I find their lack of faith disturbing…
HH: Howard Kurtz, 40% of Americans, 40%, attend Church on a weekly basis, or Synagogue, or some house of worship. In the networks, do any of them do that to your knowledge?
HK: I simply do not know. But what I do know, Hugh, is that when Peter Jennings was anchoring World News, he made a big push to get a fulltime religion correspondent, who did a pretty good job for several years. That woman has since left, andâ€¦
HH: Peggy [Wehmeyer].
HK: None of the network newscasts now have a fulltime religion correspondent, and I think thatâ€™s a mistake. I think itâ€™s a big part of American life.
HH: Now you see, hereâ€™s my proposition. If you know that Brian Williams went to NASCAR, and you know that Katie had her birthday party at Tiffanyâ€™s, you would know if any of these anchors were Churchgoers, and anchored in their community in the way that 40% of Americans are. Fair, right? It would just come up somehow.
HK: Itâ€™s not a question I asked, and I simply donâ€™t know.
HH: Did you visit them in their offices?
HK: And elsewhere.
HH: Did you see any evidence of, say, a Bible anywhere?
HK: No, but I donâ€™t knowâ€¦the ethos of the newsroom is such that you wouldnâ€™t want to have any, not just any religious symbols, but any symbols of any politics. I mean, the point is, I donâ€™t want to speculate because I donâ€™t know anything about their religion.
HH: Howard, why is the ethos of the newsroom that you wouldnâ€™t want to have any religious symbols in it?
HK: I think the ethos of the newsroom is letâ€™s try to be neutral, letâ€™s at least try to appear neutral, letâ€™s not have any bumper stickers, letâ€™sâ€¦you know, look, if somebody wants to wear a Jewish star or cross, I mean, nobodyâ€™s going to make an issue out of that. But I do think itâ€™s just a place where you kind of try to keep your views to yourself. Now maybe youâ€™re right, maybe none of them go to Church, and they donâ€™t have any feel for that. Iâ€™m more interested in whether they do a good job in covering religion and religious issues. And itâ€™s very telling to me that only one newscast, ABC under Jennings, had a religion reporter, and that none of them do right now.
HH: And Iâ€™m going to make the argument that if they donâ€™t go, they canâ€™t. They wonâ€™t know the culture well enough. And again, I know youâ€™re not not telling me, Iâ€™m just wondering in the many years that you spent doing this, did you see any evidence of religious faith on the part of the anchors or their senior producers?
HK: I didnâ€™t, but in fairness, I didnâ€™t ask.
Just for the record, I don’t really believe that 40% of Americans attend church regularly. Even Christianity Today doesn’t believe it and they’re willing to believe in the InfiniteSkyDad, so go figure…