Several years ago, while working on my contribution to the book “Blind Spot: When Journalists Don’t Get Religion,” I called up one of the patriarchs of the religion beat, Richard Ostling, to discuss the craft that he practiced so well for many years at Time and then with the Associated Press. These days, of course, his “Religion Q&A” pieces are featured once a week here at GetReligion. We started off by discussing the most basic subject — sins of commission.
For Ostling, the bottom line was clear: If you can’t trust journalists to get their facts right, then why trust them at all? This passage is a bit long, but essential:
“Sometimes we are talking about things that can get complicated. … But it isn’t good when people read their newspaper and say, ‘Wait a minute. That’s just wrong.’ ”