption for readers, it’s clear which angle her story will take. (I also believe that on some psychological level it bothered her that a pastor was making more money than she was.)

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  • PhillipGaley

    I don't know whether it's simple laziness or what, but—and, Mike Wallace comes to mind—some reporters appear in some of their presentations as though they feel that, something "negative", is "content", . . . which, yeah, I can see how a limb fallen over on North Avenue would be difficult to stretch out into justification for a paycheck, . . . fact is, there just is not enough startling news to go around; as, although each second, around our globe, there are 100 lightning strikes, I don't often see one—do you?

    And then mix in each reporter's preconceptions—some worse, and some not so bad—and you have what has been commonly termed: "The Lame Street media", . . . In making a deal to speak up, did Tracy Lawrence "commit" herself to suicide? I wonder, . . .

  • Rocky Mountain

    We all know that all sides of the political spectrum bring biases to the table – this is simply the nature of human cognition and communication. I am a Christian and very conservative on some issues but the "success" ethos is problematic for confessing Christians especially clergy. It seems clear, to me at least, that the Gospels are not arguing for economic success and the conflation of this with spirituality or conformancy to Christian values is misleading at best.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Neither does Christianity glorify poverty. Jesus said, "…but the poor will always be with you." He did not suggest that being poor was something to aspire to.

      What the Bible DOES teach is the concept of "To whom much is given, much is expected.".

      Consider the parable of the talents…

      Matthew 25:
      14: For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
      15: And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
      16: Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
      17: And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
      18: But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
      19: After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
      20: And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
      21: His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
      22: He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
      23: His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
      24: Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
      25: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
      26: His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
      27: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
      28: Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
      29: For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
      30: And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  • H&R_ Barack

    Re: "this minister feels in his heart that people are naturally good and fair-minded,"

    This minister is not Biblically literate. He sounds like a post-modern refashioned Christianity,

    Without biblical discernment, his congregation is “adrift at sea”—heading for a rocky coast and pending shipwreck.

    When the full counsel of God’s Word is not taken to heart and put into practice, – much less secular counsel, – there is little basis for spiritual growth.

    WE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD.
    ~ ~ Romans 12:2 ~ ~

    • Looking4Sanity

      Amen. The truth shall set you free!

  • Bamaguje

    "Part of her point of view was that spiritual or religious people are doing something unethical and dishonest if they are financially successful…The reporter had a problem with someone being successful and spiritual" – Ron Torrossian.

    It's not the reporter who has a problem with "someone being successful and spiritual," it's your Christian messiah who stated in the Bible:

    'Jesus said to the rich man, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me… Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."' – Mathew 19:21-24

    • M.J.

      Jesus was making the point that money had him rather than he just had money. There were women of wealth that supported Jesus' ministry. Abraham and his family were wealthy. Because Solomon asked for wisdom above all else, God made him wealthy. It's the same God. He doesn't change according to His word in Malachi3:6.

    • Looking4Sanity

      He didn't say it was impossible…He said it was "hard". He also told us to give alms to the poor. That kind of begs the question, "How are you supposed to do that if you're poor yourself?", doesn't it?

      We're also supposed to tithe 10% of our income to the Church. How are you going to support a ministry with 10% of nothing?!?

      You really need to exercise a little common sense when you read Scripture if you expect to get anything out of it. Seriously. Drop on down to Matthew 25 and read the parable of the talents if you want to understand the Divine perspective on worldly wealth.

      It is not money, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil.

    • HoR_Emperor

      You DO know that the "eye of the needle" was a gate in the walls of Jerusalem, a small gate that camels could only go through on their knees? So the message of that passage was that it was difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven; it was NOT that it was impossible.

      Oh, I guess you didn't know that, trollish ignoramus.

  • mrbean

    All organized religions are at best an intellectually dishonest attempt to explain our place on the universe.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Is this where you are careful not to attack Israel so people don't realize you're using muslim friendly talking points to attack Christianity?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Is this where you advocate locking a town full of Christians into a church and burning them to death?

        24 minutes ago @ Breitbart.tv – Soldier Found Guilty i… · 1 reply · +1 points
        The whole town needs locked in the church and the church set on fire. IMO

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Why not quote the entire thing so the apparent sarcasm shows?

          Oh, that's right as a troll you sit at your work terminal during normal business hours after a nice three day weekend and think of the talking points you're allowed to use.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Why would I start lying like you do?

            So, no rants on how Israel kills children today?
            Or does that look a little too muslim friendly for today's goals?

