Networks Treated Good Friday, Earth Day as Equals

This past Friday, April 22, 2011, marked the simultaneous celebration of Good Friday and Earth Day and ABC, CBS and NBC treated the two “holidays” as equals.

Though Good Friday has been celebrated by millions around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the 41-year-old liberal eco-celebration of “green living” known as “Earth Day” was put on the same platform as the sacred day that Christians remember Christ’s death.

There were 21 stories about Good Friday or Earth Day on April 22, and the networks nearly split down the middle in covering the Christian holiday and the “movement” to “save the environment.”

Only four of the 11 Good Friday stories (36 percent) were positive stories about Christians celebrating Jesus’ death on the cross; the other seven were casual mentions of the day. Earth Day garnered 10 mentions from the networks, with seven (70 percent) of those stories accounting for the fawning coverage of how Americans “go Green” and just three (30 percent) were casual mentions.

CBS’s “The Early Show” all but skipped over the Christian holy day in favor of a seven minute segment about “green living” and going past “just recycling.” After opening the segment with, “It’s good Friday, the flowers in bloom here in New York” and nothing more about the holiday, anchor Chris Wragge did a check of the weather, and then transitioned into a glowing piece about students who “think about the planet every day.”

Good Friday only netted four positive stories, all highlighting the yearly pilgrimage of Christians to Jerusalem, taking up crosses and retracing Jesus’ final steps before his death at Calvary.

CBS correspondent Marysol Castro reported on the elementary school Earth Day initiative for CBS, asking a kindergarten student at Willard Elementary in Ridgewood, New Jersey, “So you’re really doing your part here, saving the earth, one juice box at a time?” After spending a day with the students and learning about recycling, planting, cutting waste and “healthy decisions,” Castro concluded the segment declaring, “Forty-one years after Earth Day began, saving the environment is no longer a new way of thinking. It’s a way of life, and these students will set the standard for generations to come.”

These findings are not surprising considering the network evening news shows in 2010 chose to link the Christian holiday of Easter to the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal in more than 91 percent of negative Easter stories. The Culture and Media Institute discovered that the nightly news shows for ABC, CBS and NBC featured nearly two thirds of stories about Easter were negative, and every story about Earth Day raved about the celebration of Mother Earth.

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