Dec 27, 2010

Christianity and media bias

My preferred weekly magazine, in its Christmas special, ran only one article on the Christmas story and they asked an atheist to write it.  It’s called ‘Confession of an atheist: I respect Christianity too much to believe in it.’

Why would the magazine, which is conservative culturally and politically, prefer the view of an atheist for a Christmas comment? Well I guess because it’s a different angle.  And that, my friends, is the problem for Christians when it comes to Christianity and the media.

There exists an inevitable bias against Christianity in the media because the media is always looking for new angles and new opportunities to say new things.

Locked out?

Andrew Marr at a recent internal seminar at the BBC let the cat out of the bag.

The BBC is a publicly funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnicminorities and almost certainly of gay people than the population at large.  It depends on the states approval at least for its funding mechanism and all this creates an innate liberal bias inside the BBC and I think if we pretend there isn’t an institutional liberal bias of that kind which is much more clearly expressed as a cultural bias than as a party political bias.

And it has always been so. Marr, in his presentation to the September seminar, actually quoted a  parliamentary committee from 1936 which highlights how the old, old story will always be eclipsed by the new.

‘There’s an inevitable tendency in the general programmes of the Corporation to devote more time to the expression of new ideas and the advocacy of change in social and other spheres than the defence of orthodoxy and stability, since the reiteration of what exists and is familiar is not so interesting as the exposition of what might be.’

As Marr pointed out, ‘Any producer, any reporter worth their salt wants to go for newness, challenge, controversy – and the problem we have as the BBC is to remember that out there, there are great swathes of opinion that don’t feel like this and who feel that something slightly urban, edgy, youthful, alien and sometimes distasteful is being shoved at them.’

The moral of this tale? Don’t ask for any favours from the world in promoting the gospel or even gaining for the gospel a fair hearing.

Here’s Jeff Randell, former Business editor at the BBC.

When I was there, this was not up for grabs.  Multiculturalism was ‘a good thing’.   The BBC supported it.   Don’t take my word for it because, when I complained to the BBC about our coverage of asylum-seekers, this is what I got back from a very senior BBC news executive: ‘Jeff, the BBC internally is not neutral about multiculturalism.   It believes in it, and it promotes diversity.   Let’s face up to that.’   Now, does that sound like impartiality to you?


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Neil Powell. Neil Powell said: RT @afaithtoliveby: New post: Christianity and media bias […]

  • One solution, more Christians working in the media. I work in radio and also teach it, and as such was able, at times, to bring a Christian perspective to the table. It didn’t change much, but at times it did make them think of, as you put it, a different angle.

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