MUST-READ: How the media’s secular bias affects their news coverage

Here is a magnificent post up at Big Journalism, Andrew Breitbart’s new web site. (H/T ECM)

First, he talks about different journalists are from the rest of America:

The modern secular newsroom lacks the ideological know-how to truly understand religion.  Perhaps Terry Mattingly best exlplained the media’s “diversity problem”. According to Mattingly, “While there’s been heavy gender and racial diversity … there’s a lack of cultural diversity in journalism…”  It is this lack of diversity that leads to major misconceptions and the media’s inability to adequately tell stories that are rooted, themselves, in religious themes.

The lack of diversity may lie in the journalists themselves, as personal faith plays a role in the ability to understand and thus illustrate religious themes.  Just how religious are journalists?  According to USA Today, “the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported in 2007 that 8% of journalists surveyed at national media outlets said they attended church or synagogue weekly.”  Additionally, 29% reported never attending church services, with an additional 39% stating that they go a few times each year.  In sum: Not very religious – especially when compared to America as a whole.

Later on, he talks about how rigid conformity to secular presuppositions creates bias:

In covering the American Religious Identification Survey that was conducted in March 2009, the Pew Research Center wrote,

“A comment on the blog Matters of Faith declared, “The media’s tendency to give inordinate attention to religious dimwits and crackpots has seriously damaged the credibility of religious leaders. You rarely read or hear of the miraculously generous work of faith communities in caring for the poor and infirm around the globe. But let someone suggest that the Virgin Mary has appeared in a plate of refried beans and the bulletins circle the globe in minutes.”

This commentary targets one of the media’s main malfunctions when it comes to covering religion in general and Christianity in particular.  As is the case with most stories covered by the mainstream media, the more outlandish, the more the story is pursued.  In practice, this creates a climate of coverage strewn with the “dimwits and crackpots” mentioned above, as journalists lack the understanding or desire to seek a wide array of theological viewpoints.  Meanwhile, thousands of Christian missionaries risk their lives both domestically and internationally to make lasting spiritual and physical change in the lives of those in need.  Yet their stories go widely unnoticed.

Here is an example of news coverage that you will never see in the mainstream news.

The secular leftist media will run stories about Sarah Palin’s children, and the Duke Lacrosse non-rape, because even though the stories later turn out to be fraudulent, they want to send the right message. They view their work as propaganda designed to effect political change. And I think it is sometimes useful to reflect on the story in the video above and ask why such stories are not covered. And the answer is because the media doesn’t tell people about news that doesn’t fit their rigid ideological stereotypes.

I was chatting with ECM about this post, and he informed me about The New Yorker’s movie critic Pauline Kael, who was surprised by Republicans’ 49-state landslide victory in the 1972 federal election.

She said:

“How could that be? I don’t know a single person who voted for Nixon.”

And that’s the news media today. They are not informed about views different from their own. They do not question their own fundamentalist assumptions by seeking out debates. Everything they need to know about religious people they learned from watching “Inherit the Wind” and “Jesus Camp” and such propaganda that allows them to demonize anyone who disagrees with their worldview. You would think that their ignorance of the best arguments on the other side would make them cautious, but it doesn’t.

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