Monday, September 29, 2008

A Plea For Journalism Fundamentals

A fisking as well as an exposition about what should be standard journalistic principles.


I wrote before that the headline would be fine if Palin were a fundamentalist. But even if she were (which, again for the slow readers at the LA Times, she is not) the term is not to be used because it has become pejorative. For how long has it been pejorative? Many, many decades. Get with the times. In the 1910s and 1920s, the term referred to a Christian who believed in the “fundamentals” of the faith — the Virgin Birth of Christ, his sinless life, his atoning death, his bodily resurrection and his second coming in the clouds of glory. But since that time, the term has become an insult. Everyone knows this. And just because you want to insult the governor of Alaska doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate to do so on the news pages.



But . . . but . . . what do you make of this:

Her aides say Palin’s caution at the intersection of religion and governance is a studied effort to share her beliefs without forcing them on Alaska.

“She’s obviously an intensively religious person,” said Bill McAllister, Palin’s chief spokesman as governor. “She understands that she’s the governor and not preacher in chief. Religion informs her decisions, but she is not out to impose her views on Alaska.”

Isn’t it funny how the quote from Bill McAllister in no way supports the claim Braun makes in the set-up paragraph? I’ve noticed a lot of that in Palin stories.

And then here we go again:

[John] Stein said Palin displayed only hints of her fundamentalist Assembly of God upbringing when he first backed her for a nonpartisan run for Wasilla City Council in the early 1990s.

Again, “fundamentalist” doesn’t actually mean “church whose religious views stray from the Book of Common Prayer.” It doesn’t mean “rubes who actually believe the Bible.”

Considering that Palin is the most popular governor in America, it’s funny how every story I read about her predominantly quotes her political opponents. It’s like that 80 percent of Alaskans who favor her are just more or less invisible. To that end, Braun quotes more from Stein, who, again, she defeated.

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