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Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion

– tekijä: Paul Marshall (Toimittaja), Roberta Green Ahmanson (Toimittaja), Lela Gilbert (Toimittaja)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
343579,170 (3.5)-
Today understanding of religion is essential to understanding many major news stories. This book examines how the media frequently miss or misunderstand these stories because they do not take religion seriously, and how they misunderstand religion when they do take it seriously. To the extentthat journalists do not grasp events' religious dimensions, both global and local, the authors argue, they are hindered from, and sometimes incapable of, describing what is happening. However, on the national level the press is one of the most secular institutions in American society -- notnecessarily contemptuous of serious religion, just uncomprehending.The essays in this book examine nine specific news stories that were inadequately or incorrectly reported by major news sources because their religious dimension was ignored, overlooked, or misrepresented. These stories range from the 2004 U.S. presidential elections to Iran, Iraq, and the papalsuccession. In each case the author demonstrates how the story might have been more effectively reported and concludes with specific suggestions for journalist. The authors include both scholars and experienced news analysts. Although it will be of particular interest to people of faith, the bookoffers all readers an interesting and balanced analysis of the news media's uneasy relationship with religion and religious issues.… (lisätietoja)
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Vincent Carroll reviewed a new book in the Wall Street Journal in December of 2008 entitled Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion. What a fascinating book, and it made me think of just how blind we all are, in one respect or another.

The headline for Mr. Carroll’s review was “God Is A Problem, Sources Say”, and launches with a statement made in an article in the New York Times in November of that year regarding the attacks on Mumbai. The statement was excerpted in this way: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen or if it was an accidental hostage scene.” The Times also speculated that it was an “unlikely target” ………for Islam extremists?

Blind Spot discusses various conflicts throughout the world and the religious “blind spot” that seems to afflict most Western journalists. Editor Paul Marshall, as quoted by Mr. Carroll, said journalists reluctant to accept the “fundamentalist motives” of jihadist motives concentrate on “terrorist statements that might fit into secular Western preconceptions about oppression, economics, freedom and progress.”

I read that statement, and I was reminded immediately of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s attempt to destroy non-Muslim communities in the northern provinces when I was there in 1998, just as Israel today is using the issue with Hamas as a reason to destroy Palestine. Hamas is killing Israelis, and the U.S. – as a sovereign nation that used to be religiously tolerant – pushes to use the fundamentalist Christian God as a reason to infiltrate other conflicts, and so on.

Even in Africa, religion plays a part in conflict. Take, for instance, the Lord’s Resistance Army who hacked and killed hundreds in a church and the surrounding area in DR Congo not more than a couple of weeks ago. Not only was this not a top story in the U.S., the Lord’s Resistance Army – terrorists by all measures – was downgraded to the simple acronym LRA, and reported benignly as yet another hostile terrorist group. Take a look at all the predominant ruling parties in Africa and their adversaries. You will see that every single one of them is divisive not just ethnically, but religiously within that ethnicism.

Journalists ignore the religion factor, but the religion factor is everpresent – in conflict, in economics, in progress, in oppression. No one religious faction is more evil than another, either. They are all contributing factors to conflict, and yet journalists either bury their heads in the sand or are utterly ignorant of the factor religion plays in everything…or they wouldn’t plant a story in a news source as reputable as the New York Times that stupidly thinks that a Jewish center in Mumbai was not a calculated target for Islamist extremists.

Bias is everywhere in Western media – predominantly U.S. media – and most importantly bias against an understanding of fact-based reporting.

Terry Mattingly, one of the contributors to Blind Spot, has this recommendation for quality reporting: “Editors do not need to try to hire more reporters who are religious believers,” but reporters “who take religion seriously, reporters who know, or are willing to learn to hear the music.”

At a bookstore near you: Blind Spot: When Journalists Don’t Get Religion; Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, Roberta Green Ahmanson, ed. Oxford, 220 pages, $19.95. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
A bit outdated in parts but numerous examples demonstrate just how blind journalists are to the subtleties and nuances in religion. A chapter on terrorism and generally the misreporting on the Middle East is particularly instructive.

One key to misinterpreting Al-Qaeda is to downplay what Bin Laden thought critical: the end of the Ottoman Caliphate (pp. 32ff). In an important video produced in November of 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks Bin Laden maintains: "one of the key turning points in history was the ending of the Ottoman Empire and the fragmentation of the Muslim ummah by Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk through his creation of modern secular Turkey and abolition of the caliphate" (p. 32). This basic religious hatred, fostered by Bin Laden and unleashed throughout the Islamic world, has largely been unreported by the secular, anti-Christian American press.
  gmicksmith | Feb 22, 2010 |
Very good, examines hoe religion is covered in the media
  robertshaw | Apr 25, 2009 |
näyttää 3/3
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Marshall, PaulToimittajaensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Ahmanson, Roberta GreenToimittajapäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Gilbert, LelaToimittajapäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Today understanding of religion is essential to understanding many major news stories. This book examines how the media frequently miss or misunderstand these stories because they do not take religion seriously, and how they misunderstand religion when they do take it seriously. To the extentthat journalists do not grasp events' religious dimensions, both global and local, the authors argue, they are hindered from, and sometimes incapable of, describing what is happening. However, on the national level the press is one of the most secular institutions in American society -- notnecessarily contemptuous of serious religion, just uncomprehending.The essays in this book examine nine specific news stories that were inadequately or incorrectly reported by major news sources because their religious dimension was ignored, overlooked, or misrepresented. These stories range from the 2004 U.S. presidential elections to Iran, Iraq, and the papalsuccession. In each case the author demonstrates how the story might have been more effectively reported and concludes with specific suggestions for journalist. The authors include both scholars and experienced news analysts. Although it will be of particular interest to people of faith, the bookoffers all readers an interesting and balanced analysis of the news media's uneasy relationship with religion and religious issues.

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