When a county in the heartland has an unemployment rate of 10 percent, should religious issues be written out of the news articles on what is influence people's votes this fall? That is apparently the case in this USA Today article on how small town Ohio is going to play a big role in determining the next president this November. But since religion played such an important roll in pushing President Bush over the top in 2004, particularly in Ohio, shouldn't religion get at least a mention?
Here's the gist of the article:
Ohio has dozens of rural counties containing small towns that once thrived on factories that made Huffy bikes, Etch A Sketches, cars and other products. These are traditional Republican strongholds where Bush won big in 2004 and Hillary Rodham Clinton scored well in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
These counties have some of the most difficult economic conditions in the nation. They are overwhelmingly white, blue-collar and conservative.
Readers of this article aren't given a very good idea of what it means to be "white, blue-collar and conservative" in Ohio. The article paints a great general picture on why local economics and politics could be significant to voters. A regular reader of ours who has more familiarity with the featured community had the following to say:
So I was excited to see my hometown featured on the front page of today's USA Today. Unfortunately, the article was a typical MSM "parachute" job, and there was absolutely no mention of religion, not even a quip about how these small town folks cling to God and guns.
Religion plays an important role in the lives of many in small towns like Coshocton. More importantly, it is integrated with everyday life. As an example, the Coshocton Community Choir -- one of the best community choirs in the country -- sings quite a few Christian songs in a typical concert held in the high school auditorium, and no one bats an eye. But you'll never get that in a "parachute" article.
Welcome to Ohio, MSM! We see you every four years. This time, maybe some of you will stay for more than a few hours so that you actually can get to know the people here. Oh, wait, I forgot -- you don't want to.
Since I have never really lived in a swing state in an election season, I am somewhat jealous that we rarely ever get any national political attention. Hoosiers had their moment earlier this year, and maybe lightning can strike twice this year, but I am skeptical.
Despite the historic economic crisis going on around us, religion will remain important in communities. Journalists ignore it at their own peril. Please keep letting us know if the national media "parachutes" into your community and fails to cover the religious perspectives.
Photo of an American paratrooper using an MC1-1C series 'round' parachute, used under a Wikimedia Commons license.