To be commended to your regular attention is the Get Religion site, the very useful and unique site that pursues what it calls “holy ghosts”, the traces and hints of religion in mainstream news stories and analyzes the major media’s treatment (sometimes good, but often clueless or biased and sometimes very clueless or very biased, or both at once) of religion and religious people. It reviews the media’s coverage of religion through journalistic canons. The writers don’t expect journalists to advance religion but simply to cover it well and fairly, as journalists would, or should, try to cover any other subject.
Here, for example, are two recent stories of interest to our readers:
Mollie Hemingway’s Tough questions: ‘You gonna put those shoes on again?’, which looks at the media’s ardent puffery of Texas’ filibustering legislator.
Why not ask her some questions about the moral distinction between what Kermit Gosnell was convicted of and late-term abortion? Why not ask her why abortion doctors should not have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, in case of problems? Why not ask her why abortion clinics should not have the same standards of care as other ambulatory surgery centers? These aren’t gotcha questions and they’re not even tough. Certainly someone who filibustered the bill has thought through the answers but I’ll be darned if I can find a single journalist who thought to ask these questions of the media’s favorite politician this week.
And Joe Carter’s Tough questions: ‘You gonna put those shoes on again?’, which deals with an AP story of supposedly pro-homosexual marriage Evangelicals. the article, he says, is “confusing, misleading, and unfocused.” For one thing, of the two examples of such people it offered, one is a mainline Christian and the other not clearly an Evangelical. For another thing, it claims that homosexual Evangelicals who support the traditional teaching feel “demonized” without presenting any evidence at all that this is true.
The site is not entirely negative, because the writers are careful to highlight the examples of good coverage of religion. And an unexpected benefit from reading the site is the education in a subject one can get from reading criticism of bad coverage.