Dishonest Fox Graphic: God Edition

Fox News has fixated on the fact that the Democratic platform for 2012 does not mention the word “God,” and used a misleading graphic that points out that the Republican platform for 2012 references “God” more often than the Democratic platform has in any of the last four election years. The graphic ignores that in 2000 and 2004, the Democratic platform contained the word “God” more times than the Republican platform in those years; moreover, the 2012 Democratic platform has a section on faith.

Fox has run several segments today highlighting how the word “God” does not appear in the 2012 Democratic platform. In one such segment, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) confronted host Bret Baier over the issue, saying that the network is “harping on a trifle” and presenting the Democrats as “godless people.”

In a second Special Report segment, Fox aired the following graphic:

But Fox's data are incomplete: the network did not provide information on the number of times the GOP platform mentioned God in 20002004, or 2008. Here's what an honest chart would look like:

honest chart

Well look at that. The Democratic platform referenced God more often that the Republican platform in 2000 and 2004. And the 2008 GOP platform only mentioned God twice.

Does this mean that the Democrats of Al Gore and John Kerry's conventions were more God-fearing than the Republicans of George W. Bush's? Does Mitt Romney's convention love God more than the last three GOP conventions combined? Of course not. As Durbin points out, trying to draw conclusions from this exercise is either malicious or deeply stupid.

Indeed, as Fox contributor Juan Williams pointed out shortly after Fox aired their dishonest chart, the 2012 Democratic platform may not mention the word “God,” but it devotes significant attention to faith.

Here is the platform's section on that subject:

Faith. Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world - from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.