Saturday, March 20, 2004

World Journalism Institute

So, a bunch of you were having fun looking into the World Journlalism Institute, an organization with this mission:

There is one primary reason why the World Journalism Institute should be committed to the education of young journalists: it comes directly from the need to be faithful to the Christian example of accurately reporting (e.g., being reliable eyewitnesses) the work of God in today's world.

We at WJI believe it is now time to implement a new phase of this statement in order to help turn out journalists capable of presuppositional reporting. WJI has the right kind of professional and academic support network established for a venture of this kind.

The practical need for Christian worldview journalists in our contemporary society is self-evident, but to simply note the obvious, there is the urgent need to provide journalistic "salt" and "light" and "leaven" within the mainstream media as a manifestation of our Christian obligation to lovingly model justice to our society

For decades, WJI's parent corporation, God's World Publications, has stood against the cultural, intellectual, and spiritual degradation of our society. GWP has placed its focus on reporting from a unapologetic Christian point of view.

Now we have grouped together an outstanding stable of Christian journalists, editors, and graphic artists. To this group we have added nationally known Christian theologians and apologists. A truly unique learning experience for current and aspiring Christian journalists has been created.

The list of those they claim as their faculty are here. Who's included?

Let's see. First, we have Roy Rivenburg, an LA Times staff writer who just wrote a wonderful article about how lots and lots of people really really think gay people shouldn't marry.

Then we have NPR's religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty who regularly reports on hot button social issues.

Can intelligent, professional men and women in America’s workplace culture come to the conclusion that they need Jesus Christ in their lives? In our next Marketplace Forum, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, noted journalist for National Public Radio, discusses how her journey to faith occurred in the setting of her career as a reporter. She also describes the role her faith plays in her daily work in a demanding profession.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty has been at National Public Radio since 1995, much of that time covering the Justice Department. Her reporting carries her into some of our nation’s most gripping stories: Columbine High School, President Clinton’s impeachment hearings, and September 11th’s tragedies.

Then there's David Cho, a metro reporter for the Washington Post who covers local religion issues. This guy likes to recycle his own story ideas. Note how he likes to contrast "christian" and "religious" with "gay."

Anyway, I could spend hours having fun with this I'm sure. And, maybe I will. But, at a time when the New York Times has fired a stringer reporter simply because he had worked as an AIDS awareness activist, and the San Francisco chronicle has forbidden two reporters from having anything to do with covering the same-sex marriage story because they got married, I'm a bit confused (And not, sadly, surprised), that a substantial number of reporters doing the religious beat are associated with an explicitly pro-religion pro-conservative Christian organization.

Part of the mission of the group's parent organization:

God, through the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, has lovingly redeemed a people who are commanded to believe in Him and to live holy lives through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. After Christ's bodily return to this earth to claim His people, they will reign with Him in the life to come. Those who do not believe will be judged by God and made subject to his eternal punishment.

Of course, the point isn't that I think all journalists need to be secular. But, this is an organization dedicated to training journalists to push a particular conservative Christian agenda from within mainstream news organizations, and many of their people are covering religion and social issues in top organizations. Including that liberal NPR. From my first pass look at some of the kinds of stories these people crank out, it seems they're quite good at creating fairly innocuous pieces which aren't obviously slanted propaganda, but which inevitably do push the position and emphasize the things you would expect.

...I'm hunting through some of the work of the NPR reporter...and, I'm thinking this is quite bad. Really really bad. I think we know now part of the reason the liberal NPR isn't goddamn liberal at all, particularly on these types of issues where she handles much of the reporting.