Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Timeline to Help Counter Biased Reporting

The Lead points us to an article of interest; LEFT BEHIND:
The Skewed Representation of Religion in Major News Media
. From the report:

Among the study's key findings:

  • Combining newspapers and television, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed in news stories 2.8 times as often as were progressive religious leaders.
  • On television news -- the three major television networks, the three major cable news channels, and PBS -- conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed almost 3.8 times as often as progressive leaders.

  • In major newspapers, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed 2.7 times as often as progressive leaders.
  • In a related discussion, Get Religion identifies part of the problem in a commentary about a particular story that appeared in the Baltimore Sun :

    Clearly, the Anglican vs. Episcopal warfare is just getting started at the local level here in the United States, which means that more and more religion reporters are going to have to wade into this journalistic swamp in the weeks, months and years ahead...

    ...The heart of the story comes early, in the grit-your-teeth-and-write-it background paragraphs that reporters simply have to write in order to help readers understand what is, supposedly, going on.
    Reporters, scrambling to meet deadlines, are going to gravitate towards the best summations of our current unpleasantness. To assist them, one of Get Religion's recommendations is this article, which points to this timeline. Get Religion does identify this particular timeline as "conservative" (which, it seems to me, is quite the understatement). But, a reporter trying to get a quick grasp of things Anglican will most likely click right through the article to get to the meat; who, what, where and when. Since there is no alternative timeline available, to my knowledge, reporters will most likely lean on this particularly bias presentation of events to write their stories.

    Thanks to Richard, that is no longer the case. He has provided us with another timeline that presents most of the same material, but from a more progressive perspective. I've posted a shorter version of it over in the Community.

    Bookmark this. Print it out. When the media ask you for a summary of how we got to where we are right now, this will provide you with the necessary background information.

    Is this bias? Sure. But now a good reporter will have both perspectives to consider, which just may result in more balanced news coverage.


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