Today understanding of religion is essential to understanding many major news stories. This book examines how the media frequently miss or misunderstand these stories because they do not take religion seriously, and how they misunderstand religion when they do take it seriously. To the extent that journalists do not grasp events' religious dimensions, both global and local, the authors argue, they are hindered from, and sometimes incapable of, describing what is happening. However, on the national level the press is one of the most secular institutions in American society - not necessarily contemptuous of serious religion, just uncomprehending. The essays in this book examine nine specific news stories that were inadequately or incorrectly reported by major news sources because their religious dimension was ignored, overlooked, or misrepresented. These stories range from the 2004 U.S. presidential elections, to Iran, Iraq, and the papal succession. In each case the author demonstrates how the story might have been more effectively reported and concludes with specific suggestions for journalist. The authors include both scholars and experienced news analysts.
Although it will be of particular interest to people of faith, the book offers all readers an interesting and balanced analysis of the news media's uneasy relationship with religion and religious issues.