In 'Muslim Free Zone' story, not all the news media folks went gunning for the facts

In 'Muslim Free Zone' story, not all the news media folks went gunning for the facts

Like the clichéd pig in a python, the saga of the anti-Muslim gun store in Florida has inched through media accounts for more than three months. Now that a judge has ruled in favor of the store owner, let's see who has processed the story best -- and who developed indigestion.

In July, Andy Hallinan declared a "Muslim Free Zone" at his Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Fla., vowing to sell his wares only to "fellow patriots" who would use the weapons for good -- "like keeping peace, not blowing people up," he says in a video.

That drew a lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which accused Hallinan of discrimination on the basis of religion. But a federal district judge in Fort Lauderdale threw out the lawsuit. As the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday:

CAIR said in the complaint that Florida Gun Supply was depriving Muslims of their civil rights by barring them from the store. CAIR's goal in the filing the complaint was to get a judge to enact an injunction to prevent Florida Gun Supply from discriminating based on religion.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom wrote in her ruling last week that CAIR failed to demonstrate that its members had actually been harmed by the "Muslim free" policy because none of its members had been denied access to Florida Gun Supply or its services.

But most of the five articles I read raise questions -- including religious ones -- that they don’t answer. They also lift heavily from one another (though with credit).  The Sentinel itself borrows from a Washington Post report the previous day -- a story nearly three times as long, although Orlando is only about an hour east-southeast of Inverness.

WaPo is more meticulous, reporting that CAIR's suit cited Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The story also quotes Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR Florida, saying the gun store's stance is "not only illegal, it is bad for our country and makes us less safe and less free."

How bad? The Post has that covered too, quoting a Hallinan video:

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Back to mocking Tim Tebow: Clickbait update you didn't know that you needed

Back to mocking Tim Tebow: Clickbait update you didn't know that you needed

Fans of stories about sports and religion (and sex, I guess) this is your lucky day.

The tabloid stars at The New York Daily News have managed to cram what may be a record number of bad puns and petty shots into a new report on the alleged end of the rumored dating relationship between Tim Tebow and former Miss USA.

There are, however, two pieces of serious information that you will not find in this designed for clickbait report. Hold that thought.

Let's start with the obligatory snark attack headline:

Tim Tebow still can’t find the end zone as girlfriend Olivia Culpo breaks it off over lack of sex

And into the story itself. Can you predict the potential family-newspaper-level puns for this sports and religion report?

For once, it's not Tim Tebow who's having trouble scoring -- it's his girlfriend.
Confidenti@l is told the QB's model squeeze Olivia Culpo has dumped him after a two-month relationship -- because he won't have sex with her. The former Miss USA, who was first reported to be seeing Tebow in early October, has told friends that she can't deal with the famously abstinent star's nookie-less lifestyle.

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South Carolina flooding: Lots of 'biblical' references, but they don’t hold water

South Carolina flooding: Lots of  'biblical' references, but they don’t hold water

You know when mainstream media get interested in the Scriptures? When they have a chance to use a phrase like "biblical flood" over and over -- as several did in coverage of the disastrous flooding in South Carolina.

But that doesn't mean they’ll acknowledge where they got the phrase, or fill in any background. The shock value is more important than the power source of the words and concepts that provide the shock.

So we get USA Today with this mostly leaden lede:

The biblical flooding in South Carolina is at least the sixth so-called 1-in-1,000 year rain event in the U.S. since 2010, a trend that may be linked to factors ranging from the natural, such as a strong El Niño, to the man-made, namely climate change.

The Minneapolis Tribune piggybacks off USA Today with its own catchword headline, " 'Sept-ober' Weather Bliss Lingers -- Biblical Floods in South Carolina -- 6 Separate 1-in-1,000 Year Rains, Nationwide, Since 2010.' "

And another headline in a website called Celebcafe offers "a few unreal photos of South Carolina's biblical floods," even though the word "biblical" doesn't appear in the article itself.

But by now, reporters or editors are just tossing in "biblical" enroute to what word play and imagery really interests them. Mashable mentions "biblical rains and historic flooding in South Carolina this week," although the story is mainly about floating rafts of fire ants.

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What is this? HuffPo displays basic ignorance of Catholic Catechism

What is this? HuffPo displays basic ignorance of Catholic Catechism

At several points, in recent years, your GetReligionistas have discussed this basic question: What is The Huffington Post?

Obviously, this online giant is many things -- primarily a monument to how much material an Internet-era company can publish without paying writers a working wage for their work. But, from our perspective, the key is whether HuffPo is a news publication or strictly an advocacy journalism site.

Well, it does republish quite a bit of legitimate news-wire copy and we are thankful for that. It also publishes, of course, kazillions of aggregated posts that point toward news stories, advocacy-news pieces, interesting blogs, etc., etc., etc. Aggregation is to HuffPo what water is to fish.

Here at GetReligion, our primary goal is look at the good and the bad in mainstream coverage of religion in mainstream news publications. Thus, some of what runs in HuffPo -- think Associated Press, Religion News Service, etc. -- fits the bill. But what about everything else? What do we do with advocacy journalism pieces that present themselves as news, yet make unusually obvious gaffes when it comes to journalism basics?

You ask, "Like what?" 

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