The award for the most biased journalist in the ABC has to go to Stephen Crittenden. One only needs to take a look at last week’s Religion Report and compare it to this week’s edition to see that in Crittenden’s estimation there are good guys and bad guys in the world of religion.
Amongst the good guys are the Primate elect of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori and Anglican Canon Gideon Byamugisha from Uganda. Amongst the bad guys are Dr Thomas Oden, the Institute for Religion and Democracy, and the new Uniting Church Assembly of Confessing Congregations.
From the way he goes on in this week’s program, you would think that the Institute for Religion and Democracy was the new Opus Dei of the Protestant world. In fact, I have very high regard for the work of Thomas Oden and have in the past and written about his proposal for “a new ecumenism.”
Crittenden seems to think that the only way to get people to listen to the show is to comment on religious matters as if he was commentating on a World Cup soccer match. But not even a soccer commentator would be tolerated, who showed such undeniable bias.
In the end, his journalistic style suffers because he ends up patting on the head those he should be interrogating, and interrogating those to whom he should simply give us an opportunity to listen. He could take a leaf out of Andrew Denton’s book, or even Michael Parkinson’s. At least from those two we learn more about the opinions of the person being interviewed than of the interviewer.