Pleasant Surprise: Networks Include God in Chilean Miners’ Rescue

The world watched as 33 Chilean miners were pulled from a deep Chilean mine after 70 grueling days, and their harrowing rescue was nothing short of miraculous. Several miners credited God with their comfort and rescue, and the media played along nicely.

“I met God, I met the Devil – God won.” This now famous quote, from Mario Sepulveda, the second Chilean miner to be pulled to safety, appeared in the October 13 broadcasts of “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” NBC’s “World News Tonight” and also the October 14 broadcast of NBC’s “Today” show.

CBS correspondent Ben Tracy also didn’t shy away from mentioning the Almighty on the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” “Many miners wore the same t-shirt, it reads ‘Gracias Señor’ or ‘Thank you, Lord’,” said Tracy. “…To keep their spirits high, they piped in a national soccer match, and gave them Virgin Mary statues. The miners leaned on their faith, and never seemed to lose hope.”

On the October 13 broadcast of “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer,” ABC News correspondent John Quinones reported that the miners “said in Spanish ‘No son treiñte tres, son treiñte quatro,’ which means, ‘there’s not 33, there’s 34’ – the higher power that’s helped us survive.”

“Among all of today’s epic exits, the gestures of Esteban Rojas seem to say it all – as he fell to his knees, thanked his God, and clung to his wife of 25 years,” said NBC correspondent, Kerry Sanders on the October 13 broadcast of “NBC Nightly News.”

ABC “Good Morning America” correspondent Bill Weir reported a quote from miner Ricardo Viaroel, the 28th man rescued, in which he credited prayer as key to his survival. “We didn’t have hope – strength comes from internal energy, prayer,” Viaroel told ABC News. “I never used to pray; here I learned to pray. I got closer to God … Love your family and be close to God – you’re only close to Him, when you’re in a bad place.”

The major news networks have a history of ignoring the positive role that faith and spirituality play, choosing instead to focus on loud-mouthed atheists. The Culture and Media Institute noted back in September 2008 that ABC, CBS and NBC chose to run stories on famous atheist Bill Maher’s mock documentary “Religulous” and ignored the Christian-themed, traditional values-laden “Fireproof” movie that debuted the same weekend.