Cover Story

A Caveman with Convictions

"A Caveman with Convictions" Continued...

Issue: "Caveman with convictions," April 20, 1996

"Why?" asked Mr. Thomas, who had done the show more than eight times in the past.

"Well," replied the producer, "my senior producer was afraid you would get on and quote some Bible verses."

Just a few minutes expired, and Mr. Thomas got a call from the show's top producer. "Before I tell you what I was told you said," Mr. Thomas told the morning show executive, "I want to hear from you why I am not on the show tomorrow."

"We wanted a different mix," she told him.

"What does that mean?" he asked.

"Well, ahh ... it's too complicated. You wouldn't understand."

"Try me," Mr. Thomas replied. "English is my first language.... Did you say that the reason you didn't want me on that program was that I might quote some Bible verses?"

"Well, uh ..."

When Mr. Thomas reiterated his question, she hedged: "Well, it's not important."

"Let me tell you something," Mr. Thomas said, "It is important. You'll have every other screwball on that show.... They even mention God in a blasphemous way on some of your entertainment programs. Are you saying I can't speak well of him?"

Mr. Thomas says he's come to expect that kind of treatment-"The Lord said, 'If they persecuted me, they'll persecute you.' ... You take it as a fact of life"-and it doesn't surprise him and no longer bothers him. Indeed, he believes God calls some Christians into the mainstream media, but that doesn't mean it will be easy, nor is it likely the prevailing anti-Christian sentiment in today's newspapers and network broadcasts will substantially change.

Much like the episode with Mr. Hart and the L.A. Times, a curious double standard seemed to be held by Good Morning America toward Christianity. As pro-life stalwart Cardinal John O'Connor noted in recent Easter messages, the mainstream media seem devoted to gutting popular culture of Christian influence. No one knows that better than Cardinal O'Connor, whose outspoken pro-life activism makes him a regular target of media ire.

Bias is most clearly evident in abortion coverage. The Media Research Center's study notes: "Pro-lifers are inextricably linked to a violent, radical fringe, while abortion advocates are harassed do-gooders operating in the peaceful mainstream."

The MRC study showed that while network news in 1995 ran 142 stories about alleged violence outside abortion clinics, they ran only three about violence to women inside the clinics due to "botched" abortions and none about all the violence of the "successful" ones. Nor did they bother reporting violence by pro-abortion activists. Among the stories that never saw the light of day on any major TV newscast was the indictment of pro-abortion activist Daniel Adam Mahoney under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law last April for threatening to kill workers at a crisis pregnancy center. Another pro-abortion activist, Alice Hand, was arrested after threatening to blow up a Catholic church for its pro-life stance. Again, no network reported the episode; The New York Times, however, did file reports.

Focus on the Family's Public Policy Division analyzed national press coverage of the partial-birth abortion debate and issued a report indicating serious bias against the pro-life effort. Among Focus's findings: Counter to evidence, the press frequently claimed that the technique was used largely just to save a mother's life, or in cases of severely deformed unborn babies; counter to evidence, the press reported the method as largely tested and safe; counter to evidence, the press reported that, during the technique, babies were killed by the anesthesia, before having their skulls crushed and brains sucked out.

Further evidence of bias came in the form of an internal CNN directive, obtained by Focus on the Family, that was sent to CNN correspondents. It said: "Regarding the medical procedure that abortion foes call a 'partial birth abortion,' 'Partial birth abortion' is not a medical term. It is a phrase used by abortion foes and is as loaded in the abortion debate as the term 'pro-life.' Best way to describe this rarely-performed procedure is 'a type of late term abortion.' Doctors call it an 'intact D and E.'"

Some worldview instructions are transmitted secretly; others very publicly. In 1984, when Baltimore Sun political correspondent Fred Barnes raised the religion issue, he received his reprimand immediately. On stage, presidential candidates Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan stood behind their respective podiums, and Mr. Barnes asked each of them:

"Do you consider yourself a born-again Christian and what role does your faith play in your decision-making?" Spectators behind Mr. Barnes hissed; in the next few days, he received piles of mail, mostly from people who were hostile to the idea of Christianity ever being mentioned in public, let alone in a political context.

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