Media & religion (was: Corporate transparency)

Russell Turpin
Wed, 09 Jan 2002 23:13:17 +0000

I wrote:
>>It seems to me mainstream American media still gives Christianity 
>>preferential treatment vis-a-vis other religions.

John Evdemon writes:
>Sorry, I can't agree with you on that one.  That statement may have been 
>true 10 or so years ago, but its not true anymore. It appears to be safe 
>(trendy?) to bash Christianity these days.

To me, the way you put your comment suggests you have
noticed a difference in how Christianity is treated
by the media today, in contrast to ten years ago. And I
agree, that has changed. But I think it is STILL the
case that Christianity gets treated favorably compared
to other religions. This is something that I don't think
Christians much notice, because other religious beliefs
don't concern. Let me give two examples.

First, I've heard Christians complain about the media
coverage given to Ashcroft's religiosity. Now it's true
that this would have caused less remark in the past. But
do you think the critical media attention to this is more
than it would be were Ashcroft a Moslem? Or a
Scientologist? If so, I want some of what you're smoking!

Which brings me to the second example. There is frequent
media criticism of minority religious beliefs. TV news
shows and books have focused on the problems of
Scientology, often remarking skeptically on its outlandish
beliefs. There are frequent exposes of alien abduction,
astrology, channeling, and many other things. Personally,
I think this is all good and is part of what the media
should do. What I wonder, though, is whether Christians,
when they see such stories, think of it as "religion
bashing"? And if they do, does it sticks in their memory
as much as a less criticial show on some aspect of

My own perception is that Christianity still gets treated
with a degree of deference vis-a-vis other religions, and
that the major religions get treated with a degree of
deference vis-a-vis less mainstream religious beliefs.
Most of the times when I hear Christians bring up
specific examples where they think the media mistreats
them, such as with Ashcroft above, they never consider
how things would be presented if it were a different
religion. They're just upset that in those instances,
they are the focus of negative attention. Their pedestal
is eroding, and they don't like the fact that some of
their beliefs might be mentioned in the same breath as

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