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            You're back again. Here I was hoping someone had hauled the trash out. http://qassamcount.com/

          • Looking4Sanity

            It's only a matter of time before someone does.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Would you care to share your warped sense of morality that allows you to say things like that while condemning me for responding in kind?

            Isn't it your moronic position that "morality" is possible without religion?

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            You don't know Christianity.
            You know the talking points and insults, but not the relationship at the foundation of each Christian's life.

          • Looking4Sanity

            You must be thinking of YOUR religion…Islam.

            Christianity doesn't "forbid"…it offers choice and forgiveness.

            And once again you have fallen back on deflection by projection. Could you be any more predictable? I think not.

          • Looking4Sanity

            You're the one advocating against the 1st Amendment. I'd say YOU are the one who hates America.

      • Looking4Sanity

        There you go with that "deflection by projection" gambit again. Haven't you heard? Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

    • Looking4Sanity

      All "mrbean's" are intellectually vacuous ninny-hammers trying to explain why they think it's going to be fine going through life ignoring their Creator.

    • Looking4Sanity

      ROTFLAY!

      Son…you have all the self-awareness of a brick! You're so stupid you don't even realize that you, of all people, SHOULD have self-esteem problems! If ignorance is bliss, then stupidity is Nirvana…and you've taken up permanent residence in downtown Nirvana.

      Only someone as idiotic as you could be so entirely convinced of their own superiority.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        You still are so blinded by your hatred and ignorance you can't make sense.

        All those empty words, those words meant to do nothing but confuse and distract.
        The issues are clear. We have the teachings of Christ on one hand, and surah 9 on the other.

        Yet you prefer to hold the muslim friendly views and blame all the ills on Christianity when there is no tie to Christ's teachings.

        That's why you fail every time.

      • PolandPolandPoland

        'Sounds like regressivism/liberalism/statism.

        • Looking4Sanity

          ROFL! Good point!

      • Looking4Sanity

        It might be "mysterious, confusing and incongruent" to YOU…but that's just because you're an idiot. Your condition predates your exposure to religion.

      • Looking4Sanity

        Matthew 13:

        34: All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
        35: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

    • HoR_Emperor

      Says the anti-religious bigot.

    • HoR_Emperor

      You reek of putrid hate.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        No, you're smelling yourself. Try breathing upwind, and occasional bathing.

        • Looking4Sanity

          3 day weekend for him. I'm sure he and his boyfriends have it plastered all over each other.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Some muslim friendly hell hole focused on hate if you're any indication.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      You already admitted you don't own a Bible and it's a simple book for simple people.

      Why should anyone here take you seriously and have any sort of serious discussion with you?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        The point is you are coming without anything other than pre approved talking points and don't care if the Bible is something entirely other than what you say it is.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Speak for yourself. I grew up looking it up. And the things you say it says, I don't see it.

          And for you to keep quoting old Jewish things and then pretend as if modern Christians are held to the things even today's Jews don't consider current, it's just another example of your hate filled bigotry blinding you.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            My fixed perspective is why you can't fool me.
            You're just a muslim friendly hater. You blame everything on the one religion that doesn't deserve it. Unless you can tie the abuses to the teachings of Christ, then you should be upset that they're not good enough Christians and not living up to their ideals.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Just give us the name of the priest who buggered you and turned you g ay and we'll take care of him for you.

            "If you were born in Iran you would be a muslium and not a Christian."

            1.) How does that explain Christians in Iran?

            2.) You just admitted that America was founded as a Christian nation.

            3.) Based upon point #2, you're running around saying you're smarter than everyone else in this country…a statistical impossibility.

            In point of fact, since the vast majority of humanity holds to some form of religious belief, you're actually claiming to be smarter than almost everyone on the planet! Which brings me to point #…

            4.) If you're THAT smart…how come you're sitting in a little government cubicle being paid to type out propaganda all day? You should be richer than George Soros! You don't see him typing his own blogs. He pays idiotic peons like you to do that for him.

        • Looking4Sanity

          No, idiot. The point is that if you didn't already know what was in it, it would be nigh impossible to look up to begin with…even WITH a concordance.

          What we know, we know because it is written on our hearts just as our names are written in the Book of Life.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            It is simple. You can't tie the things you hate in Christianity to the actual teachings of Christ. So, it's no surprise that you come across like a hate filled bigot with no grasp on the actual goals of Christianity, while at the same time taking muslim friendly views and ignoring the religion that teaches the very things you attack.

          • PolandPolandPoland

            Stay away from mirrors then, Wee; you won't like what you see.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            He can see himself in mirrors?
            I always saw him as the 'get that garlic away from me type'.

