Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in Public.

Silk, Mark. Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in Public. University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Mark Silk asserts that the reporting of religion news and events in the American media is driven from a religious rather than a secular point of view: hence the title “Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America”. Through historical analysis and description of religion-related news items, Silk maps the underlying attitudes informing news media’s approach to issues of religion in terms of what he calls the topoi of the religion news media. The “topoi” is constituted by (1) applause for good work, (2) embrace of tolerance, (3) contempt for hypocrisy, (4) rejection of false prophets, (5) inclusion of worthy religious others, (6) appreciation of faith in things unseen, and (7) concern about religious decline. These topoi set the markers on the boundaries of religion news reporting and to a large extent determine the manner and form in which news related to religion is reported. Not only can the mutually exclusive categories of “religious” and “secular” not describe the new media reporting on religion, it also obscures the dynamics of the wider American culture, asserts Silk. Besides, concludes Silk, there is always the need to be sensitive to the disparity between religion as experienced by Americans and the manner in which it is reported in the media.