Good Friday...

It's Good Friday in the West and the news on the radio this morning began with "In the Philipines the event is marked by people nailing themselves to crosses and flogging themselves..." or some such twist.

For the most part I am appalled at media's coverage of religion. There are few reporters willing to do the leg work to go beyond the stereotypes and many who seem to approach the topic the same way a child approaches a plate of brussel sprouts. The complaints, especially from the religiously observant, about bias and incompetence in the media regarding religion are mostly true.

This story is an example of that, although the ABC radio journalist did mention after the fact that the Catholic Church frowns on the practice of self crucifixion. What was important was not how many millions around the world were commemorating the death of Jesus but rather what kind of bloody freak show they could dig up combining both an attempt to snare the gullible into listening while also conveying contempt for Christianity. If you have the patience don't be suprised if a story like this leads the news next year as well.

That kind of shoddy work is why I almost always start my day with a quick peek at www.getreligion.org , perhaps the single best www site out there examining the way the media covers, or fails to cover, religious news. GetReligion asks the important questions and evaluates the data in a professional and thoroughgoing way and especially now in the Lenten season when mainstream media outlets deliberately seek out controversy, sideshows, and heretics to cover it can be a most valuable place to get some focus.

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