February 23rd, 2009


On media and religious ignorance

Last week's On the Media had an interesting segment, discussing the fact that the media, often, doesn't "get it" when politicians make references to Biblical literature ... unless they rather explicitly drop hints.  The case-in-point was President Obama's inaugural address, in which he said:

We remain a young nation but, in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

The interviewee, Michael Gerson, related a story that seemed too preposterous to believe ... until I verified it.

During the 2000 Presidential campaign, a reporter at the New York Times did a long piece on (then-candidate) George W. Bush, and his folksy attitude.  In the middle of the article, he wrote:

Mr. Bush also offered an interesting variation on the saying about the pot and the kettle. ''Don't be takin' a speck out of your neighbor's eye,'' he told the audience, ''when you got a log in your own.''

Of course, this wasn't a variation on "the pot calling the kettle black".  This was a loose paraphrase of Jesus himself:

How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.  (Matthew 7:4-5)

Of course, it's not just amazing that the reporter didn't get the reference ... but that his editor didn't get it, either, and catch it before it got published.

Granted, the story is nine years old.  It's still fascinating to me, for whatever reason.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative