social conservatives

Scare quote alert: Cheers and jeers for that Associated Press primer on 2016 'religious vote'

Scare quote alert: Cheers and jeers for that Associated Press primer on 2016 'religious vote'

Go ahead.

See if you can spot the scare quotes in this Associated Press primer on religion and the 2016 presidential election:

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican Donald Trump has told conservative evangelical pastors in Florida that his presidency would preserve "religious liberty" and reverse what he insists is a government-enforced muzzling of Christians.
The same afternoon, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine praised a more liberal group of black church leaders in Louisiana for their "progressive values that are the values of Scripture," and he urged them to see Hillary Clinton as a kindred spirit.
The competing appearances earlier this month highlight an oft-overlooked political reality: The "religious vote" is vast and complex, and it extends beyond generalizations about "social conservatives" who side with Republicans and black Protestant churches whose pastors and parishioners opt nearly unanimously for Democrats.

Did you catch them?

If you're a regular GetReligion reader, you know that we have complained time and time again about the news media's love of scare quotes (Dictionary.com definition here in case you're new to the term) around "religious liberty" and "religious freedom."

So if you noticed the scare quotes on "religious liberty" in the AP's lede, you win the prize! (What is the prize? It's a free subscription to GetReligion. Go ahead and read all our posts for free!)

What's wrong with putting "religious liberty" or "religious freedom" in scare quotes? As even a GetReligion critic acknowledged this past spring, the quote marks inject editorial opinion into a news story and "imply something along the lines of: 'Religious freedom? Not necessarily.'" 

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The gift that keeps on giving (headaches): More media schizophrenia on evangelicals, Trump

The gift that keeps on giving (headaches): More media schizophrenia on evangelicals, Trump

Our editor Terry Mattingly already wrote today's definitive GetReligion post on evangelicals and the #NeverTrump movement.

If you haven't already, check it out.

But I couldn't resist pointing out the latest media schizophrenia on whether evangelicals/social conservatives/whatever you want to call them will rally to support Donald Trump now that he's the presumptive Republican nominee.

Over at NPR, the news of the day is that many evangelicals can't bring themselves to jump on the Trumpwagon.

But if you believe the front page of the New York Times, social conservatives are "warming to the idea of Trump."

Anybody else's head spinning yet? (Besides Jose Bautista's, I mean.)

So who should readers believe: NPR or the Times?

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Georgia religious liberty follow-up: News media pros finally quote religious people

Georgia religious liberty follow-up: News media pros finally quote religious people

Georgia has religious people! The Atlanta Journal-Constitution finally remembered!

But don’t pop the bubbly just yet. The newspaper saw the light mainly after the much-contested religious rights bill was vetoed on Monday. And even then, religious and social conservatives got precious little space in an article supposedly focusing on them.

AJC's story is one of several follow-ups in mainstream media, on the next moves by advocates of the law and similar ones in other states. We'll see how it stacks up against the others.

Here is how Georgia's largest newspaper covered a press conference by several of the groups:

A coalition of conservative and religious groups in Georgia on Tuesday blasted Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a "religious liberty" bill this week, saying he had turned his back on the state’s faith community.
"What this says to me is Gov. Deal is out of touch with the people of this state," said Tanya Ditty, state director of Concerned Women for America, who was joined with leaders of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and a half dozen other organizations at a Capitol news conference.
Lawmakers, Ditty said, "are not elected to represent Hollywood values or Wall Street values. The voters are tired of political correctness."

Sounds decent until you notice a few things. First are those well-worn sarcasm quotes around "religious liberty," a signal that you're supposed to doubt its legitimacy. Second, the entire story takes less than 300 words. The stories on protests by business and sports executives were several times that long.

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The ghost of Prince William County

Religion? Uh, surely that’s not a factor worth exploring.

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