One of the books that I’m reading for my research paper in Contemporary Issues in Journalism makes the argument that, owing to journalists’ professional disregard and wariness of all things religion, reporters are getting an incomplete picture of the world. How incomplete? At least half, according to the book, and that’s not including the other other half that gets coverage that is often incorrect.
The author of the foreword, Michael Gerson, attributed the missed stories and misunderstandings to “secular blinders,” and said the more sophisticated our knowledge of religion (i.e. the sooner we take off the veils), the more sophisticated our knowledge of the world.
The book promises to go beyond just diagnosing the problem to making prescriptions for a remedy. I’ll be sure to blog about my thoughts on those solutions. I hope they go beyond merely advocating acceptance of this “professional dichotomy” that is holding newsrooms hostage and actually get at the underlying inconsistencies that have resulted in this cognitive dissonance of religion in the press.
From what I can tell just by reading the foreword and the introduction, this book will make an attempt.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the most recent developments in the discourse on religion and journalism should check it out: http://www.blindspotreligion.com/