Got news? Holy Mary gets smashed

Here we go again. In the past few days I have received a mini-wave of emails asking why GetReligion hasn't commented on the mainstream news media's alleged refusal to cover some of the controversial religion and anti-religion stories linked to the whole "occupy" movement. A few of these letters, I am glad to say, have pointed toward some fascinating material.

Take, for example, the interesting fusion of various world religions and "occupy" politics in some of the Wall Street photos at this website. I know that many liberal mainstream leaders are involved in these demonstrations. However, it appears that many, shall we say, "untamed" and freelance groups are there, as well. How are these groups mixing and clashing?

I am sure some viewers would be intrigued by these photos and others would be appalled. Syncretism has that effect on some people. The key journalism point is that something newsworthy is happening on the religious left and it deserves coverage.

Unfortunately, some of the emails are from press bashers who are absolutely certain that there is an ink-stained conspiracy to keep this material out of major newspapers and broadcasts. Here is a sample of what that sounds like:

How come no articles have popped up on the virulent anti-Semitism on the part of many Wall Street Occupiers? Locally there have been clips of some of the most virulent swill along those lines that I've seen in years -- along with a parade of signs with swastikas, etc. How many times do ignorant toads (even school teachers) have to be recorded talking about Jewish bankers and how rich Jews ought to be run out of the country for the media to take notice? ...

I Googled and found virtually no mainstream media coverage of it. ...

The problem, of course, is that the primary reason GetReligion exists is to critique -- pro and con -- mainstream coverage that does exist. We look for the errors, the gaps and the "ghosts", as well as for stories that really get the job done.

Thus, I asked this angry person for at least one or two links to MSM stories that tip-toed into this subject or, at least, religious-press accounts of the same. In return, I received this:

No URLs for mainstream media because they are ignoring the issue and the anti-Semitic strain in the mob. ... All across YouTube I found many different disgusting photos or sound videos. Some of the left blogs are claiming the equivalent of some sort of Jewish Conspiracy or conservative smear. But the ones talking beyond the just anti-Semitic sure sound like leftists. At the very least the mainstream media should be reporting on the "controversy" of where the anti-Semitic voices and signs are coming from (although unlike with the media's Tea Party smears they will whitewash this, I am sure). Most of the Jewish blogs are at a minimum scared of the direction mob actions of this nature go. ...

In other words, no URLs -- even to alternative media.

However, The Politico eventually did jump on this story when -- of course -- it affected the current political shouting on Capitol Hill. This piece does contain some of the key video links, but never take seriously the religious content of these remarks and counter-remarks. It's just political shouting, you see.

There has been some mainstream news coverage, mainly at the blog level, of some of the anti-Catholic protests linked to the "occupy" activities in Rome. In part, this has taken place because of the riveting video featured at the top of this post.

My take is that, once again, the story has been driven -- in "Got news?" fashion -- by coverage in religious and/or "conservative" news outlets.

Once again, in other words, there is niche religion news and then there is mainstream religion news. Frankly, I have trouble figuring out how the buttons get pushed that help serious news stories of this kind leap out of the "niche" news and into the "real" news.

Consider this, from the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has condemned Saturday’s violent clashes in central Rome including an attack by protesters on a church in which a crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary were destroyed.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he “condemned the violence and the fact that a church was desecrated by some protesters who broke in and destroyed some images.” He referred to the clashes in Rome as “horrific.”

The 18th-century church of Santi Marcellino and Pietro is near St John Lateran square where much of Saturday’s violence occurred.

“When I came down, I saw the entrance door had been smashed in,” the church’s parish priest, Father Giuseppe Ciucci, was quoted by Italian media as saying.

“The Virgin Mary’s statue, which was at the entrance, had been taken away and I saw it had been thrown into the street and smashed,” he said. “I went into the sacristy and I saw the door there was also destroyed. The large crucifix at the entrance had been vandalized,” he added.

News? Not news?

"Real" news? "Conservative" news?

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