Beliefs Cathy Lynn Grossman: Faith and Reason Culture Opinion

Reddit charity vote can stir pro- and anti-gay passions

Reddit invited its audience to vote for charities that will divide $820 million from the social web site. But the ideological spinning has already begun. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Which headline is correct?

  • Anti-gay groups receive high rankings from Reddit’s charity partner
  • Pro-gay groups receive high rankings from Reddit’s charity partner
  • Both headlines
  • Neither headline

Answer: Both. But only the first is out there in the hyperbolic world of web headlines, so far as I know.

Why, you ask, does social news hub Reddit — self-proclaimed Internet Front Page — have a charity partner?

This week, the company announced it will give more than $82,000 to each of 10 charities to celebrate its $820 million in advertising profits in 2014. (Nice for a site that just started ads in 2013.

Reddit invited its audience to vote for charities that will divide $820 million from the social web site. But the ideological spinning has already begun. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Reddit invited its audience to vote for charities that will divide $820 million from the social web site. But the ideological spinning has already begun. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Anyone with a Reddit account set up before Tuesday, Feb. 17 can vote to choose the charity or charities they’d like to see rewarded.

This was all announced a year ago along with complicated rules and controls set up to avoid “shenanigans” such as ballot-stuffing or trolling while still allowing “Lobbying and campaigning for one non-profit or another…”

Since no one wants to pony up moola for a wasteful charity, Reddit has gone with the non-profit Charity Navigator, as a partner. Charity Navigator rates do-gooder groups by whether they are financially responsible and transparent. Do they spend the funds they raise for the causes they claim to serve? Do they spend it wisely (no siphoning off huge chunks for splashy fundraising events while just giving pittance to the cause)?

The partnership is to protect voters from potentially sending a donation down a fiscally irresponsible drain.

However, Charity Navigator does not rule on the validity, nobility or righteousness of any cause. It strictly describes and rates them from zero to four stars for their fiscal operation.

Open the door and stand back for spin!

The Daily Dot web site, a social news contender with Reddit, howls in its headline:  “Anti-gay groups receive high rankings from Reddit’s charity partner .”

And the article cites four examples of three and four-star sites that, in theory, could get votes but that represent opposition to same-sex marriage and gay rights:  The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, now headed by his son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, who once write Satan was behind gay right advocacy; Focus on the Family; and two organizations listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council.

Wait! What about the headline I made up — the second one that screamed Reddit’s partner gives high rankings to pro-gay groups?

No one has used that — yet. But it’s also accurate.

The $82K+ winners could just as easily be the Charity Navigator four-star rated agencies known for  their same-sex marriage and LGBT rights advocacy or promoting women’s reproductive health and right to legal abortion. They could be the:

Since you can vote more than once, you can even send the system into ideological chaos by picking one from pro-and-anti LGBT on separate votes.

So, step right up folks. Vote your ideology in the name of charity.

The winner, of course, for incalculable amounts of attention, will be Reddit.

About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues

6 Comments

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  • Sounds like the charity is modeled after a politician. Give me money and I will represent you honestly. You too. And yes, of course you, and most definitely you! Wait………..where was I? What money?

  • and two organizations listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council.

    And do you think you might have the integrity to point out that the Southern Poverty Law Center was exposed fifteen years ago as a skeezy direct-mail mill, in Harper’s of all places?

  • separate votes. So, step right up folks. Vote your ideology in the name of charity.

    You mean a donation is not a donation if Cathy Lynn Grossman declares it ‘ideological’?

  • Yes, anti-gays fear the facts that the SPLC documents about their bad behavior. I note you didn’t provide a URL for that article. It must not really say what you claim. Anti-gays are known for their dishonesty. That is the central point about what the SPLC says about anti-gay Hate Cults, that they lie repeatedly.

  • Yes, anti-gays fear the facts that the SPLC documents about their bad behavior.

    SPLC collects donations from gullible people to finance handsome salaries for a handful of lawyers. Their legal work does little good for their scatter of icon plaintiffs. If you wish to contribute to a fund for Mrs. Morris Dees’ collection of expensive knick-knacks, go ahead.

    I note you didn’t provide a URL for that article.

    This may come as a surprise to you, but once upon a time, magazines were printed on paper and indexed in sources like Readers Guide to Periodical Literature. Go to your public library and ask to see bound copies of Harper’s published during the period running from 1998 to 2000, and you will find it.

  • Cathy Lynn Grossman:

    Reddit’s 2014 advertising revenue was not $820 million. It was $8,276,594.93. You have reported a revenue amount which is 10,000% larger than the actual revenue amount. Great work and kudos to the fact checkers at RNS!

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