As a rule, your GetReligionistas do not write about opinion essays or even op-ed columns -- unless they raise issues that are of interest to mainstream journalists who cover religion. It helps if the pieces focus on major Godbeat stories, of course. However, in recent weeks we have all noticed that we are being tempted more and more often to write about a certain kind of opinion piece.
Here's how I would put it: I am noticing more and more opinion pieces that I WISH the editors had assigned as hard news stories. In other word, the topic is actually newsworthy. But the topic may also TOO HOT for news coverage. But it's OK to write opinion about it?
Here's the example that I have had in the "tmatt guilt" file for some time now. It's a piece by Joel Stein in the Los Angeles Times. What's it about (if you ignored the garish headline on this post)? Here's the lede:
I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.
But here's the passage that totally hooked me. This is like a symbolic detail on steroids:
How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.
The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)
The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.
Now, that's a rather impressive set of facts. Does it settle anything definitive? Of course not. Is it interesting? Sure.
Would YOU want to read a serious hard-news feature story on this topic in the Los Angeles Times? A solid piece of journalism, starting off with the facts about that ad?
I sure would. Or run a large magazine piece. Neal Gabler could write it. You think?