Home > Bold Faith Type > Friday news wrap: Missing the story

Friday news wrap: Missing the story

January 4, 2008, 11:57 am | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

News coverage of the Iowa caucuses read like it was written in advance. Might you have foreseen that evangelicals would be credited for a Huckabee win and that an Obama victory would be spun as a Clarion Call For Change?

There’s a large hole in this conventional wisdom, though: Faith was effectively barred from consideration as a factor in Obama’s victory. The CNN entrance and NBC exit polls both asked Republican caucus-goers if they were “born-again or evangelical,” and neither one asked that question of Democratic caucusers. Democrats instead were asked if they were union members.

Thirty three percent of Iowa evangelicals voted for Kerry in 2004. The Religion Newswriters’ Association named “Democrats court people of faith” the #2 religion story of 2007. Winner Barack Obama is well known for thoughtful discussion of his faith.

So why are CNN and NBC still treating evangelicals as the Republicans’ property? Their polls don’t even account for the possibility that evangelicals can play a significant role in the Democratic caucus. That’s some serious institutional bias. (Ditto for the flipside – not accounting for union members’ role in the Republican caucus.) Reporters and pundits cannot produce accurate stories and commentary if all they have to work with is such hidebound data.

CNN, NBC — fix this before polling at the New Hampshire polls on Tuesday.


9 Responses to “Friday news wrap: Missing the story”

  1. Alex says:

    Great points Dan.

    It looks like sometimes the MSM likes the form the facts to create a lede.

  2. Katie says:

    I would not be surprised if no voters – D or R – are asked about their faith in NH by the media. But they’ve really gotta fix this for SC.

  3. PlacitasRoy says:

    Darned old liberl media! I know we Dems in have plenty of bible thumpers. I know way too many union members who work against their own best interest by being ‘publicons.

  4. CD says:

    Not all Christians are born again or evangelicals.

    Besides if they asked Democrats this question the GOP would seize on the results as an example of how Godless we are.

    BTW why didn’t they ask Republicans if they were union members.

  5. Katie says:

    Nice work Dan – This is getting picked up all over the web: http://thinkprogress.org/2008/01/04/media-bias-against-democratic-people-of-faith/



    I’d love to see the mainstream press pick this up…

  6. Donald King says:

    Outstanding piece, Dan. To those of us inside the world of evangelical politics, we have been trying to communicate this since Evangelicals were split in 1972 between Nixon and McGovern (although not evenly for sure). In the intervening years, there has been significant development among orthodox Christian believers on the left side of the political spectrum who have become more articulate and vocal about where their faith has led them.

    We owe much to the work of Jim Wallis and his Sojourners group, Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, author and speaker Tom Sine and sociologist and preacher Tony Compolo. Others like myself toil away within more conservative institutions of higher education attempting to give expression to an alternative evangelical perspective on politics that is rooted in our reading of the Bible. I am grateful to you and Faith in Public Life for such insights and solid reporting that are sophisticated enough to notice the nuances that most mainstream writers overlook. Peace, Don

  7. I had seen of that story was yesterday and I posted it on the Chart Report. It is so deeply upsetting to me why we tear others down to build ourselves up.


    Anderson smith

    Addiction Recovery Iowa

  8. johnsmith says:

    Advisers to Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, said she planned to rebound from her disappointing third-place finish in Iowa by attacking the winner, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and giving former President Bill Clinton a larger strategic role in the campaign. Republican former Massachusetts Gov. Romney wedged between former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Iowa victory.



    Iowa Treatment Centers

  9. jay says:

    yah the friday is very needful day of year that friday news wrap are very difficult


    Iowa Alcohol Addiction Treatment