BREAKING! “Journalist consensus: Media leans left” http://t.co/cYHlarHLS9
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) December 18, 2013
Methinks that the “BREAKING!” nature of that Twitter post was an editorial comment on the part of Mark, a senior writer at the conservative Weekly Standard.
“New” news or not, the Politico article to which Mark linked probably will interest many GetReligion readers.
Let’s start at the top:
On a Playbook Breakfast panel, the Times’ Peter Baker and Mark Leibovich, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and CNN’s Jake Tapper all said “yes” when asked if the news media lean left — though all agreed it was a nuanced issue having more to do with journalists’ life experiences than with any particular agenda.
“Most of my colleagues, I have no idea what their politics are. … But think about it: I live in northwest Washington, none of my neighbors are evangelical Christians, I don’t know a lot of people in my kid’s preschool who are pro-life,” Leibovich said. “When you have conversations, at all the newspapers I’ve worked at, about politics — it doesn’t happen often — but you see clues that there is absolutely a left-wing bias.”
The Daily Caller, meanwhile, poked fun at the question of whether the media lean left:
Maybe a better question: Do ducks quack?
The idea that reporters don’t know any evangelicals, of course, isn’t all that shocking either, especially given what The New York Times’ Michael Luo said in a Christianity Today interview that we highlighted last week:
Many Christians consider The New York Times hostile toward evangelical faith. Is that a fair assessment?
Most evangelicals — and non-evangelicals — would be surprised by the lengths that reporters and editors go to fairly report the news. We agonize almost daily over individual sentences, even phrases, in articles and headlines, web summary lines and captions, to make sure they are fair and unbiased. Do we always succeed? No, but the effort is almost always there.
On the other hand, sometimes you can’t know what you don’t know. A lot of reporters and editors at The Times don’t know any evangelicals, have never set foot in a church, and have worldviews that are far removed from evangelicals’. … They might not know that evangelical is a theological orientation, not necessarily a political one; that there’s a difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism; that plenty of evangelicals do not believe the earth was created in six 24-hour days; that not all evangelicals believe in the Rapture. Ignorance can lead to inaccurate and misleading characterizations. And yes, it can lead to bias seeping through in the way Christians are depicted.
Back to the Politico article: It’s not a long piece, so I better resist the urge to copy and paste whole thing. But be sure to read it all because it contains other references to faith. Then come back here for the class assignment.
OK, is everybody back?
The Politico article prompted this tweet, which I found humorous, from one Southern Baptist:
— Adam Winters (@agwinters) December 18, 2013
For those unfamiliar with the term, friendship evangelism basically involves an evangelical believer befriending a non-believer in hopes of leading that person to Christian faith.
Here’s my question for GetReligion readers, particularly evangelicals: Do you personally know journalists who work for mainstream news organizations? If so, has your acquaintance or friendship with them broadened your — or their — horizons?
As always, folks, this is a journalism website, so please keep comments focused on media coverage issues.