Sunday, April 11, 2004

Editorial Bias

Media bias is a common theme in current events commentary these days. Mostly of the time it is a conservative complaining about "liberal bias" in the media. Often they say that liberal reporters can't report on religion without bashing it. I hope Peter Bronson has read this article in his newspaper about religion in the city. This article was written by a liberal. I don't think I am outing Maggie as a liberal, so I hope no one is aghast at this news, especially Maggie. Her article is very positive on a whole variety of religious groups and specific churches in Cincinnati. In fact the article gives no criticism of any of the groups, which some of them deserve. I don't have a problem with that. I would have add a few other things, but likely if they were added, the editors took them out.

What I am most dismayed at is the title of the article: "Younger worshippers flock back to church: From mainline to modern, youthful ministries flourish." Now, I am fairly sure that most reporters never write their own headlines. That is done by editors. In this case the bias of those editors comes out in full glory. Read this excerpt from the article:
According to a March Gallup poll, 48 percent of America's 18- to 29-year-olds and 59 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say religion is important in their lives.

But a much smaller number attends services. Only 30 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 40 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say they have attended services in the past week.

Despite national surveys that say there has been only a slight attendance increase among young people over the past decade, local churches say they are seeing a significant upswing of young faces in their congregations.
So nationally few younger people are going to church (with a ?slight attendance increase? over the last ten years) and local church groups claim they are seeing a ?significant? increase in attendance, that information is then somehow transformed to "flourish" and "flock back?" Local churches who are in the business of spinning their message to gain new members are claiming they are beating the national trends, but they don't provide support for their comments and this is enough to claim that young people are filling local churches like their is no tomorrow?? (cough, cough) This information is in the article and editors paint the story as a ?Win? for religion on a big church holiday. How convenient.

I also hope that Freddi Caldwell, a subject in the article, was also joking when he told Maggie that he was a former ?heathen.? If not, well that indicates to me a sign of not only ignorance, but a sign of a person grasping for meaning and buying into something because it?s easy. He was going on about drinking filling a void. If he is an alcoholic I hope he is not claiming he drank because he was not religious. Alcoholism is a disease, not the result from the lack of religious conviction. Religion can satisfy people?s emotional needs, but not their physical needs.

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