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EDITOR’S NOTE: Matthew M. Casserly is an American who lives and works in Moscow as an editor and translator for an independent online-tech platform. He is also studying Orthodox theology.

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To be honest, I still can’t remember how I found GetReligion.

Thanks to Google, I was able to find what I’m guessing what my first GetReligion shout-out — it was a post by Julia Duin some seven years ago about the Southern Baptist megachurch leader Robert Jeffress claiming that God had given the once and potentially future President Donald Trump the authority to kill North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.

To be honest, Jeffress’ comments were made in 2017, which was an era whose troubles I now view with a kind of nostalgia. Sigh, I used to worry about COVID-19.

The tip I’d submitted to this weblog about that story reveals that I had only begun learning to critically view the media and the world in the way GetReligion taught to me and many other readers and listeners. Back then, I thought it was funny to point out the New York Daily News’ editorial incompetence for having published the sentence “though shalt not kill.” You know, as opposed to “thou shalt not kill.” It’s part of that whole Ten Commandments thing.

In the years I have spent learning from the GetReligion blog and podcast since then, I now understand that misspelling “thou” is the least of our journalism problems — much in the way COVID-19 no longer seems all that frightening when compared to the global powder keg we now inhabit in 2024.

It’s been a joy reading the blog and listening to the podcast, especially the episodes where I hear tmatt — after discussing some bleak media-bias topic — struggling to say his typical “glad to be here” exit line.

A lot of the time, I could feel it too. So much of GetReligion’s work seemed to explaining things that surely should not need to be explained.

Surely things have not gotten so bad that opposing sides conclude that they irreparably disagree without first confirming that they’ve understood each other. You think?

Though things in this sense only seem to get worse, and I even suspect at times that opposing sides inside and outside the United States are intent on not understanding each other, it has been a joy, nonetheless, to read and listen to competent, informed and gifted professionals doing their best to bring some clarity and sobriety to what can often feel like the confusing muck of the mainstream news media.

I am grateful to everyone at GetReligion for your work and your insight. I’ve learned so much, not just
about religion coverage in the American media and the fascinating mess that is the American religious
landscape, but most importantly, to look critically at the media I consume and ask important questions.

Am I reading a direct quote, or is that how the newspaper summarized the quote?

Did journalists contact actual members of the congregation, or did they just take a quote from a website?

Or, just this week, when I saw an NPR story: How could they write an article about the “nones” and not contact Ryan Burge?

I want to make a special note of thanks to Terry Mattingly, who reached out to a faithful reader and listener and thought that even I might have something to offer GetReligion. I’m proud that I was able to help with a few translations from Old Church Slavonic and Russian, but I’ve been far more impressed by how much heart and care tmatt puts into his work, and glad to had the honor of meeting such a committed professional and good man.

Mnogaya leta to Terry, and all the GetReligion team!

FIRST IMAGE: Part of the Moscow skyline — the spires of the Kremlin. This is an unattributed photo from the article “Red stars over the holy church of communism” at the TravelFeed website.

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