Pod people: evangelical votes, philanthropy & Google

We’re a big fan of polls and reporters who understand how to use polls to show a particular trend. In a recent story, though, one reporter found a strange way to twist data for a set narrative that didn’t seem to hold up.

In our most recent podcast, we discussed a rather confusing piece from The Economist that simultaneously suggested the evangelical landscape is changing due to younger and Latino evangelicals, but it also suggested that more evangelicals are self-identifying with the Republican Party.

As Chris put it in the comments, “They’re growing more diverse AND they’re more Republican? I’m confused.” The article makes the point that evangelicals have struggled to vote for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary, but at the same time, many of the younger ones voted for President Obama in 2008.

Those who didn’t vote for Romney in the primary probably voted instead for Rick Santorum. Romney’s struggle in the Republican primary probably won’t carry the same parallels in the general election.

We’re also noticing a possible disappearance of the philanthropy beat where a reporter focuses specifically in that area. Sari wrote the following comment:

The Austin American Statesman has Andrea Ball, who covers charities and mental illness in the paper, as well as the paper’s charity chat. Arts organizations, which are also philanthropies (e.g., the opera, museums), are usually covered by the guy who handles social events. I can’t remember either of them ever taking. A religion angle.

While philanthropy doesn’t necessarily have religion angles, we see some possible overlap. One thing is becoming clearer: newspapers seem less eager to assign reporters to such specific beats.

Finally, we also talked about a course Google is offering that appears to have possible Buddhist underpinnings. Unfortunately, the reporter didn’t exactly spell out whether there were religious ideas and only mentioned the course founder’s Buddhism like you might mention the color of his eyes.

Enjoy the podcast.

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