Not all pastors are nutjobs (and other NPR Ombudsman observations)

Screenshot from 2015-07-12 07:41:48

In this week’s write-up of the email she gets, Elizabeth Jensen responds to listeners’ concerns about coverage of same-sex marriage. You just gotta love NPR, they’re probably the only media outlet getting dinged for not covering Christians who support same-sex marriage. Two listeners wrote, calling the network out for painting all Christians in the fundigelical corner.

One of the network’s responses was interesting:

Chris Turpin, vice president of news programming and operations, weighed in, as well. He said he’s pleased with NPR’s coverage of same-sex marriage overall, leading up to and following the Court decision: “On the whole I thought we did a very, very nuanced job.”

That said, he added—with the caveat that live coverage and responding in the second is not always neat and clean— “We probably had a couple of pastor interviews too many. There were a couple places where it would have been great to have just a little bit more context of the overall breakdown of where American Christians stand on gay marriage.”

“pastor interviews” – that’s almost a dogwhistle. I knew what he meant, the fire-and-brimstone type of preacher who thinks Pastor Huckabee walks on water. Ms. Jensen does a good job breaking down the numbers showing overwhelming support for marriage equality. I’m just as guilty as anyone of this sort of assumption, that pastor won’t approve of a woman marrying her girlfriend. It’s not the case, and there are whole Christian denominations endorsing marriage equality. While the catlick bishops may not approve, there are more than a few priests who get what love is as well.

In other Ombudsman news, it’s good to see that listeners have kept the memory of Michel Martin’s program, “Tell Me More”, arguably the most-diverse program on the network. It was cancelled a year ago, and that was a sad day. While the staff of NPR is quite diverse, the on-air presentation of subjects is not. Sure there are a lot of good projects out there, like Codeswitch, but Tell Me More was a daily presence. It’s good to see that Martin’s coming back on-air:

It’s not a daily presence, but fans of Martin are getting their wish: Martin, as it was announced Thursday, will begin anchoring the Saturday and Sunday editions of All Things Consideredbeginning in September. She replaces Arun Rath, who will return to Boston, where he was previously based.

Now, give her back her show.

Jensen also details a number of recent personnel moves that will be of interest to NPR-geeks.