If that seems like a mild '60s tune, consider what 40 NPR stations aired in 2008 on the daily current events/comedy show "Fair Game with Faith Salie," distributed by the group Public Radio International. They were joking about Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his "secret" family recipes. "Boring holy wafers no more," one recipe began. "Take one Eucharist, preferably post-transubstantiation, deep-fry in fat, not vegetable oil, ladies, until crispy. Serve piping hot. Mike likes to top his Christ with whipped cream and sprinkles. But his wife, Janet, and the boys like theirs with heavy gravy and cream puffs. It goes great with red wine." The tag line, delivered by host Salie, was, "Now that is just ridiculous. Everyone knows evangelicals don't even believe in transubstantiation."
That Catholic-insulting episode caused a hubbub in, of all places, Salt Lake City, at NPR affiliate KCPW. But our vigilant national guardians against "Islamophobia" never noticed. NPR never expressed horror. The comedy show was canceled several months later for having no major corporate underwriter, although for a time, the supposedly classy magazine The Economist offered financial support. Salie naturally proclaimed she was mocking herself: "I am proudly a Christian and, specifically, a Catholic," she wrote one angry e-mailer in apology.
If satire is "fair game" -- for only for some religions -- then consider the news reporters. During the John Roberts Supreme Court nomination in 2005, NPR's Nina Totenberg infamously proclaimed orthodox Catholicism should be a disqualifier for the high court: "Don't forget his wife was an officer, a high officer of a pro-life organization. He's got adopted children. I mean, he's a conservative Catholic ... a hard-line conservative."
Adopting children was a frightening stand? But that's not all. On the since-canceled show "Day to Day" (a collaboration of NPR and the liberal website Slate), Slate's Dahlia Lithwick was asked if Roberts would drift left, and she said nope, he's too Catholic: "I also wouldn't underestimate the influence of his religion, that Scalia and Thomas, one of the reasons they may not have drifted leftward has a lot to do with very, very strong religious views that pull them to the right."
With the nomination of Sam Alito a few weeks later, Lithwick suggested too many Catholics threatened the vaunted separation of church and state: "People are very, very much talking about the fact that Alito would be the fifth Catholic on the Supreme Court if confirmed." No one was fired or disciplined for disapproving of "too many Catholics" on the Court.
But Juan Williams was fired. When, oh when will Congress have the guts to defund this monstrosity called National Public Radio?