The media failed us this week

The media’s reporting on the Arizona bill regarding religious freedom has been nothing short of Orwellian. As I wrote yesterday, the debate about the bill has been far more depressing than the actual defeat of the bill. Why? Because nearly every media outlet reporting on the bill has been propagating an erroneous group-think. They described the bill by turns as an attempt to enact Jim Crow style discrimination against gay people. The reporting has been biased and in some cases straightforwardly wrong on the facts.

Just last night, Miranda Leitsinger reported for NBC News that the florist in Washington, the baker in Oregon, and the photographer in New Mexico had filed lawsuits in order to sue for the right to deny service to gay people. In other words, it portrayed these Christians as on the offensive in their fight for religious liberty.

The problem with this part of the report is that it is totally untrue. In all three cases, it was either the state or private individuals who brought lawsuits against the Christians. And—we might add—the Christians have been losing (see my last two posts). I contacted Leitsinger last night about the error, and she agreed to look into it. This morning, the error was fixed without any correction noted on the article.

This is but one of many erroneous reports I have read in the last several days that carry forward a false narrative—that traditional Christians are bigots who want to deny service to gay people and that this bill in Arizona would have allowed them to do that. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that hasn’t stopped such reports from piling up over the last several days. It’s as if reporters and commentators haven’t bothered to understand the issues but have simply bought-in uncritically to a prevailing narrative. As I said, it has been absolutely Orwellian.

Enter Mollie Hemingway. Her column today on the media’s malpractice this week is not to be missed. She has more instances of malfeasance documented than I have seen in any other place. If you have not read it yet, you need to. I won’t rehearse the whole thing here, but I will leave you with her conclusion:

A media less hostile to religious liberty would think less about scoring cheap political points, creating uncivil political climates and disparaging institutions that help humans flourish. A media with a higher regard for truth would, it turns out, have a higher regard for religious liberty.

Sadly, we seem to have left the world of reason and tolerance. Could our media climate demonstrate that any better? And what lies ahead, if left uncorrected, is illogical and tyrannical. Freedom of religion was the central principle in the moral case of our country. Once that’s gone, how long can the Republic stand? Does anyone even care?

9 Responses to The media failed us this week

  1. bobbistowellbrown February 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    This week Katy Perry took a muslim symbol out of her music video. Some believe it was because of fear. Now homosexual activists are continuing to bully people of faith. My husband said to not use my married name when I write about the sin of same sex marriage because he was afraid the activists would fire bomb us. Sounds to me they are using the same tactics as the muslim terrorists are. Below Tom Minnery relates the threats toward their staff:

    “Cathi Herrod with the Center for Arizona Policy, one of our associated family policy councils and supporter of the legislation, had her offices surrounded on Wednesday and her staff threatened. Please continue to pray for their protection and for us as we stand for religious freedom.”Tom Minnery

  2. Chris Ryan February 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I’m all in favor of a conscience clause. In many states, for instance, pharmacists who don’t believe in Plan B have the right to refuse dispensing it, but the drugstore must find another pharmacist to dispense it. That’s a limited, well defined protection for an important liberty. What the bills filed in KS, AZ, TX and GA are, though, are poorly written, wide open bills that would allow businesses to discriminate against anyone they choose: gays, straights, blacks, Christians, Jews, or Muslims. Businesses are not people; they don’t have souls and they cannot claim the full protections that individual ppl get.. And as long as we defend bills that are plainly & patently discriminatory, the debate will continue to be as depressing as it has been. We’ve got to stop giving aid & comfort to homophobes, and instead just push for a narrow conscience clause as pharmacists have. Until we stop our defense of the indefensible we will be perceived by even Republicans as supporting discrimination. That’s the wrong side of history. I think gay marriage is absolutely sinful, but even I can’t support any of these bills.

    • Johnny Mason February 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Chris, you are absolutely wrong in regards to the AZ bill. The same law that protects the pharmacy worker that you are for, is exactly what the AZ bill would do. It does not allow to discriminate against anyone they choose.

      here is a letter from a bipartisan group of lawyers that wanted to clear the air on the fallacies surrounding this bill and how it does not do anything its opponents allege.

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/02/no-this-is-not-jim-crow-for-gays-part-two.php

  3. Don Johnson February 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    In a war, the first casualty is the truth.

  4. Paul Reed March 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    I just think it’s pathetic that this is where we are taking a stand: Basically, to stop Christians from being forced to participate in a gay ceremony. Remember when we were talking about if sodomy should even be legal?

  5. buddyglass March 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Why stop there? Remember when we were talking about if sodomy should be punished by imprisonment or death?

  6. Paul Abella March 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    I have said this in the past – if people really wanted to get in front of this issue, they would have said ok to gay marriage back with DOMA was being kicked around, and written conscience clauses into the bills granting gay marriage. By fighting and kicking and screaming and making state amendments that anyone with any forethought could have seen would be overturned (in UTAH?!?!?), you’ve allowed someone else to make all of the rules. That’s the bed you’ve made.

    I still contend that it is idiotic of the LGBT community to come after people that don’t want to serve them. Instead, hit ’em where it hurts the most: give them terrible yelp reviews, tell all of your friends to avoid the place like the plague and make sure no one you know ever goes there. Ditto for the photographer, the florist, etc. As for the AZ law, they were writing discrimination into the law books. Color it any way you want it, but it’s just wrong. Sorry.

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