Accuracy in Media

Evangelical magazine Christianity Today made multiple headlines when an editorial written by its editor-in-chief criticized President Donald Trump and encouraged that he be impeached and removed from the White House. The magazine was founded in 1956 by the influential evangelical leader Billy Graham.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, wrote that both the Mueller investigation and the impeachment proceedings “have made it absolutely clear…that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.” There was no indication of Galli’s political leanings on his Twitter account, as he has only tweeted nine times since 2016.

Evangelical supporters of Trump blasted the magazine for its editorial, such as Billy Graham’s son Franklin. Franklin Graham said, “It’s obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.” A Washington Examiner editorial columnist noted that Christianity Today once published a piece extolling the viewpoint of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.

The mainstream media covered Christianity Today’s editorial and its coverage insinuated that at least one part of Trump’s evangelical base of support was turning on Trump, in light of the impeachment proceedings in Congress. But the media did not make a solid case of how Christianity Today’s editorial could convince Trump’s strong base of support among evangelicals to turn against him. CBS News, for example, admitted that 99% of Republican white evangelical Protestants opposed Trump’s impeachment and did not make the case that this editorial would lead evangelicals to drop their support for him.

Additionally, the media lacked context of what Christianity Today’s political or ideological leanings may be. For example, in the article about Sanger, the author praised Sanger for her views on contraception, despite Sanger’s eugenicist views. The author felt compelled to give “a more complete background” to give justice to Sanger’s legacy, which would be difficult for Christians to accept. Christians tend to be anti-abortion and anti-eugenics, which called into question why Christianity Today would publish the article.

Without providing adequate context about Christianity Today and Trump’s support among evangelicals, the media’s coverage of the Christianity Today editorial was lackluster and subpar. The reader did not gain much knowledge or context about the magazine, or the implications of the magazine’s editorial on the 2020 election. Next time, the media should do more research before publishing its claims.




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