Like Bachmann, Rick Perry has been punished for expressing his religion on the campaign trail. The networks were critical of his religious views in 63 percent of their mentions of faith. Shortly before announcing his candidacy for president, Perry held a rally in Houston called "The Response." The networks put graphics on the screen asking "Is Perry Going Too Far?" Reporters like ABCs Aaron Katersky insisted "Perry's open mix of faith and politics risks alienating even some Christian voters."
Our media's statement of faith begins with the bedrock belief that orthodox Christianity is both proof of rigid extremism and a serious threat to the First Amendment, never mind that the amendment explicitly protects the freedom to worship.
ABCs Katersky placed Perry and his supporters on the radical right. "The sponsor of Perry's rally, the American Family Association, opposes homosexuality, women's rights and religious diversity." He's suggesting the AFA opposes women's right to vote? ABC also brought on leftist "Reverend" Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State to warn the country about Perry. "My simple message to him is don't mess with the Constitution."
In October, reporters hovered around Rick Perry pressing him to disavow a supporter's claim that Mormons weren't Christians, which he had already done. The media hyped that Republicans would accept a Mormon in the White House. As Fox News pointed out at the time, a Quinnipiac poll found 68 percent of Republicans are comfortable with a Mormon president, as are 64 percent of independents. Democrats are the least tolerant, at 49 percent.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports more than 75 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians, and 93 percent say they believe in God. But the CMI report says, "too often network reporters covering religious conservatives sound as though they're reporting back from an encounter with remote, primitive tribes." Network reporters need to stop sounding like "foreign correspondents" when they cover people whose faiths they don't understand. Liberal journalists pretend they're open-minded, but their news coverage suggests they feel they don't need to understand the religious right. They just need to defeat them.