Bill Moyers

GetReligion drinking game? tmatt visits 'Catholic Answers' to explain why this blog exists

GetReligion drinking game? tmatt visits 'Catholic Answers' to explain why this blog exists

Our partners on the Issues, Etc., radio and podcasting team took this week off -- in part to get ready for their June 9-10 "Making the Case" conference in Collinsville, Ill.

I will be one of the featured speakers at that conference, addressing the challenges of finding solid journalism in an age of fake news. There is a second conference Nov. 10-11 in Houston that will, among others, feature M.Z. "GetReligionista emerita" Hemingway and Rod "Benedict Option" Dreher.

In other words, we didn't record a new Crossroads podcast for this week.

However, I did do a radio interview the other night with the national Catholic Answers program that I think will be of interest to many GetReligion readers -- especially newcomers. The topic was pretty obvious, with this title: "Why Don't the Media Get Religion?" Click the title to listen.

In a way, this was a GetReligion 101 mini-seminar, in terms of talking about the goals of this blog and why we think the mainstream press is -- when it comes to religion news -- worthy of serious criticism, as well as praise.

As you would expect, in a chat about that topic recorded this past week, the whole subject of the death of The New York Times Public Editor slot did come up, as discussed in this post ("Disturbance in the Journalism Force? New York Times spikes its public-editor post").

But the discussion went all over the place, with explanations of many topics that are familiar to GetReligion readers.

For example: What is a "religion ghost"? That literally takes us back 13 years, to the first paragraphs in the blog's first post:

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Does an Islamic state run on 'ideology,' 'theology' or both?

Does an Islamic state run on 'ideology,' 'theology' or both?

Long, long ago -- 1982, to be precise -- I had a chance to talk with CBS commentator Bill Moyers soon after he returned from a lengthy stay in the Middle East. Americans were, of course, still reeling from the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Iran.

Moyers was fascinated with the role of the mosque in a typical Muslim community in the region. The local mosque was the center for religious life, but it was also where people went for help in every other aspect of their daily lives -- including many contacts with government aid and programs. The key thing journalists and other outsiders needed to grasp, he told me, was that "there was no such thing as the separation of mosque and state." 

With that in mind, hear the words spoken by the man that the British are calling "Jihadi John" as he prepared to end the life of one of his Western captives:

This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and gone out of you way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties against Muslims. 

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