Let's play a journalism game for a minute, one that we have played before here at GetReligion (for an example, click here). We call it the mirror-image game.
Let's assume, for a second, that the Southern Baptist Convention elected a new president. Then, shortly thereafter, three of the convention's top leaders were purged -- perhaps the phrase would be "placed on administrative leave" -- because of accusations of misconduct while on the job.
Oh, and there were some really strange and shady things in the recent past, like reports of top Southern Baptist leaders spying on each other -- literally.
Do you think that this story would receive any mainstream coverage? Would that draw coverage in The New York Times, the Associated Press and/or regional newspapers?
What if the official Southern Baptist press agency all but ignored the story? Would that serve as a red flag for mainstream coverage, or would that be an effective signal to reporters that there is "nothing to see here, so move along"?
What if this happened at Focus on the Family? Or how about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops?
Now let's look in the mirror image. Way back on Dec. 11, the new leader of the Episcopal Church -- Presiding Bishop Michael Curry -- released a letter, care of the denomination's official news service, that said in part:
I need to inform you that on Wednesday I placed on administrative leave Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, and Alex Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement. This is a result of concerns that have been raised about possible misconduct in carrying out their duties as members of senior management of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.