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Hitting a nerve: News, religion, class

Terry Mattingly

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When it comes to media-bias surveys, God is almost as big a story these days as the president of the United States.

It helps if researchers release their work as journalists prepare for trench warfare in an election year. God is more newsworthy when linked to life's crucial issues, which, in journalism, are always politics, sports, entertainment and then more politics.

Thus, news coverage of a study by the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism immediately focused on the fact that 34 percent of national-level journalists described themselves as "liberal," 54 percent as "moderate" and 7 percent as "conservative." The majority of national journalists considered their peers too soft on President George W. Bush. In a 1995 survey, the criticism was that President Bill Clinton was being treated too harshly.

"These political questions always attract attention," said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the project. But this time around, the questions that offered the best insights into tensions between journalists and their readers were the "ones we included about religion and social issues. That may be the biggest issue of all."

Read the entire article on the Terry Mattingly website.

Posted: 6/12/04



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