Reporters Miss the Religion Story and Their Readers Lose

We rightly complain that Pagan matters are poorly or perfunctorily covered in the news media. Jason Pitzl-Waters writes many blog posts sorting through news coverage and pointing out its failings (and occasional successes).

But the problem is bigger than us. Even the the major world religions’ roles in the news are overlooked or misunderstood by reporters whose frequent secular bias and lack of education leads them to disdain religious issues. How often, for example, does coverage of the incipient civil war in Syria mention that it falls right along the Sunni-Shiite Muslim divide?

In a blog post titled “Don’t Know Much about Theology,” Walter Russell Mead makes what should be the obvious point.

Even where religion isn’t driving conflict, it plays a powerful role in the way people understand their own personal identities and life stories and in the way they interpret world events. Turkey, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, Nigeria: in these countries and in many others, it is impossible to understand contemporary politics without a deep feel for the religious identities and traditions that shape the way the people of these countries perceive and interpret political and historical realities.

A lot of news stories are missed or misunderstood, he says, and he’s right. It’s worth reading the whole thing.

Stop in at Get Religion for daily coverage on how the news “professionals” mangle or miss the religious element in the news.