News flash: Mitt Romney is a Mormon!
Actually, it’s not news. Romney was a Mormon as governor of Massachusetts and high-profile turn-around manager of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Romney ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and he was a Mormon then. He’s pretty much been running ever since. As a Mormon. But somehow, the networks can’t help reminding viewers at every turn that Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints.
Just since Oct. 31, ABC, NBC and CBS have made 57 specific references to Romney’s faith. That’s on top of the more than 100 times they talked about it from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2011.
Unlike their colleagues at MSNBC, network reporters can’t openly attack Romney’s faith. But they can make sure nobody forgets what it is by including it in nearly every story that mentions him. They can wonder if “Mitt Romney`s Mormon faith is problematic” to Christians, as CBS’s Bill Whitaker did in January. They can cite “misconceptions” about polygamy, as NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren did in February.
Last fall, the Culture and Media Institute released “Baptism by Fire,” a study of how ABC, NBC and CBS covered the religion of the Republican primary contenders versus that of Democrat candidates in the 2008 cycle. CMI found that Republicans’ faith was discussed seven times more than Democrats, and their faith was 13 times more likely to be criticized or challenged.
Not surprisingly, the networks gave Barack Obama a near-total pass on his religion …