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This study examines a recent eruption of news about astrology. For a theoretical lens, it uses contemporary research on how traditional news values might allow what some have labeled "mystical" ideas to maintain public acceptance in spite of scientific evidence against them. As a contrast to that approach, a different perspective by Neil Postman is provided, an approach that suggests the dominant media of our culture will have as much impact as will professional practice in determining the nature of our messages. In investigating a group of news stories that questioned the validity of key astrological principles, the current study finds reporting did not provide significant scientific basis for dismissal of the belief. The two theories for analyzing this case provide very different insights, however, especially regarding the extent to which journalists (and media) play a role in promoting empiricism and discouraging mysticism.

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This is an electronic version of an article published in Journalism Studies, 13(3). Journalism Studies is available online at: DOI: 10.1080/1461670x.2012.667286

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