MediaWatch August 1993
Table of Contents:
- Executive Summary
- PBS Documentary Series Routinely Excludes Conservative Experts, Topics
- NewsBites: It's His Fault
- Revolving Door: deLaski's Defensive Detai
- Networks Legitimize NRDC's Press Release Science
- Two Views on the Ozone Hole
- Russert Returns to 1990
- Media's Lack of Religion Addressed
- Janet Cooke Award: CBS Street Stories Touts France's Socialist Day Care System, Downplays the Costs
Media's Lack of Religion Addressed
Absence of Chalice
Since Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf called Christians "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command" in a February 1 story, the media's shallow coverage of religion received some overdue attention.
In the July/August Columbia Journalism Review, Time political writer Laurence Barrett admitted: "Newspapers, magazines and networks frequently assign African-Americans to cover civil rights stories and related issues. Women journalists of a liberal bent often write about feminist concerns. Even if we had more conservative evangelicals in the ranks, I doubt they would be employed the way blacks and women have been. Conservative Christians are politically suspect." Barrett blamed "the cultural chasm dividing most national political writers and editors from the roughly 20 percent of the population that constitutes the core of the white, conservative evangelical movement."
Similarly, Scripps-Howard religion columnist Terry Mattingly described the greatest bias in the July/August Quill. "Bias of world view. It is hard to write a good story if you don't care that it exists." Mattingly wondered: "Can the `media elite' afford to offend a large segment of the population in an age of declining interest in newspapers and traditional network news?" Indeed, Barrett found "one reason for the deepening alienation of religious conservatives is that they've just about tuned out the mainstream media."