I’ve thinking lately about how Paganism is treated in mainstream media. We’ve written a lot of articles about Paganism and Pagans in the news — too many to cite here. There are great resources if you are interested in Pagan news by and for the Pagan community, like The Wild Hunt, Pagan News, and Pagan Newswire Collective. But if you’re interested in seeing how mainstream news sources treat our faith, you have to do a little digging (not too much, but a little). I won’t go into my thoughts on each site here; I just want to let you know what’s out there. These sites are in alphabetical order for convenience.
Like most major news sources, CBS news doesn’t have a site dedicated to Paganism. But you search Pagan or Paganism on this site to find articles. A few articles come up that are Pagan-related, but most are not Pagan-relevant. In fact, most of the articles show up because someone’s last name is Pagan, not because the title or text is substantively pagan. Also, I don’t really like the paid advertising that shows up at the top of this search page. It’s new agey stuff – which, hey, can be totally cool, but don’t guise new age as faith practice. They are not the same thing, as these commenters will attest.
If you search this site, you find a good catalog of articles. It looks like their search engine just finds articles with “Pagan” or “Paganism” in the title, which makes sense – and is helpful. There is new age advertising on this site, too, and I’ve already voiced my opinion on that. *hmph* The CBS search function has a nice feature where you can sort by date. This is pretty helpful when you’re looking for content, just know the original search is NOT ordered by date. Also know that when you change to search from “relevance” to “date” you may not get news as Pagan-related as the original relevant sort.
CNN news has a good search function, too. And they let you sort by date. It looks like their search function looks for Pagan in titles and text, so you get a wide range of articles, but not all are really about Paganism. Like the other search functions, there’s not a ton of content. But CNN has a wider array of news articles that appear more Pagan-relevant, not just Pagan-related.
Fox news has a pretty good search function, too. Now, now…let’s not judge hastily. I did half-expect to see a lot of “war on Christmas” and “devil worship” articles when I searched this site, but I didn’t find nearly the volume I expected. There was even an article that covered the Muzzle awards – “jeer” awards given to people and organizations that stifle free speech. There’s not a ton of content when you search Pagan / Paganism, but at least Fox lets you sort by date, too. Granted, I don’t expect the articles you find here to show up on Fox News television, but this is an overview of web pages, not a critique of news channels.
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post (which admittedly, I cite fairly often) has an actual site dedicated to Paganism. This is unusual relative to other news sites. Their Pagan site is not chock-full-of content, but there are a lot of articles posted here. And it’s interesting to see comments from all faiths. HuffPo also hosts a blog called The Weekly Rune written by a modern shaman. So not only is this a Pagan blog, it’s focused on a Heathen tool. Pretty neat!
NBC / MSNBC News
NBC news also has a strong search function for Pagan / Paganism. The stories are presented using images, which is nice, but it doesn’t show titles or dates, which is not so nice. Well, it’s just not helpful. I don’t recommend NBC for finding Pagan news. The subsidiary MSNBC news is not much better in terms of their search function. And relatively few articles show up when you search for “Pagan” – even though MSNBC is liberal by design.(Note: this link is to the New York Times, which some consider a conservative paper.)
What are your thoughts? Do you use any of these sites for insight into how mainstream media portrays our various faiths?