20 February 2006

Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of the evangelical World Magazine and author of Prodigal Press: The Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media, which argues that the media persecutes public Christians more than other public figures, revives his call for journalists on the religion beat and beyond to embrace a different standard for reporting: “biblical objectivity.” As the conventional creed of 20th Century journalistic objectivity is broken, Olasky argues, bound by “philosophical and practical limitations,” he proposes that instead journalists try see everything through the lens of the Bible, “since God knows the real nature of things and we do not.” This is nothing new for Olasky — the man who coined the not-at-all subjective phrase, “compassionate conservative” has been making this case for twenty years — but he sees new opportunity and new necessity for a biblically-guided press in light of the internet’s effect upon the old “fairness” or “balance” doctrine which held reporters to neutrally present two or three opposing viewpoints. Today’s overwhelming number of news and opinion options, conversely, lets reporters off the hook as far as “balance” is concerned (that is if you accept Olasky’s thesis that two or three talking heads constitute a fair and comprehensive report on an issue), and so Olasky believes the hour of “biblical objectivity” may finally be here…