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  • Deborah Lyons lambastes news media

    By DAVID BARSTOW

    ©St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 1998


    TAMPA -- The wife of the Rev. Henry J. Lyons continued her criticism of media coverage at a Thursday night panel discussion sponsored by the Tampa Bay chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

    Deborah Lyons, speaking in the auditorium of the Tampa Tribune to a crowd of about 30 journalists and representatives of various religions, said of reporters, "They have tried to destroy our home. They have tried to destroy our convention."

    Reiterating a complaint she and her husband have made since shortly after the disclosure that Henry Lyons owns a $700,000 waterfront home with another woman, Mrs. Lyons said race was playing a role in the coverage.

    "The white media is out to destroy Dr. Lyons," Mrs. Lyons said.

    She was asked how she would cover the controversy, which began in July after she set fire to the waterfront home.

    "I would be honest," Mrs. Lyons said. "I would say first of all what happened to me."

    But she said she would not dig into Henry Lyons' financial dealings or those of the National Baptist Convention USA he heads or his family history.

    "I would allow the courts to do their job," she said. "Print the news."

    Referring to criminal charges expected to be filed soon against her husband, Mrs. Lyons said prosecutors have been pressured to act by a media vendetta.

    "The media kept on and kept on until finally the district attorney said he is going to investigate this," she said.

    "It's so unfair."

    Brian Anderson, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology, also spoke during the panel discussion and said that during more than two decades with Scientology, he has found that reporters rarely get the facts correct in stories about his church.


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