Christianity and the Mass Media in America (Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series): Toward a Democratic Accommodation

Christianity and the Mass Media in America (Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series): Toward a Democratic Accommodation

by Quentin J. Schultze
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0870136968

ISBN-13: 9780870136962

Pub. Date: 10/28/2003

Publisher: Michigan State University Press

The mass media and religious groups in America regularly argue about news bias, sex and violence on television, movie censorship, advertiser boycotts, broadcast and film content rating systems, government regulation of the media, the role of mass evangelism in a democracy, and many other issues. In the United States the major disputes between religion and the media

Overview

The mass media and religious groups in America regularly argue about news bias, sex and violence on television, movie censorship, advertiser boycotts, broadcast and film content rating systems, government regulation of the media, the role of mass evangelism in a democracy, and many other issues. In the United States the major disputes between religion and the media usually have involved Christian churches or parachurch ministries, on the one hand, and the so-called secular media, on the other. Often the Christian Right locks horns with supposedly liberal Eastern media elite and Hollywood entertainment companies. When a major Protestant denomination calls for an economic boycott of Disney, the resulting news reports suggest business as usual in the tensions between faith groups and media empires.
    Schultze demonstrates how religion and the media in America have borrowed each other’s rhetoric. In the process, they have also helped to keep each other honest, pointing out respective foibles and pretensions. Christian media have offered the public as well as religious tribes some of the best media criticism— better than most of the media criticism produced by mainstream media themselves. Meanwhile, mainstream media have rightly taken particular churches to task for misdeeds as well as offered some surprisingly good depictions of religious life.
     The tension between Christian groups and the media in America ultimately is a good thing that can serve the interest of democratic life. As Alexis de Tocqueville discovered in the 1830s, American Christianity can foster the “habits of the heart” that ward off the antisocial acids of radical individualism. And, as John Dewey argued a century later, the media offer some of our best hopes for maintaining a public life in the face of the religious tribalism that can erode democracy from within. Mainstream media and Christianity will always be at odds in a democracy. That is exactly the way it should be for the good of each one.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870136962
Publisher:
Michigan State University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Series:
Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series
Pages:
440
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction1
Chapter 1Conversing about Faith and Media in America7
The Rhetoric of Conversion
The Rhetoric of Discernment
The Rhetoric of Communion
The Rhetoric of Exile
The Rhetoric of Praise
Chapter 2Praising Technology: Evangelical Populism Embraces American Futurism45
Christian Optimism and Technology
Evangelical Theology and Mass Communication
The Mythos of the Electronic Church
Prophetic Mythos As Science Fiction
Chapter 3Leading the Tribes Out of Exile: The Religious Press Discerns Broadcasting89
Pressing for Tribal Loyalties in a Strange Land
Commonweal: The Primacy of Community
America: Freedom of the Airways
Christian Century: The Ecumenical Spirit
Christianity Today: Marketing the Gospel
Catholic World: An Apostolic Tool
Chapter 4Converting to Consumerism: Evangelical Radio Embraces the Market139
The Rise of Religious Radio
The "Bazaar" Rhetoric of Public Interest
Marketing Religion on the Radio
The Struggle over Network Broadcasting
Marketing Religious Consumerism
Chapter 5Searching for Communion: The Christian Metanarrative Meets Popular Mythology175
Religious Uses of Narrative Communication
The Liturgical Character of Mass-Mediated Narratives
Media Criticism As Tribal Exegesis and Prophetic Imagination
Four Examples of Tribal Criticism
Chapter 6Communing with Civil Sin: Mainstream Media Purge Evil221
From Sin to Evil
Civil Sin
Civil Sinners As Victims of Immanent Causality
Purging Civil Sinners from the Media World
Chapter 7Discerning Professional Journalism: Reporters Adopt Fundamentalist Discourse263
News As the "Good News"
Mainstream Journalism as Informational Fundamentalism
The Power of News As Unimaginative Social Liturgy
Christian News in the Public Square
Chapter 8Praising Democracy: Embracing Religion in a Mass-Mediated Society309
Balancing Culture in Time and Space
Balancing Tribal and Public Interests
Balancing Religious and Secular Culture
Balancing Technology and Culture
Notes353
Index423

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