Time for my third installment to report on recent mass media attacks on Evangelicals. There is quite a lot to cover, and I probably missed a lot due to work stuff, life stuff, and a local phone service outage that still has my AT&T internet service out. We had tons of anti-Evangelical digs from Leftist mass media that used the occasions of the Parkland shooting and the death of Billy Graham.
Several of the editorials (many masquerading as articles or obituaries) about the passing of Billy Graham brought up his renown for acceptance and support of both Democrats and Republicans, and then sprang from that into assaults on Evangelicals who voted for President Trump. They are obviously waging a political campaign intended to separate President Trump from his base. One example that was cited by other media several times and which was featured in the Google News Spotlight was an excerpt from “The Story with Martha McCallum,” a discussion show on Fox News Network, from Feb. 22. There was an exchange between Juan Williams and Rev. Robert Jeffress, both of whom are regular contributors at Fox News. The setup was Ms. McCallum quoting from a recent column by J. Williams:
“It now seems clear that evangelical Christians who hold up biblical edicts on lying, cheating and adultery, don’t care about the word of God when it comes to Trump.”
Pastor Jeffress began his remarks with this:
“Let me just share this perspective, evangelicals had a binary choice in 2016 between Donald Trump, who admittedly by his own admission is not a Sunday school teacher or a saint, but he has become the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-Israel president in history. The other choice was Hillary Clinton.”
Which was followed by the usual escalation of voices and led to this remark by Juan Williams:
“Well, so I listened to Pastor Jeffress, and he says the policies matter, it’s not the fact that this man, as president of the United States, is a role model for us as a society. And I just think that you’re buying in to the idea that the policies matter but character and Christian doctrine don’t matter.”
I found that to be an interesting assertion, in keeping with the overall tone of mass media coverage of all things Evangelical.
Also in the coverage of the death of Billy Graham, Politico and the New York Times led the rush to trash Franklin Graham. Franklin Graham has supported President Trump, and they preached to their readers about how this is a mortal sin.
What I find even more interesting than sermons against Evangelicals that spring from some news hook is the steady appearance of new attacks on Evangelicals that are not triggered by events but just are part of the media scene. For example, for no apparent reason, the Google News Spotlight featured an anti-Christian rant from RawStory.com. It stayed in the Spotlight for a few days at the beginning of February. When you pushed through and checked it out, it turned out to be a re-post of a blog post that had run at RawStory in 2016. Old news. Old sad news, and of the kind that tells us a lot more about the people who select the Google News Spotlight than it tells us about either RawStory or about Christians.
In a more newsworthy but unprofessional light, Yahoo News did an e-mail interview of Eric Metaxas. The author of the article cited several quotes from old David French articles in which he lambasted Evangelicals, in order to spin Metaxas’s responses. I will put a link in the comments, and also a link to the blog post in which Eric Metaxas published the entire exchange as a way to correct the record.
More recently, the New York Times gave us another feature in which they were trying to wedge white Christian women away from President Trump:
Evangelical voters, often portrayed as a monolith, are becoming increasingly difficult to define. The support for Mr. Trump reflects a growing pragmatism among evangelical voters who are willing to accept a less than ideal model of Christian faith in exchange for policies that they endorse.
“I think they’ve become experienced and very practical,” said Frances FitzGerald, the author of the recent book “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.” “By large majorities they used to believe that to be elected, you had to be of good character. No longer. It’s ‘We want a president to do what we want him to do, and he’s going to do it if we turn out and vote.’”
Mr. Trump also appeals to white evangelicals in other ways with his strong language, disruptive view of presidential norms and his policies on taxes. “Religious right rhetoric has always been very martial — isolationist and martial at the same time,” Ms. FitzGerald said.
When they say “increasingly difficult to define,” what they mean is increasingly difficult to caricature and stereotype, which has been their pattern for five decades.
That week, I saw a Google News Spotlight headline for an article from Forbes: “Why White Evangelicalism is so Cruel.” That was sort of intriguing, but the article had already been pulled by Forbes. Vanished into the ether, just like a couple of posts by me and 10 Cents at Site R>. I searched for it the next day and discovered that it had been posted at the author’s personal blog site.
Also earlier this month, The Atlantic posted a very long essay by Michael Gerson: “The Last Temptation.” It carried this subheading: “How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in recent memory.” It is very snarky and throws around insults. Here is the key takeaway:
“Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness.”
That longwinded essay provided several pull quotes that were used by other mass media journalists to attack Evangelicals.
In the end I have nothing really new to report in this post. Leftist mass media continue to try to wedge Evangelical support away from President Trump. They like to quote Republicans whenever a Republican Never attacks President Trump or attacks Christians who support President Trump.
They are the Opposition Party. They are getting plenty of material to work with.
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