Networks Not Interested in Jeremiah Wright Now Target GOP With Religion

Media Research Center:

ABC, CBS and NBC were uninterested in Obama’s Rev. Wright connection, but have gotten religion and are using it to target conservative candidates.

With the 2012 elections less than a year away, the liberal media are attacking President Obama’s potential opponents on a number of fronts, but especially on religion.

ABC, CBS and NBC have used religion in two ways, either painting the field of GOP primary challengers as a God Squad of religious zealots or playing up differences in their faith. Whether they’re letting viewers know that “Rick Perry’s gonna have to answer some questions about the people” he prays with, fretting that God “told Michele Bachmann,” to enter politics, or devoting no less than 40 segments to the question of whether Mormonism is “a cult” or if “Mitt Romney is a Christian,” the networks have repeatedly used faith against the GOP field.

Media preoccupation with the GOP candidates’ faith is the exact opposite of how they covered (or didn’t) candidate Obama’s 20-year attendance at the church of a racist, anti-American pastor who subscribed to “black liberation theology,” or Obama’s half-Muslim heritage.

The Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute studied network news reporting on the GOP candidates and religion from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2011, and compared it to coverage of the Democratic presidential primary candidates over the same period in 2007. The discrepancy, in both the amount and tone of the coverage, was striking. Network reporters, so disinterested in the beliefs of Obama and his rivals for the 2008 nomination, took every opportunity to inject religion into their coverage of the GOP field. Among CMI’s key findings:

Networks Get Religion 7 times more for GOP: ABC, CBS and NBC mentioned GOP candidates’ religion 143 times in the first 10 months of 2011. By contrast, Democratic candidates’ faith was brought up only 19 times in the same period of the 2008 election cycle.

Journalists Confront, Criticize and Question Conservatives on Faith: In 2007, reporters accepted at face value liberal candidates’ statements about religion. Not so for 2011’s conservatives. The networks were nearly 13 times more likely to be critical or challenging of conservative candidates’ faith than liberals’. And more than half the religion mentions in 2011 sought to create and exploit controversy over how many Christian denominations regard Mormonism.

Full piece here.

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