Your GetReligionistas could have run nothing the past week except for news and commentary about the Covington Catholic High School teens and we still would not have looked at half of the worthy stuff that was out there.
I could run 10 think pieces today on this topic and they all would be worthy of your attention.
The bottom line: This disaster is turning into a watershed moment in media-bias studies, one that — for people of good will in the middle of American public discourse — is increasingly being seen as a parable involving more than read MAGA hats.
Then again, debates about the Covington Catholics would be snuffed out like a candle if Ruth Bader Ginsberg announced that she was retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court. At that point, screams about Loud Dogma would drown out everything else.
Back to the Covington teens. At this point, there’s no reason to read people on the far left or the far right. The ruts there have been dug pretty deep by this point.
Thus, I would urge readers who care about the mainstream press, and religion-beat news in particular, to seek out voices toward the unpredictable middle of American public discourse. For example, see the Caitlin Flanagan piece in The Atlantic that ran with this headline: “The Media Botched the Covington Catholic Story — And the damage to their credibility will be lasting.”
The must-read essay that journalists really need to ponder, however, is by Andrew Sullivan, a political and cultural commentator whose voice is hard to label — other than the fact that he is an old-school liberal on First Amendment issues. The New York magazine headline: “The Abyss of Hate Versus Hate.”
On one level, Sullivan’s piece focuses on the same question that I put at the center of this week’s “Crossroads” podcast: “Why did Covington Catholic boys instantly become the bad guys?” As opposed to what? As opposed to the Black Hebrew Israelite protesters whose verbal attacks on the Catholic teens lit the fuse on this entire media exposition.
How did elite media handle the stunning direct quotes — they’re on videotape — packed with hate that these bullhorn screamers aimed at the Catholic boys?