In the last week or so, Jan Chamberlin and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have gotten an awful lot of media coverage. Okay, fine. It’s been longer than that – ever since the choir announced they would be singing at the January 2017 inauguration of President-elect Trump.
The original Facebook post (and the follow up) that shared Jan Chamberlin’s resignation from the choir has been removed since I read it. However, in true Internet fashion, what’s once posted is never truly gone. There are snippets of it on news sites across the world. A quick Google search shows it’s being shared in Europe, Israel, and across the United States of America.
What shocked me, though, is that not one news agency posted the letter in its entirety.
Sadly, I didn’t manage to grab a screenshot of it, either. But I’m not a news agency – I’m a mommy blogger who was just browsing her Facebook newsfeed. However, I do remember the opening of the letter – and the closing line… because it was so completely off topic.
The opening line and the closing line were the lyrics to the song “Happy Birthday.” Apparently Jan posted this on her birthday and she “sang” the song to herself around her public resignation.
Now, here’s where the “news” may have failed us… Why did nobody else ask why that was included in her post? Or is that information even important? Why hasn’t any reporter bothered to see if that information is relevant? Could it be relevant? Or is it just her birthday and nothing else?
Actually… it could be relevant. Or it could be nothing. But that’s what a journalist is for – to figure out the whole story.
It turns out that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has some pretty specific (and available online) rules for its volunteer membership. Rules that include things like:
- An availability of 10-20 hours per week.
- Being able and available for a rigorous singing (and travel) schedule.
- “A mandatory choir retirement age of 60 years old or 20 years of service.” 2015 Application PDF
I’m no reporter (I’m a stay at home mom and nurse, remember?), but it seems like a journalist ought to be asking if perhaps this could be a hidden issue in this story.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a firm believer in the Bill of Rights. And Jan Chamberlin has every right to exercise her rights to free speech. But I miss the reliable news agencies that would just share the facts in an honest and nonpartisan manner – giving their audience the courtesy and respect they needed to draw their own, logical conclusions.
Today, most news agencies seem to get so caught up in either supporting or vilifying Jan Chamberlin’s resignation letter (or whatever other story of the hour) that I can’t help but wonder… are they really wanting to share the news? And along those lines… did anyone contact her? Did anyone do additional research to find out more details?
Are they just trying to grab some quick views with sensational headlines? Are they trying to get boosted up in the Facebook newsfeed by writing about a trending story? Or are they just so overly excited to share their own opinions that the pesky facts they did collect just get glossed over?
I don’t know. But it’s yet another reminder that this is why I don’t usually watch (or even read) the news. I’d rather go play Minecraft with my oldest boy. At least that world makes more sense.