The assignment mentioned how media is referred to as either a mirror or a lens. The mirror concept is based off of the idea that media is reflective in nature, simply revealing the societal realities it reports on. The other view, that media is a lens, suggests that media actually crafts the perspectives of its audience, bringing a distinct perspective to every piece produced. Our book suggests the latter, saying that media has a distinct message to deliver, depending on who is creating it. In the introduction, Badaracco says that media is biased, noting that “journalists no longer speak of ‘objective’ news reports, preferring instead to say they strive toward fair, accurate, and balanced reporting.”
Chapter 4 examines how Christian fundamentalists, though they blame media for “hypersexualizing society,” still use media to propagate their own agendas, “creating alternate institutions” to diffuse society with conservative values.
When being completely transparent, most secular media outlets see fundamentalism as dangerous and oppressive to certain segments of society. Shannyn Moore, a columnist for the Huffington Post, wrote an article titled “Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannyn-moore/christian-fundamentalist_b_209521.html.” In it, she writes that “the right wing media hacks make targets of the left. The fundamentalist reverends blather their intolerance of other Americans. Their marriages are in jeopardy if the GLBT community can walk down an aisle.” Columnist Mark Barna’s article for the Colorado Springs Gazette is titled “Is Christian Rhetoric Partly to Blame for Doctor’s Murder? (http://thepulpit.freedomblogging.com/2009/06/02/is-christian-rhetoric-partly-to-blame-for-abortion-doctors-murder/1711/)” It makes the connection between Christian anti-abortion messages and the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, concernedly asking, “Will Christians sympathize with the murderer?” The article also highlights how Christian leaders said Tiller was guilty of murdering babies. This aligns with Badaracco’s conception of how fundamentalism can be polarizing in nature, writing that “fundamentalists hold to a radical dualism in which two sides – God and Satan – take no prisoners and broke no compromise” because they are “responding to what they see as the dangers and weaknesses of the world in which we live.”
In their own media, Christian fundamentalists portray themselves as holding the line between right and wrong, crusading for the moral fiber of the country. They are clear in this position and, as Badaracco writes, “uncompromising.” This is seen in an article written for Charisma News Online titled “Pro-Lifers Brace for Political Backlash After Tiller Murder (http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/22145-pro-lifers-brace-for-political-backlash-after-tiller-murder).” Author Adrienne Gaines is quick to point out the determination of pro-lifers to continue their anti-abortion work despite the murder of Tiller and quotes an anti-abortion leader as saying, “George Tiller was one of the most evil men on the planet; every bit as vile as the Nazi war criminals who were hunted down, tried, and sentenced after they participated in the ‘legal’ murder of the Jews that fell into their hands.” While Gaines balances this with less incendiary remarks from other conservative leaders who condemned the murder, the overall message is very clear: abortion is wrong and needs to be stopped for the moral good of the country. Christian fundamentalists see themselves fully engaged in the “culture wars” that Badaracco describes in chapter 1and have carved out media outlets to help in their mission, fighting the saturation of secular media with conservative messages, as noted in chapter 4.
When I look at Christian fundamentalism, I am unnerved by the extremity of their messages. This is because I have been indoctrinated by the idea of freedom. I believe firmly in personal choice and sometimes civil rights and Christian tenets oppose to each other. However, I am hesitant to completely embrace the relativistic ideals of liberalism. Instead, I fall somewhere in the middle though I am more slightly more inclined towards fundamentalism than liberalism.