Fox & (Christian-only) Friends

Fox News is all about Christianity. Their journalists proselytize on the air. They bravely go to war each winter to defend Christmas from department store clerks who say “Happy Holidays.” And they routinely run down the competition, suggesting that other faiths are inadequate (like Tiger Woods' Buddhism) or outright dangerous (Islam).

In that spirit, viewers of Fox & Friends this morning were treated to a little slice of culture war as host Gretchen Carlson interviewed some heroic Florida Christians who are fighting back against the atheist billboard scourge by erecting their own “pro-God” billboards. Carlson introduced the story by twice using the word “atheist,” each time pronouncing it as though she were spitting out ashes, while the on-screen graphics celebrated the “special Easter message” with an image of hands clasped in prayer.

Moving on, Carlson proclaimed that with all these atheists putting up billboards and otherwise freely expressing their beliefs, Christians are “under attack” from “political correctness.” As she said this the on-screen text declared the Florida county* in which the billboards are going up “God-fearing” and praised the billboards as “a reminder of hope.”

What it comes down to is an issue of propriety and journalistic standards. Christian and atheist groups put up respective billboards proclaiming their beliefs, and Fox News comes down heavily on the side of the Christians to the exclusion of the atheists, calling the Christian message a “reminder of hope,” and suggesting the atheist message is an “attack.” They're acting as arbiter on which faiths or belief systems are appropriate, and that would seem to be well beyond the purview and pay grade of your average morning news anchor.

But Fox News does this all the time, leaping on every manufactured attack on Christianity and denouncing it in the name of “political correctness.” And they make it very clear that if you are not Christian, then you are not entitled to a fair hearing of your views.

*Edited from the earlier version, which incorrectly asserted that the text labeled the U.S. a “God-fearing country.” I apologize for the error.