Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The media and religion

An article in USA Today reports on the problems that can arise when reporters unfamiliar with religion attempt to write about it:
Truth is, far too many journalists veer into mental ditches when asked to cover events and trends rooted in religion. That's bad news when it comes time for serious, accurate coverage of a variety of stories that ordinary readers care about — from trends in Hollywood to debates about free speech in schools, from "sectarian" bloodbaths in Iraq to hard data linking what happens in pews to what happens in ballot boxes.
. . .
After the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the International Herald Tribune described his vestments and added: "Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow's ear, that he had carried in public."

Actually, that ornate shepherd's staff is called a crosier (or crozier), not a "crow's ear." And did a BBC producer really write a subtitle that said "Karma Light" nuns were mourning the pope (as opposed to Carmelites)?

The entire article is here.