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Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Donald Trump’s obviously phony pandering to evangelical Christians, and his strong showing among them in polls, continue a decades-long tradition of Republican exploitation of conservative Christians.

Journalism has not often done a good job of covering the intersection of religion and politics, partly because the he-said-she-said story form and the tradition of “objective” journalism hinder journalists from calling bullshit on the hypocrisy and exploitation that many journalists see. And religious extremists wouldn’t care what journalists say anyway.

But here are some facts and observations from my decades of covering religion and politics as an editor and reporter, as well as many years when I had different journalistic duties, but still have watched in fascination as a voter:

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Being the spouse of a young editor at a morning newspaper doesn’t carry a lot of perks, unless you like being alone in the evening. I thought I had delivered a perk to Mimi in 1980 when I was an editor on the city desk of The Des Moines Register.

The Register was going to be hosting the only debate before the Iowa caucuses between President Jimmy Carter and his Democratic challenger, Sen. Edward Kennedy. (California Gov. Jerry Brown wanted in, but Register Editor Jim Gannon said he needed to be campaigning seriously in Iowa, and he wasn’t. Brown eventually campaigned and Ganon relented, but Brown remained largely a sideshow to the Carter-Kennedy race.)

The obituaries and eulogies for Kennedy today focus on his long career in the Senate and on the tragedies of his family and personal life more than on that one run for the White House. But at the time, it was a huge deal that the last of the Kennedy brothers was challenging the sitting president for the Democratic nomination.  (more…)

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