The Baptist Press is the official news outlet of the Southern Baptist Convention. However, fewer Southern Baptists than ever trust the news service and more and more Southern Baptists are getting their news from alternative outlets that are adversarial to the SBC establishment. The latest news site to shatter the Baptist Press in readership has been described as a “fourth-rate college football blog that merged into a sixth-rate discernment blog.”
The Capstone Report started as a web-log of the thoughts of a college football fan and Baptist layman. However, the website has recently joined Pulpit & Pen and Reformation Charlotte in a fraternity of niche news sites largely adversarial of the SBC that are largely considered more credible, honest, and dependable than the denomination’s own new outlet.
The readership proves it.
Some have wondered where Capstone Report came from (or Reformation Charlotte or Pulpit & Pen or the many blogs that are quickly becoming a more-read, more-trusted source than Baptist Press).
Although the Baptist Press was formed in 1946, it is dwarfed in readership by rogue blogs that capitalize on a sense of distrust in the publication. Although the Baptist Press‘s Wikipedia page claims that it is the “largest religious news service in the United States,” these random Baptist “discernment blogs” have a readership twice to ten times larger. It says…
Recognizing its role to serve the broader evangelical community, Baptist Press seeks to carry stories and report news that is of interest to numerous likeminded evangelical readers.
As of November 11, 2019, Capstone Report – which started as a blog on Alabama football – surpassed Baptist Press on Alexa with a web rank of 34,869 compared to the SBC’s news agency rank of 54,108.
Other Baptist discernment sites, led by Pulpit & Pen, outrank Baptist Press in readership by nearly ten times.
These sites operate for next-to-nothing out of church offices, home libraries, and on mobile devices, putting out the truth and reporting on SBC affairs in real-time. Most, like Capstone Report and Reformation Charlotte, have a personnel staff of a single person.
The Baptist Press, on the other hand, has an entire staff that’s fully funded by a portion of the $705 thousand dollars per month that’s designated as “other ministries” on the SBC’s accumulative distribution allocation budget.
The Capstone Report was founded by Alan D. Atchison, who is still working on his Masters Degree in Theological Studies at Liberty University (he currently has an M.A. in Political Science from another institution). Atchison, however, has more than ten years of experience in running both print publications and online publishing. Unlike most Baptist discernment site operators, Atchison is not a Calvinist and he signed the Traditionalist Statement on Salvation.
While Albert Mohler, Danny Akin, Russell Moore, and other SBC entity heads can call up the Baptist Press and get them to “pump sunshine” and do public relations work (like when Mohler and Akin used the BP to laughably claim there “was no leftist drift in the SBC“), Southern Baptists are turning away from the predictably censored news outlet and turning to the forbidden fruit of discernment blogs and polemics news sites.
While SBC elitists can control the Baptist Press, the Internet assures that the Baptist Press cannot control the flow of information to Southern Baptists. The information war in the SBC is 100% being won by the discernment blogs, and the denomination’s press outlet has been largely helpless to stop their own demise.
Pro-establishment SBC blogs, like SBC Voices, have declined in readership so rapidly and dramatically they hardly have a web-ranking at all. Meanwhile, the far-less-funded CBF alternative to the Baptist Press, Baptist News Global, is more competitive with their conservative counterparts than ever.
It’s not, then, that alternative Christian news and voices are suddenly popular. It’s that the Baptist Press is just that untrusted. After all, it is funded by the Cooperative Program, overseen by the Executive Board, and its job is nothing but helping ensure institutional survival. Being far from actual journalists, the only job at the Baptist Press for their reporters is to have a job tomorrow.
The stuffy suits that run the SBC should be mortified that a few guys with news blogs are kicking their tail on the information front. How can that even be possible?
Truth, it turns out, is profitable. It has a market. There is demand. People want it. The truth, ultimately, will win.
We are thankful for Capstone Report and all other alternative Christian news sites who are willing to speak truth to power and put up a resistance against the Southern Baptist establishment.