Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America (Public Express Religion America)

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9780252019043: Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America (Public Express Religion America)

Unsecular Media is the first comprehensive description and analysis of how the American news media cover religion. A working journalist as well as a historian of religion, Mark Silk explores the inherent tensions between religion and the news media and traces the ups and downs of religious news coverage from Benjamin Franklin to David Koresh.
Changing views of Americans' religious commitment have led to an image of the news media as implacably secularist. But Silk examines contemporary news coverage and concludes that, rather than reflecting a secular bias, contemporary media accounts express religion-based values that most Americans share.
Those values, Silk shows, are embodied in moral formulas, or topoi, that mark out the territory religion occupies in journalistic discourse. The formulas - good works, tolerance, hypocrisy, false prophecy, inclusion, supernatural belief, and spiritual decline - make the huge variety of American religious life morally comprehensible to a mass audience. In demonstrating their usefulness and shortcomings, Silk points the way toward a less judgmental and more pluralistic approach to the coverage of religion.

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About the Author:

Mark Silk, a staff writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, teaches religion and the media at Emory University.

Review:

"A fresh interpretation of religious news coverage... Religion ordinarily gets an easy ride, says Silk, because the American public by and large favors religiousness. The press either reflects that favorable view or, with an eye to the market, caters to it... Silk is onto something. He is even likely to have a long-term if subtle effect on religious coverage in the secular press." -- Martin Marty, Christian Century

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Mark Silk
Published by University of Illinois Press (1995)
ISBN 10: 0252019040 ISBN 13: 9780252019043
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Silk, Mark
Published by University of Illinois Press (1995)
ISBN 10: 0252019040 ISBN 13: 9780252019043
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