Religion Unplugged

Pompeo’s invitation-only briefing with ‘faith-based media’ causes a stir

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

On Monday, I got an email inviting me to join an “on-the-record conference call” with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The message, sent to my Christian Chronicle address, indicated that Pompeo would discuss international religious freedom ahead of his trip to Jerusalem and the Middle East and take questions from call participants.

Ordinarily, I might have RSVP’d and listened to what Pompeo had to say.

But I’m still recovering (read: exhausted and taking a few days off) after my own recent travel to Israel. So I decided I’d rely on other journalists’ news coverage of the call and perhaps check out the transcript later.

Little did I know that the exclusivity of the invitation itself would make headlines.

Then today, I noticed on Twitter that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press had issued a statement expressing concern about the State Department barring some journalists from the call:

Read the full column.

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All of my GetReligion columns (March 2019):

• Friday Five: Godbeat trend, United Methodist future, Wheaton ‘proof texts,’ targeting atheists. Published March 1.

God in the rubble: Look for strong faith angle in aftermath of killer Alabama tornado. Published March 4.

Religious freedom vs. gay rights: Debate is back in Georgia, and so are the scare quotes. Published March 5.

Associated Press coverage of post-Mormon Latter-day Saints full of irony — or is it mockery? Published March 7.

Friday Five: Lent trends, Methodist fight, Alabama tornado, Ira Rifkin update, epic NYT correction. Published March 8.

‘Cry out for a king’: Maybe there’s some religious content in this congressman’s tweet? Published March 11.

Holy ghosts haunt story of Colorado high school wrestler who wouldn’t compete against girl. Published March 12.

Immunizations + religious exemptions: Funny thing happens when Washington Post writes about this. Published March 14.

Middle East images: Week in Israel gives correspondent a different perspective on news. Published March 15.

Via New York Times, a fair portrait of ‘Doomsday Prophet Who Says the Bible Predicted Trump.’ Published March 18.

Secretary of State Pompeo’s invitation-only briefing with ‘faith-based media’ causes a stir. Published March 19.

Mormon style update: AP changes rules on referring to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Published March 21.

Friday Five: New Zealand, Houston drag queen, Trump as Bible’s Esther, Elizabeth Warren’s faith. Published March 22.

Church flipper: Why this pastor has a passion for finding the new faithful for old houses of worship. Published March 25.

How many times is too many to mention ‘Jesus’ in a prayer? That’s the controversial question in Pa. Published March 27.

Culture war winner: Atlanta newspaper delivers fair, nuanced coverage of anti-abortion ‘heartbeat bill.’ Published March 28.

Friday Five: Matt from Walmart, pope vote, icky details, execution reprieve, butts and bagels. Published March 29.

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