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Media Coverage of Unconventional Religion: Any "Good News" for Minority Faiths?

Stuart A. Wright
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 39, No. 2, Special Issue: Mass Media and Unconventional Religion (Dec., 1997), pp. 101-115
DOI: 10.2307/3512176
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512176
Page Count: 15
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Media Coverage of Unconventional Religion: Any "Good News" for Minority Faiths?
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Abstract

With disturbing frequency, media coverage of new or nontraditional religions has been challenged by scholars as inflammatory, distorted, and infused with disparaging stereotypes. Though occasional abuses and excesses do occur in such groups, it appears that the assumption of misdeed is the norm among news reporters. The tendency to cast unconventional religions in an unfavorable light raises the unsettling question of bias. This paper examines the substance of these claims and suggests possible sources of news bias, both cultural and organizational. An overview of major issues and concerns is provided and directions for future dialogue between scholars and journalists are discussed.

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