The culture wars and why some christians are OK

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Joined in 2005
May 4, 2013, 15:11

Interesting article comparing the media coverage of Jason Collins – a Black Gay Christian with that of Tim Tebow – a white straigh christian.

Where Tebow’s religiosity has been endlessly analyzed by the media and championed by the white religious right, the centrality of Collins’ Christianity and faith community in his decision to come out has been ignored. Collins’ faith hasn’t gotten the attention that his race has


So it’s no coincidence that black Christians in the public eye are often overlooked by the religious right and the media until they express religious opinions that fit into the politicized framing of the culture wars

This article particularly resonated with me because it fit in with an interesting article I read this week

that talks about how often one newspaper will get a scoop – and because its a scoop no one else will touch it – so it will die as an issue (and it gave an issue of the Alan Jones cash for comment scandal which was reported on by media watch 5 years before it all blew up but didnt fit in with the prevalent conversation of the media at the time – so it fizzled and died)

So this article then made me wonder

Does the media only pick up those that fit the imge they want to portray ? Do they ignore the faith of those that dont fit into the model they want to push ??

What do we think about the coming out of Jason Collins ?

Joined in 2013
May 5, 2013, 14:17

I would like to extend the topic beyond religion and homosexuality. I don't believe the media is entirely pro-right or pro-left wing as a whole. If one outlet is biased towards one side of a conflict, there are others that will drum up support for the opposite side.

Instead, the media thrives on conflict. A lone gay, black Christian is a minority within a minority and unless he whores his opinions to the media regularly or carries out some crazy publicity stunt…maybe stripping naked in front of a church and dancing Gangnam Style in front of it while someone important walks past as a protest…the media will tire of him and look for an ideological or political conflict they can fuel with editorials designed to draw readers into what is usually an issue they don't bother with.

Let's take the coverage of the Boston bombing as an example. We know the terrorists were motivated by religious extremism and that the overwhelming majority of Americans, of all religions, condemn their actions. It really should be an open and shut case of one being dead and the other facing justice by now. Why is the press going on and on talking about some raving jihadist cleric they met overseas eleventy million years ago who told them to be violent and then giving press time to Islamophobes who can point to the existence of that cleric to 'prove' the country is under attack by Muslims, who then anxiously try to defend their faith against vigilante attacks, which predictably, occur; providing the press something to report on…..and round and round it goes.

If there was overwhelming consensus on an issue, the media would attempt to give weight to a minority voice in order to bait the opposition into saying or doing something newsworthy. This is how they generate their own income.

Sometimes this works for us or against us.

Joined in 2005
May 6, 2013, 11:07

HHmmm Good post and some interesting points

However that gets into a Much bigger and more complex (and controversial) area.

As you say – the media thrives on conflict – BUT I suspect its often manufactured conflict.

There is a case to be made that they choose the conflicts that further their aims.

I remember talking to some London Journalists who did some work (at the time) on the Lindy Chaimberlain case and they were horrified at what was NOT being reported by the Aussie Press and how one sided the reporting really was although they pretended it was balanced. You can see that with Many modern -"controversial" topics in the media today also.

You will see often that on one side you will get experts (in some cases tens of thousands of them like in climate change) . Researchers and a great body of evidence. On the other side you will get one person (or 2 to three) with an opinion and NO EVIDENCE – but they are given equal time – and people have come to believe this is balanced reporting but its not. There are people who believe gravity is a plot. No proof – and no explanation – but they believe it. Giving that person equal time with stephen hawking is NOT balanced reporting. (and look at the outbreak of Measles occuring now – and the fact that children have recently DIED in Australia from a Disease we once had just about eradicated – all thanks to the press giving equal time to 1 person – who paid people to be part of a study (highly unethical and inaccurate) in order to push his OWN vaccine (called a conflict of interest) which now means that the people who quite legitamately cant be vaccinated (due to allergies etc) are now at serious risk again)

So can you cite an example of a Gay christian sportsman poster boy in the USA press ? Otherwise – I think you have missed the point. He may be a minority of a minority… however – he got a lot of Press coming out… BUT Tebow gets lots of press because hes a Christian sportsman – and yet – Collins's faith has been virtually ignored – even though his point was that his faith was the reason he came out.

What I think you are missing is an explanation for why they would ignore collin's faith – but report lots about him – but applaud Tebows faith !

Briefly off topic on to the general area of media etc… BUT if thats an area that interests you there are MANY studies on the subject. (a classic one is the number of times certain topics are reported on . Look at the ACL and the number of times they talk about, Povery, helping the poor, the sick the homeless, telling the truth, that Jesus said you cannot serve Money and God do not Judge others – AND of course Homosexuality. Such statistical breakdowns show you what an organisation really believes in. In the ACL's case – they arent Christian – they are anti Gay because thats all they focus on. Despite the name) There are also a number of good articles and studies already done on the lack of balance in Boston reporting. But I dont want to go there either…. (not that I dont think its interesting – but I think its outside the area of these forums). The difficult question is why the lack of balance ? but this isnt the place to discuss those issues.

A good starting point in this area – although a bit dated is Manufacturing consent by Noam Chomsky.

But thats all Ill say on that matter –

Back to the topic though – which is the article writer argues that there is in the press a dominant conversation of straight christian… and anything outside of that – is not popular.

and to look at your point – a black Gay christian SHOULD be controversial – so if your premise was right and them wanting conflct – that alone should mean his faith gets lots of press – its ready made conflict isntit ? but it didnt – not because it wasnt controversial (because it is) but – at least according to the article writer – because its outside the dominant message the organisations are trying to push ….. (is that clearer ?)

and Im not saying hes right – just trying to explain what I think hes saying (feel free to disagree of course)


Joined in 2013
May 6, 2013, 18:14

Dude, you're getting worked up. I'm sorry if I've not made myself clearer…Jason is just one person who came out, but has not taken any steps beyond that to advance a wider agenda to the press or done something to excite them. That's his choice. One person who is unique does not make an entire side of a conflict – in contrast there is a concerted lobby for global warming denial, anti-immunisation, etc. In fact if the press did report on it, it might be in a wholly negative light that implies Jason is a freak or eccentric; or be written in a very racist way.

The article you linked to also states an important difference between the two sportsmen besides their race and orientation. Collins made a simple coming out statement, while Tebrow helps to promote Focus on the Family on a more continuous basis. It may well be that Tebrow and his backers actively seek out media attention while Collins just wants to keep to himself. Tebrow is more outgoing and brings an army to the conflict that the media craves.

Joined in 2005
May 7, 2013, 11:25

Not getting worked up in fact I think its great see you posting I post these to generate discussion.

There is no right or wrong on these as far as I am concerned.

I did get your points.

having worked for a number of Aussie media companies (including quite a number of newspapers) – plus having lived and worked in Australia, NZ, USA, across Asia and in North America – I guess Ive seen both behind the scenes – and I can compare the media here with other countries. (plus I monitor the research in this area as well – of which there is quite a bit) so my frame of reference is unusual. (this in no way means I am right of course)

Was just trying to drill down a bit more into the discussion. All that really matters is that it promotes thought.

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