When less isn't more

evangelicals for mittGosh, once we get through Tuesday, it's only two years until the next presidential election. And unless Tom Cruise throws his hat in the ring, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the candidate whose religion will get the most media attention. In that vein, Scott Helman of The Boston Globe filed a report yesterday about meetings Romney is holding with evangelical leaders. Romney has met with Southern Baptist Richard Land and conservative activist Gary Bauer, as well as local pastors in South Carolina.

The meetings have touched on several themes, participants say, but two topics being discussed are Romney's religious beliefs and how he should address his faith as the campaign progresses.

The story also says that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which Romney belongs, is meeting with newspapers and other media outlets in an attempt to explain its beliefs and practices. It's a very interesting story, but for a story about religion, there is very little in it. For instance:

Polls indicate that the religion is widely misunderstood and viewed skeptically by many in the United States.

This is a great thing to mention, but I wonder why there are no details.

What polls? How is the religion misunderstood? What does widely mean? This is sort of the whole point of the story, so it would be nice to have some details about the situation on the ground.

The story discusses a group that was formed to demystify Mormonism called RunMittRun.org. The group runs focus groups that have found voters' views of the Mormon religion could affect election results. What are those views? How are those views wrong? How does RunMittRun.org shape voter opinions? No details. Helman does speak with one of the 2,000 supporters of RunMittRun.org, Kris Murphy, a stay-at-home father who lives in Alabama.

"I was born and raised in the church and served a mission, and frankly I am sick and tired of the mischaracterization of Mormons not being Christians," Murphy said, citing a belief held by some evangelicals. "Whenever there's an opportunity to talk about what Mormonism is, . . . we are ready and willing and able to talk about it."

Me, too! But unfortunately, there is no talking about it in this article.

Murphy's claim that the view is a mischaracterization is just left hanging there. At some point, some reports are going to have to cover some of these issues in more detail.

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