Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Media Bias: Da Vinci Code vs. The Passion

From the Media Research Center, an analysis of how ABC, CBS, and NBC treated “The DaVinci Code” as compared to how they treated Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” The latter, of course, was a very orthodox Christian account of the Crucifixion of Jesus, while the former portrayed Christianity as a complete sham.

Key points:
  1. The DaVinci Code received an enormous publicity push from the broadcast networks.
  2. The Passion of the Christ was treated as a social problem – the biggest TV anti-Semitism story of that year – while The DaVinci Code was presented more often as an “intriguing” theory rather than threatening or offensive to Christians.
  3. In their push to promote The DaVinci Code, the networks routinely failed to address the aspect of the book that most offended Christian sensitivities: the claim that Christianity itself is a lie.
  4. While the faith of millions of Americans, Christianity, is singled out for criticism, with one “fascinating” fictional detail after another, the networks either refused to air or barely aired mild Mohammed cartoons out of great sensitivity to American Muslims.
  5. While Mel Gibson was attacked and psychoanalyzed for his religious beliefs, DaVinci Code author Dan Brown and filmmakers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer were never personally examined or challenged: about their personal religious beliefs, or their willingness to milk controversy, play fast and loose with facts, and offend Christians with the objective of making millions.
  6. The networks also bought into the DaVinci Code craze by picking up and publicizing other Code-related books attacking Christianity and the Catholic Church, but their standard of evidence was hardly an example of what a skeptical journalist would apply.
Doubtless the (mostly secular) reporters who produced this kind of coverage didn’t see themselves as being hostile to Christianity. The problem is that they were rather casual about a book and movie that slander Christianity, the Catholic Church, Opus Dei and the Catholic clergy.

Were they equally casual about every issue relating to religion, that would suggest a bias, alright, but not a particularly anti-Christian bias. But they were not casual about “The Passion of the Christ.” They never dismissed attacks on the film by saying “it’s just a movie.” They were not casual about cartoons considered offensive to Moslems.

They are only casual about attacks on Christianity.

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