Fox & Friends FAIL

Welcome to Monday and all the drama that can come with it.

Today I woke up to emails and notifications regarding a truly insulting and ignorant segment on Fox News Friends. It is not real news, just slag talk on TV.

The article is regarding the University of Missouri now including Pagan/Wiccan holidays on its official calendar. 20% was what one of the men on the TV show stated, but then later said there were 20 Wiccan holidays. For the record, Wicca only celebrates 8 annual holidays.

People across the internet are slamming the University for “catering to an insignificant religion”. There are a plethora of ignorant and bigoted comments running about from websites to discussion groups.

Some stated that universities should not recognize religious holidays and instead stick with secular ones. I’m not opposed to this at all, actually. Unless it’s a religious school I think this is the best course of action all the way around. This way no one group is discriminated against and no one can complain that another’s religion is being shoved down their throat.

Others are expressing that what the university has done is a wonderful example of interfaith. It’s too bad that a segment of the population will never view it as such and will always view anything that is different from their religious perspective as an attack on their religion and/or values.

As I said, the FNF broadcast is just slag talk. They’re rude, insulting, and perpetuating ignorance and bigotry. Sadly, some people believe this is actual news casting and real journalism. Never mind that the facts are incorrect.

At one point the female commentator states, “Right! And somehow if you’re Christian in this country (USA) you can’t say, Merry Christmas to somebody or else you’re trying to push your Christian faith on other people!” But it’s ok to slam, ridicule, insult and be a general jackass toward other religions because you think they’re not as good as your own. I’m sure Jesus would be so proud.

In a land where we are supposed to have Freedom of Religion it is still a constant battle to be allowed to have our religion, one that has been recognized by the US Government since 1985. People still worry about loosing custody of their own children, their jobs, their homes, and have been ostracized by their families because they’ve been associated with Wicca.

So with this recent news our community is, understandably, outraged. I don’t blame them. The characterizations and complete inaccuracies on this broadcast are greatly lacking in real facts about us and our faith.

On the one hand I don’t feel as though we should acknowledge this broadcast at all, much less with unbridled anger as many have expressed. To address this issue in such a fashion not only gives Fox more attention, it also makes them more money. In their business, it’s all about the ratings. The more controversy that gets stirred up, the more viewers they gain, the more money they make.

Yet at the same time I don’t think it should be ignored. There should be consequences for this poor behavior from a major media outlet. I am aware the Covenant of the Goddess is issuing some kind of statement. I have also seen that Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League are also considering some form of action. Witch School’s Rev. Donald Lewis offered a Fox News email for contact and suggested, “…to express oneself in calm, reasonable but firm language, and to avoid extremity -extremity tends to cause one not to be taken seriously.” I entirely agree with him on that.

There are also petitions being signed demanding Fox issue apologies to the Pagan and Wiccan communities. To be honest, even if we got the necessary signatures, I really doubt Fox would ever consider issuing an apology. Why should they? We’re not their target audience.

I’m offended by the depiction given about Wicca and pagans, but at the same time, I don’t really expect Fox to get their facts straight prior to going on the air. Historically they haven’t, so why should this story be any different?

Perhaps we should approach this issue differently? What are the legal ramifications of their comments about our religion and is there a legal recourse? Is this slander, hate speech, or anything of that nature? I’m not going to say one way or the other, I don’t honestly know, but it’s certainly something we as a community should consider.

Often times, in a situation where one person just doesn’t understand another’s point of view I request to put themselves in that person’s shoes to, hopefully, gain perspective.

I wonder, how would you feel if a major media outlet said similar insulting and inaccurate things about your community (based on your location, religion, heritage, gender, etc.)? You’d likely be outraged as well.

We might be a minority religious group, but that doesn’t make us second class citizens or insignificant as humans.

UPDATE 2/18/13:

A couple of protest sites have popped up:
Demand Fox news Apologize to Pagans and Wiccans
https://www.facebook.com/FoxNewsPagan

UPDATE 2/20/13 4:38pm (PST):

http://covenantpio.blogspot.com/2013/02/covenant-of-goddess-responds-to-medias.html

For Immediate Release
DATE OF RELEASE: February 19, 2013
CONTACT:  Heather Greene, National Public Information Officer
The Covenant of the Goddess, a Wiccan advocacy organization, responds to the recent media commentary on Wicca and Paganism
San Bernardino, CA – The Covenant of the Goddess, a 37-year old organization supporting Wiccans and Witches in the United States, is profoundly disappointed at the string of negative, inaccurate and sensationalized comments made by various media anchors and reporters about Wicca and Paganism.  Over the past two weeks, ABC News, CNN’s Headline News and Fox News Network have all allowed their commentators to broadcast misinformation and to publicly ridicule a recognized religious faith.
Earlier in the month, ABC and CNN’s HLN over-emphasized and hyper-focused on the importance of Wicca in the Jodi Arias trial in Phoenix, Arizona. The two media outlets used Wicca to draw-in audiences and dramatize an already difficult case.  In one report, ABC’s titled its news video “Jodi Arias Testifies She Tried Wicca, Buddhism with Boyfriends.” However, the video had no information on Ms. Arias’ religious experimentation.
In the case of Fox News, the Fox & Friends Weekend commentators, Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris, Tucker Carlson, and Tammy Bruce, spent Sunday morning, February 17th, mocking Wicca as it relates to the University of Missouri’s “Guide to Religion.” Not only were their comments irreverent, they were factually incorrect. They turned the University’s sincere attempt at diversity awareness into a three-ring circus act.
The Covenant of the Goddess recognizes and respects the opinions and beliefs of all people, of faith or no faith.  We applaud the University of Missouri and any other organization that strives for community awareness and interfaith peace.  We do not expect special treatment for Wiccans or Witches on campus or otherwise. However, we do expect the national media to report with reasonable accuracy and to offer a modicum of respect to people of all faiths and all practices.
Our organization stands ready to provide information about Wicca and Witchcraft when needed.  For more information on The Covenant of the Goddess, go to our website at www.cog.org.

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3 thoughts on “Fox & Friends FAIL”

  1. Tucker obviously didn’t know what he was talking about saying pagans have 20 holidays. It’s not just Fox news, but all news medias need to learn to report the news and keep their journalists opinions out of it. Get their own opinion columns where the like minded can go and pat each.other on the back.

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