Yet Ehrman's popularity also may be due to a larger trend. The books of people like Elaine Pagels, author of "The Gnostic Gospels," and Dan Brown, author of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," resonate with people who believe there are parts of the Bible that the church left on history's editing floor.I rather doubt Dr. Ehrman would enjoy being compared to Dan Brown, especially since he wrote a book eviscerating the historical hocum in The Da Vinci Code.* Likewise, the author mentions that "critics say Ehrman is saying nothing new", despite the fact that Ehrman never claims to be presenting anything new or radical. That's kind of the point - most Christians don't know much at all about mainstream Biblical scholarship and Ehrman wants to make the esoteric accessible.
Bah, that's all I have to say about this. Folks (rightly) like to complain about the horrible contortions of science so rife in science journalism, but watching a complex subject like Biblical textual criticism go through the journalistic wringer is just as bad.
*With the recent theatrical release of Angels and Demons I've been mulling a full post about Dan Brown's work, but I think I can get it out of my system here: Dan Brown writes fiction. If you know so little about religion and/or history that you find his stories either plausible or offensive it's your fault moreso than his. That being said, The Da Vinci Code (I've not read Angels and Demons) is a fun book, but it's absolutely full of historical howlers. Then again, Godzilla breaks the laws of physics at every turn - there's something to be said for suspension of disbelief for the purpose of entertainment.