If you’ve been following the Mercy scandals that have now spanned five years, you may be aware that Mercy Ministries have undergone an extremely well-funded PR campaign this year following the publications of a series of investigative reporting published by the Lincoln News Messenger (here, here, here and here) as well as a hard-hitting article taken from statements of former Mercy Ministries residents over at RH Reality Check.
Google searches on “Nancy Alcorn” are flooded with an array of “nancyalcorn” domain names, all of which are owned by her and duplicate the content of her personal blog. Mercy Ministries have also followed suit with new domain names continuing to pop up, however they fail to yield as well in the world of Google popularity.
In the way of censorship (previously discussed at length here), Mercy Ministries again fail to surprise, having removed even more of the more damning evidence from their website. (Screenshots and commentary will be published in another piece along with more Wikipedia updates).
So, what’s the latest in Mercy’s PR campaign?
Opinion-editorials written by Christy Singleton, Executive Director of Mercy Ministries.
On 2 October 2012, the following article appeared in The Tennessean:
Unfortunately, the original article cannot be viewed at its original source, as it has been suspiciously removed. Furthermore, it appears that The Tennessean has gone to extreme lengths to remove all traces of this article from all professional news data sources, despite much older articles remaining viewable via their online archives.
Although we cannot be certain, this may well have been at the instruction of Mercy Ministries, who have quite a history of censorship efforts (again, discussed at length here).
Could this act of desperation have had something to do with the extremely suspicious timing of the paid Wikipedia edits made to the Mercy Ministries article just hours within publication of this article being exposed?
Or, perhaps it was to do with this Facebook post from the “Shut Down Mercy Ministries” page outlining why this Mercy Ministries infomercial shows a low standard of journalism on the part of The Tennessean:
Nonetheless, below is a handsome portion of the article that we were able to acquire in the interim, with the remaining text to be added once we source a full copy in the coming days.
“Today, 5-year-old girls are being treated for eating disorders. The newest growth segment in the lingerie market is for prepubescent girls. Researches view dieting and body image issues as the norm among pre-adolescent girls, and 22 percent of teen girls say they have seen or posted nude images of themselves to a guy they like.
What is going on? There is a strong false message that our young girls are hearing. And unfortunately, girls in our own neighborhoods and city are not immune. I know. Every day, I see girls of all socioeconomic backgrounds and faiths walk through the doors of Mercy Ministries’ Nashville home as the broken products of a culture that teaches them they are only worth as much as their bodies — and their bodies will never be good enough.”
“The early and over-sexualization of our girls is creating young women who have shattered self-images and a disproportionate over-emphasis on their sexuality – even when they are too young to know what sex is. We must take responsibility now for changing this toxic message.
But how? The answer does not lie in legislation that regulates the toys, clothing, TV shows, music and messages marketed to them. Nor does it lie in sheltering them to the point that they may as well be locked in a closet. The answer lies in beginning a dialogue with our girls to help them learn their true worth and the appropriate context for God’s good gift of sexuality.”
The text that followed from this point was a mere replication of the promotional puffery from Mercy Ministries’ very own website, copied almost (if not completely) word-for-word.
Given The Tennessean’s extreme efforts to have this article recalled, I felt it appropriate and necessary to seek an explanation from them as to why this has occurred. Today, I sent the following letter to the editor of The Tennessean seeking their comment:
I currently manage Mercy Survivors, a survivors network for former residents of Mercy Ministries.
It has come to my attention that the following article has been deleted from your website, as well as all traces of it removed from all major news databases:
“Girls need the right message about their bodies”
2 October 2012
Op-ed by Christy Singleton, Executive Director, Mercy Ministries of America
I seek your comment as to:
1. Why this article has been recalled; and
2. Why you, as a newspaper, published an article about Mercy Ministries, penned by a senior staff member of Mercy Ministries, which served as little more than spin promoting their organisation.
I look forward to your response in due course.
Should a response be received, it will be published in due course.