Louis Bolce on the Media and Anti-Fundamentalism
Date: January 31st, 2011

Building upon previous podcasts on religion & politics and Christian stereotypes, Louis Bolce — associate professor of political science at Baruch College, City University of New York — examines how the news media shapes and informs elite opinion towards Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals.  Based upon a number of research papers co-authored with his colleague Gerald De Maio, Prof. Bolce discusses the growth of a “religious gap” among voters over the past several decades.  This gap has been much more salient than the “gender gap ” even though the latter has been reported on more widely since the early 1990s.   Prof. Bolce reveals that a content analysis of the New York Times and Washington Post shows the media only noticing this “religious gap” in any significant way beginning with the 2004 presidential election.   Using that uptick in media coverage, Louis Bolce shows how media portrayals of “values voters” (largely identified as Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals) influence individuals who are most likely to read the newspaper and pay attention to politics.  In general, the image of Christian fundamentalists is that they are overwhelmingly intolerant toward others.  Contrary to the that stereotypical image, Prof. Bolce’s research shows that Christian fundamentalists actually show significantly “warmer” (more positive) attitudes towards Jews and minority groups on “attitude thermometers” than those groups show towards fundamentalists.  We discuss how the elite opinion is shaped by media coverage and why it tends to affect those most attentive to the news media.  Recorded: January 17, 2011.


Prof. Louis Bolce’s website at Baruch College.

Seigal Report on the New York Times, “Preserving Our Readers’ Trust.”


Brad R.W. Wright on Christian Stereotypes.

Jon Shields on Democratic Virtues and the Christian Right.

David Brody on the 2010 Elections and Religious Journalism.

Corwin Smidt on Religion, Elections, and the God Gap.


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