GetReligion: MSM Falls Down on Job of Reporting Snow's Catholic Faith
Mollie at GetReligion notes something of a double-standard in the way the mainstream press reported the late Tim Russert's devout Catholic faith and their failure to do so with respect to the late Tony Snow:
Tony Snow, journalist and aide to two presidents, died on Saturday at the age of 53. As with the death last month of beloved journalist Tim Russert, friends and fans are grieving the loss. Like Russert, Snow was a devoted family man with a strong Christian faith. I thought most obituaries of Russert did a good job of including religion in their tributes. Let’s look at some of the accounts of Snow’s death.My Comments:
For context, here’s a bit from an essay Snow wrote for Christianity Today last year. The magazine asked Snow what spiritual lessons he has been learning through his ordeal with colon cancer. His lengthy piece explains a great deal about how his faith has guided him in life...
Snow was, I believe, a convert to Roman Catholicism and he gave a notable commencement address at Catholic University of America last year about love.
While the New York Times and the Washington Post found room to include Snow’s salary at his White House job, neither of them mentioned his strong religious views that were so integral to his outlook on life. The New York Times, along with the Associated Press and Washington Post, made somewhat odd digs in their obituaries about Snow’s supposed problem with facts during his press secretary stint. (He was known for his expertise at explaining the big picture rather than specific policy details.)
Howard Kurtz’s piece this morning in the Washington Post described how Snow won the respect of journalists while serving as press secretary. It’s a nice piece that shows much more personality than much of what has been written but it’s completely silent about Snow’s faith.
People interested in that element should be sure to read William Kristol’s touching and provocative tribute to his friend on the New York Times editorial page ...
The Washington Times did a much better job than their across town competition by quoting people familiar with Snow’s commitment to faith and family. Reporter Jon Ward also dug up that Christianity Today piece from last year ...
Considering all of the material that could be drawn on, it is somewhat surprising that most major coverage failed to mention Snow’s Christian faith.
Is it really all that surprising? Can we not think of anything that might account for the inconsistency in how the media reported on the deaths of 2 of America's finest newsmen who also happened to be animated by their devout Catholic faith?
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Catholic Online: Tony Snow Dead at 53, A Tribute
More on Tim Russert's Catholic Faith
God, Politics and the Making of a Joyful Warrior: Tim Russert Was a Catholic in America
Tim Russert, Best and Most Objective Newsman in America (and Devout Catholic), Dead at 58 [UPDATED]