Pod people: Snark vs. constructive criticism

On this week's Crossroads podcast, we talk about Newsweek's "What the Bible really says about sex" and some of the journalistic weaknesses it contained. We also discuss the shallowness of celebrity coverage when it comes to talking religion. After I wrote my post looking at the Newsweek article, I did several radio interviews about the matter. One thing I picked up from talking to callers on some of these shows was that they're not angry about this type of news coverage, which they view as shoddy and agenda-driven. Rather, they're sad. They would like to see a major magazine present information about, say, what the Bible says about sex. They just wish it were done in a better, more journalistic manner. They think that the traditional Christian views on the subject are unfairly presented in a negative, restrictive manner while revisionist views are enthusiastically embraced.

While I received many notes and comments thanking me for or agreeing with my take on the Newsweek post, a couple of folks thought I was too snarky at the expense of being constructive.

Admittedly, I am too snarky frequently, although I like to think my criticism is also constructive. But I thought I would ask concerned readers what they would say to Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller (or other religion reporters) if they had the chance to express their views. I don't think readers/viewers realize how receptive most journalists are to a good-faith request for improved coverage.

So here goes: What one or two words of wisdom would you give to reporters such as Miller who miss the mark on religion coverage?

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