Baptist Press (BP) recently posted a story about the April meeting of the trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). The story, dated April 15, was taken from a news release written by SWBTS writer Keith Collier and posted to their website on April 11 (click here to read the release). The byline of the BP edition also credits Collier as the writer. There are some differences of phrasing throughout, but the content is otherwise identical, with one curious omission. If you read both articles, you will notice that the version posted by BP does not contain the following two paragraphs:
“The trustees received a report from the president where he provided his annual disclosure of his compensation information and entertained questions related to it and the same information for the rest of the seminary’s senior administration.
Chairman Van McClain stated that “since Southern Baptists expect that their entities supported by the Cooperative Program will be governed with integrity and accountability, I am glad the salary of the president of Southwestern has been fully and willingly disclosed to all of the trustees of the seminary, even though Dr. Patterson has refused an increase in compensation since his arrival in 2003.”
I spoke by telephone with Keith Collier, and he had no explanation for the omission. He told me that the release as it now appears on the SWBTS website has not been edited since it was posted on April 11, so it is clear that BP was deliberate in removing the paragraphs quoted above. I contacted BP by email to ask about the omission, but have received no response.
News organizations certainly are within their rights to edit anything they publish for style, length, and content. It is curious to me that they have chosen to omit this information concerning the president of the seminary, who has been relentlessly attacked for enriching himself with Cooperative Program dollars but has refused to accept even a single cost-of-living pay increase in the five years he has served at SWBTS.