Saturday, May 3, 2008

Does covering extreme views make religious tensions worse?

I found this thread on Beliefnet's discussion boards, which is highlighted on the front page today, to be interesting.

It reminded me of when my husband and I were in Israel for ICA nearly 10 years ago. We traveled a bit and met Jews and Muslims in all sorts of places and situations, and asked many of them if they thought there would ever be peace in Israel. We got the same answer across the board - No. But not because I don't want it.

Every person spoke of extremist groups on each side that refused to compromise or settle in any way in the interests of peace. Many of them blamed the media for covering the extremists because, as one man put it, "They give the most exciting posts." Our respondents felt that this would make readers believe that things are worse than they, in fact, are.

Does the media need to pay attention more to moderate views? How does this fit in with traditional definitions of news?

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