Media Bias

We begin by documenting the record of anti-Christian bias in the news media, noting that, while the media are usually very careful not to offend or slight other religions, Christianity receives far less deference. In a Washington Post article published December 7, 1997, entitled, "A Convergence of Fixed and Shifting Holidays," reporter Bill Broadway presented a paragraph summary of the fundamental beliefs of the various religions celebrating holy days in December, from Buddhism to Shinto. A cursory review of the text reveals that the descriptions of all the religions except Christianity were mostly positive or, at worst, neutral. But Broadway described Christianity as having a "tortured early history," and the years following Jesus' crucifixion as a "time of power struggles and confused theology." He was also quick to emphasize that "such confusion persists today in Christianity's different branches." Yet nary a word is mentioned, for example, about the different sects of Islam, which are presented as having a uniform theology. Nor is there any discussion about Reformed or Observant Jews, or the splintered branches of other religions.

To make matters worse, this article was reprinted in the Kidsbeat section of the Providence Journal, for all the children to read. This prompted one doctoral candidate in religious studies to submit a letter to the editor criticizing the shameless anti-Christian bias of the piece. Focusing on the article's depiction of Christianity as lacking consensus among its members, she said, "One must ask why nearly twenty percent of the world's population would believe something that rests on such flimsy grounds. I expect that this page will appear on bulletin boards in classrooms across America Today, the journal has done much to contribute to religious intolerance in America."

The media are also wont to disparage Christian conservatives, often using the pejorative "Religious Right" to taint them as intolerant, backwoods fanatics, and yet never labeling religious liberals, like Jesse Jackson, as the "religious left" or other leftists as "the anti-religious left." One of the most infamous examples of this is Michael Weisskopfs comment in the Washington Post concerning grass-roots Christian activists. The "gospel lobby," said Weisskop, "does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress, nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command."

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