The Trashing of the Christ

My colleague Tim Graham has a great new report contrasting the media’s coverage of "The Passion of the Christ" with that of "The Da Vinci Code."

Here’s a sample from the executive summary:

In 2004, the networks showed hostility to a more orthodox vision of Jesus in the movie "The Passion of the Christ." So MRC analysts compared coverage of the year before The Passion (March 2003 through February 2004) and the year before "The Da Vinci Code" movie (May 19, 2005 through May 18, 2006) on the morning, evening, prime-time and late-night news programs of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Some key findings were:

  • "The Da Vinci Code" received more of a publicity push from the networks than "The Passion of the Christ." The number of segments devoted to the movies in the year before their cinematic release was 99 for "The Da Vinci Code" to 66 for "The Passion." Most of those came on morning shows. By far, the biggest Code promoter was NBC’s Today, which more provided more stories (38) than the other two network morning shows combined (29). By contrast, NBC was in third-place in Passion segments (11).
  • "The Passion of the Christ" was treated as a social problem — the biggest TV anti-Semitism story of that year — while "The Da Vinci Code" was presented more often as an "intriguing" theory rather than threatening or offensive to Christians. Nearly every one of the 66 network segments on "The Passion" on ABC, CBS, and NBC touched on those complaints. But only 27 of the 99 "Code" segments focused on Christian and Catholic protests.

You can find the report here.