In light of the hype surrounding the unveiling of an ancient tablet that suggests some Jews were expecting the messiah to rise from the dead after three days, Mollie at GetReligion has some strong words for the media’s affinity for sensationalizing any report that will supposedly—supposedly—shake the bedrock of Christianity:
There is nothing the media like more than to sensationalize undeserving stories. Usually this involves either the disappearance of young, attractive white women or alleged revelations about Jesus. in the latter category, we’ve read that Jesus walked on an ice floe (not water), that he wasn’t crucified in the manner in which people think, that Jesus’ father was a Roman soldier named Pantera, not Joseph, and that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so much as pass out after being doped up.
Usually these stories “break” around major Christian holidays. Remember Easter 2006? When National Geographic argued that Judas was unfairly maligned by Christians? The story was covered far and wide by all the major media outlets. Two years later, the news that National Geographic rushed the story and engaged in shoddy scholastic work (daemon translated as “spirit,” etc.) was not covered in any way approaching the same degree.
The latest example shows the difficulty journalists have in resisting the shock angle on stories. A completely legitimate and interesting story gets turned into yet another thing that is supposed to shake the very foundations of Christianity. Come on! Enough already! Or can the media at least come up with a better spin, hoax or overblown discovery?
Um, newsflash to the New York Times. Christians pretty much think the entire story of Jesus life, death and resurrection is part of a “recognized Jewish tradition” at the time. In other words, Christians read much of the Old Testament as prophesying about Jesus. They see Jesus as the fulfillment of those prophecies.
She makes some great points. Read the rest of her post here.