Nobody who cares about the state of the culture has missed how NBC never has an ounce of this "courage" or a throbbing urge to take a stand for "freedom of speech" when the faith in the spotlight is Islam. In February, when Muslims were violently protesting in the streets over comparatively mild Islam-mocking cartoons in a Danish newspaper, where was NBC? Cowering in a corner.
NBC's Campbell Brown announced on an NBC weblog that when it came to that religion: "After some discussion in our editorial meeting, we have decided not to show the cartoons explicitly. We are trying to treat this issue with care and sensitivity while still bringing you the story." They edited it out in a spirit of multicultural outreach to a tiny minority -- a spirit they can never seem to locate for the majority of Americans who revere Jesus.
So why not also edit out the Madonna crucifixion insult?
In 2004, the Parents Television Council released a study analyzing the treatment of religion on television and found that of all the networks, and by an overwhelming margin, NBC's treatment of religion was the worst. In fact, NBC had 9.5 negative treatments for every positive treatment, the absolute worst network by far. (Put in proper perspective, Fox came in a distant second-worst with 2.4 negative treatments for every positive.) In 2005, a dreadful NBC sitcom called "Committed" -- that unsurprisingly expired within weeks -- carried a whole half-hour plotline mocking Catholic reverence for the Eucharist. Madonna would have loved it.
In 1992, NBC was the network that aired the one-hit wonder Sinead O'Connor on "Saturday Night Live" ripping up a picture of Pope John Paul, shouting, "Fight the real enemy." Executives were genuinely outraged and apologetic at the unplanned display. Twelve years later, we have Madonna's circus act coming to town, at NBC's invitation. This time, NBC's executives are publicly proclaiming that the planned mockery of Jesus Christ himself isn't seen as "inappropriate."