Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Media Doesn't Get Religion

You guys probably notice one thing I hammer on repeatedly is language. Context and communication are major interests of mine, particularly as they relate to topics of the Christian faith, and politics generally.

So I want to call attention to a site I'm adding to my blog list: Get Religion. Their main focus is on how the media at large covers religious topics - what language they use, what research they engage in, what they include, what they exclude. If you are at all interested in watching how the media covers religion, and great analysis on what they got wrong or right, check these guys out. It's a fascinating project, and should get vastly more attention than it currently does.

9 comments:

Syllabus said...

It's not just confined to the "media". Plenty of religious folks pervert language to much the same extent. Though, of course, do hold the media a bit more responsible for their cock-ups. They're supposed to have good methodology.

I think broadening the study pool might yield some interesting results. Could be fun.

Crude said...

Well, they certainly do. The media's particularly worth watching, though, merely because of the reach. Not to mention, the word games you find highlighted on Getreligion will have application elsewhere.

Syllabus said...

I particularly like the rephrasing of "same sex marriage" to "marriage equality" on the more liberal-leaning news agencies (read MSNBC, Huff, et al.) and the subsequent rephrasing of its antithesis to "standing for traditional marriage" by the more conservative news agencies. The first plays a wonderful word game that re-frames the debate in terms of something that is widely thought by its audience base to be intrinsic to humanity as a whole (equality), while the second is a reaction against the same which, while on the one hand arguably somewhat accurate, is still just another way to set the terms of the discussion. It's really annoying to see the media lose its objectivity. But not terribly surprising.

Crude said...

Setting the terms of the discussion is unavoidable, sadly. The best that can be done is to admit some bias from the outset, and move on with it. The problem is, admitting some bias doesn't help win many people over since everyone wants to chase after "objectivity".

And especially when objectivity isn't available - and I think it rarely, if ever, is - framing is important. But at least at the GR site, what they highlight tends to be more fair questions.

Cale B.T. said...

In "How Christians Got Out Maneuvered" you (Crude) noted, "imagine if pro-lifers thought bringing up abortion or 'killing infants' was rude, so they spoke in terms of how they 'are against certain reproductive health strategies'"

Several months ago, I read an interview with the English author Caitlin Moran. Regarding abortion, she said, "For if a pregnant woman has dominion over life, why should she not also have dominion over not-life?"

What's next? "The Non-life of a Salesman" "O non-life where is thy sting?"

Crude said...

Cale,

To be honest, I have no idea what the heck Caitlin Moran is even talking about. Am I missing something? Is this some kind of odd "abortion empowers me" move?

Cale B.T. said...

Your'e exactly right on the "empowerment" angle. She writes:

"On a very elemental level, if women are, by biology, commanded to host, shelter, nurture and protect life, why should they not be empowered to end life, too?"

Crude said...

It's hard to think of how to reply to such stupidity. I can only imagine she thinks she sounds poignant, when really she just sounds like a shallow thinker.

Syllabus said...

"On a very elemental level, if women are, by biology, commanded to host, shelter, nurture and protect life, why should they not be empowered to end life, too?"

Dr. Singer? Is that you?