Religious liberty

L.A. Times Turns Pastor's Death into Outrage Clickbait

Bob Bryant was infected with COVID-19 while on vacation and died. A news story tries to link that to church services.

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A megachurch pastor in Fontana, California, died Monday of COVID-19. The Los Angeles Times then wrote about the tragedy in a woefully misleading way.

Bob Bryant, 58, associate pastor for the Water of Life Community Church, tested positive for the coronavirus in November. He subsequently developed pneumonia, suffered a heart attack, and then died, one of the nearly 20,000 deaths California has seen connected to the virus.

According to the Times, Bryant became infected while on vacation and did not return to the church. That information is in the story, four paragraphs down. Nothing in the article—or in a Facebook post from his wife Lori, who was also infected—suggests that Bryant's infection was transmitted to or from members of the church or that Bryant put anybody at the church at risk.

Nevertheless, the L.A. Times headlined the story "Pastor dies of COVID-19 weeks after Fontana megachurch reopened for indoor services." The lede paragraph also emphasizes the church's reopening, and the story also notes that Water of Life was among the many California churches resisting orders that they close their doors:

Following California's original stay-at-home order imposed in March, the state allowed houses of worship to reopen in late May with limited indoor capacity. But after a surge in cases in the late spring and early summer, state officials closed indoor operations of churches in mid-July in the hardest-hit counties. Water of Life Community Church defied that order, however, and reopened five weeks ago.

DePaola said county officials knew the church was holding services indoors. "The county is aware we are meeting inside," she said. "We're not trying to break rules. They know what we're doing."

The story does mention that the church's defiance comes with the same careful guidelines—social distancing, masks indoors—that have followed every secular indoor activity. The church also held outdoor services for those who were not comfortable indoors.

Nevertheless, the Times seems intent on giving readers the impression that the church is behaving in risky ways. It starts with that headline, and it ends with a note that the church will hold both indoor and outdoor services for Bryant even though only outdoor funerals are permitted.

Contact tracing could ultimately reveal a relationship between the church and Bryant's infection, but as of now we have no reason to believe there is one. Without evidence of such a link, it is journalistically irresponsible to try to connect the man's death to the church's actions.

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  1. Lefties hate religion. So shocking.

    It comes to mind really that the left hates anything good. It’s all about them and their degenerate desires.

    1. >Lefties hate religion.
      WRONG!
      There is no Govt but Govt and Obama is its prophet. Inshallah, taxation and regulation will conquer the world.

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    2. Lefties hate religion.”

      Blasphemy is still an offense, only the gods are different.

      1. BELIEVE in Science!

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  2. Wait, is Scott shocked to discover jouronolists lie? Does he not know what he does for a living?

  3. Only California governers can disobey the orders to gather indoors

  4. It’s just LA Times science. Church mass transmits Covid while mass looting does not. We all know the physical law, it’s conservation of mass and synergy.

  5. You don’t understand. Churches only reopen because they deny COVID exists. If only they understood the true risk of the virus, they would never reopen.

    So, Church reopens, proving they deny the existence of COVID. Pastor then dies of covid. poetic justice!

    It’s just a rehash of the climate change arguments. If you admit to that climate change is real, you must therefore agree to the draconian measures. If you object to the draconian measures, then you deny climate change is real.

    1. Pandemic will kill everyone if we don’t follow gub’ment rules is SCIENCE! Churches are the opposite of science. Therefore churches want us all to die. QED.

      Or at least that’s what the left tells me. Maybe it’s just the Team Red churches that want everyone to die, not Team Blue churches. Not sure. It’s terribly confusing. If only there was a Strong Man to do the thinking for us.

  6. It’s the times. They are the willing mouthpiece and fellator of the Los Angeles City Government.

    1. They are the willing mouthpiece and fellator of the Los Angeles City Government.

      Nice to know some things haven’t changed in the last 100 years.

      1. Like a cheap whore best seen in the dark.

  7. Enemy of the people.

  8. Louder, please. Oh, and an extra helping of bitter recrimination, puhlEEEEz! The thing about looter whack jobs is they all enshrine self-deception, fraud, lying, looting and the initiation of deadly force. Yet for the sake of outsiders (who knows?) both keep up these tu quoque appeals, each accusing the other, identically semilterate buffoons, of errors of logical inference. It’s lamentable, tragic, but macabre enough to actually have comic appeal.

    1. Lol. You’re the best Hank.

  9. Cunts gotta cunt.

  10. I don’t think anyone who is a regular reader of the Times over the decades is surprised by how that story was carefully written.
    “If you people got the wrong impression from our article, don’t blame the Times.”

  11. Piffle. The Washington Post has been doing this for every reasonably well known religious leader or Republican supporter who tested positive for Covid and died for months, and the comments following it show a level of hatred unsurpassed since the Cultural Revolution. I’m sure cannibalism would have followed if the Progs weren’t so afraid of catching Covid from the corpses.

  12. This is why we have to close the Mosques.

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  14. “…The Los Angeles Times then wrote about the tragedy in a woefully misleading way…”

    You misspelled “lied about it”.

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