Blinded by their own erroneous news frame that the last election was all about "moral values," the news media are devoting more airtime to everything Jesus.
No matter how much columnists and media critics bemoan the sorry state of American journalism, no matter how low the press sinks in the estimation of the American people, the news media, particularly on television, remains defiantly abysmal. Now, on top of the usual toxic doses of runaway brides, irrelevant celebrity trials and President Bush holding hands with Crown Prince Abdullah, we have the rise of Jesus News.
Blinded by their own erroneous news frame that the last election was all about "moral values," and pressured to give religion more coverage by an evangelical right running on methamphetamines, the news media are devoting more airtime to everything Jesus.
What are we to make of the rise of Jesus news? Yes, it is indeed important to know what the religious right is up to, especially as they seek to pack the courts with Jesus freaks, outlaw the teaching of evolution, reverse decades of environmental regulation because "the rapture" is just around the corner, and suppress free speech and academic freedom on college campuses by charging that evangelical students are "silenced' and "harassed" and thus should be able to sue.
But that's not the detailed coverage we're getting, at least not on TV. Instead, Jesus news embezzles time away from stories people really need to hear, like much more detailed coverage of the Bush/Republican energy bill, which got a total of six minutes of coverage from all three networks when it passed the house the week of April 18.
The parade of evangelicals on TV exaggerates the numbers of these folks and makes them seem much more influential than they are--or certainly should be. Rather than clones of the Christian Broadcasting Network, we need solid, investigative work about the money, organizations and, indeed, the cynicism behind all of these crusading efforts to turn our country into a giant Bible camp.
I think this trend is very troubling. Yesterday's Smirking Chimp published an article entitled, "Dominionism is an evil child". I do think the hijacking of the mainstream news outlets by the religious right is part of an overall strategy to establish a theocracy in the United States. It is very important that we support such organizations as the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State that are fighting the strategy of the hard right.