In the age of the 24 hour news cycle, where facts are sometimes lying on the editing floor, Lynn Vincent is a breath of fresh air. You might not agree with her politics or her positions but what she does is take her time to get the story, something that has been lost in the dissemination of information we call journalism.
In a time where too few journalists try to tackle subjects that are controversial -- that will not make others happy -- she is a bit of a maverick. Lynn is witty, funny, and like it or not evangelical. She can write a good story. She proved that in Same Kind of Different As Me. That is something neither Richard Wolfe, Keith Olbermann nor anyone else cannot take from her. She's got some skills and I tip my hat to her.
In 2001, I watched Lynn Vincent tackle a story no one wanted to touch: clergy abuse of women in Protestant churches. The evangelicals circled their wagons and refused to do the research. They continued to put out the usual talking points about why clergy abuse women under their care, lamely renaming it, "an affair." Many well known parachurch organizations refused to comment on the article even when the facts stared them in the face. Lynn Vincent had the guts and the temerity to spend not just a few weeks but a year researching, interviewing and talking with survivors to get the story straight. She could have gone for the ratings line and betrayed the trust of survivors who told her their stories. She could have pulled an ambush and smiled in their face all the while waiting for the one quote that would make her day. But she spent her time getting the story right.
As the center of that story for World magazine, "Clergy Sexual Abuse: The Protestant Problem", I know how much time she put in, on the phone, in emails, traveling to Detroit from LA, sitting with me talking about a very painful and difficult subject. We struggled and tussled over the issues until she understood. She asked so many questions until I wanted to scream. She even wanted the perpetrator to "repent" after he was outed. That was her childlike faith. It is a quality in short supply these days.
She is a woman of integrity whether you like her politics or not. She gained my trust and respect. I genuinely like her as a person.
Yet, like James Carville who differs with his wife, I differ with Lynn. I do not believe abortion is the new black genocide. That is in my opinion, a surface conclusion. Far too many black teens are what one black psychologist termed breeding, (babies having babies) but the majority are not killing. One need only look in the urban neighborhoods. Pregnancy is no longer an embarrassment in the black church. While some may have abortions, the majority are carrying their children to term. They simply cannot afford to terminate their pregnancies even if they wanted to. I would refer Lynn to Faith Matters, by Deborah Haffner, the study that discussed sexual matters with teens, in their own words. There is genocide of black people but it's not abortion; it's in Africa; it's in Haiti and other third world countries. I also do not understand the point of Donkey Cons. I mean sure, there are Democrats who whore around and put their hand in the cookie jar. But when you live in a glass house a la Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Gov. Sanford, Dick Cheney -- do not throw stones. And nothing the Democrats have done can compare with the last 8 years of Bush. As Jesus said, he who is without sin, cast the first stone. Besides, I'm an independent.
Bill Moyers said that truth is not showing both sides of an issue. Truth is sometimes one sided. Bush was a failure. Republicans made a mess out of things. Ann Coulter is loud, unseemly and seems well, crazy. Rush Limbaugh... I do not even have a word. Hannity same thing. I do not know if the Lynn I spent a year with agrees with these folks. I hope not. If she does, I can still regard Lynn as a person of worth, the way Teddy Kennedy regarded many of his opponents in the Senate.
My guess is that Lynn wanted to get the story about Sarah Palin out. She might have wanted to tell a woman's story because it seemed like too many men were piling on. She might have bought Palins viewpoint, but from my experience, I bet she wanted to tell a side no one was seeing. She's like that. She tries to get it right. Is she successful? Sometimes, sometimes not. But the Lynn Vincent I got to know is unafraid to do the controversial story.
I have talked to her from time to time since she did the article on clergy abuse. When I heard she did Palins book, I sent her an email and said, " Sarah Palin... Big Fish."
Sarah Palin seems flaky and unreal to me. Lynn -- I never felt that way about her. I do not agree with her positions, but she can write, even if you do not agree with what she pens. I do know this. If she gives her world she will try to keep it. She did not try to ambush me, talk sweetly and wait to get the "gotcha quote." So she must have felt this was a story worth telling. Is Sarah Palin using the evangelicals, using Lynn? Only God knows. I know I don't trust Sarah, I don't care who writes her story.
My wish for Lynn is that she tackles other subjects like the disappearance of Haitian President Bertrand Aristide. He is a Christian also. He was given a seriously raw deal in the American press. Perhaps she might read An Unbroken Agony by Randall Robinson. It chronicles the whole saga about Haiti. That truth will unsettle the Lynn I knew. I do not get the Palin thing. I do not care for Palin. It's not because I am drinking POTUS koolaide. I disagree with my president on several issues. My opinion of Palin is not based on what others have said. It's based on what I have heard from Palins mouth. All I thought when I heard Lynn helped write the book was the line Palin used at the debates, "Say it ain't so Lynn. Say it Ain't so."
Whether you agree with Lynn Vincent or not, I think we can disagree without being disagreeable. She tries to be a journalist in a world where that is a bit of a dinosaur. My my advice to Lynn would be to keep digging, keep seeking, the real truth will set you free.
Years before she exposed the man who abused me, World had done a flattering article on his church and his work. My hope is that if Palin turns out to be a charlatan, Lynn and World magazine will get that story straight as well.