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Arment Dietrich

Discovering Jesus: Media Sensationalism?

By: Arment Dietrich | March 9, 2007 | 
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“The Lost Tomb of Christ,” airing on The Discovery Channel this week, claimed bones found in 1980 may have been those of Jesus and his family. One of the caskets even bears an inscription, “Judah, son of Jesus,” further suggesting that Jesus may have had a son, a theory that contradicts Christian belief that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

 

Of course, there are many naysayers, including religious leaders and archeologists. One of which, points a very accusing finger at The Discovery Channel.

 

As reported by MSNBC, “Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.”

 

News stories, Web sites, and even books are being produced at a record pace on the subject. The Discovery Channel did due diligence in promoting the topic as well, complete with a news conference one week prior to the show announcing the findings. Money is being made off of the claims surrounding the tomb at a record pace.

 

James Cameron, an award-winning director with blockbusters such as “Titanic” under his belt, was hired by The Discovery Channel to document one of the “greatest discoveries of our time.” Cameron, too, has recently been under fire for being involved with such a blasphemes production.

 

People around the world are certainly talking about the tomb, who truly inhabited it for thousands of years, and what this means for the future of religion as we know it.  But did The Discovery Channel jump to conclusions regarding the correct identification of those buried in the tomb? When is it reporting the facts and when does it become sensationalism in the name of boosting ratings and making money?

 

While we’re not prepared to take sides regarding whether or not the tomb is truly what it is claimed to be by The Discovery Channel, we do know that reporting facts and avoiding sensationalism makes for a much more credible resource for news and information.  Will the claims surrounding the tomb severely damage the reputation of The Discovery Channel?  Probably not. But, the story does bring to light a lot of behind the scenes spinning that typical Americans aren’t aware of, creating a more skeptical viewer.

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