ethical investing

Reuters tackles faith-based investing, omitting voices while inserting unsourced opinions

Reuters tackles faith-based investing, omitting voices while inserting unsourced opinions

When not reporting the news in a straight-up manner, the Reuters news agency often pops up as offering a caricature of what a news service does.

Most notable, perhaps, was the post-9/11 memo by the agency's then-global news editor, Stephen Jukes, in which he declared: “We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.” There was blowback a-plenty, and Jukes should be very glad Twitter didn't exist at the time.

Today's bit of palaver from Reuters comes on a subject they should know well: money and investing. Reuters did, after all, begin life as a service shuttling stock market prices around Europe, at first by carrier pigeon and then by telegraph. (It is perhaps the only journalistic enterprise in history to have been immortalized by actor Edward G. Robinson on the silver screen.)

That was then, and this is now. Reuters has come upon an interesting trend, that of stock investments based on religious principles. They then proceed to do a rather shallow reporting job that omits voices and inserts unsourced opinion as a factual statement.

This isn't straight-up journalism. It's reporting with a dose of opinion, which would seem antithetical to Reuters' origins.

In this story, titled "Gotta have faith: The rise of religious ETFs," we read:

Making money in the markets is tricky enough on its own. Try doing it while staying faithful to your religious beliefs.
That challenge hasn’t discouraged some investors from trying. Indeed, there is a growing number of faith-based exchange-traded funds that attempt to marry moneymaking with principles that are deeper and more meaningful than those of your typical trader.

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Sin and the stock market: On biblically responsible investing, who would Jesus quote first?

Sin and the stock market: On biblically responsible investing, who would Jesus quote first?

I like sin.

Wait a minute. Let me rephrase that: I like news stories about sin. They tend to fascinate me.

In my Associated Press days, I wrote about sin taxes.

In today's New York Times, there's a business story about an equally intriguing topic: sin stocks.

Overall, the Times report is thorough and factual — answering most questions a typical reader would have. But yes, there's also an element of Kellerism. Isn't that almost always the case when the Old Gray Lady covers subject matter such as this?

What is Kellerism? Regular GetReligion readers don't need to ask. But for those new to this journalism-focused website, it's the reporting gospel according to former Times editor Bill Keller. Basically, that gospel — as explained by GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly — proclaims that the Times is justified in leaning left on cultural issues such as gay rights.

How does that doctrine manifest itself in the sin stocks story? See if you notice what I did:

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God, guns but not gays from The Independent

Hypocrisy pays. Reading about the foibles of the great and good, the rich and famous sells newspapers. When you have a story that combines religion and hypocrisy you can count on a nice bump in circulation.

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