On the morning of September 3, 2014, CTV played the almost-complete press conference of a grateful American nurse who had served in African, contracted the deadly disease, and recovered from the Ebola virus. Clear-eyed, she spoke at great length about her faith in Christ and trust in whatever might have resulted from her diagnosis of Ebola. She described in great detail how her Christian faith allowed her the strength and freedom to accept any possible outcome. She spoke of the confidence her faith gave her during the disease and recovery process. She spoke of the role her faith played when she received her initial diagnosis. A strength which allowed her to receive the diagnosis with equanimity. She described how her faith helped her manage the dark hours of the disease.
It was not a short interview or press-conference. It was about eight to ten minutes of Christian evangelism applied to her personal circumstances and this terrible disease. She referred also to the faith community that was helping the Ebola crisis in Africa.
The Canadian CTV news reader felt compelled, as that class does, to summarize the press conference after they cut away to the studio. She did so with great skill and discipline. The skill and discipline were, however, not those of a faithful reporter describing what just happened. No, the skill and discipline required was the ability to summarize the press conference of eight to ten minutes of Christian evangelism and not once mention the grateful recovered nurse’s Christian faith or her description of the community of faith involved in Africa. To take eight to ten minutes of press conference and reduce it to a 30-second sound bite and completely avoid any reference to the central point and focus of the press conference is an example of remarkable discipline and skill.
This is a discipline and skill that CTV and its news readers frequently exhibit, but it is asymmetrically applied. It is asymmetrically applied to the Christian faith, and in particular American holders of this Christian faith.
It was, in short, a breathtaking example of political correctness and a complete misstatement of the reality of the press interview.
Such is the life in the modern media age.
Image: Flickr CC license, Edward Musiak “Cross in Sea”