A few days ago, Fox News (that utterly reputable news source!) broadcast a talk show in which three people of the Fox News staff discussed the fact that the University of Missouri had added Wiccan holidays to their list of recognized holidays.
The broadcasters of course had great fun ridiculing the Wiccan faith (Wiccanism, as one of the presenters inaccurately called it), and made mention that 20 percent of all holidays are pagan. That point is true, but it got immediately misinterpreted to say that Wiccans have twenty holidays.
If you haven’t already seen the piece in question, it’s here:
Naturally, Wiccans and Pagans were up in arms over this, saying that Fox News was misrepresenting or ridiculing their faith. That’s absolutely true, they were, and many voices, including Selena Fox of the Lady Liberty League took to the defense of Wicca.
But I don’t think that the Fox News people were doing that simply to have fun poking fun at Wicca. They weren’t out to start a War On Religion or any such foolishness. No, all they were doing is much more simple than that.
Have you ever encountered someone who will say whatever he thinks it takes, just to gain the attention of his superiors? The kind of brown-noser who’ll overhear a conversation making fun of, say, autistic kids, and add a comment to let the others know he’s ‘one of them’? That’s all it was. Glad-handing their superiors, in a way.
The Fox News folks were just making the right kinds of noise, saying things their wealthy, corporate-owned Christian Conservative Coalition (capitalization mine) would want to hear, so they’d give Fox more money. They could just as well have made detrimental remarks about gays, handicapped people, vegans, whatever. Today it happened to be Wiccans, and the University of Missouri’s decision happened to be the target.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely detest the things they said, and the attitude they took. They could have done so much better. But remember, they hold Wiccans and Pagans in as much regard as the dirt they scrape off their shoes when they walk inside. They don’t care about Wicca. They just wanted to win the favor of their corporate backers, so they made the sort of noises that they’re expected to make.
Which, as far as I’m concerned, makes them even less a reliable news agency than they were before.