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Fox & Friends Use Jesus Loving, Free Speech "Defending" Student To Diss Time Magazine

Reported by Priscilla - July 2, 2011 -

America's Founders created a system in which the First Amendment of our Constiutution provides a "wall of separation" between church and state. This is the basis for the SCOTUS decision banning school prayer. America's radical Christian right want to create a system in which there is no separation and they actively fight any attempt to curb their desire to foist their Christianity on to an America which is religiously diverse. As America's mouthpiece for the radical, Christian right, Fox recently provided extensive coverage of two Fox "controversies" which involved church and state. The first involved the use of a hall, owned by a Christian religious group and full of Christian religious iconography, for a public school graduation. A compromise, involving covering of the religious imagery, was derided, by Fox & Friends, as a "bullying" by the ACLU. Fox subsequently provided affirmation for a Texas high school valedictorian who was ordered, by a federal judge, not to pray in Jesus name at the graduation. Fox & Friends framed the issue as a religious censorship - a theme we saw this week, on Fox, regarding religious activity at a Houston VA cemetery. But Fox & Friends praised the lord a when another federal judge lifted the ban on the TX graduation prayer. The devout Christian valedictorian is now being praised as a hero of free speech and a true defender of the Constitution. But wait, there's more. This morning's Fox & Friends used this student to bash Time Magazine for its article on the relevancy of the Constitution - an article which caused much agita in the right wing, Founding Father loving, teabagging right wing. So while praising prayer (as free speech of course), Time got dissed for exercising their First Amendment rights. Ironic, don't ya think!

While Molly Line reported the back story, the chyron set the agitprop stage: "Constitutional Rights Threatened, HS Valedictorian Told No Prayer." Line said that the student "defended her constitutional rights." A video was shown of Angela Hildenbrand praying "in Jesus name." (So suck it all you non Christian heathens). In case you didn't get the message the first time, Line said that after being banned from prayer, the girl's "free speech was restored." Dave Briggs referenced that this happened against the backdrop of the recent Time Magazine article. Despite the fact that the magazine article is from last week, Hildenbrand said that the Time cover, with a shredded Constitution, was "offensive" on the Fourth of July weekend. The chyron invoked the famous Fox "controversy" motif: "Commencement Controversy, Valedictorian Fought for Right to Pray." Line asked her to talk about her experiences in having her constitutional rights upheld.

As she spoke, the Cavuto marked chyron attacked Time: "Shredding the Constitution, Time Magazine Cuts Up Cover." Hildenbrand's heroism was reinforced with the next chyron: "Defending the Constitution, Standing by the Sacred US Document." Hildenbrand said that she has a deeper understanding and appreciation of our rights. As she spoke, a graphic of the First Amendment was shown on the split screen. The chyron: "Fighting for her Right, Student Fought to Have Prayer in Speech." Line asked Hildenbrand about a phrase from the article about not being afraid to reinterpret the constitution. Time was, again, attacked in this chyron: "Constitutional Divide? Media Outlets Question its Legitimacy." Hildenbrand did say that the Founders provided for amending the process. Dave Briggs, not a constitutional scholar, did say that it could be argued that the First Amendment allows Time to "put that image on the front and to write whatever they want." As he spoke, Time was smeared one more time: "Time Casts Doubt on Historic Document."

Comment: Once again, we see the Fox News double standard. Cases involving free speech, brought by the ACLU are bad. Cases brought by Christians are good. Would Fox provide validation for a student prohibited from praying in Allah's name? And regarding the smears on Time Magazine - The point of the article was not to "cast doubt" on the Constitution. It was about the argument, used by the Tea Party types, that the "original" intent of the Founders should be prioritized over the needs of an ever changing society - something the Founders recognized and something that we see, as stated by Hildenbrand, in the constitutional amendments. She gets it. They don't. But who cares about details when propaganda is a priority!

*Correction. I incorrectly identified the Fox woman as Heather Nauert. All these vacuous right wing Fox News anchorettes do seem to morph together...

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