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A Closer Luke: No room for Christian bias in news coverage

A Closer Luke: No room for Christian bias in news coverage
Pakistani Christian women mourn the death of Sharmoon who was killed in a bombing attack, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, March 28, 2016. The death toll from a massive suicide bombing targeting Christians gathered on Easter in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore rose on Monday as the country started observing a three-day mourning period following the attack. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Consider the following two ledes:

“In a terrorist attack on Monday, the Taliban targeted Pakistani Christians celebrating Easter.”

“In a terrorist attack on Monday, the Westborough Church targeted American Muslims during a prayer at a mosque.”

If the second statement sounds a little off to you, American media may have your ear trained to side with a specific demographic.

As you may have guessed, the second lead is completely fabricated, but the first one is an actual depiction of an attack that happened last week. More than 300 Pakistani were injured, and 70 were killed. And, mainstream media outlets would have you believe the fact that they were Christians should be the main focus.

I’ve seen many shared articles on my own Facebook timeline where Christians will only insist on mourning the loss of other Christians, and it gets old. In a faith that prides itself on being welcoming and diverse, why are Christians put above everyone else?

“The U.S. State Department did not respond Monday to a query as to whether it regarded the attack as one specifically targeting Christians,” a Fox News article pointed out, regarding the attack.

Fox News is notably conservative, but journalism basics will tell you that bias should be left out of news coverage all together. Why should the beliefs of one group be put over those of another, and for what purpose does that serve in a news story?

In a flipped scenario where a group of Christian extremists target a Muslim community, how would it play out? News organizations may get hateful responses for noting that the terrorist group was Christian. I can already see the replies of angry conservatives outraged that the “liberal media” would be so quick to point out their faith. But, when Christians are the target, suddenly they have to be listed as Christians and not just people.

News should be about presenting the events and facts in a neutral and unbiased way in order for the public to make their own conclusions. Just like the separation of church and state, we must also have a separation of church and media, or else we will continue to have xenophobia in masses.

About The Author

Luke Janke

Luke Janke is a super senior studying journalism at FGCU. When he’s not listening to podcasts, he’s busy producing his own podcast, Full Pulp. Concerts and music are at the forefront of his horizon, and when there’s an ounce of free time you’ll find him in his home studio laying down tracks for his music project, Bull Moose Party. As a self-proclaimed nihilist, his affinity for death is emphasized by the authentic squirrel skull found on his desk in the newsroom.

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