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Commentary: Mosque Controversy

The escalating controversy over the planned mosque near the Ground Zero site in New York presents an interesting challenge for the mainstream media. The issue is highly polarized and too often can (and does) degenerate into coverage that is little more than name-calling. This is the kind of story that needs the introspection and length that newspapers can devote, rather than the treatment given by mainstream television news. While it offers “good pictures” of protesters (people yelling and shoving and all that), by it’s very nature traditional television news has a hard time offering the depth the viewer needs to truly understand what is at stake. This situation in particular shows students and professionals why it is so important to understand an issue and what is at stake before presenting it to the viewing public, and it also demonstrates how information and mis-information can inflame a debate.

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