Pew report looks at media coverage of faith in U.S. election

November 21, 2008

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and its sister organization The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life have just released a study on the media coverage of religion in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. A summary of the findings with links to the whole report can be found here.

“Religion played a much more significant role in the media coverage of President-elect Barack Obama than it did in the press treatment of Republican nominee John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign, but much of the coverage related to false yet persistent rumors that Obama is a Muslim,” Pew said.

It added that there was scant scrutiny of the role of personal faith in the shaping of the candidates’ political values with the exception of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The moose-hunting Alaska governor ignited the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base with her evangelical faith and her strong commitment to what many in the party see as “family issues” such as unwavering opposition to abortion rights.

Among its other key findings:

- Press narratives devoted to issues of faith accounted for four percent of the coverage of the general election campaign — less than the economic crisis at nine percent but equal to that devoted to race.

- Over 50 percent of the campaign stories on religion were focused on President-elect Obama and just nine percent on McCain. Much of the coverage of Obama focused on the persistent but false rumours that he was a Muslim. Coverage of Palin focused on her family values and church background.

- Culture war issues such as abortion and gay marriage were not driving narratives of this election cycle — no surprise to those who monitored the election closely.

What do you think about the media’s coverage of religious issues and the ’08 White House race? Was there enough scrutiny in this area? And was it fair and balanced?


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Quote: “- Press narratives devoted to issues of faith accounted for four percent of the coverage of the general election campaign — less than the economic crisis at nine percent but equal to that devoted to race”

That’s quite normal since even religious people can forget almost all about religion when they are engulfed in such economic woes we’re facing right now. Example, a devout Muslim woman has recently written on her blog :”Putting my faith into everyday practice has been difficult. How can I strengthen my faith if I have been lacking it? How did I achieve this once newly found faith that was encouraging and positive? Was it a process I went through? I have reached a very low point in my faith. Yes, there are tests in life and greater than others but what I have yet to figure out is why are these tests an interruption of a person’s personal faith. It is like adding more weight to a scale until it reaches its capacity or like pouring a glass of water and it overflows without any direction. Has there ever been a time when you have doubted your faith?”

Of course there was not enough scrutiny and the reporting was far off-balanced. Both when Obama ran against Hillary and when he ran against McCain. The only thing I can compare it to is when OJ was cleared of the Murder charge, but still found responsible for their deaths in a Civil court.

The media and Obama told America what was important to them and rather than think for themselves, the majority of Americans voted for the least experienced, most rhetorical “Politician” of modern times. Who clearly knew more about the political views of his Mentor for 20 years than he was willing to admit to… making Obama a LIAR with Little or no Conscious.

Where was the media’s focus on what it required to be schooled in Indonesia when Obama was a student? – Absent because the requirement was you had to be Muslim to attend school during the period he was enrolled.

People, including myself were tired of Bush and wanted change, but I did not sacrifice my principles to vote for an out-and-out LIAR, which was Obama’s response to every CRISIS that fell upon him during his candidacy – and America may likely have to pay for turning their eyes, but so far he seems to be surrounding himself with a Cabinet that just may save us yet.

Quite the “Typical” POLITICIAN playing to the SOLD-OUT MEDIA Audience…

Posted by Brian in Middle River MD | Report as abusive