Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Media Suck

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know that. Amy Sullivan has a good article on the media's one-sided reporting of religion and politics.

"Kerry Takes Communion on Mother's Day" was the headline on a recent AP story about John Kerry's Sunday doings, followed by the lede: "Democrat John Kerry attended Mother's Day Mass on Sunday and took communion although some Roman Catholic leaders say he should not receive it because his abortion-rights stance violates church teachings."

Missing once again was the accompanying story that begins, "Republicans George Pataki and Tom Ridge attended Mother's Day Mass on Sunday and took communion although some Roman Catholic leaders say pro-choice politicians should not receive it because their stance violates church teachings."

Also no word on whether George W. Bush attended church over the weekend.

Frankly, I don't give a hoot if Bush goes to church. Anyone who has spent much time with an assortment of religious people knows that frequent church attendance doesn't necessarily make you a good person and that plenty of highly moral people never attend church. But if reporters are going to spill plenty of ink each and every Sunday on the church activities of one candidate, then they had better do the same for his opponent. Particularly if that opponent has staked much of his domestic agenda on the argument that civil society -- and particularly religious congregations -- holds the key to solving social problems. I think it's perfectly relevant and fair to ask why a man with such firm convictions about the power of religious congregations doesn't belong to a congregation himself.

So why doesn't he? Among the reasons I've been given is that the security precautions would be too onerous. This, it should be noted, is the exact same excuse Ronald Reagan proffered for not attending church at all during his time in Washington. And I'd almost buy it, if not for the fact that for several years in the late 1990s, I attended Foundry Methodist Church when the Clintons were members there and found that it took all of an extra five seconds to pass through the metal detectors and enter the church. Parishioners were not outnumbered by tourists (and, in any case, we were happy that they were in church, no matter what the reason) and the Clintons played an active role in the life of the church, with Chelsea particularly involved in the choir and youth group while she was still in town.

Go read the rest.