I thought some GetReligion readers might find the following Dallas Morning News report interesting (even though I show up in it as a source). In some ways, this feature by reporter Colleen McCain Nelson is old news. Conservative Christians have been turned off by mainstream news for a long time, which helped fuel the rise of the televangelists long ago and clearly sparked some of the talk-radio blitz, too. Now we are seeing another rise in the power of niche market cable television and web news on the right. Here is Nelson's summary:
(Many) Christians are seeking out alternative sources of news, and not just for information on religious topics. With the number of Christian television networks, radio stations, Web sites and magazines on the upswing, they have plenty to choose from.
The number of religious radio stations grew by 14 percent in the last five years, from 1,769 to 2,014, according to Arbitron. And a recent report by The Barna Group found that more people use Christian media than attend church. Technological advances, a polarized electorate and the increasing prominence of evangelicals have spurred the growth in Christian news.
On one level, more media is always a good thing. But at some point you have to wonder if anyone in the culture is going to be coming into contact with points of view other than their own. As a journalism educator, I really worry about things like that. What comes after that? Googlezon?
Take, for example, this recent irony.
This same basic topic -- alternative forms of Christian news -- got grilled big time recently in the Columbia Journalism Review in a lengthy cover article titled "Stations of the Cross: How evangelical Christians are creating an alternative universe of faith-based news."
As you might expect, reporter Mariah Blake had lots of bad things to say about this trend, many of them valid. However, I did find it kind of ironic to read such a long attack on highly partisan, ideologically defined, agenda-driven, biased niche news in the hallowed pages of CJR -- especially one that ended with the following credit line:
Mariah Blake is an assistant editor at CJR. The magazine gratefully acknowledges support for her research from the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund.
Say what? This strong warning about the dangers of advocacy journalism was funded by The Nation? Isn't that sort of like Focus on the Family funding a documentary on the life of Elton John? Or a Rush Limbaugh newsletter expose on Hillary Clinton?