Do journalists report more favourably on people that they like than on those they don't? Canada's evangelicals think so. For years, they've accused the country's news personnel of being prejudiced against them both personally and in their coverage. However, up to now, the evangelicals' charge of media bias has never been empirically examined. This book puts that charge to the test. An in depth survey of national news personnel accompanied by an extensive, multi-year examination of news coverage reveals how Canada's journalists feel about evangelicals, how they report on evangelicals, and how and when their feelings influence their reporting. In the end, this book concludes when the beliefs and actions of Canadian evangelicals directly clash with the heart-felt convictions of Canadian national journalists, the journalists are willing to abandon their professional objectivity and slant their stories against their ideological opponents.
In addition, this book uses the media's treatment of evangelicals as a backdrop for the discussion of larger issues. How the media construct the news, how and why the media cover religion as they do, whether journalistic objectivity exists at all, and the affect media messages have on audiences is explored. Also, advice on how religious groups can overcome media bias is offered.
As the first book to apply the tools of quantitative research to the topic of religion and the news in Canada, this book is groundbreaking. However, written with the lay reader in mind, the theoretical underpinnings of the work and methodologies used are presented in accessible, easy-to-understand terms. This book will be of interest to all member of the evangelical community, clergy and faith leaders, and scholars of religion or mass communication.
"This is response rather than reaction. Intelligent, balanced, incisive and instructive. At last such a book about such a subject from someone who understands evangelical Christianity as well as media. Essential reading for everyone interested in both."
- Michael Coren, Author, columnist and broadcaster
David M. Haskell, Ph.D., is associate professor of journalism and contemporary studies at the Brantford campus of Wilfrid Laurier University.