Reince Priebus

Who went insane? BuzzFeed editors or the Greek Orthodox believer who leads the GOP?

Who went insane? BuzzFeed editors or the Greek Orthodox believer who leads the GOP?

What happens when you mix Christmas, politics, Twitter and the ongoing emotional meltdown on the cultural left in the wake of the 2016 presidential race?

Trust me, the answer to that question is a bit crazy.

So was anyone else on Twitter enough in the past day or so to catch the latest mini-media storm about Christians in the Republican Party and the ugliness of their love affair with Citizen Donald Trump?

That's one way to spin this crazy mess. You could also simply note that we are dealing with another case of a major newsroom -- wait, is BuzzFeed a major newsroom? -- failing to contain even one or two people who have any idea how ordinary Christians out in Middle America use language when talking about matters of faith?

For those out of the digital feedback loop, here is the dramatic double-decker headline atop the BuzzFeed "story" that is in the middle of all this:

People Are Arguing About Whether Republicans Just Compared Trump To Jesus
A Republican spokesman said Christians view only Jesus as king and to ask otherwise was “frankly offensive.”

What does it mean to say that "people are arguing about" something? Does that mean a few activists on the left served up a bunch of wisecracks and then people responded by noting that they were out of their minds? 

If you want to look at this as a journalism case study, then the former GetReligionista Mark Hemingway put it best in this tweet:

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Donald Trump's cabinet: Are his choices merely a list of evangelical deplorables?

Donald Trump's cabinet: Are his choices merely a list of evangelical deplorables?

OK. I get that for lots of people, Donald Trump’s cabinet picks seem like a freak show line-up.

But can we at least try to maintain a little bit of journalistic objectivity when we describe these folks? Yes, this is a debate that's raging all over the place right now. Just ask New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet. And remember the Fixer-Upper couple bouhaha that BuzzFeed tried to ignite two weeks ago (which I wrote about) that blamed the two home remodelers for the views of their pastor? 

Lots of folks condemned that sort of damned-by-association style of journalism. In this latest wrap-up of Trump’s cabinet, I see it again in this RNS story.

(RNS) An education secretary who supports school vouchers to get more children into private religious schools. A White House strategist whose ex-wife accused him of anti-Semitism. A national security adviser who called Islam “a political ideology hiding behind a religion.”
After a campaign in which President-elect Donald Trump was accused of trafficking in bigotry and hatred, and of changing his views to win the conservative religious vote, he is choosing Cabinet members who have made controversial statements on religious and ethical issues.

I get the second half of the sentence, but was the first part (on “bigotry and hatred”) necessary? Yes, it is a statement of fact about attacks by Trump critics on the left and right, but still. The article then goes on to list several cabinet nominees:

Pruitt is a member of First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., where he has served as a deacon. First Baptist is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which has opposed marriage equality, reproductive rights for women and LGBTQ rights, including bathroom access for transgender people.

My goodness, are these people villains or what? The Southern Baptists also took a strong stand against racism, for refugees and repudiated the Confederate flag at their June meeting. I guess that wasn’t good enough.

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