Features

Bias is back

"Bias is back" Continued...

Issue: "9/11 remembered," Aug. 17, 2002

Several press exceptions to anti-Christian bias were evident. Yonat Shimron of the (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer tried to get at the facts of the Vines controversy by interviewing the Caner brothers and examining the Hadith. A Washington Post editorial writer appeared to recognize what its news reporters did not: Washington, D.C., public schools are so bad that even a religious school could be an improvement. But for the most part, reporters seemed content to solicit incendiary remarks without any apparent concern for truth.

Also unexplored was the reason why Muslims are so sensitive about any negative reference to Muhammad. Christians can read about Noah getting drunk, Abraham not protecting his wife, Jacob lying, Judah sleeping with his daughter-in-law, and so on, without being unduly upset, for sin is everywhere, and man's sin makes God's power and mercy in changing lives even more glorious. Muslim spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, though, popped up in the Washington Post to say that "Muslims see the prophet Muhammad as the ultimate example of moral behavior, so they really see this kind of attack on the prophet as gut-churning."

One reason religion is so powerful, though, it that it does churn guts; belief relates to the whole person and is more than intellectual. Mr. Vines was not diplomatic, but we have plenty of diplomats whispering sweet nothings about Islam. We slumber, and good preaching about controversial subjects like homosexuality or Islam wakes us up. So does a book about the willingness of two young women to risk their lives to bring Christ to others, or a Supreme Court decision about school choice.

In all four of these June stories, though, the press tendency-curious, given past journalistic willingness to light fires-was to tamp down. Many journalists proceeded on the assumption that homosexuality is a matter of personal choice (some would say destiny) but selection of a school for one's children is not. Many presupposed that all religions are pretty much the same and that evangelism in Afghanistan is a remnant of disrespectful imperialism.

Maybe those questions are settled among leading journalists but they are not within the public at large, and reporters should not use words about "hate" as a way to close off debate.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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