Get Religion continues to track how the media handles religion in coverage of the presidential election, the latest post being "Sarah Palin ain't a fundie." But you wouldn't know that from most news stories that bring up Palin's religion, which invariably refer to the pentecostal church she stopped attending five years ago and perhaps mention in passing the evangelical church the family now attends ... neither of which are properly referred to as "fundamentalist," which in contemporary discourse is something of a derogatory term rather than a descriptive one. Once again, I'm not sure if this reflects journalistic ignorance (not understanding the denotation or connotation of the term "fundamentalist") or malevolence (trying to paint Palin as an extremist to further the writer's personal agenda), but neither option reflects well on the media.
In a related media groupthink move, I've noticed how the daily stories relating the back and forth between candidates now refer to anything Sen. McCain says about Sen. Obama as an "attack," whereas that word is never used in comments by Obama or Democrats directed against McCain or Republicans (and, duh, both sides have criticized the other side in the campaign, the most vitriolic rhetoric being directed at Palin, not Obama). Likewise, Republican sentiment at rallies is suddenly described as "anger," whereas the incessant and unhinged liberal rants that are and have been directed at Bush, Palin, McCain, Republicans, or America in general are either glossed over or just reported at face value. At least that's how I see it. Of course people of good conscience can hold different political views or support different candidates — what I'm talking about is the rhetoric the media is using to spin their "objective" reporting.