Despite claiming to be neutral, print and TV journalists increasingly report news from an anti-Christian standpoint. Remarkably, however, leading nineteenth-century newspapers reported news from a Christian perspective. This book reveals how the American news media shifted from a Christian worldview to secular humanism, radically altering what the media covers and how it is reported.
Table of Contents:
Part One: Departure
1. The Decline of American Journalism
2. Spiking the Spiritual
3. Not Without Personal Cost
4. Man’s Subjectivity vs. God’s Plumb Line
Part Two: Exile
5. Ethics without Christ?
6. Libel: Utilitarian Justice vs. Biblical Truth-Telling
7. Press vs. Public
8. Perceptive Media Watching
Part Three: Return?
9. Network News and Local Newspapers: The Coming Economic Judgment
10. The Devil in the Electrons
11. Coverage of Sensation and Disaster: The Gaining and Keeping of Audiences
12. Crusading on Social and Political Issues: Personalization and persistence
13. A Christian Journalism Revival?
Appendix I: The Best of the Worst: Examples of Media Bias
Appendix II: Additional Resources
Appendix III: Public Relations, Theology, and Practice
Marvin Olasky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is editor-in-chief of WORLD magazine and holds the Distinguished Chair in Journalism and Public Policy at Patrick Henry College. Olasky studied at Yale University and is the author of more than 20 books—Philanthropy magazine called his book The Tragedy of American Compassion one of "eight books that changed America."
Warren Cole Smith is associate publisher of WORLD magazine and publisher and editor of WORLD news service. His essays, reviews, interviews, and articles have also been included in various books, including Public Relations, one of the world's most widely used college journalism textbooks.
"The most important book about journalism I have ever read. Prodigal Press is must reading for all Christians, and all reporters, editors, journalism professors and students." - Dr. Clifford Kelly, Professor of Communication Studies at Liberty University. Founding Director of the Institute of Public Affairs Journalism
"Here--in the tradition of Calvin, Edwards, and Machen--is a tough-minded call to spiritual renewal directed to the most tough-minded of our democratic institutions. The impact of this book will be likened to David's meeting Goliath, with the outcome postponed." — Dr. Mark Fackler, Professor of Communication Ethics and African Studies, Calvin College
"At a time of declining newspaper readership and falling TV ratings, the media's discrimination against people with a Christian worldview is a form of professional suicide. In this updated version of his 1988 book, Marvin Olasky gives new examples of anti-Christian bias, which ought to motivate more Christian young people to consider careers in journalism instead of cursing the growing darkness made worse by the absence of their 'light.'" — Cal Thomas, America's #1 nationally syndicated columnist
"I loved Prodigal Press when it was first published. As someone who became a Christian while working as a journalist, it really helped crystallize things for me. It’s important and strategic to have this book updated and expanded for a new generation." — Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and author of The Case for Christ
"The 25th anniversary edition of Prodigal Press is a book that I wish every American would read. Olasky and Smith, veteran journalists themselves, provide an honest and thorough critique of their trade. Well argued and meticulously footnoted, the original edition was a landmark of expose and insight. This edition -- showing what American journalism was, has become, and could be -- is needed now more than ever." — Alex McFarland, Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics, North Greenville University
"This is a great day: two of my favorite journalists from my all-time favorite news magazine, WORLD, have issued a 25th anniversary edition of one of the truly inspirational books I remember reading as a young believer. Prodigal Press is a captivating narrative chock full of fascinating stories and historical insight, but it is more than a story; it is a call to redeem journalism from the bias, spin, and propaganda that masquerade as reporting these days. There has never been a more important time for truth-believers to become truth-tellers and thanks to Olasky and Smith we know how to do it." — Jeff Myers, Ph.D., President, Summit Ministries
"Not all of us are called to be journalists, but every American – whether he likes it or not – has his thinking shaped by journalism. “Prodigal Press” will help you understand the blatant and subtle ways journalists promote liberal and anti-Christian ideas, and what you can do to protect your family from that influence." — Gary Bauer, President, American Values
"Prodigal Press is a masterpiece of historical research, Christian analysis, and practical application. Much has changed in journalism and the media since the first edition was published in 1988—much of which was predicted in the book—with the growth of both anti-Christian bias and pro-Christian alternatives. This updated edition adds new examples, addresses contemporary issues, and takes up the new information technology. But the original insights are as fresh as ever. They will make you a more perceptive reader and possibly inspire you to be a more perceptive writer, whether the medium is the printed page or a computer screen." — Gene Edward Veith, Professor of Literature & Provost, Patrick Henry College