When Todd Akin made his infamous “legitimate rape” comment, it was in response to a question from journalist Charles Jaco. It turns out that Charles Jaco is not just any old minor league workaday reporter; he’s an excellent example of the state of modern journalism.
The folks at Get Religion found this email that Jaco sent to a Christian viewer after she complained to him about his comments concerning the recent Chick-Fil-A/gay marriage flap:
Since you choose to live as what Thomas Jefferson called, “…a prisoner of superstition,” I don’t imagine there’s much I can do to sway your belief in Bronze Age folk tales as some sort of direct communique from the creator.
I would expect you call yourself a Christian, which is amusing, given that the man you worship had a lot to say about tolerance, and not one word to say about homosexuals. Your bible is loaded with all sorts of admonitions on how to live one’s life. It’s your choice if you want to cherry-pick the bits that condemn men laying with men, and ignore the parts that say you shouldn’t consume swine, or shellfish, or that the woman should be subservient to the man. How does that sort of cafeteria religiosity work, anyway, where you can create a political movement against gay marriage with some quotes, and ignore the rest? As I recall parts of the bible, large chunks also defend slavery.
Gay marriage certainly doesn’t affect the sanctity of my marriage. I’m sorry if it somehow devalues yours. I’m even sorrier that you base your fear of it on something written by zealots half a world away 3,200 years ago.
That is quite a pile of something, hmm? Get Religion analyzes it thusly:
What the what? “Prisoner of superstition” … “Bronze Age folk tales” … “direct communique from the creator” … “you base your fear” … “something written by zealots half a world away 3,200 years ago”? What in the world is this guy doing in the journalism business? And why do journalists not know that this is unprofessional behavior? I can’t be alone in thinking that this incivility — and refusal to admit error or correct an error — reflects poorly on our profession. We should always aim to treat our viewers/listeners/readers with respect.
I get that these types of bigoted views are sadly common among people who are in the media. It’s hard to ignore that those views make their way into decisions of how to cover the news, what questions to ask, how to frame the issues of the day, etc. But this is not a helpful way for journalists to respond to their listeners, readers or viewers. It certainly goes far to hurting trust between the media producers and consumers.
It’s way past time for Christian and/or conservative public figures to realize what they’re up against when they talk to any mainstream journalist.
It’s not like they’re just ignorant, or well-intentioned but misinformed. They actively try to paint Christians in as poor a light as possible because they have contempt for what we believe. Todd Akin may have stepped on the dog poo himself, but Charles Jaco and his ilk are putting it on the stoop and lighting the bag on fire.