Is balance in media coverage about faith possible?

If you’re tired of unbalanced media coverage about faith matters in general and the Catholic Church in particular, see the post at
acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2009/06/news-flash.html and click “comment” at the bottom of the post to add your suggestions to the list.

Take up a new hobby: writing to the sponsors of radio and television programs.

Unbalanced reporting? Could you provide some examples? I think the media often report wrongly on matters of religion and science because they are unfamiliar with both, but I am not sure that indicates a bias. Although I do believe it possible for journalists to let their personal biases into a story, are you suggesting that such biases are system-wide?

I’m not talking so much about falsehood as I am about overweighting the coverage of sensational (instances of abuse, adulterous priests) while leaving stories about the good done by people of faith largely unreported.

Yes, it is. In the area in which I live, there is a major newspaper which employs several reporters who cover faith issues almost on a daily basis, and they do so in a balanced and intelligent manner. One reporter in particular covers almost nothing but stories related to the Catholic faith. He happens to be a member of my parish.When an issue comes up which may reflect badly on the church, he approaches it with a fair and balanced point of view, neither sugarcoating it nor sensationalizing it. A columnist who belongs to a predominantly black Protestant church frequently reports on the “good news” from her denomination and others. Letters to the editor frequently pour in about the good job that those reporters are doing and request more of such articles.

Also, if any of you have not already, read Commonweal, a Catholic news magazine that has been around for a long time. This offers intelligent and balanced coverage.

As a former journalist, I know all too well the temptation to “run with the pack” and pounce on any kind of sensationalism, whether it is faith-based or not. I finally got out of commercial radio for that, among other, reasons. Bad news sells, alas. But there are good reporters out there, and good sources for news. Do not be discouraged. Also, if you find reports in the media that are blatantly false regarding issues of faith, write to the editor of the newspaper or manager of the broadcast station which has put them out. Boycott the products they advertise, and of course be prepared to defend your position.

Grace and Peace be with you all.

I’m glad you find this to be the case, and wish there were more such coverage in the press here. But it’s encouraging to know that there is balanced, fair reporting to be found! Whether on matters of faith or politics, I find most news coverage tends to seek out and expose the seamy side of life far more energetically than it does anything else. And I’m not pointing fingers only at the media. Those who are consumers of the news* (is that the right phrase??)* show a voracious appetite for the sensational. I bet far more people focused on news about Michael Jackson yesterday than about the troop withdrawal in Iraq.

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