The title of a post at Business Insider crows, “Here's The Ballsy Businessweek Cover That's Going To Piss Off The Mormon Church.” In truth, it should anger anyone who finds it low and, frankly, un-American, to attack a candidate – directly or indirectly – through his religion.
But with Mitt Romney running neck and neck with Barack Obama, Bloomberg Businessweek saw the opportunity to further the Obama campaign’s jihad against Romney the super-wealthy tax-avoiding capitalist, while reminding readers that Romney belongs to this sort of strange, secretive cult that’s also a business empire of questionable legitimacy.
So Caroline Winter’s cover story, investigates the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ darkest sin – successful capitalism. “How the Mormons Make Money,” describes a “sprawling church-owned corporate empire that the Mormon leadership says is helping spread its message, increasing economic self-reliance, and building the Kingdom of God on earth.” It points out the Mormons are real one-percenters: “Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the church’s holdings are vast.”
But the real affront to Mormons is the cover illustration. Business Insider’s Eric Platt enthused over “an image of John the Baptist bestowing the priesthood on [Mormonism founders] Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery. Josh Tyrangiel and Richard Turley, Businessweek's editor and creative director, had some fun with John the Baptist's instructions, which read, ‘...And thou shalt build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King, and open a Polynesian themepark in Hawaii that shall be largely exempt from the frustrations of tax...’
As MRC’s Culture and Media Institute has documented, the Obama campaign can’t make an issue of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism (it’s had to content itself with calling Romney “weird” and letting its base take the hint) its media surrogates have done so, and with an enthusiasm distinctly missing from their minimal coverage of candidate Obama’s Rev. Wright trouble in 2008. In the period between January 2011 and April 2012, the three broadcast networks mentioned Romney’s religion nearly 175 times.
But Romney’s Mormonism simply presents a particularly rich target in an increasingly anti-religious media environment. As CMI reported, in the first 10 months of 2011, the broadcast networks mentioned the GOP primary contenders’ religion seven times more than they did the Democratic candidates during the same period in 2007 (143 – 19). They were also 13 times more likely to critical or negative about those faiths.