          • PolandPolandPoland

            Serious beam-in-the-eye issues. Self-awareness? Not.

          • Looking4Sanity

            I think he's got wood in multiple orifices.

          • Looking4Sanity

            He's worse…even Dracula believed in God.

          • Looking4Sanity

            "brainwashed people never admit they are brainwashed "

            Well…that explains part of your problem!

            See what I mean about your projection? No. I don't think you can.

            FYI…if it were so "simple and easy to understand", you would not have turned out the way you did. My condolences on that BTW.

          • PolandPolandPoland

            LOL Your a sensitive man, L4S.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Indeed. That is why I am universally loved and admired by all! </sarc>

          • PolandPolandPoland

            Ha ha. …and humble, too. :o)

          • Looking4Sanity

            Hey. Even Thor needed his hammer. I'm just fulfilling my purpose in life.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Matthew 7: 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

      Also,

      Luke 13: 27: But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

  • Schlomotion

    If by "preacher" Mr. Torossian is referring to his client, the TV evangelist Benny Hinn, it is no wonder that 60 Minutes wants to give him a hostile interview. The man is a charlatan "faith healer" who claims that he can heal blindness, deafness, advanced carcinoma, and the HIV retrovirus through the recitation of prayer. That is lying. The man also collects lots of money by televising these lies and doing con artistry on television, a con artistry that is far more insidious than Mr. Torossian's con artistry in claiming to be a PR agent. Mr. Hinn also claims that the dead will be resurrected as a result of lots of old people watching him on television. This is only slightly more outrageous than believing that Mr. Torossian can do better than land his client a 60 Minutes interview because he writes a blog.

    Nota Bene: Mr. Torossian says that the media is leftist because they debunk the occasional TV evangelist.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Or it could just be leftist.

      • Schlomotion

        If "the right" means paying a lot of money to a huckster on television for salvation nowadays, then "the right" has collapsed.

        • Looking4Sanity

          Religion, properly understood and practiced, is a far more bedrock set of principles than any belief set found on the political spectrum – Left, Right OR Center. As such, the two can not be rationally conflated. Religious faith, where present, is the FOUNDATION of political thought. They have never co-existed as equals. You obviously do not understand the principle of organizational hierarchy.

          • Schlomotion

            That's a load of bunk. Political thought is a subset of thought. Thought is a function of neurons, not Jesus.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Your beliefs, or your lack thereof, on this subject are precisely why you're all over the political spectrum in your opinions. You lack consistency precisely because you have no moral anchor. It's a pity that you are blind to the manifold ways in which that damages this country. That is assuming you do not know. I have not, by any means, ruled out the possibility that you have intentionally set yourself to undermining our society. Either explanation is plausible. It's so hard to tell the difference between blind stupidity and pure undiluted evil on so many occasions that I don't often bother with the issue. The end result of both are usually the same, and that is what needs addressed most urgently.

          • Schlomotion

            What I know is that most of the kids who went to CCD class in the basement of a church now have mesothelioma. Also, fractional reserve lending is what is destroying the United States, not a lack of belief in Jesus.

          • Looking4Sanity

            So…you know nothing. Fractional reserve lending CREATED the modern America you are living in today. The speed of our technological advancement would NEVER have been possible without it, and the entire world would have been worse off without it.The ABUSE of the fractal reserve system is a MORAL issue…not a fiscal issue. Only an atheist could manage not to see that.

          • LoveMyCountry

            John Jay, Original Chief-Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court , "The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts."
            http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

            These quotes deal specifically with morality.

          • ForConstitution

            Oops that was me. FC.

            How's the chicken coop going?

            I'll doing school upstairs with my oldest b/c it's easier to camp out up here with my foot.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Going great. I attached the fence for the outside run and got the roof shingled. I've got a lot of very happy chickens!

          • Looking4Sanity

            Also…liberals don't act on "thought". They act on "feelings". They are emotionally driven animals largely devoid of thought all together.

    • HoR_Emperor

      Resident anti-Semitic troll strikes again.

  • Kevin Stowell

    Ottumwa?

    • Looking4Sanity

      I was thinking Bumphuk, Egypt. Actually…either point of origin would go a long way in explaining the flaming stupidity factor.

      • Kevin Stowell

        'twould.

  • Looking4Sanity

    I don't know about "we"…but "Wee" is widely acknowledged to be the spawn of Hell.

    • HoR_Emperor

      *lol* Indeed he is.

  • Ricky Michael

    Our spirit comes from God. The body is born and dies, the spirit then returns to God from whom it came.

    Some things are true whether you believe them or not.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Romans 1, some would rather worship the created and ignore the creator.