One of the realizations I had while writing I Sold My Soul on eBay was that there were more “liberal” religious people out there than I had ever anticipated. I rarely heard their voices in the press, so it was surprising to me that so many Christians with progressive views existed.
Apparently, Jerry Falwell didn’t represent most Christians.
Here are their key findings:
- Combining newspapers and television, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed in news stories 2.8 times as often as were progressive religious leaders.
- On television news — the three major television networks, the three major cable new channels, and PBS — conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed almost 3.8 times as often as progressive leaders.
- In major newspapers, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed 2.7 times as often as progressive leaders.
Despite the fact most religious Americans are moderate or progressive, in the news media it is overwhelmingly conservative leaders who are presented as the voice of religion.
Here’s one example of a typical trend, where conservatives were quoted, interviewed, or mentioned in major newspapers or television nearly three times as often as their progressive counterparts:
It all just goes to show how skewed the representation of religion is in the media. The loudest voices don’t necessarily represent the most people. (And I have yet to meet a Catholic who agrees with Bill Donohue.) Still, the media flocks to the fundies when they need a religious soundbyte rather than seeking out someone with a shred of intelligence.
[tags]atheist, atheism, I Sold My Soul on eBay, Christian, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Media Matters, conservative, Catholic, Bill Donohue[/tags]