Skip to comments.God Is a Problem, Sources Say: how secular newsrooms handle stories with a religious component
Posted on 12/23/2008 8:47:35 AM PST by Alex Murphy
In a jarring misreading of the Islamist mentality, the New York Times last month described a Jewish center in Mumbai, India, as the "unlikely target" of the terrorists who attacked various locations there. "It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen," the Times went on to declare, "or if it was an accidental hostage scene."
Paul Marshall would not be surprised by such stunningly naïve statements. In "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion" -- a collection of essays that he edited with Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson -- he notes that similar assertions have been common in the coverage of Islamic terrorism. The book's contributors explore all sorts of news stories with a religious component -- Islamic and otherwise -- showing where reporters have veered off course and discussing the reasons why.
Despite 9/11 and dozens of equally pitiless massacres, some journalists, Mr. Marshall says, are reluctant to accept the "fundamental religious dimension" of jihadist motives. Such journalists concentrate on "terrorist statements that might fit into secular Western preconceptions about oppression, economics, freedom and progress." When terrorists murdered Christian workers while sparing Muslims in the offices of a Karachi charity in 2002, Mr. Marshall observes, "CNN International contented itself with the opinion that there was 'no indication of a motive.' Would it have said the same if armed men had invaded a multiracial center, separated the black people from the white people, then methodically killed all the blacks and spared all the whites?"
But surely journalists do a better job at stories in their own backyards. Actually, no. According to the evidence in "Blind Spot," the coverage is often worse. Jeremy Lott reminds us, for example, of the media hysteria in 2004 that greeted the release of the movie "The Passion of the Christ."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Liberalism is a mental illness. These journalists are not exactly naive. They fail to see these things, but not because they are ignorant. You can brings information to them about political bias, or religious bigotry in the news and their response will be a flat: “No. No. That’s not the case. Not at all. In fact, I would say that my newspaper bends over backwards and probably handles Jewish and Christian issues more carefully then they deserve. If anything we shortchange women and minorities by making such a big effort to treat the religious nutcases fairly.”
I love Abb’s “Dinosaur Media Deathwatch” pings.
But, sadly, where are they going to find these journalists who take religion seriously? Our schools of journalism today teach aspiring reporters that their job is not to report the news unbiasedly, but to "make a difference" and "change the world" -- from a liberal worldview, of course.
When performed right, journalism can be a noble profession that informs and educates. But much of the journalism of today is pure propaganda written by fools and simpletons.
An unlikely target? I swear some in the media commit such an afront to the truth that they should burst into flame when caught standing in the sun light.
I think this is an interesting comment:
From: “George Murphy”
Subject: Re: [asa] Anti-Creationism Lecture
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 19:59:15 -0500
2 observations here which suggest that we take a broad view in evaluating today’s attitudes toward Christianity.
1) I’ve started what looks like a decent book on justification by Alexander Miller, The Renewal of Man, that was published in 1955. He begins by comparing the climate of the 50s, in which many intellectuals were taking various forms of religion and spirituality seriously, with the rationalistic atmosphere of the 20s. “Certain it is, at any rate, that a member of the class of ‘57, sniffing the intellecual air of his time, would breathe, not necessarily a pious air, but an air more congenial to piety, than that which caught our Christian lungs in 1929.”
It’s easy to criticize the 50s & to point out what happened in the following decade but that just emphasizes my point, which is that we have no reason to think that the current popularity of militant atheism is more than a passing fad.
2) I’m on the mailing list for the “Center for Inquiry” since I’ve subscribed in the past to Skeptical Inquirer. For those unfamiliar with it, it wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to call the organization the Center for Promotion of Atheism. In the 1st paragraphs of a recent letter Paul Kurtz, the president & chair of the center, says, “I am appealing to you, dear reader, to help us overcome the grave financial crunch that the Center for Inquiry and its affiliates now face. ... [I]f we fail to raise an additional $865,000 by the end of the year, the Center for Inquiry and its affiliates will be compelled to enact harrowing cutbacks ... cutbacks that will spare nothing, not even core operations.”
I.e., any notion that the militant atheists are jogging a victory lap is quite wrong.
No relation :P
Now THAT's the kind of news that I'd buy a newspaper to read about.
“Liberalism is a mental illness. These journalists are not exactly naive. They fail to see these things, but not because they are ignorant. You can brings information to them about political bias, or religious bigotry in the news and their response will be a flat: No. No. Thats not the case. Not at all. ..” ~ ClearCase_guy
Their mental illness is critiqued further here:
Life Amidst the Postmodern Ruins
“... I was very impressed with how Chesterton, although writing in 1907, had already diagnosed the pathologies of the left. In fact, his ideas mirror exactly what Polanyi wrote some 50 years later about the moral inversion of the left, i.e., the dangerous combination of radical skepticism and an unhinged, ruthless moral perfectionism unbound from tradition.
Chesteron writes of the socialist that although he may have a large and generous heart, it is not a heart in the right place. And only a human being can have a heart dangerously set in the wrong location. It generally occurs when a religious scheme is shattered as a result of their intense skepticism. When this happens, it is not merely the vices that are let loose. Rather, the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. Just because someone has a moral code, it hardly means that they are moral.
I have written a number of posts on the dynamics of this pathological process, which I thought that Polanyi had been the first to recognize. But Chesterton also writes of how the modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.
Most every destructive policy put into place by the left can be traced to some Christian virtue gone mad i.e., feed the hungry, so steal from the rich and call it giving, or defending abortion on the basis of the sanctity of liberty, or encouraging every manner of deviancy under the guise of tolerance. [snip - continue reading at above link]
Belief in Disbelief, or Inside the Postmodern Skeptic Tank
[T]he new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything.... And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything. For denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.... In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. ~ G.K. Chesterton [snip - continue reading at above link]