The Daily Beast has a piece out this morning calling into question the business leadership practices of Dave Ramsey, a personal finance guru with an eight million listener radio show, the highest-ranked non-political talk show out there. The story alleges that Ramsey has been on a witch hunt against former employees who are critics of his company, the Lampo Group.
Dave Ramsey makes millions telling you how to keep your financial house in order, but lately his employees claim he’s been having a bit of trouble with his own.
According to interviews with nearly two dozen current and former employees of his Nashville-based Lampo Group, Ramsey has engaged in what they describe as an increasingly paranoid campaign to identify and silence several critics—mostly former employees—who have appeared on Facebook and Twitter. Bizarre episodes allegedly involving online spying, gag orders, random firings, and offers of large cash bounties for information have created a climate of fear inside the Lampo headquarters, intensifying a discomfort many employees have felt the past several years with Ramsey’s management.
There is something incredibly telling in the writing, however, that lets you know exactly how the writer is going to portray Ramsey. It begins in the headline: “Spies, Cash, and Fear: Inside Christian Money Guru Dave Ramsey’s Social Media Witch Hunt” (emphasis mine).
The tone that begins there continues throughout the story. Ramsey, for those of you who have not heard his show, does quote the Bible and use his faith as the basis for his teachings. This story, however, reminds of us that at times where his faith is irrelevant to the facts the writer is trying to get across.
The entire first half of the third paragraph focuses on his faith as opposed to why he’s famous. The writer wants you to know Ramsey is one of those wacky evangelicals. The following paragraph makes sure to connect Ramsey’s hatred of gossip to the Bible.
Now, the behavior described in the story can be seen as extreme. You judge it however you like. It’s clear, though, that this writer takes issue with Ramsey’s faith and his insertion of that faith into his business. The writer does not tell you that Ramsey is not breaking any laws. He is the boss and he is defending his business. There is a description of a “gun incident” in vague terms, where you are clearly supposed to think his obsession with his online reputation has driven him insane.
But, the story always comes back to Ramsey being a Christian. That is what the writer takes issue with most. He finds that repulsive, and uses that to set up a story that is little more than a personal attack against an evangelical using quotes from bitter ex-employees who were mature enough to form a group to talk about their ex-boss behind their back and, when caught, made anonymous Twitter accounts to continue badmouthing him.
I like Ramsey. I like his show. I worked at a radio station that was an affiliate of his and currently work at a newspaper where one of the offices I work in has his show on almost all day. I know his messages, and I know that, while his faith is a large part of his life, it is not nearly as much a part of the show as this writer would have you believe. He can run his business with as much or as little faith input as possible. He has that right.
But, then again, the media doesn’t like the insertion of (Christian) faith into business practices, do they? Just remember the coverage Hobby Lobby got in their battle against mandated abortifacient insurance coverage.