Why Rosaries Scare the Media

Clemente Lisi: Diversity of thought would go a long way in improving newsrooms and the stories they produce, especially about religion.

In an era of fake “news,” readers are bombarded each day with stories – most of them legitimate, but sometimes totally made up – and fueled by social media. The newsgathering process, the method by which journalists report the news and editors determine the value of stories, has increasingly become a bone of contention.

Readers no longer blindly accept accounts in the morning papers or continuously streamed on Twitter feeds. Sloppy errors, perceived biases, and last year’s presidential election all helped feed into the narrative that the mainstream press is out of touch with everyday Americans. Indeed, the Internet has become both an opportunity for journalists, but increasingly also a challenge.

Newsrooms, from my experience, lack diversity. While diversity in the job market is the aim of all companies, no other industry needs it more than journalism. Newsroom diversity leads to big ideas, better debates, and improved news coverage. The problem? Diversity is often seen as having to do with either race or gender. Are there enough African Americans on staff? Should we hire another woman? These are all questions media companies grapple with behind closed doors every time there’s a job opening.

What employers never lose sleep over (or even talk about) is whether there are enough devout Catholics in their newsroom or if they need to hire a person of faith – any faith – to report on what’s going on in the world and in the community. Believing in God is taboo in the newsroom.

To say there is a religious blind spot in hiring is a gross understatement. But it make a big difference in the way important issues such as abortion and gay marriage are covered by media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Media coverage can sway public opinion and help determine laws and policy. It impacts social mores and it’s being done largely without people of faith in key positions.

There is no more secular setting than in a newsroom. Liberal bias does exist in the media, but most journalists don’t see it. You can’t see bias when everyone around you thinks and feels the same way.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Lisi’s column . . .

Clemente Lisi

Clemente Lisi

Clemente Lisi, a new contributor to The Catholic Thing, is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at The King’s College in New York City. He has nearly twenty years experience as both a reporter and editor at media institutions such as the New York Post, ABC News, and the New York Daily News.

2 replies
  1. Allan M. Sterling
    Allan M. Sterling says:

    Properly, this should be called “the vampire effect”. Anti-religious people who indoctrinate and train themselves to abhor religion, religious symbolism, and the expression of religion in others. Over time, this self inflicted sociopathic behavior leads to an involuntary response on their part to these things.

    As with Dracula in the movies, the sight of the cross, Holy water, the Bible, all cause them to flinch and shy back in horror. It could even be asked is their self training so strong that seeing such things causes them physical pain?

    • Dr. Rich Swier
      Dr. Rich Swier says:


      Thanks for reading and commenting on Clemente Lisi’s column.

      The Christian religion requires one to understand that its not about s/he but rather about God. This requires discipline, love for God, belief and faith. It also requires sacrifice. Not doing things that are bad, but rather doing things that are good.

      Many people today just don’t understand the Christian faith because they are not exposed to it or given a watered down version of it.

      Your Dracula analogy is most interesting. The cross evokes fear in many, even hate. Dracula was the darkness, Jesus is the light. Once people see the light they understand and are redeemed.


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