Debunking a Mormon/Romney conspiracy theory

It is a truism of modern media that few subjects draw more attention than politics. If you're a savvy journalist or blogger looking to attract page views in today's 24-hour news cycle, the shortcut to success requires slapping some political "analysis" on to whatever story you're covering, like so:

"University releases groundbreaking cancer study: What does it mean for Obama?"

Of course, I've been guilty of this to some extent in my (young) journalism career. And having spent the past few months interning at a national news outlet with a website that has scores of competitors, I understand all too well the occasional need to quickly pick a unique angle and go with it. Which is why I was not all that surprised when the press began buzzing with an interesting conspiracy theory connected with a new LDS ad campaign.

The campaign in question consists of commercials airing in nine middle-America markets. Each ad zeroes in on the life of an interesting Latter-day Saint. Seems pretty benign, right? Not if you ask page view-hungry journalists.

On liberal website, Alex Pareene writes, "But … are Mormons just trying to convince Americans that Mormons are 'normal,' so that in 2012 they'll consider voting for Mormon King Mitt Romney? (These ads are running in four or five potential swing states, after all.)" He goes on to quote a church spokesman who insists "this has nothing to do with Mitt at all," but of course, by raising the question, Pareene is clearly hinting that it's a legitimate concern.

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