WRAL Not Reporting Full Story on Franklin Graham's COVID-19 Stunt in New York

Recently, I highlighted the controversy surrounding Franklin Graham's publicity stunt, setting up a Samaritan's Purse outreach effort in Central Park under the guise of a "field hospital".

WRAL seems to be playing along with Graham's publicity machine, reproducing little blurbs about the makeshift "hospital" in their Coronavirus update every few days.

Really, WRAL, cut it out - anyone with a web browser can get the rest of the story. It makes you look like shills for Graham, rather than a news organization.

I previously pointed to a story from the Gothamist where many in the city were disturbed by this effort, noting that doctors volunteering for the hospital had to make an anti-LGBT faith operation to volunteer. Mayor DeBlasio expressed concern about the Samaritan's Purse requirement of the statement of faith among volunteers. Officials with the city noted that Samaritan's Purse had to abide by the non-discrimination policies of Mount Sinai Hospital, which is Graham's partner in the effort. Others noted how studies have shown that previous "makeshift hospitals" have been used in health crisis in different parts of the world to promote their ministry and often wound up doing more harm than good in the communities they were supposedly serving.

The problem has been widely reported - even WRAL's colleagues at the Charlotte Observer picked up the story.

One gay man who tried to volunteer for the makeshift hospital was turned away by Samaritan's Purse, violating the non-discrimination agreement with Mount Sanai.

A gay activist has been arrested when he held a protest outside the tent "hospital" - a story reported by WRAL's own network, NBC, and ignored by the Raleigh affiliate.

Knock it off, WRAL. You're either being lazy reporters or buying into Franklin Graham's hate-mongering - neither option is making you look like a trusted news source during the crisis.



Very frustrating

It's impossible the author is unaware of the controversy and tensions, and highly unlikely she doesn't know about the faith document volunteers were required to sign. That was front-page news for days, and so was Graham's idiotic move to force students and faculty back to Liberty's campus.