Thursday, February 15, 2007

Faith target for media bias surrounding Romney campaign

There’s a piece by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post entitled “The Latter-Day Candidate.” Kurtz starts off like this:

The press seems downright excited at the prospect of the first female president.

The idea of the first black president has journalists all but giddy.

But the first Mormon president? Whoa! That's a different matter.

The skeptical tone toward Mitt Romney's announcement has been impossible to miss. And the major reason is his religion.

"Will Mormon faith hurt bid for White House?" said USA Today's front-page headline on the day that the former Massachusetts governor announced.

Try to imagine a headline that said, "Will Jewish faith hurt bid for White House?"

Obviously, reporters are raising the issue because of polls showing that a chunk of the public wouldn't vote for a Mormon commander-in-chief--24 percent in a USA Today poll yesterday. But I believe the passive acceptance of this political "fact"--as opposed to, say, questioning opposition to gay marriage or civil unions--reflects a mindset that Mormonism is kind of weird and therefore okay to treat as a fringe movement.
Kurtz reveals an interesting phenomena. While most people, including Mormons, expect this sort of coverage, it does seem odd in this day and age when many groups that were previously reviled are now accepted, if not in the general public then in the media. However, today’s media seems content to continue venting prejudices about Mormons. Kurtz continues:

Would you use this blind quote, as New York magazine did?

" 'Look, let's be honest, Mormons are weird,' says a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Massachusetts, voicing a view widely shared by secularists and Evangelicals alike."

I sure wouldn't.

Neither would I, but of course I am a little biased.

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Blogger Mitt Rockers said...

I couldn't find your email address, so I'm posting here...

Dear friend,

As a fellow supporter of Mitt Romney, we would appreciate it if you could add a link to our blog from your site.

In addition, it would be fantastic if you could made an actual post saying something like "Check out this new Mitt Romney blog..."

We have already posted a link to your site from our blog as well.

Thanks so much for your support! Best of luck and Go Mitt!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Hmmm... that's what we call a threadjack ;)

It's been a little disconcerting to see these never-ending stories on whether a Mormon is electable. My personal view is that some of it might driven by a personal bias against Mormons among some journalists, but a lot of it is driven by opinion polls showing that the public seems wary of voting for a Mormon.

I disagree with Kurtz a little though. I think much of this press comes from the fact that the media likes a story, and it thinks it has one with a Latter-day Saint candidate courting an Evangelical base that has, historically, been very hostile to the Mormon faith. Along these lines, I've also read plenty of stories discussing the electability of a black man in America. Contrary to what Kurtz says, when Lieberman ran with Gore in 2000, there was talk of whether his Jewish faith might hurt the ticket in some circles. There has also been a lot of discussion over the years about the electability of Muslim candidates as well. Focusing on Romney's Mormonism, while superficial, might be seen as the "sexier" storyline than focusing on actual issues (which a lot of the press seems loathe to do at times).

11:32 AM  

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