The Peter Jennings' special Monday, Jesus and Paul -- The Word and the Witness, has left a bad aftertaste for two-family groups who believe the three-hour ABC broadcast failed to present a well-balanced account of the Scriptures, focusing heavily on the prespective of liberal theologians. A study from a media watchdog released on Monday confirmed what conservatives have been suspecting--the media is liberally biased.
"ABC-TV was unwilling to present a scriptural concept of Jesus, choosing to give a distorted view with the impression that the New Testament cannot be trusted," American Family Association says on its website. "Since (in their view) no reputable scholar trusts the New Testament, ABC elected to present modern day 'theologians' whom they portray as more knowledgeable and trustworthy to debunk the New Testament account."
Reporters from the secular media rely on liberal perspectives in an attempt to establish more credibility, most offent times approaching a religious issue with a secular or political mindframe.
"Religious stories are more prevalent but the prevailing attitude at the networks seems to be it¡¯s only a good story if it casts faith in a negative light, or if it evokes a political controversy,¡± said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog who conducted the study.
Their research found that religion coverage has more than doubled from ten years ago, from 121 ABC, CBS and NBC stories, usually broadcasted during the evening newscast, in 1991, to 303 during the one-year period between March 2003 to 2004.
However, MRC studies also showed that although the stories on religion were flourishing, the content within the reports were supportive to minority religions and progressive fads and more hostile to orthodox faiths.
A spokesman for Focus on the Family (FOTF) said that Jennings was not successul in hiding his personal biases. FOTF also criticized ABC for choosing the week before Easter, known as the Holy Week or Passion Week, to "attack the legitimacy of the literal interpretation of the Scriptures" and to try to "reduce the Word of God to myths."
"Jennings repeatedly refers to 'the Jesus movement' as if it were just another political party or faction," Tom Neven of FOTF wrote in a review of the special. "They also pit Paul against Jesus, as if the apostle taught things that contradicted Jesus, and some refer to Paul as 'the founder of Christianity.'"
Both AFA and FOTF urged its readerst to contact Jennings and the ABC Network to express their disapproval to the program in an effort to prevent similar biased reporting about Christian faith in the future.
"Even though an overwhelming majority of Americans express faith in God and worship regularly, network news continues to resist exploring who these Americans are and why they believe what they believe," said Bozell.