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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

An article published in the Chicago Daily Tribune on September 19, 1886, offered a distinctively nineteenth-century angle on “The Buddhist Mahatma Craze” then sweeping through the ranks of the urban elite in the United States. If the Tribune article shows that religious ferment is a constant feature of American religious life, it also highlights elements of American journalism that have dramatically changed since the 1880s. What we would now consider editorializing is mostly absent from current religion coverage in our mainstream news media. Also, an unalloyed element of racism, coupled with almost uniformly uncritical support for missionary and military enterprises in Asia, once informed most of the reporting on immigrant Buddhists and Buddhism in general. This article explores how the largest daily newspapers in America's three most populous cities—the New York Times, the Chicago Daily Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times—reported on Buddhism from the 1870s to the present.

Keywords: Buddhism, United States, religion coverage, newspapers, New York Times, Chicago Daily Tribune, Los Angeles Times, news

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