At its best, Get Religion is akin to what the Greenville Delta-Democrat Times was in the post-war white South: a rare publication that questions the establishment’s assumptions and reveals its sins of omission and commission.
Of course, the Delta-Democrat Times took aim at an entire ruling class, not just its members in the press, and its staff were, suffice to say, under physical danger, as GR staff are not. Yet few publications challenge in a serious way the press’ world view, and GR is one of them.
I hope that some of my stories for GR have been in this emperor-has-no-clothes vein. Four of my favorite stories sought to expose the media’s sins of omission:
“New monks are revolutionaries” (Jan. 27, 2008) Stephanie Simon of the Los Angeles Times is a fine reporter, but she focused on the lives of budding monastics and likely overlooked the major social critique these people were making.
“Are Democrats not religious?” (Jan. 8, 2008) Ever since their nominee lost yet another presidential election, the Democrats were said to have gotten religion. So in the wake of the Iowa caucus, did journalists and pollster examine whether religious voters supported the Democrats? You probably know the answer to that one.
“Missing a fact of life” (Dec. 8, 2007): Few reporters mention that on one question, biologists agree: in the overwhelming number of cases, human life begins at conception.
“Paging Pat Moynihan” (Nov. 15, 2007) For more than four decades, the black family has been crumbling. So have reporters come up with an adequate explanation for this major trend? No.
A final story argued in essence that the media were engaging in wish fulfillment:
“The Great Incremental Evangelical Crackup” (Nov. 17, 2007) Reporters told us repeatedly that evangelical voters were moving away from the Republican Party. Alas, this bit of conventional wisdom had little foundation in reality.