In the past, FAKE newspaper coverage of WT "International Conventions" in the US

by AndersonsInfo 57 Replies latest jw friends

  • AndersonsInfo

    skeeter1: Joe and his family came from Texas to attend both the 1950 and 1953 Yankee Stadium assemblies and saw and bought the "Extra Edition" newspapers. He was in Bethel and was engaged to me at the 1958 Yankee Stadium assembly and can vouch that there weren't negative statements or announcements made about these papers at any of these conventions.

    During the 1958 convention, immediately when the morning sessions were over, and likewise the evening sessions, we could hear from outside the stadium the newspaper vendors yelling at Witnesses as they passed by usually repeating their newspaper's headline (stating something "sensational" that was featured at the convention) over and over again. As we walked outside the stadium, the newsboys were everywhere trying to sell papers as well as those who stood in one place next to piles of papers, many still tied with rope.

    As I said in my opening post,

    "Yet, with the full knowledge that the news coverage was “fake,” Watch Tower speakers capitalized on what the newspaper publishers did by pointing to the “extraordinary” newspaper coverage telling us this was a huge witness to the locals. Of course, we were thrilled, and to our ingenuous (sincere) minds this information was proof of our “distinctiveness” and caused us to enthusiastically clap and clap out of the bliss of recognition that made our religious commitment even more certain."

    When Joe was in Bethel, he worked in the press room. During the 1958 convention, he worked at night printing special papers (the size of one of those large color tracts the Witnesses nowadays distribute every so often), which the Society gave out freely each day that contained convention news and interviews with prominent Witnesses such as Witness attorney, Hayden Covington. However, those who attended the convention wanted the "Special Edition" newspapers to read and take back to home congregations to show everyone the tremendous "witness" given to the City of New York. During assembly intermissions, all around the stadium more people could be seen reading the "exciting" coverage of the convention in the daily NY papers than the Society's convention tract.


  • Old Goat
    Old Goat

    For a number of reasons I avoid identifiers on this board and seldom post. But I was a Public Relations Servant, later Overseer, and worked at some of the International conventions. Yes, there were special editions sold to conventioners. To my knowledge the Society did not benefit monitarily. But they did use quotations in post assembly articles.

    Newspaper reporters are notoriously lazy people. We had endles handouts, short typed up biographies of Knorr or Franz, fact sheets, and similar items that we gave them. Sometimes their articles were a paste job made up from the hand-outs.

    I still have a large folder of this material from one of the international conventions. The biography of Franz was especially bad. Not much truth in that bit of propaganda, though we didn't know that at the time.

    The society printed a manual for New Service Servants back in the 1950's. It was a how-to booklet. In 1958 all the circuit news service servants atended a pep-talk how-to meeting in New York City during the convention. We were given a mimeographed booklet with sample news releases. The local product was so bad in most circuits that little of it was being published.

    I remember Witnesses remarking how wonderful a news article in a large regional newspaper was. This was in the late 1960's. I had to smile because I wrote it. The paper published it as written. The "brothers" thought it remarkable that the paper was so nice to us.

  • cyberjesus

    Thanks Mama!

  • DaCheech

    is this the same religion that calls the newspapers "satans printeries" when some negative article is brought to the public?

  • AndersonsInfo

    Thank you, Marvin Shilmer, for sharing with us what your friend, "Woody," told you about:

    Watchtower placed two conditions on use of their articles. 1) The newspaper had to give them a piece of the money pie and 2) the same paper also had to run local, regional and nation articles on other subjects.

    Woody deplored this practice. Watchtower made money off the Witnesses without them knowing it, and worse Watchtower used these articles to show how news of its convention trumped even national news.

    This confirms what I suspected. The secret monetary arrangements with newspapers had to go back to Russell's day in light of what I posted about Russell's interactions with newspapers that printed his sermons. It's obvious future WT leaders carried on the same business savvy they learned at the foot of the previous master.

    For instance, Russell suggested in the Watch Tower that people who wanted to subscribe to a certain newspaper that carried Russell's sermons and were in the "clubbing" arrangement subscribe through the Society. This is evidence that the Society made money on each subscription as all newspaper "agents" did.

    Let me say this before a Watch Tower apologist shows up on this thread trying to defend WT "press" practices: In my book there was nothing really wrong with the Society making honest money to run the “business.” Nonetheless, I take issue with their continual use of half-truths, the lack of transparency and honesty, the distortion of facts, and, at times, out-right deception when it comes to their organizational practices.

    As with Russell, it wasn't what he did that was corrupt, even though some practices could be construed as deceitful, but it was what he said that distorted facts and misled followers that we can fault him for. And it seems to me the reason he did what he did was from a desire to have him and his organization appear more important than both actually were. From personal experience I have found that when it comes to WT’s history, nothing is what it seems to be. Whenever I dig deeper, what I find is least expected.

    Old Goat: I worked in "Public Relations" since 1956 at large S. Florida conventions. I've always been a fast typist and I typed news releases until I my fingers were bloody nubs!

    Bob Mackey, a JW, and a TV newsman at that time, was always "Public Relations Servant." Bob and his wife, Ginny, became close friends of ours and Bob married Joe and me in 1959 in W. Palm Beach, Florida. The friendship we had with the Mackey's put me in a position where I learned how things operated in that department. I was familiar with the Society's manual. I also worked in Public Relations during the 1958 Yankee Stadium convention. Despite all of this I had no idea that the "Extra Edition" was a fake newspaper meant solely for convention attendees until I was told about it when I was in Bethel's Writing Department.

    If I remember correctly, Ulysses Glass was the “Public Relations Servant” at the 1958 Yankee Stadium convention. In Bethel, the unspoken policy is that the right hand shouldn’t know what the left hand is doing because “confidentiality” is the operational word. So, taking an educated guess, I’d say at that time only Ulysses, and his close assistants like "Woody," plus Knorr, Franz and Grant Suiter, and probably a trusted old-timer in the then “Bookkeeping” Department, knew about the profits made from the “Special Edition” arrangement with the newspapers which nobody talked about.

  • wasblind

    Farkel said: "Barb's outta-da-bag "


  • Bangalore

    Wow.What a hoax.


  • Phizzy

    I realised from a very early age that the Special Editions were only sold around the Stadium, having noticed the standard edition on sale as we approached the venue.

    It never occurred to me that the WT would get any kind of kick-back from this, but it does not surprise me.

    They really are money-grubbing bas****s.

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