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Major Garrett's Piece Shows Only One Side Of The Story

Reported by Priscilla - June 26, 2008 -

The "fair and balanced" network aired a piece on Special Report (June 24th ) that was a perfect example of their so not being fair and balanced. In addition to being poor journalism, it was yet another attempt to smear Barack Obama by painting him as anti Christian. And naturally, they aired a comment by someone who is not exactly in the American religious mainstream; but is part of the Fox stable of fundamentalist pundits who are now aiding and abetting Fox News in its continual smearing of Barack Obama. (Comment: how very "Christian" of them!)

Garrett played an excerpt from one of Obama's speeches: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation -- at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." Garrett then said that this comment drew a "harsh criticism" from Tom Minnery, a co-host of the radio show of Focus on the Family founder and its chairman James Dobson. Garrett quoted a 2007 survey which showed that "76 percent of Americans called themselves Christians, while fewer than 2 percent of those surveyed called themselves Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus." (Comment: so you don't forget that we are a "Christian" nation). He then played a comment from Tom Minnery who said "So, he's diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say."

Comment: Media Matters for America has a transcript (and video of Minnery's comment) of the Obama speech that Garrett "cherry picked." Obama said that "secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -- the majority of the great reformers in American history -- were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So, to say that men and women should not inject their, quote, "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of our morality, much of it, which is grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition." Context is everything; but for Fox, context can be a problem when it doesn't support whatever rightwing talking point they are trying to communicate. Obama is correct about the role of Christianity and the diversity of religious opinion in America. Dobson and his surrogates are wrong when they claim that Obama's religious views are, somehow, "anti-Christian." And Fox is not even close to "fair and balanced."