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Weekend think piece: Dennis Prager on what he said and what journalists said that he said

Weekend think piece: Dennis Prager on what he said and what journalists said that he said

One of the most important skills in journalism is easy to state, but hard for reporters to do.

While teaching reporting classes for the past 25 years of so, I have stated it this way: Report unto others as you would want them to report unto you. The skill? It is crucial to learn how to accurately report the beliefs of people with whom you disagree.

This is why it's important, every now and then, to read articles in which public figures of various kinds discuss journalism topics from the other side of the reporter's notebook, comparing what they said or believe with what ended up in analog or digital ink.

That's what is happening in the following essay at The Daily Signal by the Jewish conservative Dennis Prager. The headline: "Here Are Some Key Ways the Mainstream Media Distorts the Truth."

Now, there's a lot going on in this essay and some of it is pretty picky, personal and political. However, there's a crucial journalistic point linked to religion-beat issues in the section focusing the New York Times coverage of a recent Prager musical gig for charity. The Times headline: "Santa Monica Symphony Roiled by Conservative Guest Conductor." Here is the top of the music-beat news story:

It was supposed to be a dazzling opportunity for the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra -- a volunteer ensemble of professional and semiprofessional musicians led by Guido Lamell -- to play the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles for a fund-raiser. Mr. Lamell, music director of the orchestra, invited the conservative talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager as guest conductor for the event.
But that decision caused immediate outrage among some members of the symphony, and a number of them are refusing to play the fund-raiser, saying that allowing the orchestra to be conducted by Mr. Prager, who has suggested that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and incest, among other contentious statements, would be tantamount to endorsing and normalizing bigotry.


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