Tuesday, December 20, 2011

National Public Radio Reacts to Charges of Too Much Catholic Stuff on the Air

NPR reacts here to the complaints. See Is NPR Doing Too Many Stories About Catholicism? Now what to say about that? Well to be honest I am listening to more sports radio nowadays when NPR is on. So well shoot me for that perhaps not so great civic outlook.

However NPR is right there are a ton of Catholics. This struck me as weird though:

..So, I went back to look at the coverage. According to Elizabeth Allin of NPR's excellent library staff, here is how it broke down by religious category over the last 12 months on the news shows listed above:
Islam: 148

Christianity: 63
Judaism: 55
Catholicism: 39
Buddhism: 14
Mormonism: 12
Protestant: 6
Amish: 2
Hinduism: 1

( Note as the writer notes there might be some overlap in the Christianity , Catholic, and Protestant categories)

Now I am assuming NPR is putting most of the various Evangelical ,and Fundamentalist stories under Christianity and not "Protestant". However this leads to the other point. Hardly no stories on the mainline Protestants? 6 seems like a low number. Espcially compared to Judaism unless they are including everything related to Israel there.

When I have caught NPR most Catholic stories often have to deal with negative things. Like the sexual abuse crisis ( note no talk likely of Evangelical or Protestant sex abuse crisis) ,or the issue of women's rights and the always favorite Celibate and male only Priesthood issue.

Further add the controversies over SEX ( Same sex attraction, birth control , etc) and we see an often not very wide world Catholic view. Not saying this should not be covered. However from the listening I have done to NPR ,it seems these are the stories I catch. Though no doubt they had some that varied.

That is one reason I love the LITURGY stories. I do not recall if read the transcripts of these stories or not to see if there was predictable Liberal vs conservative talking point. However , though this has some controversy, lots of people do Liturgy and it's important to far more than just Catholics. Think Episcopalians, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches etc to name the top ones. All of which I suspect have some listenership at NPR.

So I was thankful for the Liturgy focus. It actually talked about something many of do each week and was different from the " poor woman x cannot become a Priest" story that we have heard a million times.

Still the question remains about the mainline coverage. There are ton of controversies that are hot going on in the mainline Protestant congregations. I do wonder if there is a deficit there. Further the lack of any Orthodox or Eastern Christian stories are striking.

Hopefully someone with more time on their hands than I do will take a look at this more. The NPR stories might have been more varied on the Catholic Church than I caught. Again it would be nice for someone to look into that. However my reaction to the Liturgy stories was "Great- this actually personally affects me each week" and this was a nice change of pace

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