Friday, June 22, 2007

the media assault on american values

On June 14, I posted my thoughts concerning a report issued by the Culture and Media Institute entitled The Media Assault On American Values (see the above link). I summarized the more basic findings in that report, but today I want to go deeper. I have studied the findings and read the report, and there is more to discuss.

First--just who is the Culture and Media Institute? From their website:

The mission of the Culture and Media Institute is to preserve and help restore America’s culture, character, traditional values, and morals against the assault of the liberal media elite, and to promote fair portrayal of social conservatives and religious believers in the media. CMI, the cultural division of the Media Research Center, is dedicated to correcting misconceptions in the media about social conservatism and religious faith.

As the media and entertainment industry grow more aggressive in assailing people and institutions that hold traditional values, CMI is drawing on MRC’s vast resources to counterpunch with a unique mix of timely facts, analyses and arguments.

Next, it is important to note that the Media Assault report is actually the second in a series of reports presenting the most important findings of CMI’s major survey of American cultural and moral attitudes, the National Cultural Values Survey. The first report was entitled America: A Nation in Moral and Spiritual Confusion, and it was simply a summary of the survey's overall findings. I was fascinated with the findings of this report.

First, the survey found that almost all Americans can be categorized in one of three different value groups--Orthodox, Progressive and Independent. These three distinct groups are based upon the respondent's views on the role of religion in everyday life.

The Orthodox (approximately 33% of American adults) are the ones usually referred to as "the religious right" by the media. They believe in God and they believe that our laws should reflect our Christian heritage. The Orthodox worldview sees issues as black and white, with no shades of grey.

The Progressives (about 17% of American adults) are fundamentally secular and believe in freedom from religion as the basis of all public policy. A full 33% of all Progressives do not believe in God. Progressives believe that morality and ethics are relative and situational.

The Independents (about 50% of American adults) could also be described by the political term "moderate." I would use the term "wishy-washy." 91% of Independents believe in God, but they don't necessarily allow that belief to "interfere with" their opinions on political and cultural issues. They tend to side with the Orthodox on issues of politics and social issues, but they tend to side with the Progressives on issues of honesty and character.

Very interesting! Now, for the major findings--see the next post.


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