Old Time Religion

Here’s something I’m confused about:

Without getting into the old reductive argument about whether that massive, homogeneous entity we call THE MEDIA is liberal or conservative, it is true that the majority of reporters are fairly socially liberal.* And that makes sense; by and large, they’re big-city, liberal-arts-college-educated professionals. I’m not saying they’re all atheist homosexuals, but the ones who are probably aren’t getting ostracized by their peers.

So why is it that when it comes to the religious convictions of political figures, they expect everyone to be fucking Ned Flanders?

The argument that this is what the American people care about doesn’t really fly; anyone who knows anything at all about media coverage understands how ass-backwards it would be to assert that news outlets always align their coverage exactly with what consumers say they want to learn about. These stories about Obama’s low church attendance have had virtually no measurable impact on his approval rating. And even if it was something that people cared about, it shouldn’t be.

I think what this whole thing comes down to is laziness, and incentive. If Obama doesn’t attend church on Sunday, then Ben Smith already has one post on Monday written with minimal thought or effort. On the other hand, writing about the auto bailout requires talking to economists, explaining a lot of complicated ideas and doing a ton of research. It’s no wonder that this is the crap he chooses to discuss instead.

*The numbers in the link are a decade old, but I don’t think this is a trend that’s changed too drastically.


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