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16 Times Media Found Religion in 2016


4/16 - In June, The Washington Post looked into the trend of people putting #NeverTrump or #NeverHillary parting shots in their own obituaries. The story, while lighthearted, hits on the changing taboos about what's permissible in the US to discuss "in polite company." Politics and religion used to be very private topics, but the 2016 campaign moved both more out into the open. The experts say that modern Americans are getting used to sharing their innermost feelings in digital settings where a wide variety of people have a chance to see them, share them, and pass them around. The Post did well to not soften the highly religious language of the deceased in their coverage.

5/16 - The New York Times stepped up its scrutiny of Saudi Arabia and its close ties to Wahhabism and engines of Islamic radicalism around the world. A page-one piece in July, published in English and Arabic (online), looked at death threats against a one-time Saudi moral enforcer who called for more a more tolerant Islam. The Times also reported on how the Saudis are turning Kosovo into fertile ground for ISIS.  TMP's fall 2016 research fellow Naser Miftari (Kosovo) spoke and wrote on the subject at MPJI in New York City.

6/16 - The Atlantic did great work last summer on the religion beat challenging the sensational "Jesus’ wife" story. The original story made headlines after a piece of papyrus bearing the words, "Jesus said to them, My wife.” was made public in 2012. The affair turned out to be based on a lie. Author Ariel Sabar followed the chain of custody of the scrap of text that was the source of the claims, and traced it back to a forger. Sabar's shoe-leather reporting destroyed the authority of the document, and showed how eager reporters and academics were to accept at face value a finding that contradicted Christian claims.  

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