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“Grapevine” Provides News And Affirmation For the Religious Right

Reported by Priscilla - August 15, 2008 -

Along with communicating right wing talking points and smears of liberals/Democrats, couched as “news,” the Grapevine provides vital information for the religious right which, for them, is truly “good news” (Fox gospel?). These culture war topics are worthy of further discussion and analysis; but that would detract from their power as short affirmations that all is well in the world of the religious right – small victories in their ongoing “crusade” against those who, in their minds, are trying to change the very cultural and religious fabric of America with their “agenda.”

I found three recent “Grapevine” entries which clearly reflected Fox talking points; and in so doing, also reflected the folks to whom they broadcast these occasional “shout-outs.” On July 2nd, there was a piece entitled “Making a Statement.” This was a report on a US court of appeals decision upholding South Dakota’s law requiring physicians to provide their patients, who want an abortion, to read a statement that what these women are doing is terminating the life of a human being. “Grapevine” noted that the court said that Planned Parenthood didn’t provide enough evidence to oppose that conclusion. “Grapevine” didn’t note that Planned Parenthood is continuing to fight other provisions of this law. The “statement” that was “made” was that the pro-life side has scored a victory in the culture war over one of their designated villains.

On June 30th, there was a piece with an innocuous sounding title, “Naval Worship.” However, it provided a short, punchy forum with which to attack the ACLU (another “designated villain” of the Fox right wing) which is “threatening” to file suit about the mandatory lunchtime prayer. But good Fox Christians need not worry because “Grapevine” noted that the school has made an official announcement that the prayer will continue. What “Grapevine” didn’t note was that the ACLU is basing its current complaint on the Virginia Appeals Court decision, in 2003, striking down Virginia Military Institute’s mandatory lunch prayer.

But last night’s (August 14th) “Grapevine” had a culture war segment which began with a “Cavuto Mark” title (not really a question; but a statement) of “School Censorship?" This was a report about the US Supreme Court being asked “to consider whether a fifth grade student's religious expression on a classroom project can be considered "offensive" and subject to censorship.” The case goes back to 2003, when 11 year old Joel Curry inserted religious messages into candy canes Christmas ornaments that were part of a school project for students to develop and sell their “products.” The boy received an “A” on the project; but was told to remove the religious messages. As such, the case was filed on the basis of the contention that the school violated the equal protection clause. The Supreme Court is being asked to get involved because a 6th US Circuit Judge overturned an earlier judgment in favor of the boy. What wasn't mentioned was that the Alliance Defense Fund, a group specializing in cases where "Christian" rights are supposedly violated, is handling the case. The Alliance Defense Fund is not a "designated enemy" like the ACLU.

The first visual was a picture of a cross and candy canes next to the Supreme Court building with “Merry Christmas” written underneath. And in an oh so clever manipulation, the holiday greeting was replaced with “sour patch” – a reference to candy; but with the implication that the last court decision left a “bad taste.” But yet another shout out to those who are valiantly fighting that culture war.

Comment: Fox is preaching to the choir!