Early Christmas present — for us

blindspot2Here’s the perfect Christmas and holiday season gift for that local editor that you’ve been meaning to call about the quality — good or bad — of the religion-news coverage in the newspaper that lands in your front yard each morning.

Here’s that link again, should you need it. Hint. Hint.

Actually, this Wall Street Journal review of Blind Spot — the review is written by my old Rocky Mountain News colleague Vincent Carroll — opens with a picture-perfect, GetReligion-esque example of the kind of ignoring the obvious coverage that fuels both this weblog. Here’s the opening, focusing on the work of religious-liberty scholar Paul Marshall:

In a jarring misreading of the Islamist mentality, the New York Times last month described a Jewish center in Mumbai, India, as the “unlikely target” of the terrorists who attacked various locations there. “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen,” the Times went on to declare, “or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

Paul Marshall would not be surprised by such stunningly naive statements. … Despite 9/11 and dozens of equally pitiless massacres, some journalists, Mr. Marshall says, are reluctant to accept the “fundamental religious dimension” of jihadist motives. Such journalists concentrate on “terrorist statements that might fit into secular Western preconceptions about oppression, economics, freedom and progress.” When terrorists murdered Christian workers while sparing Muslims in the offices of a Karachi charity in 2002, Mr. Marshall observes, “CNN International contented itself with the opinion that there was ‘no indication of a motive.’ Would it have said the same if armed men had invaded a multiracial center, separated the black people from the white people, then methodically killed all the blacks and spared all the whites?”

Actually, if that Times anecdote sounds a bit familiar, there’s a reason. The Washington Post did almost exactly the same thing, producing a parallel test case that we dissected on this blog.

So, remember this?

Speaking in London, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said … that American and British citizens had been “singled out” for attack by the assailants. Officials in Washington, meanwhile, said they had independently corroborated Indian intelligence that links the attacks to Lashkar-i-Taiba, a Pakistan-based extremist group with roots in the disputed Kashmir region. …

It is not known how the attackers seized on the low-key Chabad House, along with high-profile hotels and a train station, as one of their 10 targets.

I knew that you would.

Has anyone out there in reader land seen any other major reviews — good or bad — of the book?

Print Friendly

About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X