NPR is a very favorable place for atheists. Richard Dawkins, the harsh leftist author of “The God Delusion,” was smothered in air-kisses on the Diane Rehm Show on Tuesday (distributed across the country from WAMU-FM in DC). Fill-in host Katty Kay of the BBC began: “This year Richard Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect Magazine's poll of 10,000 readers in more than 100 countries.”
As he touts the first half of his memoirs in a book called “An Appetite for Wonder,” Kay oozed: “I wanted to start by asking you if it's a prerequisite for the world's top thinker to have an appetite for wonder?” This followed:
What if the atheists declared they were about to throw “the largest atheist event in world history” on a Saturday in Washington and few people showed up? “Reason Rally” organizer David Silverman estimated that "99 percent of all atheists are closeted.” The closet must still be full, because they sure weren’t in Washington.
The Washington Post story on Sunday guessed there were “several thousand” people in the intermittent rain. But Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry told the Post "We have the numbers to be taken seriously…We're not just a tiny fringe group."
For all of those networks and newspapers who annually pretend the March for Life does not exist, we shall see if a Washington rally by thousands of atheists is considered equally as "newsworthy." Don't empty your wallet betting on that. Advertised speakers at the March 24 "Reason Rally" include Congressman Pete Stark, author Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion"), comedians Paul Provenza and Jamie Kilstein, "Mythbusters" co-host Adam Savage, the rock band Bad Religion and the hip-hop artist "Rational Warrior a.k.a Tombstone Da Deadman," and Jamila Bey ("former editor and producer for National Public Radio").
NPR and MSNBC have already noticed. The CBS DC website carried this promotional headline: "'We Are Stronger’: Atheists To Hold Massive Rally On National Mall Next Month.” One would hope reporters would ask where the bar is set when the Reason Rally website boasts: “Join us for the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.”
It's quite clever and misleading for Newsweek and The Washington Post to name their religion site "On Faith." It's a little like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals starting a website simply called "On Meat."
Author Donna Freitas, called "The Stubborn Catholic," is absolutely thrilled with the idea that two very publicly vicious atheists want to arrest the Pope when he visits the United Kingdom. She declared "warm and fuzzy" feelings for them.
Have you heard? Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want to arrest the Pope when he visits England! I know it's more or less a publicity stunt and that theoretically I should be shaking my head in disapproval because it sounds so off the charts outrageous to do such a thing.
But to be honest: I'm kinda excited about it. I kinda want to be shouting, "You go, boys!" A part of me is chuckling about this. In a Mwa mwa mwa sort of tongue-in-cheek way.
CNN correspondent Max Foster’s short report about Richard Dawkins on Tuesday’s Situation Room played more like a commercial which promoted the militant atheist’s new book. Despite Dawkins’s past inflammatory statements about Christianity, Foster only labeled him “an outspoken critic of creationism....[whose] atheist views have put him at the center of controversy” [audio clip available here].
Anchor Suzanne Malveaux’s introduction for the correspondent’s report highlighted the 150th anniversary of the printing of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” and how Dawkins was a “controversial successor [to Darwin] carrying the torch for evolution.” Foster gave a very basic description of Dawkins’s career during his report, only mentioning his controversial stances only in passing. Video straight from the Richard Dawkins Foundation ran on-screen as Foster, an anchor for CNN’s sister network CNN International, gave his voice-over.
So much for camaraderie. New York Times movie reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis found fellow Times writer Ben Stein's "Expelled," his new documentary on evolution and how the concept of Intelligent Design is being stifled in academic circles, "an unprincipled propaganda piece."
(Catsoulis's politics are pretty easy to peg; witness her simplistic left-wing raves over the 2005 documentary "Waging a Living," based on a book by socialist writer Barbara Ehrenreich.)
Catsoulis not only doesn't buy "Expelled"'s premise that scientific debate is being squelched in academia in favor of Darwin-worship, she calls the movie names:
One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
On Friday, the NPR chat show Fresh Air with Terry Gross (aired on over 400 stations from WHYY in Philadelphia) carried two interviews on science and religion. They might claim the discussion was balanced, but not when you consider the time allotted, as listed on the NPR web page:
Apparently, an almost three-to-one time difference is a fair fight on NPR.
In case that's not imbalanced enough, the Dawkins page also helpfully links to another 30-minute NPR interview with Dawkins about his book The God Delusion on the show Talk of the Nation. The interviews are repeats from last year, but NPR doesn't generally tell listeners about that when the show airs.