The Washington Post advises the religious left on its need for strong moral issues:
“Why do reporters cover hateful and controversial religion stories but never the nice, good things that religious leaders do?” I’m inevitably asked this question by well-intentioned clergy members hoping to get more media coverage for their earnest interfaith work. There are two answers, and I always give both.
First, drama and conflict are essential ingredients in all stories, and religion stories are no exception. So while the decision to cover every inflammatory remark by an Islamophobic Christian pastor in Florida is journalistically questionable, a journalist’s impulse to cover religion with the same skepticism and eye for drama as he or she would bring to coverage of, say, politics is understandable.
But second, I say, pointedly, the religious left needs to do a much better job of making its priorities and activities newsworthy. Kumbaya is not a story. Why can’t we all just get along is not a story. Since the rise of the religious right in the 1970s in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, the religious left has failed to gain any comparable visibility, traction, or voice on major issues in the political sphere.
News releases from the precincts of the religious left continue to emphasize niceness over moral authority. Just this week, the National Catholic Reporter ran the following headline: “Faith leaders want Americans to pray for collegiality.”
Should the religious left pander to the needs of the media to get attention? Or try to continue to have complex conversations about issues that have many dimensions?