'Kum Ba Yah': AP serves up a vanilla puff piece on Hillary Clinton's 'private' faith

We've seen some rather shallow coverage of Hillary's Clinton faith this election cycle.

Here, here and here, for example.

Over the weekend, The Associated Press served up another such piece with this cheesy headline:

For Clinton, a daily dose of faith along with politic

AP's lede takes us straight into Clinton's private inbox (no, not that one):

At about 5 a.m. each day — maybe a little later on weekends — an email from the Rev. Bill Shillady arrives in Hillary Clinton's inbox.
The contents? A reading from Scripture. A devotional commentary. And a prayer. They're sometimes inspired by the headlines — focusing recently, for example, on the role of women in the Bible.
"I know she reads them, because she responds to me," says Shillady, executive director of the United Methodist City Society in New York. "We've had some interesting emails back and forth about some of the concepts."
It's no secret that Clinton is a lifelong Methodist. But Shillady — who officiated at Chelsea Clinton's wedding, led a memorial service for Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham, and gave the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention — feels that many people don't really know how much her faith "is a daily thing."

Keep reading, and AP explains — with seemingly no need for actual sources — why Clinton keeps her faith so "private":

One reason Clinton might not speak more about her faith is that her commitment to it has been challenged over the years by political foes for various reasons. That's perhaps not surprising, given her decades as a polarizing political figure.
Donald Trump also has questioned her faith, with this claim in June: "We don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion." Perplexed Clinton supporters noted plenty has been said and written, by Clinton and others, about her faith.



Not exactly the kind of terms one usually associates with hard-hitting news reporting about a person running for the nation's top political office. In the old days, AP believed in attributing facts to named sources. In this piece, the wire service seems content to rely on the writer's personal opinion.

How does Clinton's "private" faith inform her public politics and policy positions — say, on the issue of abortion, given that the AP story appeared on the same weekend as the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood? AP doesn't bother to delve into such questions.

What do Clinton's political opponents and critics say about her faith? Do they see her religion as any kind of factor or issue in how people will or should vote on Nov. 8? Again, AP sees no need to engage such sources.

What we have here, folks, is a big bowl of vanilla ice cream — a puff piece that reads more like a reporter's fan letter than an attempt at serious journalism.

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