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Monday, June 18, 2007
Your Divine Mileage May Vary
Topic: NewsBusters
In an odd June 18 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham is miffed that NPR didn't put the word "goddess" in scare quotes in an "All Things Considered" piece on a 9-year-old girl who is "venerated as a deity in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal":

News people often hedge on the accuracy of the existence of God, but National Public Radio showed an ease in declaring they were in the presence of a "goddess" (no quote marks for her) on Thursday's All Things Considered newscast.

[...]

Even the NPR website is confident in declaring her divinity. Their headline for the segment: "She's Small, Sometimes Shy, and Totally Divine."

Notwithstanding the problem of putting scare quotes around something in an audio broadcast, Graham never really explains what the bee in his bonnet is about. Given that Graham notes at the outset that NPR states that the girl's divinity is pretty much limited to "the Kathmandu valley of Nepal," it can't be that NPR is claiming that she's a goddess to all; indeed, nowhere does the NPR report claim the girl has any divine powers at all, let alone those of the Christian God.

Aha! That may be it -- Graham doesn't want any non-Christian religion portrayed in a positive light. In other words, the problem Graham has with the NPR piece appears to be theological, not journalistic. There's probably a better place to address polytheistic vs. monotheistic belief system debates than NewsBusters.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EDT

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